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Contact Econews

Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
CANADA V9E 2B9
Tel (250) 881-1304
www.earthfuture.com

Executive director of The Solutions Project

 

 ECONEWS


Newsletter No. 62 - Serving Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - June 1997


OH, THAT SUCH A PARADISE
SHOULD BE TORN AND LOST

There is no denying it : we live on an Island of unparalleled beauty. From the starfish-filled crevices of the Broken Islands to the peaks of Strathcona Park, from the deep remaining old growth forests to the tranquillity of Gulf Island evenings - living here on the Island we can glimpse how beautiful the world really is, and how beautiful it was before we started to tear down the forests and dump concrete and asphalt everywhere.

The word from up-Island is that the Ministry of Transportation and Highways has trashed no fewer than 23 salmon streams between Parkesville and Mud Bay. "I understand that a project as large as this is going to cause some damage to our environment, but I didn't dream it would be this bad," writes Jim Ackinclose, of the Fanny Bay Salmon Enhancement Society (250) 335-0010 (jackincl@mars.ark.com), who has put years of work into local creek protection and restoration. He is appealing for help.

Meanwhile, the government is rushing to log the few remaining areas of public land in the Nanaimo Lowlands by opening them up for timber sales. "The short term economic gain by clearcutting the mature forests on these few remaining fragments of Crown Lands is minuscule compared to the future price-tag for restoration of this public land for habitat conservation and for the growing number of people demanding recreational spaces," writes Annette Tanner of the Mid-Island WCWC (752-6585). Environment Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Environment are working on a Sensitive EcoSystems Inventory of east Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands which will take another 2-3 months to finish - but the B.C. Forest Service is rushing to log what is left before the inventory has been completed.

These are just two fragments of the daily cutting, chewing and gnawing which is happening all over the Island, as pocket by pocket, it gets eaten away.

"You've got your 12%," say the timber interests, "so we'll do what we want with the rest." Can you imagine Switzerland or Austria taking such a cavalier approach to their natural heritage ?

People will argue that we need the jobs - but that is so incredibly short-sighted. The whalers needed the jobs - but where would we be today if we had let them kill every last whale ?

Yes, we need the jobs - but not the jobs which destroy paradise. Rebecca Bernson reported recently on an article in the March issue of the National Geographic which reported that by the year 2000, forest-based recreation is expected to pump $100 billion into the US economy, while timber sales will contribute only $3.5 billion. The Bavarian town of Leavenworth, WA, which has 'done a Chemainus', increased its lodging rooms from 150 in 1981 to 1,500 in 1996, with a similar increase in revenue from other tourist activities.

The biggest roadblock which is preventing us from saving the Island is the system of forest tenure, which grants so much of the Island to the big forest companies to log, pulp and export as they will, while expecting so little, ecologically.

The evidence from ecoforestry shows that if Crown Lands were broken up and issued out as woodlot licenses, most of the Island's 500,000 hectares of 2nd growth forest could be thinned and managed in a way that brought an income to the ecoforesters, while gradually being restored to the diversity of an oldgrowth forest. There is a growing demand in Europe for ecocertified timber - and when a forest is managed with ecological single-tree selection methods over a long period of time it yields more timber of higher quality than clearcutting can ever do, while leaving the forest standing. Furthermore, the climate change crisis demands that we leave our forests standing to serve as a carbon sink for the megatonnes of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere every year by driving, and other activities.

If the woodlot holders were assisted with community economic development methods, they could also run profitable recreational businesses, opening up more of the beauty of the Island to we who live here, and to the three million tourists who visit every year - only to leave after visiting the Butchart Gardens, never realizing they had stood on the edge of paradise.

The recent election was a eulogy to boredom, as none of the main parties addressed their attentions to the enormous planetary crisis that is facing us, and the host of transformative solutions that are waiting to be adopted. It is as if they were stuck in the 1960s, ignorant of what is happening. Only the Green Party addresses the real issues.

But the fact remains : we live in a paradise - and there is much we can do to keep it that way.

- Guy Dauncey


ECONEWS

EcoNews is published as a monthly service to the Vancouver Island environmental community, to nourish the powerful and beautiful vision of an Island blessed by the harmony of nature and human community, funded by readers' donations.

SUMMER APPEAL :

Dear EcoNews Readers, It's summer, and the bank is empty.Each month, EcoNews costs $475 for postage, $265 for paper and printing, and various extras such as courier charges - total $750 per month. In the average month, we get $250 - $350 in donations. So now it's appeal time !

If you enjoy reading EcoNews and value the service it provides, please help fill the bank account up, so that we can keep going.

And to those of you who receive EcoNews by email, yes, your contributions are welcome ! Please send your cheque to EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria, B.C. V8X 3X1.

Many thanks to Joni Heinrich, Gail Schultz (three times), Laurence Smith, Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, Don Thiers, Bill & Marianne Livant, Thor Henrikson, Noel Taylor and Flora Rosen. To receive EcoNews by mail, call (250) 881-1304. By email, it's guydauncey@earthfuture.com. . Donations can be made to EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1. Any envelopes with an old printed address ? WE CAN USE THEM !


EARTHJAZZ & THE TIPI CAMP

Calling all young people ! The Tipi Camps, now in their 10th year, take place every summer in the heart of the Kootenay Valley. 'A camp where Nature flowers in us all'....'The best camp I have ever been to. It's so peaceful and beautiful. I have made friends forever.' From July 14th - 18th there's a 5-day WISE Leadership program for children aged 13-16, and from July 21st - 25th there's a program for children aged 9 - 12. 'WISE' stands for Wilderness Immersion for Self-Esteem. The camps and other activities are run by the Guiding Hands Recreation Society, Box 20, Crawford Bay, BC V0B 1E0. (250) 227-9555. rsturdy@awinc.com

For kids who are glued to their computers, Earthjazz@aol.com is a new on-line discussion group for eco-kids.


"I PLEDGE......"

College is out - what's next ? And does it matter ? At Manchester College, near Fort Wayne, Indiana, half the students this year wore green ribbons pinned to their gowns to signify the pledge they were taking : "I pledge to investigate and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job opportunity I consider." The pledge has been part of their college tradition for nine years now, following the lead of Humboldt State University, which started the pledge in 1987. Humboldt and Manchester have long traditions of social and environmental activism. Contact : Kristi Zimmerman, Manchester College 219-982-6837. (American News Service).


WHALING ON THE COAST

And if anyone is concerned about the planned killing of whales off the coast of BC and the presence of whale hunting companies here on the Island, please contact Barbara Julian (250) 592-9340.


PESTICIDES CAMPAIGN

Following the EcoNews and Monday Magazine pesticide stories, Andrew Hunter has picked up the baton and set up a local group of the Campaign for Pesticide Reduction. "Every year, tons of toxic chemicals are placed on our lawns, parks and playgrounds in totally cosmetic spray programmes aimed at dandelion eradication", he says. The goal is to advance local municipal by-laws to prohibit cosmetic pesticide programmes, and they are also interested in the idea of street volunteers, who will go out and talk to their neighbours about alternatives to chemical pesticide use. Contact : Andrew Hunter, 595-5460.


FALSE CREEK ECOVILLAGE

Vancouver City Council has voted unanimously to approve the beginning of a planning process to build a model sustainable community for 4-6,000 people on an 80 acre site in southeast False Creek. The city owns 40 acres of the land, which is currently a heavily polluted industrial area. There has been a lot of work put in to get this far, not least by the students at 'Virtual High', the alternative student run high school in Vancouver. The project will probably go to competition in the next month or so. EcoNews will try to keep you posted.


THE GARDEN PATH
Organic Heritage Plant Nursery

END OF SEASON SALE 50% OFF ALL PLANTS

Saturday June 7th - Sunday June 8th 10am - 5pm 1834 Haultain St (between Richmond & Foul Bay) Carolyn Herriot 592-4472


LAND TRUST ALLIANCE of B.C. FORMED

In 'The Charlottetown meeting of the B.C. land trust movement', the Land Trust Alliance of B.C. was founded at a meeting at Malaspina College last month, attended by 50 people representing 32 land conservancy groups from all over B.C. The new LTABC will provide support services to local land trusts, and establish standards for local trusts to protect members of the public who make donations in exchange for an interest in land. In a precedent-setting move, the Nanaimo Area Land Trust (NALT) and the Rosewall-Bonnell Land Trust have become co-owners of a conservation covenant on a heavily treed piece of land in Errington. The land has been designated ecologically sensitive by the Canadian Wildlife Service, and the owners have had the property appraised at many thousands of dollars less than similar properties (because of the limiting covenant). As a result, NALT's treasurer has been able to write the owners a large tax receipt which can be carried over for up to five years. This is only possible because of recent changes to the Income Tax Act. Details, Barbara Hourston, (250) 758-5490.


TOFINO MUDFLATS

The Tofino mudflats, a critical wildlife habitat for thousands of migratory and shorebird populations, is now a protected wildlife management area covering 1,650 hectares of intertidal habitat, thanks to a decision by the Ministry of Environment. The area supports over 200,000 shorebird populations, as well as important feeding and rearing habitat for salmon, crabs and clams. The Ministry can now manage the area as one unit, instead of a patchwork of private holdings, Crown land and wildlife reserves. A long-term management plan will be created through a partnership with the First Nations, local governments, industry and area residents.


FOREST RENEWAL $$$

The environmental community won support for 45 projects in Forest Renewal BC's 1996/97 budget, totaling $6 million (2% of the total budget). These include $100,000 to the Denman Island Forestry Committee for a feasibility study of forestry opportunities on the Island; $48,000 to WCWC for their trail-building project on Flores Island in Clayoquot Sound; and $70,000 to the Slocan Valley Watershed Alliance to expand their water monitoring program. Details - Paul Senez, 370-2284.


ECO-EDUCATION SOCIETY

Thanks to the Ministry of Environment's E-Team, Fairfield Family Daycare is employing Andrea Pantages, who will be working with the Early Eco-Education Society to promote early eco-education to the community at large, starting with the 22 daycare centres in Fairfield. There's an eco-time demonstration and a visit by Eco-Saurus at 628 Cornwall St, at 10am, on Tue June 17th. 386-KIDS (5437).


WHAT'S THE LIBERAL'S ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD ?

Not good. Elizabeth May of the Sierra Club in Ottawa says that the Liberal government has the worst record on environmental issues of any government for the past 20 years. Kevin Jardine of Greenpeace has issued this report card on the Liberal's environmental record. The Red Book's chapter on Sustainable Development has 15 promises which stand out as worthwhile. The government wins a passing grade on just 5 :

1. A comprehensive study of taxes, grant and subsidies to identify barriers and disincentives to sound environmental practices. Grade : Fail. A task force was set up, but achieved absolutely nothing, since any changes in taxes or subsidies had to receive approval from the interest groups who benefit from them. 'Mission impossible' said Jim McNeill, who resigned from the task force.

2. To appoint an Environmental Auditor General. Grade: Incomplete. Brian Emmett was appointed in June 1996, but he has yet to release a report.

3. The Environmental Assessment Act was to be amended to shift decision-making powers to an independent Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, subject to appeal to the Cabinet. Grade : D. The new agency has no independent decision-making powers, and last-minute interventions by Natural Resources Minister Anne McLellen exempted the oil and gas industry. The construction of two CANDU nuclear reactors in China was also exempted.

4. The government will use economic instruments for environmental protection. Grade : Fail. Paul Martin has resisted all calls for ecological taxation, and Jean Chretien has publicly rejected a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

5. The government will use the review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to make pollution prevention an national goal. Grade : Fail. Inadequate legislation died on the table when the election was called. The government cut many environmental and monitoring staff.

6. The government will help finance renewed sewage and water treatment infrastructure, conditional on municipalities encouraging water conservation. Grade : Fail. No condition on water conservation was required. Most went into traditional roads and sewers.

7. Improved allocation of costs for polluted sites. Grade : B. Amendments to the Bankruptcy Act require that environmental clean-up take precedence before all creditors, but grant an exemption to Trustees and Receivers.

8. The government will make environmental technologies and service a major component of Canada's strategy for economic growth. Grade : D. Some technologies such as Ballard fuel cell received federal funding, but the Environmental Industry Strategy took a 73% cut in budget, to $15 million.

9. The government will commit 25% of all new government funding for research and development to technologies that substantially reduce the harmful effects of industrial activity on the environment. Grade : Incomplete. Little or no new funding, so no progress.

10. The government will promote co-management agreements between Aboriginal peoples and federal, provincial and territorial governments. Grade : Fail. Little progress, which the First Nations have severely criticized.

11. The creation of 'Action 21', an independent fund for environmental projects. Grade : C. Action 21 was set up, but Green Plan funding was ended, bringing a net decrease for local environmental projects.

12. The government will shorten the deadlines for phasing out ozone-depleting HCFCs and establish an early phase-out for methyl bromide. Grade : B. Canada's position is still that phase-out should be 2020, 5 years later that the European proposal of 2015. Methyl bromide is to be phased out by 2001.

13. The government will work with provincial and urban governments to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energies, with the aim of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1988 levels by 2005. Grade: Fail. The government has failed to introduce more than a few insignificant voluntary programs. C02 levels are 9.5% higher than they were in 1990.

14. The government will protect at least 12% of Canada by the year 2000. Grade: Incomplete. The government did create a few new protected areas, but it is still far from 12%. The Endangered Species Act was very weak and died on the table when the election was called.

15. Environmental security through sustainable development will be a corner stone of Canadian foreign policy. Grade : Fail. Environmental security and human rights have been abandoned to the single goal of increasing Canadian exports.


ATTENTION GARDENERS !
NEW LEAF GARDEN TOOLS

Recycled tools, like new. We buy, sell, exchange. 2536 Forbes Street, Victoria 592-9340

New Leaf has pledged 10% of sales from the last weekend of every month to the Campaign to Protect Ayum Creek.



ACTION OF THE MONTH : THE CASSINI PROBE

In October 1997, NASA plans to launch the Cassini probe to Saturn, carrying 72.3 pounds of plutonium-238 fuel. The probe will sit atop a Lockheed Martin Titan IV rocket, the same kind that has had a series of mishaps, including a 1993 explosion which sent the fragments of a $1 billion spy satellite falling into the Pacific.

Plutonium is so toxic that less than 1 millionth of a gram is a carcinogenic dose. One pound, if evenly distributed, could hypothetically induce lung cancer in every person on Earth. Because Cassini does not have the propulsion to get directly to Saturn, it will also use a 'slingshot maneuver' in which the probe circles Venus twice and then hurtles back to Earth. It will buzz Earth in August 1999 at 42,300 miles per hour, gaining velocity to reach Saturn. During that fly-by, if Cassini came too close it could burn up in the atmosphere and disperse plutonium across the planet.

Space News. the space industry trade newspaper, reported that "the high risk and cost of the Cassini mission to Saturn troubled NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin so much that he would cancel the program if it were not so important to planetary science."

NASA itself admits in an Environmental Impact Statement that if an 'inadvertent re-entry occurred' during the fly-by, 5 billion people 'could receive 99% or more of the radiation exposure'. ('Risking the World' by Karl Grossman, Professor of America Studies, SUNY)

ACTION : If you think this is just one risk too far, write to your new MP (House of Parliament, Ottawa K1A 0A6) and get him or her to raise hell. We need the Canadian government and every other nation in the world to protest to the US government, and get the whole mission cancelled.


NOTICE

EcoNews provides this electronic version of the newsletter free of charge even though it costs time and money to produce. Please feel free to repost. You can help by making a donation, whether $5 or $100, to:

EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria, B.C. V8X 3X1, Canada. Thanks !


Click here 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