Category: Environment

Dialogue in Bee Time
May 20th is World Bee Day

Dialogue in Bee Time, photo of queen bumble bee

Bumble bee queen (Bombus sylvarum) on blueweed (Echium vulgare)
Photo Credit: Ivar Leidus
CC by SA 4.0

Dialogue in Bee Time

We revisit a talk given by Dr. Mark Winston on his book tentatively titled, Dialogue in Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive


Dialogue in Bee Time, photo of Mark Winston

UCV Podcast

April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Dr. Winston is recognized as the world’s leading expert on bees and pollination.

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Bees are in trouble today. And bees have something to teach us. It’s about the resilience of nature, human hubris, and the limits to our human ability to manage climate change

According to Dr. Winston, there are over 20,000 species of wild bees, many hundred species of wild bees in Canada, and 57 species of wild bees in Vancouver. Wild bees nest in the ground, in twigs and in abandoned mouse dens. Honey bees (domesticated bees) were introduced to British Columbia in about 1857.

Honey bees are telling us we can only push things so far. Wild bees are telling us that diversity is good. Providing space for that diversity is to our human advantage. Bees are not the same as people. But like us bees are social and live in communities that interact with the nature around us. …

O Canada 2021 – Twelve days of honouring celebrations?

by Keith Wilkinson

For 2021, let’s celebrate a whole collection of summer holidays (holy days) for one grand summer festival honouring all people and other beings while bearing witness to the challenges that call Unitarians to keep on working for justice…

My covenant group met on Canada Day in 2020 and we shared some thoughts about what we liked and disliked about Canada Day. There were many things we appreciated about Canadian culture and political systems, and also many areas where we felt we still fell short and needed to keep on working. Following are some celebrations we could perhaps honour next year leading up to a more complete and satisfying celebration of Canada Day. (Ah…but who amongst us might take the lead!)

2021   Jun 20 Sunday World Refugee Day

This event honors the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

Jun 20 Sunday Fathers Day

Father’s Day is an unofficial holiday to celebrate fathers around the world—although the date for celebration varies.

Jun 21 Monday Summer Solstice from a scientific viewpoint

It’s the scientific start to summer in the Northern Hemisphere, when this half of the world tilts toward the sun.

Litha – Summer solstice from a Wiccan viewpoint

The Solstice Teaches Us   A poem from the UUA Worship Web

Jun 21 Monday National Indigenous Peoples Day

A day to celebrate and learn more about the cultural diversity of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada.

Jun 21 Monday International Day of Yoga

Yoga is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow as a sport and a lifestyle. Traditional yoga has a meditative and spiritual core in addition to the physical exercises. The result is a wide variety of schools, practices, and goals within the yoga community. It is because of yoga’s holistic approach to body and mind that the UN decided in 2014 to dedicate June 21 to this ancient tradition.

“Yoga is a sport that can contribute to development and peace. Yoga can even help people in emergency situations to find relief from stress.” said Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General.

Jun 23 Wednesday Public Service Day

The United Nations’ Public Service Day is held on June 23 each year. It recognizes that democracy and successful governance are built on the foundation of a competent civil service. The day aims to celebrate the value and virtue of service to the community.

Jun 23 Wednesday International Widows’ Day

International Widows’ Day was introduced to address poverty and injustice faced by widows and their children in many countries. It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2010 and is observed annually on June 23.

Jun 24 Thursday Fête nationale du Québec (FR)

Fête nationale du Québec (EN)     AKA Ste-Jean-Baptiste Day  (EN)

The people of Québec celebrate their national holiday with more than 750 celebrations held across the province on 23 and 24 June. Organized by nearly 20,000 volunteers, the festivities of the Fête nationale include more than 1,050 events and 360 bonfires, in addition to some of the largest public gatherings in Québec.

Jun 25 Friday Day of the Seafarer

In 2010, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), decided to designate June 25th as the International Day of the Seafarer as a way to recognize that almost everything that we use in our daily lives has been directly or indirectly affected by sea transport.  The purpose of the day is to give thanks to seafarers for their contribution to the world economy and the civil society; and for the risks and personal costs they bear while on their jobs.

Jun 26 Saturday  International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society. This day is supported by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world. 

Jun 26 Saturday  International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Rehabilitation centres and human rights organizations around the world celebrate the UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26 each year. The day serves as a reminder to people that torture is a crime. This event gives everyone a chance to unite and voice their opinions against human torture.

Organizations, including the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and Amnesty International, have played an active role in organizing events around the world to promote the day. Activities may include photo exhibitions, the distribution of posters and other material to boost people’s awareness of issues related to human torture, and television advertisements.

Jun 27 Sunday Canadian Multiculturalism Day

Discover the significance of multiculturalism in Canada — ensuring that all citizens keep their identities, take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging.

Jun 30 Wednesday International Asteroid Day

June 30 is the anniversary of the Tunguska impact, also known as the Tunguska event. On that day a large explosion occurred in the sky over the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia, Russia.

It destroyed about 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) of the forest in the area, flattening about 80 million trees. The area is sparsely populated, and there were no official reports of human casualties.

It is thought that an asteroid or a comet was responsible for the blast. The Tunguska event is considered to be the largest asteroid impact on Earth in recorded history.

2021 Jul 1 Thursday Canada DayUCV’s Patrick Dubois’ 2020 Musical Tribute

What do we need to do as Canadian Unitarians to help make Canada Day a time of celebration for all people and not just a settler’s celebration?

 

On-going

The Butterfly Way ProjectThe David Suzuki Foundation

Environmental Rights

Climate Solutions

Further information on 2021 holidays worldwide:

United Nations Holidays

timeanddate.com

UUA Worship Web – a poem on summer

Also:

  • Animal Rights Awareness Week – (Mid June) 13-19 June 2021?
  • Fish are Friends, Not Food Week! – (Last Week of June) 20-26 June 2021?
  • National Pollinator Week – 20-26 June 2021?

Climate Justice and Food Sovereignty

What can we do individually and collectively to reduce harm and bring about climate justice?

Our food system has a huge impact on climate. Food production is fraut with racism and oppression of the people who grow our food. It is also a very complex system. Eating less meat, particularly red meat, has clear health and climate benefits. Large scale change needs to come from good policy and public pressure to create system change. The following organizations are working to create real change for those who produce and harvest our food as well as the impact of agriculture on our planet:

These are good places to start for information and action. Stay tuned for more!

Demand the BC government implement a new approach to forest management

Above: Caycuse watershed, before and after clearcut by the Teal-Jones Group

Credits: All photos in this story by TJ Watt

In May, 2019, Andrea Inness from the Ancient Forest Alliance spoke at the First Sunday Forum. She talked about the critical need for legislation to protect BC’s remaining ancient forests.

The Enviro Team followed up with a letter writing campaign to save our ancient trees, urging the BC Forests Minister to work with First Nations to implement a science-based Old-Growth Protection Act.

March 2021, we bring an update from the frontlines of BC’s old‑growth forests.

Photo: Caycuse watershed before and after clearcut

Above: Before and after the clearcut in the Caycuse watershed

Three environmental NGOs give the Province’s “new” approach to old‑growth management a failing grade.

In the mean time, activists protecting ancient cedars at Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew, prepare for civil disobedience.

What You Can Do to Help

Hold the BC government to its promise to implement the recommendations set out in A New Future for Ancient Forests

Call Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy. Demand they halt logging in at-risk ancient forests across the Province


250-387-1715      BC Premier John Horgan

250-387-6240      BC Forests Minister Katrine Conroy

1-800-663-7867    Toll-free Government of British Columbia

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Above: Massive tree stump after a clearcut in the Caycuse watershed

Eulogy for Ancient Trees

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It was truly an incredible and unique grove. I was stunned by the sheer number of monumental red cedars, one after another, on this gentle mountain slope — TJ Watt

In April 2020, photographer TJ Watt documented an ancient grove in the Caycuse watershed. He returned later that year to photograph the same area after it was clearcut.

The Caycuse watershed — located southwest of Cowichan Lake in the traditional territory of the Ditidaht First Nation — hosts some of the grandest forests on southern Vancouver Island.

“It was truly an incredible and unique grove. I was stunned by the sheer number of monumental red cedars, one after another, on this gentle mountain slope,” said Watt.

“Giant cedars like these have immense ecological value, particularly as wildlife habitat, and important tourism and First Nations cultural value,” he continued.

“Yet the BC government continues to allow irreplaceable, centuries-old trees to be high-graded for short-term gain.”

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Above: Roads are being built into the old growth forest adjacent to the clearcut near Haddon Creek in the Caycuse watershed

Dateline: July 17, 2019

The BC Government appoints a panel of two independent foresters, Garry Merkel and Al Gorley, to conduct an Old Growth Strategic Review on the ecological, economic and cultural importance of old-growth trees and forests.

Dateline: April 2020

After extensive public engagement, Merkel and Gorley submit their report to the Province.

The report titled A New Future for Ancient Forests makes 14 recommendations to be phased in over three years.

Dateline: Hazelton BC, September 11, 2020

The BC government announces a “new approach” to ancient forests based on recommendations from the old-growth review panel.

Initial actions include:

  • engaging the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations, and
  • deferring old forest harvesting in nine areas throughout the province totaling 352,739 hectares as a first step

Dateline: Victoria BC, on unceded Lekwungen territories, March 11, 2020

Three environmental NGOs issue a Report Card on the progress of the new forest strategy.

According to the Report Card: To date, the government has only deferred about 3,800 hectares from harvesting — less than 1% of the most at-risk old-growth.

The BC government gets a failing grade.

Dateline: March 21, 2021, Update on Fairy Creek blockade near Port Renfrew BC

Teal-Jones Group is seeking a court injunction to end the seven-month blockade by activists in the Fairy Creek watershed on traditional Pacheedaht territory. Fairy Creek is one of the last intact old-growth valleys on southern Vancouver Island. According to the Ancient Forest Alliance, massive ancient yellow cedars trees appear to be within a proposed cutblock. A two-day injunction hearing is scheduled to start March 25.

Activists at the Fairy Creek blockade are preparing for civil disobedience.

Above: Recent old-growth logging by Teal-Jones adjacent to the Fairy Creek Valley

Playlist: All My Relations


All My Relations, Religious Naturalism and The Heart of a Faith for the 21st Century


UCV Podcasts

All My Relations

1

All My Relations
by Aline LaFlamme
April 17, 2019


2

Living Within the Interdependent Web
by Martha Saunders
August 4, 2019


3

Religious Naturalism
by Rev. Steven Epperson
March 24, 2019


4

Religious Naturalism — Take Two
by Rev. Steven Epperson
April 14, 2019

Vancouver Unitarians Join Extinction Rebellion at Cambie Bridge Shut Down

Above: We joined the die-in at the intersection of Broadway and Cambie, then marched to the middle of the Cambie bridge for the sit‑in

Above: Vancouver Unitarians Carry the Flame at the Cambie Bridge Sit‑In

A group of Vancouver Unitarians, including Mairy Beam, Rob Dainow, and Vivian Davidson, joined several hundred protesters at the March 27 Extinction Rebellion march for old growth trees and climate justice.

“Logging old growth directly violates Extinction Rebellion’s demand to Act Now,” said Kelly Tatham, a volunteer with Extinction Rebellion.

We are all standing up for the climate and for our ecosystems, whenever we can and in whatever ways we can. Every little bit counts.

Sandpiper SOS

Shorebirds and Port Expansion. Don’t miss this video on the Western Sandpiper.
Learn to love river slime.

photo of Western Sandpiper

Western Sandpiper | Photo Credit: Alan D. Wilson CC BY-SA 3.0

The Vancouver Port Authority plans to build a second container ship terminal in the Fraser River estuary, right on top of a major stopover for birds migrating along the Pacific flyway from Central and South America to their breeding grounds in the western Arctic. The loss of the mud flats in the Fraser River estuary could lead to the extinction of the Western Sandpiper and other migratory birds that depend on nutrient rich biofilm — also known as river slime — an essential food source on their journey north. (For more info see: Slime, Shorebirds, and a Scientific Mystery by Daniel Wood)

Don’t miss this video. Learn to love river slime!


I am Atl’ka7tsem Howe Sound

Whales, and the Revolution They Inspired to Protect Átl’ka7tsem / Howe Sound

For your viewing enjoyment. A video by Bob Turner — documentary film maker and former mayor of Bowen Island.

The video was featured on the Action EveningWhales, and the Revolution They Inspired to Protect Átl’ka7tsem / Howe Sound.

Pipelines, Brunette River and ME/WE

By Catherine Hembling

Pipelines, Brunette River and ME/WE…
I think there’s a song that goes something like that!

These past months along the Brunette have brought great resolve and activity to the lives of many activists, many of them seniors. I feel invigorated by my involvement in something so much bigger than I am. As well, I walk in beauty, at least once a week, along the Brunette as part of my “work”.

I am a member the Prayer Circle, in turn part of PPSTMX (Protect the Planet Stop TransMountain Expansion). There are legal fees to pay, there is soup to be delivered, there are people to meet!

We are publicly and peacefully defending the Brunette’s Salmon runs, riparian zones, trees, water quality, environment. As well, we actively support the courageous tree sit which has been going on since Dec. 21/20 with little Press coverage. By doing so we hope to increase the public’s resolve to speak out against this urban pipeline construction. We hold PM Trudeau to his assertion that there has to be community support for TMX.

This salmon run is a particular treasure, one of very few urban salmon streams in the world. It has been restored from open dumping site by volunteers, starting in the late 1970’s. A public Greenway full of birds and wildlife now runs almost the full length of the river and its tributary creeks, under the administration of Metro Vancouver.

Long term could the Brunette be re-restored? Maybe, …..but not the Climate. Climate changes are happening already. More oil burned is more CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate changes can only get worse before they get better. We think to the future. Overall, time is on the side of protesters. Each delay to construction gives the market and economic facts of the project a better chance to be understood by the public. Green job creation brings prosperity to many more workers than pipeline construction. Politicians will always want to be elected and then re-elected. That is our lever.

Electorates are powerful if ME/WE choose to be involved!

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Finding Our Story Within Eco‑Spirituality

finding our story within eco-spirituality: photo of Reverend Lara Cowtan

Roots and Wings
Finding Our Story Within
Eco‑Spirituality

Presentation by Rev Lara Cowtan at the
UUE Eco‑Spirituality Conference in Prague,
September 15th, 2018
Čapek Hall, Anenská 5, Prague 1 (Old Town)

Ecology and Spirituality
A Vision for Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism
in the 21st Century!

Our spiritual response to the environmental crisis can bring us to understand ourselves as part of the divine wholeness of the natural world, finding our self intertwined with the web of life in a way that enriches all life

Prague

eco-spirituality: photo of old city of Prague

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Neytiri and Jake’s avatar

ecospirituality: Neytiri and Jake's Avatar

Photo: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Norbert Capek