Category: Environment

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

UCV Supports “A Just Recovery For All”

The Unitarian Church of Vancouver has just joined an alliance of nearly 240 organizations that have come together to develop key principles for a “Just Recovery for All” from the COVID-19 pandemic. As governments begin to make plans for recovery, organizations are joining together to send a message that we cannot return to the old “normal”. Now is the time to imagine a better future.

 The principles below were informed by a month of consultations with over 200 groups and individuals across Canada by

You can see the full text and sign on to the principles using this form:

Good News from the Wild Salmon Action Team

Good (Non-COVID) News From the Wild Salmon Action Team

As this April 2 video by Alexandra Morton shows, when floating-net fish farms are removed from BC coastal waters, wild juvenile salmon newly arrived in those locations have no lice. No farms, no lice! Healthy salmon and a chance for wild salmon to rebound! 

The Wild Salmon Action Team, a subcommittee of the Environment Team, was formed in 2018 to support coastal Indigenous groups fighting to remove salmon farms from their waters. The fish farms were introducing dangerous levels of bacteria, viruses, and sea lice into the waters directly in the path of migrating juvenile wild salmon. While logging and over-fishing have been detrimental to wild salmon in the past, and climate change is now the government’s explanation for record lows in salmon populations, the one obvious stressor that can be changed RIGHT NOW is to move fish farms out of the path of migrating wild salmon and preferably out of the ocean onto land. The Wild Salmon Action team has held fundraisers and educational forums to support Indigenous and environmental groups in these demands. Since  2019 we have also been working with MPs and MLAs to get the fish farms out of the water before 2025.

The removal of two fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago last summer and the findings of healthy wild juvenile salmon this spring shows us that the scientists and First Nations were right all along. As Jane Goodall said; “Mother Nature can heal. We just have to give her a chance”.

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50 years ago Greenpeace was launched in the Fireside Room

The Meeting in the Fireside Room that Launched the Voyage of the Greenpeace to Amchitka Island

Few people know a meeting at Hewett Centre, in 1970, ratified the first voyage of the Greenpeace, or that the inspiration for the Greenpeace name occurred in the courtyard outside the centre.

The now-legendary voyage of the fishing boat Phyllis Cormack, — renamed Greenpeace, — is considered the inaugural voyage of Greenpeace International, one of the most successful environmental organizations in the world today.

According to the author Rex Weyler, in 1970, an eclectic group of academics, anti-nuclear activists, ecologists, journalists and “visionaries” held an emergency meeting in the Fireside Room at the Unitarian Church on Oak Street.

Without a boat, or the funds to charter a boat, the group unanimously ratified a plan to sail a vessel to Amchitka, Alaska, to protest nuclear testing at this remote island 2400 miles north of Vancouver, BC.

As the meeting wound down, people drifted into the church courtyard, and congregated in small groups to continue their discussion. Irving Stowe flashed the “V” sign as he left the meeting and said, “Peace.” Bill Darnell an ecology activist responded, “Make it a green peace.”

A hush fell over the assembly.

Everyone heard the magic in the two words. Over the next few days, people talked about the hypothetical boat as if it existed, and some called it the “Green Peace.”

Above: Courtyard outside Hewett Centre

Above 1970: Amchitka Concert, backstage at the Pacific Coliseum. On the right, from background to foreground: Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Elliot Roberts (Neil Young’s manager), Phil Ochs

On October 16, 1970: Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Phil Ochs and the band Chilliwack performed in the historic Amchitka Concert before 16,000 people at the Pacific Coliseum in East Vancouver. The money raised was used to charter a 25-metre fishing boat, the Phyllis Cormack based in Richmond, BC.

On September 15, 1971: the Phyllis Cormack, renamed Green Peace and then Greenpeace, set sail from Vancouver for Amchitka with a crew of 12 activists. The vessel was turned back by the US Coast Guard 600 miles before reaching its destination.

This voyage is considered the inaugural voyage of the eponymous Greenpeace International, a global environmental organisation and movement, headquartered in Amsterdam, with offices in more than 55 countries.

Above 1971: Robert Hunter, co-founder of Greenpeace, aboard the Phyllis Cormack
Photo Credit: Robert Keziere | He writes: My contact sheets indicate the photo was taken at sea, eastbound, somewhere between Akutan Island and Sand Point, Alaska. Our ship was underway to the customs office in Sand Point, alas, away from Amchitka Island and the Cannikin nuclear test. Understood at the time.

Buy Nothing Groups are now all over Vancouver

Buy Nothing Groups are now in every neighbourhood in Vancouver.

Cayla introduced Mary to Buy Nothing Project just over a year ago.
Both are now administrators on their neighbourhood Buy Nothing Groups – Marpole and Kitsilano respectively.
These are facebook groups where people give stuff away and ask for what they need. And, importantly, express their gratitude. The third kind of post is what keeps the community building part in the forefront.

Recently CityTV visited a Buy Nothing “free store” that Mary coordinated. Watch the video here:

Kitsilano is the largest group in Vancouver and has recently helped to mentor volunteers and promote new groups in West Point Grey and Dunbar/Kerrisdale.

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 last May. 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, We all had fun! Some reusable name tags donated for UCV events.

If you’d like to receive more info about Zero Waste activities, just complete this form:

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? My username is @catatonic489

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 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.

Birthday Party Fundraiser a Rousing Success!

On a cold, rainy night in January, over 50 friends and family gathered in Hewett Hall to celebrate Tamiko Suzuki ‘s 60th birthday. After a moving welcome by Sto:lo elder and activist, Kwitsel, the evening turned raucous with parlour games. Guests were given coloured dots on their name tags to show how they were connected to Tamiko  (family, work, UCV, book club, etc) and asked to sit at a table with as many colours as possible! The tables then competed in games of rock/paper/scissors  (in Japanese!), Name that Tune (music from TV and film from the 60’s,70’s  to today), Trivial Pursuit, and Charades, all with some connection to Tamiko’s life. Try to imagine contestants acting out the charades challenges;  “Being charged by a rhino” (which was a true story) and “skinny dipping on New Year’s Day (also true). The winners got to dress Tamiko with items from a box so that at one point she was wearing a diving mask, blond wig, life jacket, and belly dancer belt.

The games were followed by delivery of a cake decorated with a dinosaur and speeches both funny and warm. The evening finished with International folk dancing and many brave friends trying out  Bolivian, Finnish, and Greek/Roma dances.

Instead of presents, Tamiko asked guests to make a donation to  RAVEN Trust’s anti-TMX campaign and over $3000 was raised. An additional $400 was donated to support the Wet’suet’en opposition to the Coastal Gas pipeline.

A big thanks and much love to the Environment Team who sponsored the event, provided the food, set up, cleaned up, matched a portion of the donations, and took part in the games and dances with grace and humour.


Winter News from the Environment Team

The UCV Environment Team continues to be extremely active. Here’s what we have planned for the next few months..

December 1 Forum: Zero Waste Holidays! Forum; Zero Waste Team

One of the  Zero Waste ideas is to donate to a charity for someone. Here is a list of charities that the Environment Team came up with. It is far from complete, of course, but it will give you an idea of the range of international, national and local groups looking for your financial support.

charities list 

Save Our Salmon sub-committee

Last month we held a petition signing event to remind MPs of their election campaign promise to move open net fish farms out of the ocean and onto land.

The SOS group is now meeting with those MPs to discuss plans of action of how we can make their promise a reality .

If you would like to get involved, contact John Boyle


January Pull-Together Fundraiser 

Saturday January 18, 2020 @ 7pm

Tamiko Suzuki, our Environment Team Outreach Coordinator,  is turning 60 and she’s holding a fundraiser to celebrate!

UCV Friends and family are invited to enjoy some appies and cake, a bit of music, games and perhaps some folk dancing!

She requests no presents please but instead make a donation to RAVEN Trust’s Pull Together Campaign supporting Indigenous groups’ legal challenge against TMX.

More information to come later.

If you would like to help put on the event, please contact



Be the Change Earth Alliance

Be the Change Earth Alliance is a charitable organization that lives at the end of the hall in the Admin Building at 49th and Oak. They are a busy hive of activity, bringing eco-social education to secondary schools throughout BC.

Formed in 2005, they create empowering workshops and learning resources to help fulfill their vision for ‘an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on this planet’. To learn more about their work you can visit their website: They greatly enjoy the warmth and kindness of all of the UCV staff.

If you see them having lunch under the maple tree in the summer or enjoying a tea break in the courtyard, make sure to say hi!