Newsletter No. 48 - Serving
Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - March 1996
THE LIBERAL PARTY :WHAT'S THE ENVIRONMENTAL REALITY ?
With an election in the air and the
Liberals leading in the polls, it is important to look at what the Liberals are promising
when it comes to the environment.
Right now, we are consuming more scarce resources and
producing more wastes every day, The forests, the agricultural land, the atmosphere, the
ocean - all are suffering due to our relentless desire to consume more without thought for
tomorrow, or for how the next generation is going to live. We are living in a period
similar to the 1930s, when Churchill was alone in warning people about Germany, and most
people were burying their heads in the sand.
A government cannot do everything to solve these problems;
but a government which at least understands them is an essential beginning. So - how do
the Liberals stand up ?
The new Liberal document 'The Courage to Change' says
"We must protect our environment, while maintaining an economy where people can earn
a living, provide for their families and provide for their futures. It is not a matter of
choosing - we must do both. And we can."
Specifically, it says they will :
Protect a firm 12% of the province's land.
Introduce a Living Rivers Policy that recognizes the importance of BC's river system to
our environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Expand the province's network of marine parks.
Manage air quality on a regional airshed basis.
Stop the Kemano Completion Project, and any other major water diversions
that might threaten the long-term health of our fishery, tourism and recreation
Establish regional transportation authorities, giving communities control over their own
local transportation requirements.
Return the NDP forest stumpage surcharge fees to the regions from which they are
collected, to be re-invested in the forests.
Legislate the BC Liberal Community Charter, to give more decisions to local communities.
That's what they're promising. There's nothing on the
environment on the Liberal Party's Home Page. Another way to gauge their commitment is to
look at their past record to see how Liberal MLAs think, and how they respond to
environmental legislation :
- On the NDP commitment to eliminate all pulp mill effluents
containing chlorinated solids by the year 2002, the former Environment critic Simon de
Jong said there was no evidence that chlorinated solids were toxic, and that tighter
pollution standards were unnecessary.
- On the clean air initiatives Moe Sihota has been bringing
in, Transportation critic Doug Symons said he would 'soften' the standards. He later
suggested he might have used the wrong word, but said Sihota was 'grandstanding', instead
of consulting with industry. (Times Colonist, Dec 2, 1995)
- On environmental regulations in general, Environment critic
John van Dongen says that the provincial government is headed towards an environmental
police state through over-regulation and over-assessment of industry, citing the Forest
Practices Code as an example of an attempt by government to regulate an industry to death.
He says officials should more often enforce the spirit, rather than the letter of the law.
(Vancouver Sun, Feb 3rd '96).
- On the Forest Practices Code, the Liberals voted against
the million dollar fines for violators, but van Dongen says that rather than rewrite the
Code, the Liberals would promote a new management approach, calling for a 'partnership
mindset'. The Liberals also voted against the Forest Renewal Plan.
- On global warming, Liberal MLA Dan Jarvis said
"There's a large body of evidence out there to support the fact that what has been
done in the past is not all that bad, and that the threat of impending ecological doom is
not based on scientific evidence" (Hansard, June 21, 1994).
- When it comes to parks, they have given the 12% commitment
: but it is unlikely they would look sympathetically at any further extensions, however
valuable the ecology. In the 1995 session, they voted to remove the Tatshenshini from its
Class A park designation, and MLA Dan Jarvis said "...we'd let them mine the hell out
of it" (Port Alberni Valley Times, June 17, '93). He went on to say "In the
Liberal Party, we actually believe that you can mine in parks in a responsible
manner" (Hansard). Gordon Campbell said that the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan
"protects too much forest" (Province, June 24 94)
- On the Agricultural Land Reserve, John van Dongen supports
giving regions a greater voice in setting its boundaries (taking power away from the ALR
commissioners), and perhaps making "regional public interest" a reason for
appealing the Commission's decisions to cabinet.
It's pretty scanty, but it's all there is so far to judge
where they stand. Let's hope for more details in the weeks to come. We've also got to
remember that if a party thinks this way, it's also because many people think this way.
- Guy Dauncey
Published as a monthly service,
nourishing the vision of an Island blessed by the harmony of nature and community, funded
by your donations.
Many thanks to the Garry Oak Meadow
Preservation Society, the World Federalists, Monica Oldham, Gail Schacter, Myrna Boulding,
Shirley Brodeur, Elly Roelofsen, Colin Graham, John Pirquet, Bennet Camp, Andrew Hunter,
Kildara Farms, Envi Lawncare, Peter Schofield, Susan Scott, RH Kirby, Ruth Masters, Gail
Schultz, Community Forum, Bernie Jones, Barbara Benoit and the Maplewood Naturopathic
Centre. And thanks for the various personal greetings and encouragement you send, too !
Donations can be made to EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1. If you don't want to receive EcoNews, or are going away,
please let us know - it avoids wasting the postage. To receive EcoNews call (250)
881-1304, or email email@example.com
Thanks to everyone who helped the Victoria
Compost Education Centre by writing to the CRD Environment Cte - they received 99 letters
and faxes altogether, and granted the funding they needed by an almost unanimous vote.
Next - apologies to all you cyberfolks who tried to get the 50 HOT GREEN SITES - the
correct address (as many discovered) is firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to try again. And fifthly, EcoNews already goes out to every
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individual members of staff) would like to receive EcoNews, send me their address (and the
staff members' names), tell me how many they need, and I'll add them to the list. The MLAs
all get EcoNews through their Caucus offices. And PS - we're running low on cash !
EARTHWEEK COMING UP
For the 7th year in succession, Doug Koch and
the Vancouver Island Earth Works Society are pulling together an impressive program of
events for Earthweek, Friday April 19th - Sunday April 28th. In 1990 there were 19 special
events and projects on the Island; by 1995, that had grown to 95. If you are involved with
a school, street, group, project or initiative during Earthweek, give Doug a shout on
383-5765. All this impressive activity costs money, and the Earth Works Society is open to
receiving support (and tax-deductible donations) from individuals, families, businesses or
other non--profits. The team that is organizing the 1996 EarthWalk can also use as many
volunteers as are willing to help as stewards, technical crew, etc. Call Peter Ronald,
361-2610 if you can help.
INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE
One thing is certain, as we head into the
21st century. If we don't succeed in working together as an interdependent community of
nations, living together in this beautiful but very fragile home we share, we are in dead
trouble. We are all used to national law - but the concept of international law is still
very new. A group of organizations is hosting a major conference on the matter at UVic,
March 29th - 30th, when discussions will focus on the current state of play as regards the
new Laws of the Sea, the World Forest Convention, the Rio treaties on biodiversity and
climate change, and the question of the illegality of nuclear weapons. The confirmed
speakers include Judge Ulf Panzer, of Hamburg, who in 1987 led a blockade by German judges
of an American nuclear weapons base in Germany - which caused a definite ripple of anxiety
through the legal profession -, Ovide Mercredi, Ted McWhinney, MP, and Ambassador Alan
Beesley (rtd), as well as many local eco-luminaries. The federal and provincial
Environment Ministers have not yet confirmed. Admission is by donation. For details, call
Bruce Torrie, 477-0555.
THE GREEN BUILDING
REVOLUTION - A SEMINAR
For several years, a revolution has been
happening in the fields of architecture, design, energy efficiency and building materials.
This month, there is a rare opportunity to spend with some of the leaders of this
revolution in North America, learning about their experience. the seminar is being put on
by the Victoria Chapter of the Real Estate Institute of BC, and organized by ex-realtor
Roger Colwill, who has made a dramatic career change over the last 7 years, and now
devotes all of his time to working for causes and issues which help build a more whole,
livable planet. Among the presenters are Maureen Cureton, from the world-leading Rocky
Mountain Institute in Colorado, Harold Kalke, a Vancouver developer who has integrated a
number of new green initiatives into a large new commercial block on West 4th Avenue,
Teresa Coady, a BC leader in the design of green buildings, and Aidan Stretch, whose
Seattle company has designed Patagonia's new Worldwide Office Facility in an eco-friendly
way. The day also includes a guided tour of Green Building sites on the Internet, and a
buffet luncheon. The cost is $70 to non-members. For details, call Roger Colwill,
Shitake mushrooms are very expensive, but
they pack a high medicinal value, and are known as an immune system booster. In this
climate, it is possible to grow them by purchasing plugs of the spawn and inserting them
into fallen oak, chestnut, alder or maple logs that have started to rot. They take 2 years
to fruit, and then go on doing so for 3-5 years. If you'd like growing instructions, call
Bruce Torrie, 477-0555.
FRESH GREENS ON CAMPUS
Up at UVic, the Environmental Studies
Students Association is creating a campus organic food garden, and is looking for help.
They've got a site, and their vision is a garden of vegetables, flowers, herbs, berries
and fruit trees with a central area with benches where people can gather, and also hold
small classes. They want to provide healthy food for students, and build a sense of
community. If anyone can help with advice, ideas, assistance, equipment, seedlings, fruit
trees or even soil, please call ESSA at 721-7355 or Vickey at 920-9835. Still up at UVic,
a diverse group of students have formed an Ecological Technology Centre, with interests
including conservation, urban ecology, industrial ecology and ecological lifestyles. They
are planning a campus-wide environmental awareness week this fall, and an ongoing
eco-campus project to make the whole campus more green. They meet every Wednesday, 6.30pm
in the SUB multi-purpose room, and have a pigeon-hole in the VIPERG office, near
Cinecenta. Also email@example.com
GREEN HEROES WANTED
The Victoria International Development
Education Ass'n (VIDEA) is seeking a 16 hours per week Executive Director on 6 month
contract, starting April 1st - for details call 477-7547. The UVic Chair of Environmental
Law & Policy is seeking an ecologist or environmental scientist as a Post-Doctoral
Fellow in science policy for one year, and offering 3 Eco-Research Fellowships up to
$10,000/year to graduates interested in working on a cross-disciplinary basis. For
details, write to Kimberley Stratford, Project Admin, Environmental Law, MS 8150 PO Box
2400, Victoria V8W 3H7.
In Edinburgh, Scotland, people are clamouring
to live in new homes specifically designed for people who agree not to own a private car.
The houses are being planned by Edinburgh City Council for a site 2 miles from the city
centre. Residents will have to sign an undertaking not to own a car and to cycle or use
public transport instead. For special journeys, cars will be available at cheap rates from
a local car-hire firm. (Source, Planetary Connections. Details 01144-131-220-3663).
Meanwhile, here in Victoria, the Garden City Car-Share Co-operative, which will enable
people to share car-ownership instead of owning privately, is working away at its business
plans. If you live in James Bay and would like to help, please call Kathryn Molloy on
......Are you a reluctant cyclist ? A lazy
cyclist ? An "I would if only I felt more safe" cyclist ? For $75, you can learn
how to blow away your fears by enrolling in Ray Hall's Can Bike Course. It takes place
over 4 Saturdays in March from 9-4pm, up at UVic, and there's a one-day 'Introduction to
Cycling Skills' course on Sunday March 17th for $30. Open up new worlds of fresh air and
freedom ! Could be the best dollars you've spent all year. Ray Hall, Canadian Cycling
South of the border, over 20 Christian
organizations have met together and formed the Christian Society of the Green Cross. The
group includes organizations representing Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Catholics,
Mennonites, World Vision, Habitat for Humanity and the Carter Presidential Centre. In
their mission statement, they emphasize that environmental degradation has reached
unprecedented proportions, resulting in deepened poverty and a reduced carrying capacity
to the land. "The Green Cross puts Christian earth stewardship into action and
provides a unique opportunity to bring blue collar people, the poor and people of color
into ecological concern." Among the activities being planned are habitat restoration,
waste reduction, youth education, resource conservation, clean-up projects, urban gardens,
tree-planing, the education of youth groups and church congregations, programs to address
the consumer attitudes that underlie overconsumption, and the creation of model
communities which demonstrate and promote lifestyle change. The first Green Cross chapter
has been formed at Wittenberg University, Ohio, where students are developing a model of
campus organic gardening. They publish the Green Cross magazine, to keep members in touch.
For details, write to Green Cross, 10 East Lancaster Avenue, Wynnewood, PA 19096-3495,
that a small group
of concerned citizens
can change the world.
Indeed, it is
the only thing
that ever has."
OUR ECOLOGICAL (SIZE 190)
If everyone on the Earth lived the same way
we do in B.C., it would need two more "unused" planet Earths to produce the
resources, absorb the wastes, and maintain the life support system that nature provides.
The concept of the 'ecological footprint' has been around for a while, thanks to the good
folks at UBC School of community and Regional Planning, and now the book is out : 'Our
Ecological Footprint : Reducing Human Impact on the Earth' ($17.95 + $3 post + GST from
New Society, PO Box 189, Gabriola, BC V0R 1X0, 1-800-567-6772 - and good bookshops).
Ecological footprint analysis can show us by just how much we have to reduce our
consumption, improve our technology and change our behaviour in order to achieve
sustainability. As such, it's a powerful planning tool which all future projects,
developments and subdivisions should be asked to address.
Oh Progress, how shall I measure thee ?
By every dollar spent, for good or ill -
Thus shall we grow, and grow more
Glorious still, till all's devoured, and all God's glory gone.
Then shall we say "Oh, wealth ! How Rich our world,
that every day we spend
So much to clean the air, so much to make the water clear."
Strange it is now to think of times
When poets wrote of 'wealth' as if she
Were some glorious mystery of soul,
Of fields that flew a thousand flowers
Or peace, as tender as the dew.
What is this "Progress", then, that does
Betray us so ?
And we, so slow to see the fault ?
Maybe the fault is ours, and ours the love foreshortened.
So, let us measure thee anew,
and in full honesty count all the details
lest we be deceived.
We'll redefine you, then, and when the sums are in,
assess the love, and ponder
Poetry aside, Clifford Cobb and Ted Halstead, at a US
project called 'Redefining Progress' have put their minds to a rigorous analysis of what
they call 'genuine progress', counting in all the losses, both ecological and social, as
well as the gains. Under existing GDP thinking, a car crash, an oil spill or a toxic waste
clean-up all count as "progress" because they all require us to spend more
money. If you stay home to look after your children, that counts for nothing - but if you
spend money to pay for a childminder, that adds to the nation's GDP and counts as
"progress". In 'Redefining Progress' (One Kearney St, 4th flr, San Francisco, CA
94108), the team counted over 20 aspects of US economic life that GDP ignores, so that the
benefits of economic activity could be weighed against the costs. The results show that
from 1950 to 1995, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose from 8200 units to 16,800 units,
but the 'Genuine Progress Indicator' (GPI) started at 6000 units, rose to a peak of 7,000
units in the late 1960s, and has been falling ever since, to 4,000 units in 1995. Thus are
we fooled, and all Earth's treasure stolen.
If this kind of thinking interests you, you
might want to join the New Economics Foundation, in London, UK. Founded in 1985, to help
organize 'The Other Economic Summit', which happens in parallel with the G-7 meeting of
finance ministers every summer, the Foundation has worked to peel away the nonsense that
passes for 'normal' economics, and to develop an economics that will work for a 'just and
sustainable economy'. As well as producing regular reports and briefing papers, all
wonderfully free of jargon and incomprehensible mathematics, the Foundation publishes a
quarterly newsletter with stories on community banks, neighbourhood coops, alternative
currencies, guaranteed annual income, green budgeting, ecological taxation, etc. Send $5
for a sample copy to New Economics Foundation, 1st floor, Vine Court, 112-116 Whitechapel
Rd, London E1 1JE, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
EcoNews provides this electronic version of
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for previous issues of EcoNews.
EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304
Available free by mail or email
Author of 'After the Crash : The
Emergence of the Rainbow Economy'
(Greenprint, London, 1988. 3rd edition 1997)
EcoNews is printed on Tree-Free paper from Ecosource