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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. 86 - Serving Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - Sept. 1999


NOW IS THE TIME TO RIDE WITH THE TIDES OF CHANGE

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries."
- Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Environmentalism and pessimism - the two words are often seen as synonymous. Isn't it true, after all, that the ozone layer is collapsing, the ancient forests are being destroyed, and the whole planet is heating up ?

Yes, all these things are true. But the decision whether to embrace pessimism as an attitude of mind carries enormous implications. Just ask any sports man or woman. As soon as you think "defeat" (which is what pessimism means), the drive goes out of your spirit, taking with it all the creativity, vision, imagination, determination and joy which are the mark of optimism and victory.

And make no mistake - it is a decision. Even if you have adopted an attitude of pessimism without knowing when you did so, it is your decision whether to keep it, or trade it in for something different.

So what's on offer ? First, there's courageous optimism - people like Paul Watson and Nelson Mandela have this. They just never give up, however bad things seem to be. Terry Fox had courageous optimism

Then there is informed optimism, where the mind demands solid evidence before it is willing to put on new clothing.

Finally, there is deep optimism, where the mind adopts a deep belief that whatever the woes and sufferings of the world, this universe is still a beautiful place, and underneath it all, something truly wonderful is unfolding. It just takes time, and a good sense of history.

These things do take time. It took 350 years, but the radicals, republicans and democrats did eliminate the kings and dictators, with their cruel tyrannies. The abolitionists did abolish slavery, and the suffragette movement did win votes and freedom for women, even though it took them 84 years.

So how long will it be before the environmental movement ends humanity's assault on the Earth ? Is there any evidence for informed optimism ? For some of the core environmental issues, there is still no means of knowing. The world's population is still growing (though at a slower rate), and most of our future impacts are yet to be seen. On six of the key issues, however, there are interesting signs of progress.

(1) Renewable Energy. The world's wind energy capacity increased by 35% in 1998. Denmark now gets 8% of its energy from wind, and Germany gets 1%. Solarvoltaic energy is booming too, averaging a 16% increase in sales throughout the 1990s, and 21% in 1998. These may seem like small figures, but when capacity increases at an average of 25% a year, it only takes 20 years to move from 1% to 100%. With MP David Anderson's new leadership at Environment Canada, now is the time to encourage him, and push for a national policy to support 100,000 solar roofs in Canada, similar to Germany.

(2) In Europe, the amount of land under organic farming has seen a stunning 30-fold increase since 1986, and is growing at 25% a year. The advance of GM (genetically modified) foods has been stopped in its tracks, following a massive consumer revolt this spring.

(3) Globally, the amount of the world's forests being managed under eco-certification approved by the Forest Stewardship Council has reached 1%. Home Depot, which sells 10% of the world's wood has just committed to stop selling non-certified timber by 2003, following an aggressive campaign by Greenpeace and others. If ecocertification can hit 25% a year, the entire world's forests could be eco-certified by 2020.

(4) David Anderson is unwilling to revisit the weak Environmental Protection Act which his predecessor approved after heavy lobbying by industry, but he is promising a tough new Endangered Species Act which will apply to all land in Canada, not just federal land. We need to send him support, to counter the wails of industry.

(5) There is an interest in an ecological tax shift, both federally and here in B.C., where the new Minister of the Environment, Joan Sawicki, has been pushing this and other environmental initiatives for some time. With the NDP moving into new leadership, now is the time to argue for progressive actions.

(6) Finally, the World Trade Organization and its agenda of corporate globalization is about to hit the biggest roadblock of its life when it meets in Seattle at the end of November (see inside). There is nothing inevitable about the power of the global corporations - any more than there was about the power of feudalism and aristocracy in Europe, two hundred years ago.

The millennium is turning, and all around the world, people are working to overthrow the old order. There is a tide.... and now is the time to ride the wave. Jump on board !

- Guy Dauncey


Please note:  the Green Diary has moved, click here to view.


ECONEWS

Published as a monthly service, nourishing the vision of an Island blessed by the harmony of nature and community, funded by your donations.AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)

  June July/Aug Sept.
Circulation: 2250 2250 2250
By Email: 371 395 411
Print & Post: $894 $963 $950
Editorial: $150 $150 $200
Donations: $393 $3622 ???
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Balance: $668 $3220  

A HUGE thankyou to everyone who helped fill the bank in our summer appeal. I wish I could have thanked you each personally: Larry Hannant, Kay Look, Elie Roelofsen, Mike Isbrucher, Lauren Dake, Kathleen Gibson, Dave Mahovlic, MaryJune Pettyfer, Kathleen Stewart, Arleta Keppler, Kay Wood, Colin Graham, Sheila Redhead, Rose Stecher, Phyllis Cowan, Nora Layard, Centre for Studies in Religion & Society, Sharon Hazelwood, Tom Read, Burnside Gorge Community Asociation, District of Central Saanich, Marilyn Dexter, Bill Rees & Margaret Davidson, Lois Marcoux, Bill Neimann, Vancouver Island Earthworks Society, Elizabeth White, Anna Galon, Harold Knight, Judith Carder, Nina Corley-Smith, Linda Faulkner, VIPERG, Katherine Milliken, Joe Farrell, Susan DeGryp, Linda Chan, Trevor Murdoch, Lynne Shields, Keith & Mignon Lundmark, Alan Philip, Louis Ray, Mel Moilliet, Peter Gardner, Cheryl Taves, Martha Orr, Seymour Treiger, Muriel Park, Roger Colwill, Nikki Basuk, John Azar, Barb Hourston, Daphne Taylor, Shards Glass Studio, Susan Scott, Irene McCrindle, Jean Wallace & Steve New, Deb LeFrank, Laurence Smith, Margaret Fear, Patricia Kahr, Lynn Husted, Jim Bohlen, Bernice Packford, Elizabeth Garrett, Jim Keeler, Hugo Sutmoller, Unlimited Possibilities, Stefanie Paine, Karen Skowron, Heather McAndrew, Gail Schultz, Wayne Madden, Jim Pine, Ruth Loomis, Gerhardt Lepp, David Greer, Denise Cammiade, Margaret Yandell, David Suzuki Foundation, Richard Atwood, Nattanya Hewitt, Jan Willson, Tony Embledon, Tom Kenyon, Margaret Jervis, Francis McDowell, Alan & Joan Greatbatch, Janice Turner, Joan Hurwood, Mary Pierce, Diane Mothersill, Dale Hitchcox, Margaret Schubart, Hanni Ioannides, Gillian Smith, Andrew Glen, Bill Ashwell, Monica Oldham, Susan & Robert Gage, Deryck Thompson, Jan Valley, Al Craighead, Claire Lynch, Ida Roberton, Jan Zwicky, JB Sprague, Monica Petersen, Craig Harrold, Jim & Vilma Dubé, Kildara Farms, David Rothkop, Ken Wardroper, Susanne Theurer, Anke van Leeuwen and Gillian Reece.

* Donations can be made to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria V8X 3X1.For a receipt, please include a stamped addressed envelope.

* To receive EcoNews call (250) 881-1304. To receive EcoNews by email, fill out the form at the top of the page.


THE ECO-PERSONALS

* The Northwest Earth Institute is starting a new round of Study Circles in Voluntary Simplicity, Deep Ecology and Bioregionalism in September and October. Almost 50 groups have started in the south island. If you are interested in joining a group, call Jackie Robson, 361-9446.
* Anyone doing native plant restoration in Sidney ? Call Rose Stecher, 655-6606
* Gentle, quiet, simple lifestyle artist seeks land partner for 13 acre home on Denman Island. Large garden, full sun. Flexible arrangement half market value ($180,000) to share house or build home. Email nowsthetime@hotmail.com or write to 6500 Reginald Road, Denman.
* Help still wanted with the Garry oak inventory - counting the oaks in your area. Call Paul Gareau, 592-9089.
* The Land Conservancy of Canada is holding a big Garage Sale on Sept 18th to raise funds for threatened habitat. They'd like donations of books, records, kitchenware, gardening items, etc, plus baked goodies and volunteers. Call Katie Stewart, 386-4792.
* Two organic farmers looking for 5 - 10 acres of good arable land on Saanich Peninsula, with available water, lease for five years minimum. Shannon 361-3414
* Co-operative farming opportunity : I am looking for partners who would like to invest in, live on and farm a beautiful 16 acre piece of land in the Cowichan Valley. Contact Josh, (250) 715-7696
* Thinking ahead to Earthday 2000, April 21st - 30th, and all the possibilities. Volunteers wanted with various skills, call Doug Koch, 383-5865
* Eco-Paper : Reach for Unbleached! and Paper Choice are preparing their 6th Bulk-Buy of chlorine free, recycled paper at 20% below retail. Works well in photocopiers, laser and inkjet printers. $56 per case of 8.5 x 11, plus other sizes. Min 5000 sheets. (250) 935-6992 or 598-5526 info@rfu.org Deadline October 1st.


WELCOME TO VICTORIA

There are some new faces at the Western Canada Wilderness Committee's offices at 620 View St (Suite 507). A big welcome to Ken Wu (Ancient Forests Campaigner) and Kristen Lindell (Sea-to-Sea Campaigner). Selena 'Trail' Blais is office manager, and Diona Davies is canvas manager. To volunteer or become a canvasser, call 388-9292.

The BC Chapter of the Sierra Club has moved to larger offices on the 2nd floor at 576 Johnson St, where they are busy campaigning on fisheries, forestry, and saving The Great Bear Rainforest. If you want to help, call 386-5255.

Talking of change, the LifeCycles Project, of urban farming fame, have also moved to new offices. They're now in James Bay at 527 Michigan Street, brewing up a host of organic endeavours, and starting a community garden right across the street. Drop in for a visit ! They love meeting new volunteers - call Matt, Sandor or Linda, 383-5800. lifecycles@coastnet.com


GREEN PAGES ACTION LIST

The Internet revolution rolls on ! If you want to know about late-breaking environmental actions and events, send an email to listproc@envirolink.org with 'SUBSCRIBE VICTORIA-ACTION <first name> <last name>' in the body. You can also use the list to post messages about events that you are organizing. This is not a discussion list, so you will not be inundated with messages debating the cosmic significance of deep ecology.


GREEN HOME VISITS

It's all go in Victoria ! Here's another new arrival, starting as a pilot project in Fairfield in mid-September. For $40, trained assessors will conduct a Green Home Visit, providing you with customized advice based on accepted air quality, building science and health principles. The assessment takes 2 hours and includes a written report covering ventilation, air quality, heating, household toxins reduction, composting and transportation alternatives. Tied in with the visits is the new Green Home Handbook, written for Victoria and packed with tips and $500 in coupons for local environmentally friendly businesses. ($10 in local bookshops or free with a Green Home Visit.) The Green Home Visits are organized by City Green Victoria, supported by CEDCO (the Community Economic Development Corporation of Greater Victoria), at 1133 Fort Street, 381-9995 energy@island.net

Fairfield residents can also now recycle plastics, beginning Sept 18th, then every 3rd Saturday. Take all hard plastics from yogurt containers to shampoo bottles & buckets to St Mathias Church; Olive Street Common; Red Cross Building; Sir James Douglas School or Chapman Park. Call Neil, 382-7627.


SEE YOU IN SEATTLE ?

Put the dates November 29th - Dec 3rd in your diary - for they will surely be marked as a watershed in the struggle to halt the corporate dominance of the global economy. Those are the dates when the World Trade Organization (WTO) is opening a new round of negotiations with its 135 member countries to further reduce tariffs and restrictions on trade in various sectors of the world economy.

I like to think of globalization as the process of becoming one planet, as we learn to love and care for the Earth as a whole, and overcome the racial and ethnic differences that have caused such suffering and grief. Maybe that's "Deep Globalization", embracing the deeper spiritual unity that unites us all, humans and nature, on this incredible planet, sharing our deeper unity while celebrating our differences and standing up for human rights and environmental protection.

The agenda of the WTO, backed by the world's most powerful corporations, is completely different. Their version of globalization is closer to global piracy, where concerns about environmental, worker or consumer protection are seen as impediments to the ultimate goal, which is the freedom of the world's corporations to treat the world as a backyard where they can poison, clearcut, dump and abuse without restraint.

Sure - let's have global trade. But fair trade between nations must surely be governed by a set of international agreements that honours the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the various global treaties, and the Earth Charter. The WTO wants a revisited Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) which would enable a corporation to take a nation to court for environmental or human rights legislation which restricted its trade or investment. What we really need is a Multilateral Agreement on Trade, the Environment and Human Rights, not another version of the MAI.

On November 30th there will be a massive gathering in Seattle to oppose all this. Here in Victoria, actions are being organized by the Council of Canadians, starting with a Teach-in on October 2nd. (Details - Carol Brown, 381-1182)

The WTO meeting is being sponsored by 40 companies including Microsoft, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, Boeing and Ford, which will have different levels of access to the proceedings, according to the amount of money they give. They are buying the right to influence the proceedings.

Some 700 organizations from 73 countries are launching a campaign to fight the extension of the WTO's powers. You'll find details at www.tradewatch.org, www.seattlewto.org and at www.peopleforfairtrade.org

(Sources Seattle Weekly, UK Independent)


ORGANIC FALL
WINTER FOOD GARDENS

Over 40 varieties!! Salad greens, rootcrops, oriental vegetables, grains. Garden cleanup & soil enhancement
Gatherer's Garden 598-0797


SUNWATER LEGACY PROJECT

Do you live in the Comox Valley ? In conjunction with Taylor Munro Energy Systems of Delta, the Earth Festival Society is offering solar water heaters to 100 qualified Comox Valley residents over the next 2 years, in one of Canada's largest residential solar water heater projects. Funding from Natural Resources Canada will give homeowners a $400 discount on the cost of $1,700 solar water heater, which can be purchased on a Homeworks financing plan for $40 per month. The average payback ranges from 7.6 years for propane-users to 14 years for natural gas users. The Sunwell SW200 solar water heater is a made-in-BC product which combines collector and storage in one roof-top unit, and can provide as much as 50% of a household's annual hot water needs. It consists of a roof-mounted stainless steel tank and parabolic concentrating reflector contained in an insulated, double-glazed housing. The system runs on regular water pressure and is disconnected and drained during the winter. For details, call Andrew Pape (250) 334-8514 andrewp@pembina.org


RESIDENTIAL FUEL CELLS

A Texas developer is offering future residents of the Sharyland Plantation the option to power their homes with fuel cells rather than electricity from traditional utilities. By combining hydrogen and oxygen to form water and electric current, fuel cells produce electricity which is less polluting than fossil-fueled sources. They plan to build 500 units a year from 1999 to 2013. With a $6,000 fuel-cell generator and a natural gas or propane supply, homeowners will be able to produce their own electricity cheaper than the local utility while creating almost no pollution. See www.plugpower.com

(Wall Street Journal, via Greenclips).


Cadboro Bay Chiropractic

Dr Barry Curran
2571 Penrhyn St

477-1133
University / Gyro Park Area


SMART INVESTMENTS

Are you a Councillor, or a City Manager ? Smart Investments for City and County Managers: Energy, Environment, and Community Development was published by the US EPA in April 1998. The $mart Investments guide provides examples of local governments that have revamped operations, increased resource use efficiency and promoted smart growth for the future. Chapters include Smart Energy Efficiency Investments, Smart Investments for Water Resources Conservation, Smart Waste Reduction And Recycling Investments, Smart Transportation Investments, & Smart Development Investments: Building Codes and Zoning. Available in PDF format from the Smart Growth Network www.smartgrowth.org/resources/smartbuildings_res.html


CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Next year's big Community Development Institute on Local Leadership for Sustainable Communities is being held in the Comox Valley, sponsored by the Comox Valley Social Planning Council (July 30th - Aug 4th, 2000). It's a big event, attended by hundreds of BC social and environmental activists. Right now, they are looking for Workshop Proposals covering social justice, community economic development, environmental stewardship, community democracy, etc. Proposals must be in by October 15th, so get your hats on ! For details, contact the CDI in Vancouver : cdi@sparc.bc.ca, fax (604) 736-8697, tel (604) 718-7755.


ACTION OF THE MONTH :

ECOLOGICAL TAX-SHIFT

Paul Martin is thinking about including an ecological tax shift in this Fall's Throne Speech and Budget. An ecological tax shift would tax the "bads" such as pollution, wastes, carbon emissions, urban sprawl and resource consumption, while reducing taxation on incomes and jobs. It makes a lot of sense, and many European countries are embracing such a shift. The oil companies hate the idea, so they are lobbying hard against the idea, making it is critically important that Paul Martin hears from those who support such a move.

Action : Write to encourage him, and emphasize how valuable such a shift would be. Hon. Paul Martin, Minister of Finance, Esplanade Laurier, East Tower, 21st floor 140 O'Connor St, Ottawa, K1A 0G5 email pmartin@fin.gc.ca

Coming up, October 14th - 15th Conference on tax-shifting, here in Victoria. Mike Mascall, 595-2393


Check out the Victoria Green Pages !

www.greenpages.victoria.bc.ca


Deadline for October: September 25th


The Green Diary has moved!  Click HERE to see whats happening!

 


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 !

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Click here for previous issues of EcoNews.


EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Sustainable Communities Consultancy

Author of 'After the Crash : The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy'
(Greenprint, London, 1988. 3rd edition 1997)

Forthcoming : Earthfuture : Seeds of a Sustainable World, by Guy Dauncey
(New Society Publishers, October 1999)
An ecofictional novel

EcoNews is printed on Tree-Free paper from Ecosource

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