Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vancouver Island GMO free zone?

Vancouver Island Challenges British Columbia Farmers to Boycott Monsanto Corn & GMOs
Farmers feel it's time to give GMO foods the TKO By Don Maroc Cowichan Valley News Leader (Duncan, British Columbia), Aug 15, 2007 Straight to the Source
At last weekend's general meeting of Farmers' Institutes from across Vancouver Island in Cobble Hill, farmers bravely declared Vancouver Island (plus Powell River) a genetically modified free zone.Brave because the governments of British Columbia and Canada are both solid backers of agricultural and pharmaceutical GMOs (genetically modified organisms). They have both refused to test and regulate GMO's, they will not require GMO food to be labelled, they hand millions of dollars in grant money to the corporations that "own" the GMO seeds and, in places like the Comox Valley, to farmers who grow it.There are farmers in the Cowichan Valley who will not be enthusiastic about the proposed ban on GMO's. According to our district agriculturalist nearly all Cowichan Valley dairy farmers who grow feed corn are growing Monsanto's Roundup Ready corn, which is genetically engineered to endure repeated spraying with Monsanto's glyphosate-based toxin.All of these farmers are shipping their milk to Island Farms Dairy in Victoria. Island Farms used to be a co-op owned by all Vancouver Island dairy farmers, but no longer, Quebec-based Agropur bought them out a year ago.Monsanto would have us believe that Roundup does not last long in the soil, that it will not wash away into creeks and rivers, where it has been shown to be toxic to fish and amphibians. They even advertised for a while that Roundup is biodegradable and "safer than table salt", but a U.S. court ordered them to stop the false claims.The largest seller of GMO seeds in the world apparently does not believe its own PR (or BS?). The company cafeteria at Monsanto's British headquarters serves only non-genetically modified products, no GMO soy and corn for their own employees.Part of the difficulty in dealing with a herbicide like Roundup is that we only know it's active ingredient, glyphosate. There are a number of other chemicals which help the glyphosate penetrate the plant tissues but Monsanto claims that would be revealing confidential business information. In our mad corporate-ruled, free-market economy all it takes is a "claim" by the manufacturer and all the information is top secret - no business of consumers who have to eat these mutant plants.So they created corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola plants that resist the effects of the hormonal toxins in Roundup. Whenever a weed shows its ugly head the farmer can douse his fields with Roundup and only the corn plants will survive. By the time the corn matures it will have soaked up a lot of glyphosate and other secret chemicals. So much so that the U.S. government had to increase the level of glyphosate residue legally allowed on our food crops.The Canadian government does not require labelling for GMO's, so there is no way for consumers to know if mutated genes are in their food.In a phone conversation last year an Island Farms spokesperson said they have no policy concerning the use of GMO feed corn for the cows that supply their milk. This year the question was emailed, but Island Farms has failed to respond.Let's all get behind the Island Farmers' Institutes' drive to declare Vancouver Island GMO-free.Got a tip or a comment?

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I don't know which I consider the bigger evils of GMO. I think I am more afraid of monoculture crops than round up. I support organic growing, and working toward pesticide free. Is GMO evil, I am certainly not against science, and listening to what could be benefits of GMO. I absolutely don't trust that it is safe, in a society where super bugs are becoming an increasing threat. I don't believe it is being used appropriately, if it has advantages round up ready crops is not it. The means of introducing the genetic material into the cell concerns me more than the playing with nature. . Having said that it may be I can't fathom the potential for things to go sideways. I am all for trying new things, it's an exciting time, but this is too risky. Here are my thoughts on monoculture. It is the most dangerous ingredient in a recipe for our food supplies potential catastrophic failure. Monsanto, it's products, and philosophy is at best flawed, to my thinking. The big players here are involved in politics, fuel, pesticides, and war. I will leave specifics for someone better informed, but it causes me alarm. I do believe that we can feed our planet naturally, and that this line of scientific intervention is neither warranted nor capable of meeting the end result. It is simply the wrong direction; it will not feed the planet, or be a magic bullet for fuel crisis. We know loss of bio diversity is tragic, preserving it is pragmatic, this is not a sentimental value, but a survivalist one. How can we not be concerned about replacing bio diversity with mono- cultures designed with an almost symbiotic relationship to pesticides.
I fully promote that we motivate, and support farmers to create havens of GMO free areas, and Islands are ideal. I have noted PEI has a similar movement. I would be happy to see Vancouver Island realize the benefits I think will come from being GMO free. It would be great if we could put being on an Island with it's isolation to an advantage for our farmers, reap benefits of GMO free seed stocks, products, and preserve a valuable resource for the future. Other Islands around the world are also setting themselves aside as stewards of our GMO free plants.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


EARTH DAY CLEAN UP- GORGE PARKThanks to all those who braved the wintery conditions last Saturday to help with the restoration work on Gorge Park.After each session, the park opens up more as a result of your efforts.Thanks to Saanich Parks and Tim Hortons for their support.And thanks to Judy Sigmund and Ray Farmer for organizing the event.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

CRD Fact Sheets-Greater Victoria, BC

Water restrictions begin May
I was looking online, to review the water restriction facts, and found the CRD water site full of great download-able fact sheets.
CRD Home > Water Services > Conservation > Education > Fact Sheets > Fact Sheets
Water Conservation Fact Sheets
Our water conservation fact sheets offer tips for saving water indoors and out, as well as valuable information about our watering restrictions and the Water Conservation Bylaw.
Outdoor Water Use Fact Sheets
Waterfacts 1 - Choosing an Irrigation Professional (pdf)
Waterfacts 2 - Choosing the Right Irrigation System (pdf)
Waterfacts 3 - Watering Flower and Vegetable Gardens (pdf)
Waterfacts 4 - How Much Water? (pdf)
Waterfacts 5 - Irrigation Controllers (pdf)
Waterfacts 6 - Lawn Maintenance (pdf)
Waterfacts 7 - Irrigation System Maintenance (pdf)
Waterfacts 8 - Rain and Moisture Shut-off Devices (pdf)
Waterfacts 9 - Scheduling Irrigation Systems (pdf)
Water Use Restrictions - Stage 1 Bylaw (pdf)
Water Use Restrictions - Stage 2 Bylaw (pdf) \
Native Plant Gardening Fact Sheets
General Fact Sheets
Overview of CRD Water Conservation Programs (pdf)
The Cost of Water Waste (pdf)
Residential Fact Sheets
Landscape Care for Water Conservation (pdf)
Water Saving Actions for Homeowners (pdf)
Business Fact Sheets
Water Saving Actions for Businesses (pdf)
The Business of Water Savings - Food Services (pdf)
The Business of Water Savings - Offices (pdf)
Saving Water in Restaurants and Pubs (PDF)
Saving Water in Vehicle Wash Operations (PDF)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gas lawnmowers; big polluters

Think about greener lawn care; A typical gas lawnmower creates as much pollution in one hour of operation as forty late model cars. A recent swedish study concluded an hour of lawn mowing was equivelant to the emissions of driving your car for one hundered hours. Small gas engines simply produce more pollution than those of cars, add up all our gas mowers, and you have the second largest contributor of damage to our air.

I have owned an electric mower, and yes, I found being tethered by a power card more than annoying. It was a nuisance mowing around the many fruit trees, and beds in my large backyard.I always felt it was just a matter of time before I ran over my cord, the whole thing made me slightly nervous. Having said this, I realise they are great for some yards, and many people love them. Further to this, mowers are avaliable with re-chargable batteries.

The new solar mowers have my attention, no more pulling those starter cords, never mind it's quiet, cord free, and uses renewable energy. The prices are reasonable, and as best I can tell from my research, it seems they do a reasonable job. In the past some machines were both expensive, and wimpy, for all but the postage stamp size yards.

I do love my push mower, but have to admit mine gives a rather shaggy cut. I actually like the excercise it affords, and the peace of mind that I am being quiet if I mow Sunday morning. I had been considering looking for a more deluxe model, but now....hmmm, perhaps the solar ones are the thing to keep my eye on.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Garry Oak habitat, Victoria, BC

Did you know that one of Canada’s richest ecosystems is also one of its most endangered? Garry oak ecosystems are enchantingly beautiful and high in biodiversity. They are unique to a small part of southwestern British Columbia, where less than 5% of the habitat remains in a near-natural condition. At least 118 species of plants, mammals, reptiles, birds, butterflies, dragonflies and bugs are at risk of extinction in Garry oak and associated ecosystems. Several species have already been eliminated. The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) and its partners are working to save these endangered species and the habitats they need for survival. Your help is needed. You can play a valuable part in our comprehensive recovery program, now underway.
this is from the Goert site, check it out

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

under construction