Author: Tamiko Suzuki

A Victory in the Discovery Islands for Wild Salmon

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photo drummers form the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance

Above: Drummers lead by Eddie Gardner from the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance joined with the UCV Wild Salmon Action Team to engage in street theatre outside the offices of the DFO in downtown Vancouver. They were part of a broader province-wide coalition, this September, calling for the end to fish farms in the Discovery Islands.

A victory for wild salmon. Trudeau government to phase out fish farms in the Discovery Islands by June 2022

On December 17, 2020, the UCV Wild Salmon Action Team (WSAT) celebrated the federal government’s announcement of their decision to remove fish farms from the Discovery Islands.

The Discovery Islands channels is an area known to be a bottleneck area for migrating wild salmon and one of the worst places to put open-net pen salmon farms with their increasingly poor control over lice infestations and virus infections. The Cohen commission had been set up in 2012 when the Fraser River sockeye return fell to 3 million. In 2020 that number plummeted to less than 300,000 which resulted in unprecedented solidarity from over 100 First Nations, sport and commercial fishermen, tourism operators, and several environmental organizations calling for the total removal of the Discovery Island fish farms. On December 17, the government agreed.

The WSAT can claim a small part of that decision, perhaps by being an annoying sliver in the feet of the decision makers, (WSAT had been meeting and petitioning MPs and MLAs for months,) or by adding our bodies and loonies to support other wild salmon protection groups. The day before the December announcement, WSAT met with MP Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and even though they knew the decision had already been made, added their voice to the chorus of demands for change. As well, they submitted information for the 2021 consultation meetings listing their demands that the remaining 100+ fish farms be taken out of all West Coast waters and be put on land, that scientists with research that disagreed with Industry publications be heard, and that Indigenous groups from the top of Vancouver Island to the headwaters of the Fraser River lead the planning and management of the wild salmon stocks.

WSAT is mulling over future actions which include public education, divestment campaigns, and working with Indigenous and local groups.

When fish farms are removed we find healthy juvenile salmon and a chance for wild salmon to rebound.

In April 2020, biologist Alexandra Morton found juvenile salmon free of sea lice leaving the Broughton Archipelago less than a year after just two fish farms in the area were removed by First Nations.

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Pilgrimage to Burns Bog

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Protecting burns bog a Sacred Wetland Ecosystem

a brief history of more than 30 years of Unitarian engagement in this cause


Above: Photos courtesy of: Burns Bog Conservation Society

So you’d like to know more about the Pilgrimage to Burns Bog? Many Unitarians have heard of this annual meditative walk, usually in conjunction with the Earth Day Service put on by the Environment Team.

For others, Burns Bog is a big mystery. What is it? Why is it so important? Why would Unitarians help organize a pilgrimage to a “swamp?”

Karl Perrin a long-time member of the Environment Team, answers those questions.

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Oak Street Farmers’ Market

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By Mary Lage

It was a grand adventure. The best of times. A crazy idea. A proud part of our Unitarian history. We started Vancouver’s first all-organic farmers’ market on the UCV parking lot …

To paraphrase Joni Mitchell: “They paved paradise … so we put up an all-organic farmers market

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Don’t miss this short documentary film by Jen Rashleigh and Rob Dainow on Opening Day at the Oak Street Farmers’ Market. Tomato Meter 91% ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars rating

It Was a Grand and Crazy Idea

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Back in 2011 a group of intrepid UCV members came up with an idea: Why not start an all-organic farmers’ market in our parking lot? What’s not to like? Under the direction of our sustainable food guru, Grant Watson, we began to make plans.

We bravely climbed a steep learning curve of city permits, farm visits, grant applications, and logo choosing, among a panoply of other tasks. One of our most debated tasks was deciding whether to put the apostrophe before or after the ‘s’ in farmers market. We had our grand opening in June with music, city officials, inspirational speakers, and a ribbon cutting ceremony – and we were off!

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Plant Based Eating

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Nearly 30 years ago, Denise Swanson and the Environment Committee began to promote plant based eating to respect animals, protect the environment and support healthy eating

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Left: Plant based Sunday brunch 2008
Right: Photo by Keith Wilkinson — Apple tree in community garden at UCV

By Denise Swanson

One of my strongest lifelong interests has been the protection and promotion of respect for animals. In 2007, there wasn’t any committee at UCV with that particular mandate, and the Environment Committee seemed a good choice to work with on this pursuit. Especially so, given that animal agriculture is one of the top industries responsible for environmental destruction.

One of my strongest lifelong interests has been the protection and promotion of respect for animals

Most people have goodwill toward other species and the individual members of them. The overwhelmingly largest number of animals in need of protection are those on factory farms. Many are aware of the routine horrors behind factory farming (quite apart from their link to zoonotic diseases). An obvious way to protect them is to refrain from supporting their abuse by not buying – by boycotting – their ‘products’. Thus, I turned my attention to what is fast gaining momentum as an environmental as well as animal protection movement: plant-based eating.

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Dismantling Racism Survey

A future where Unitarian Universalist congregations actively work on dismantling racism: that’s what we’re focusing on. The CUC’s Dismantling Racism Study Group needs your help. We’ve put together this short survey to find out where we’re at, and where we could go. Give us 15 minutes of your time today to honestly tell us about what you’ve observed in your own congregation – we’d really appreciate it.

Click the link to go directly to the survey!
–> https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DRSGSurvey <–

UCV’s Tamiko Suzuki and Doug Ennenberg are both part of the CUC Dismantling Racism Task Force.

Birthday Party Fundraiser for Climate Action

A Night of Good Cheer and a Rousing Success! $3000 Raised for Raven Trust’s Anti-TMX Campaign!

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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.

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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  john.boyle@shaw.ca

 

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 https://pull-together.ca/ supporting Indigenous groups’ legal challenge against TMX.

More information to come later.

If you would like to help put on the event, please contact environment@vancouverunitarians.ca

 

 

CUC Dismantling Racism Study Group

 

Members of the Canadian Unitarian Council’s “dismantling racism” study group are preparing for their audit of anti-racism work in Canadian congregations. The group plans to distribute a survey on this topic to Canadian Unitarians, with its release tentatively set for January. Rev. Julie Stoneberg of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, co-chair of the eight-person group, says they are hoping for the broadest possible participation by Canadian clergy and laypeople.

Doug Ennenberg and  Tamiko Suzuki from UCV, and Catherine Strickland from NSUC, are the western representatives in the group.

https://cuc.ca/enews-november-26/?utm_source=Canadian+Unitarian+Council+List&utm_campaign=0ac6efa9c1-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_15_08_49_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9434666947-0ac6efa9c1-328231665#dismantling

A look back at 2018-2019: It was a very busy year


Looking back on 2018/2019, it’s easy to see that the Environment Team has been very busy! We put on a series of highly successful events in addition to fundraiser lunches and monthly forums. If that wasn’t enough, members were busy throughout the year taking part in anti-pipeline and Climate Change rallies and attending film nights, workshops and fundraisers to protect the Environment and support Indigenous groups.

Check out what we did!

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