Category: Environment

News from the Environment Committee or related to the environment and posted by another group

Join Climate Action Day at U-Hill Elementary School – May 24th, 2019

From Hanno Pinder, Unitarian Church of Vancouver member

Dear friends,

As you know, I live fairly close to U-Hill Elementary School (located on Chancellor Boulevard), and was invited a couple of weeks ago to walk with the Children of their Nature Club in Pacific Spirit Park.

The club was very well organized, the children were very knowledgeable (ranging from grade 1 to grade 5), and the leader Jen Capell McCutcheon was delightful. I am invited to attend all their future Nature walks, which I will do whenever possible.

Now Jen, who is the president of the parent association of the school, has asked me for support with their plans for May 24th which is Climate Action Day world wide, inspired by Greta Thunberg. All the children from U-Hill Elementary School will walk with posters, noisemakers or instruments in a protest demonstration. They will walk from the school up to the Village on University Boulevard then on past the Book Store to Main Mall and walk down Main Mall. Jen has asked me to help her find as many adults as possible to join and walk with the children to show their support. 

The children will stop their classes at noon and are expected to start marching at 12.15.

I am now asking you to come and support U-Hill Elementary School and their children.

We all know the catastrophic situation we are in by now, and I personally am happy that with this event I can demonstrate my willingness to accept the drastic changes that are required if we want to prevent the worst. As always: The people have to convince their governments, so they will finally do the right thing.

I hope to see many of you on the 24th at noon at the School on Chancellor Boulevard.

Also, if you can, spread the word and bring more friends or neighbours, and let me know that you are coming (hannopinder@gmail.com).

Jen is suggesting that if possible we should wear black, to symbolize the pollution which is ubiquitous.

Until then, Hanno (UCV member)

P.S. Jen is working to involve Norma Rose Point School and U-HillSecondary School as well.

 

Protect Old Growth Forests – Letter Writing Materials

Mythical, awe-inspiring, ecologically rich, and endangered – old growth forests are unprotected by legislation! Andrea Inness, a forest campaigner with Ancient Forest Alliance, was the guest speaker for the Environment Team’s forum on May 5th.  The Environment Team urges you to write a letter to Minister Donaldson to support strong action to benefit BC’s forests and communities. Sample Letter to Minister Donaldson

Please keep reading to see how you can help protect Old Growth Forests in BC.

B.C.’s old-growth and communities are in crisis. Raw log exports are at a record high and mills are closing. Climate change and massive forest fires are here to stay. But we are still clearcutting our most resilient and carbon rich forests at an alarming rate.


WHAT WE’RE CALLING FOR

The science is clear: to sustainably manage coastal rainforests we must stop clearcutting endangered old-growth. B.C. needs a provincial Old-Growth Protection Act using elements of the celebrated Great Bear Rainforest Agreements combined with strong support for First Nations and good long term forestry jobs.

We also need an immediate halt to logging in critical intact old-growth hotspots. This will protect magnificent areas like the Central Walbran that are immediately threatened with destruction.

Taking these steps will help us to:
Protect globally rare ecosystems, wildlife, water and climate
Strengthen First Nations’ governance and community well-being
Transition from old-growth logging to sustainable second-growth forestry

BC’s coastal temperate rainforests are among the rarest ecosystems on the planet, but today only 10% of Vancouver Island’s biggest old-growth trees are left. Because of climate change, these forests will never grow back as we knew them—if we cut them, they’ll be gone forever.

Using logging data and age class information Sierra Club BC estimates the total number of hectares of old-growth logged on Vancouver Island at about 1,708,000 hectares (without including original forests lost to deforestation, e.g. urban areas). More than 10,000 hectares of old-growth got logged in the last 12 months alone, equivalent to more than 3 square meters per second. Today, the vast majority of the remaining old-growth on the Island belongs to ecosystems with smaller trees not targeted for logging (for example along the outer coast or in higher elevations). Only about 10 percent of the biggest trees remain standing. For more information, check out our backgrounder (https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/South-Coast-Backgrounder_March-2016.pdf).

The NDP’s 2017 election platform included a commitment to act for old-growth, promising to take “an evidence-based scientific approach and use the ecosystem-based management of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model.” But so far the BC government has not yet taken any meaningful steps to protect endangered coastal and inland oldgrowth ecosystems outside the Great Bear Rainforest.

 

Please tell Forests Minister Doug Donaldson you support strong action to benefit BC’s forests and communities. Please refer to sample letter below for ideas.

Sample Letter to Minister Donaldson

“Irreparable Harm?” Creation of a documentary theatre piece

Did the protesters at the Trans Mountain facilities in Burnaby cause irreparable harm to Kinder Morgan, one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America, by delaying a few trucks for a few minutes on a few days in 2018? That’s what the BC Supreme Court believes. That’s why there’s an injunction barring anyone from coming within five metres of any site owned by Trans Mountain Pipeline. The 230 people who were arrested in 2018 for breaking that injunction have a different opinion as to who is causing irreparable harm to whom.

Most of those who were arrested and charged with criminal contempt of court for breaking the injunction have either pled guilty, or been found guilty by Judge Affleck – the same judge who created the injunction. These land and water protectors have made many impassioned speeches in court, trying to alert the judge to the harm that this pipeline expansion, if it proceeds, will cause to First Nations, and to the land and water that we all depend on for life. For that we have been labelled ‘sinister’, and told that by showing defiance of the law, we are inviting chaos and threatening civilization.

Several of the land and water protectors have formed the Sinister Sisters Collective to develop a documentary theatre piece about our journey through the BC Supreme Court. We are calling it “Irreparable Harm?” Using video footage from the arrests, excerpts from the court documents, and re-enactments, we will shine a spotlight on how our justice system treats those who are in opposition to the interests of large corporations.

We will be working over the summer months to compile the most dramatic moments of our encounters with the justice system. Our goal is to present a workshop in October, and then a full production of our theatre piece in the spring of 2020.

Stay tuned.

By Mairy Beam, arrested at the Kinder Morgan Burnaby Tank Farm gates on August 24, 2018, found guilty by Judge Affleck on Dec 5, 2018 and sentenced to serve 28 days of house arrest and 125 hours of community service.

Trading stuff for community connections (plus stuff)

Do you want to declutter without contributing to the landfill?

Want to meet some nice people who also want to live a simpler lifestyle and care about the environment?

We had our first Bunz mini-meetup on Saturday May 4 from 3 -4 pm, Cayla Naumann brought some of her items and Mary had plants to share. Both shared their perspectives on the Bunz app and how it contributes to waste reduction. Cayla went home with some herbs; Mary got a mini tarot deck and book, Coral got a tiara. We all had fun! Reusable name tags donated for UCV events.

We’re thinking about Bunz Mini-Meetup #2 – possibly 2pm on Sunday, May 26. Send a note if you’re interested.

Here’s what Cayla posted on our zero waste email group:

  • Another Unitarian shared this with me and I’ve recently been using the Bunz app (and there’s a Facebook group too) and really enjoying it. The whole idea is to ‘trade’, no cash exchanges. You can also offer services or less conventional trades. Pretty cool idea and way to reduce waste, consumerism and build community. They do have a BTZ currency as another option.Have you tried Bunz? Sign up using my link and get an extra 100 BTZ when you activate your wallet. My username is @catatonic489  https://bunzshare.page.link/tTqz2ejBmxBhdWQR8

If you’ve every frequented (or have ever fantasized about) a “free store” – here’s a way to try it out.

We plan to set up some other meeting times to make pre-arranged trades and possibly bring extra stuff to browse at. Let earthspiritucv@gmail.com know if you’d like to participate.

Mary will be potting up some mint for bunz trades. Surprisingly mint plants got a lot of likes on bunz!

Any leftovers will be passed along to our Refugee Committee’s table for sale by donation.

Here are some videos if you’d like to learn more:

BUNZ Intro – meet the people who use bunz and why…

BITZ – How the “rewards program” works

How to activate your wallet

 

BITZ

Why I Love Transit

Why do I love transit?

It all goes back to my little red wagon and the joy of my body being powered by a force other than my own. With the wind in my hair I watched the world go by with a singular focus as my father pulled my weight with ease. When I board a bus or the skytrain I feel that wonder; the power of the wheel, the forward momentum, the ease of movement. I am a spectator of the world.

Sometimes I read or listen to music while riding. I have even been known to wear a headlamp for long rides at night in order to read in the dim light of the bus. If I am with someone we have the freedom to talk without interruptions. Often the conversation turns to long-term plans and ideas, the discussion of the journey of our lives paralleling the journey of the bus.

Sometimes I meditate or stare out the window catching a glimpse of Hollyburn Peaks, a bank of blooming cherry trees or a red-tailed hawk on a telephone pole. Sometimes I watch and listen to fellow passengers as I relish the diversity of cultures represented or the amazing ease of entry for wheelchairs and strollers on our kneeling bus.
Little kids love transit. When my own kids were small it was a time for asking questions, playing games and singing songs. Talking with other passengers seems natural with small children.

I have witnessed many small acts of kindness on transit like the Chinese grandma offering a banana to a hijab-clad mom to quiet her crying son, or an Asian man offering me his seat: “Not because you are old but because you are hot!” he joked. A friend tells me that once a bus driver got all the riders to sing happy birthday when he found out it was her birthday.

Some of the interactions are disturbing, of course, but I have a special transit radar that alerts me when things are brewing. I move to another section of the bus or another car on the skytrain when I sense something amiss. Or I sit and bear witness to a slice of life I would never encounter in a car.
What I am not doing on transit is:

  • Burning as many fossil fuels
  • Negotiating traffic jams
  • Enduring the persistent semi-conscious knowledge that at any moment I could kill someone or be killed by a hurling hunk of metal of which I am in control

I prefer the ease and sleek beauty of transit as I relinquish control and enjoy the ride in my enlarged red wagon which I share with a diverse community of people.

So if I say I am taking transit, please don’t offer me a ride. I have a car and could use it if needs be as I do when lack of time and energy dictate. Allow me my first choice: Transit.

By Mary Lage

Intergenerational Dinner a Success!

Prepping for soups and salads

Over 70 participants and volunteers had a great time at last Friday’s  March 15 Intergen gathering.

The evening started with a delicious dinner of appetizers, vegan curry, minestrone soup, spinach salad, organic bread, and  a table’s worth of desserts.

Thanks UBC Sprouts-Community Eats for your donation of produce! A big thanks to the volunteers from the Environment Team and Love Soup who planned and cooked the dinner, and cleaned up.

Dinner over, our stomachs full, we were eager to hear what the evening’s program would bring and we weren’t disappointed. Vivian Davidson emceed the evening  and Tamiko Suzuki explained to the non-Unitarians in the audience about Unitarians having a long history of being loving  **** -disturbers.

Quoc Nguyen from Leadnow, spoke of the mental health benefits of volunteering in these uncertain times. Dr Dave Steele of EarthSave spoke with passion and emotion about animal cruelty in industrial farming.

..and then there was the dessert table…

Dr Tara Cullis, president of the David Suzuki Foundation, spoke of the campaigns with First Nations in the Amazon and up the coast of BC fighting to save their lands from dams, and logging. Lorimer Shenher, writer and ex-member of the Vancouver Police Department, touched on racism, sexism, and mental health in his time working on the Missing Women portfolio in the DTES.

Discussion circle with Lorimer Shenher

After they gave their 15 minute ‘elevator speeches’, the guest speakers spread out in Hewett Hall and the audience was invited to go sit at one of their circles to listen, ask questions or share stories. They could get up and check out another circle whenever they want which kept the energy level high.

(the photos taken of these circles all show people deep in thought or listening intently but there really was movement between the circles).

Discussion circle with Tara. The speakers said they wished they too could have been able to sit in on the other discussion circles as the topics were so varied and fascinating!

The event wrapped up with a group of  Sto’lo and Haida guests who sang a few songs to close out the evening.
Guests were urged to take home some of the produce that hadn’t been used for the dinner; a head of broccoli, a bunch of bananas, or whatever was left in the boxes as a parting gift!

Vancouver Unitarians protest NEB approval of TMX

At least 10 Vancouver Unitarians rallied around our Vancouver Unitarians banner and joined hundreds of others on Friday, Feb. 22, to raise our voices in protest to the National Energy Board report that recommended going ahead with the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.

We marched down Burrard Street and then along Georgia Street to the final rally on Georgia Street between the CBC and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
We were proud to be among the voices speaking out.

NEB rally, Feb 22, 2019

Intergenerational Activists Gathering. What Is This??


On Friday March 15, the UCV Environment Team is hosting another Intergenerational Activists Gathering.

What is this “Intergenerational thingamajig?” you wonder.

We are glad you asked!  Aside from the somewhat unwieldy name, the “Intergen dinner” (short hand title) first arose in 2017 from a chance encounter that UCV member, Tamiko Suzuki, had with a group of young environmental activists in the community. The young women were complaining of burnout, feeling isolated and unheard, and were wondering if their efforts were worth it. Coincidentally, Tamiko had been hearing the same complaints from the UCV Environment Team as veterans of past campaigns such as Clayoquot sound, and the anti-nuclear and anti-war movements wondered who would take up the battle after them.

1st Dinner

She proposed inviting the young activists  to share dinner and stories in Hewett Hall with the Environment Team and the first Intergenerational Activists Gathering was born.  Karl Perrin of the Environment Team, and Anjali Appadurai of West Coast Environmental Law, were the key note speakers.  The E Team put on the dinner, and guests were given a series of questions to discuss at their table and encouraged to ‘be brave’ and share emails.

2nd Dinner

At the second Intergen dinner in the fall of 2018, the definition of ‘activist’ was broadened to include supporters and anyone who cared deeply about the environment.  Millenial speakers from UBC (Andrew Sheroubi, Arman Mottaghi ) and the community (Nada Grocery) were invited who could share their stories of how they were working to solve environmental and social justice issues.  UBC Sprouts-Community Eats, which  focuses on food sustainability and food security issues, provided the food.

3rd Dinner

The third Intergen dinner, which will happen Friday March 15, will be different again, but promises to be just as fun and interesting! This time, four veterans will be speaking:

Dr Tara Cullis, president and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation  https://davidsuzuki.org/,

Dr David Steele, vice-president of Earthsave Canada https://www.earthsave.ca/

Quoc Nguyen, organizer, Leadnow  https://www.leadnow.ca/ and director, Humanity Refugee Society

Lorimer Shenher, acclaimed author and advocate for marginalized people and police reform.

At this evening’s event, to contrast with the previous dinner which was about ‘success stories’, the topic will be “Lessons Learned When Things Went Wrong”  — Failure, near failure, or simply when things don’t turn out as expected, can often teach us more than if everything worked out perfectly.

You won’t be sitting quietly and listening to the speakers all evening, however. During dinner, you will have a chance to meet and chat with your table companions, some of whom will hopefully be of a different generation from your usual friends. After dessert, the keynote speakers will stand up and each give their 10 minute “elevator speech” on the evening’s topic. They will then move to sit at 4 different tables and the audience is invited to circulate among them.  It will be a free flowing hour with everyone encouraged to move about, sit with the speaker for a while, ask questions, and share stories.

Once again UBC Sprouts/Community Eats will provide the food.

Entry is by donation with proceeds to be shared between Community Eats and the Environment Committee Green Fund to further their projects.

To volunteer or if you have questions, contact: environment@vancouverunitarians.ca

As this event will be very popular, and seating is limited, it is recommended you reserve a seat through Eventbrite.  https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/intergen-activists-dinner-lessons-learned-when-things-went-wrong-tickets-56613382150?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

 

 

 

 

 

Get RADICAL! With The Environment Team

At least 80 people braved our snowy Vancouver weather on Friday, Feb. 15 to come watch the incredible movie “The Radicals” – where environmentalism meets action sports. The filmmaker and some of those involved in the film provided commentary and answered questions. Over $1200 was contributed to the three Indigenous groups featured in the film. Another successful event from the Environment Team!