News from the Environment Committee or related to the environment and posted by another group
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
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 https://bunzshare.page.link/tT
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: www.bethechangeearthalliance.
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!
The Outreach Opportunities Fund recipient for October to January will be Sole Food. During the past seven years, Sole Food Street Farms―now North America’s largest urban farm project―has transformed acres of vacant and contaminated urban land in Vancouver into street farms that grow artisan-quality fruits and vegetables. It has empowered dozens of individuals with limited resources and addiction and chronic mental health problems by providing jobs, training, and community support.
Visit their website here https://solefoodfarms.com/
Vancouver Unitarians hosted a successful and well-attended All Candidates Meeting on Sat Oct 5thin preparation for the 2019 Federal Election. Five of six candidates from the Vancouver-Granville riding (in which UCV is located) attended, representing the GPC, LPC, NDP and PPC as well as Independent JWR (current MP); the CPC candidate declined to attend.
The ACM was held in the Sanctuary from 7:00-9:00 pm, moderated with clear and articulate focus by Diane Brown. Cecilia Point provided a powerful Musqueam Welcome followed by a UCV Welcome from our Minister Reverend Stephen Epperson. Candidates and audience (approximately 250) respected the rules of procedure and decorum, including candidates speaking one at a time and within prescribed time frames – and no heckling from audience! There was very positive response to this format!
Candidates responded to prepared questions on the Climate Crisis, Indigenous Peoples, Refugees, and the Trans Mountain Expansion. This was followed by questions from the audience covering a variety of topics including: electoral reform; safe drugs and the overdose epidemic; fossil fuel subsidies; homelessness and the economy; the environment and the economy; Indigenous rights; taxing billionaires; and voting by conscience versus the party line.
Candidates met with the public in the Hewett Hall alcove for a half hour before and after the ACM. Candidates set up information tables, responded to questions and engaged in lively discussion! Candidate contact information was available to the public for any questions not answered during the evening.
Environment and Social Justice team members organized the ACM, with leadership and impeccable attention to detail provided by Karl Perrin. Thanks to the many who stepped forward with their particular expertise and timely dedication!
Here is a link to the Oct 5th All Candidates Meeting at UCV – with thanks to Marie Witt and videographer August.