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*Ecological/New Economics Discussion Circle

Event Details

*Ecological/New Economics Discussion Circle

Time: May 23, 2012 from 7pm to 10pm
Location: Meet at Trees Organic 450 Granville 7PM, then move to private meeting site, Please be on time. Move to meeting site will be at 7:10
Street: 450 Granville Street, Downtown
City/Town: Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory
Event Neighbourhood and Type: downtown, ecological/new economics
Organized By: Jordan B
Latest Activity: May 13, 2012

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Event Description

On the 23rd, we will at the suggestion of circle member Randy Chatterjee give our discussion a more practical bent, specifically by discussing specific ideas for City policies that could be implemented to bring our economy more in line with our ecology. The City is the most accessible level of government we have, and the current political climate is one that favours the exploration of new ideas that will result in a greener city. Therefore, the policies we discuss can have a real chance of making it onto the agenda sometime soon.

Randy has several ideas of his own that he'd like to share, including a Bill of Ecological Rights, Green Building Performance Codes and an urban agriculture concept called Twin Harvest. Or how about a bylaw to force the City to disclose its total carbon footprint (and methodology and data behind its calculation) every year? Please bring your ideas along as well, and let us use the group mind to refine and identify the ideas with the best chance of being adopted, and come up with strategies to bring them to that point.

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Comment by Randy Chatterjee on May 13, 2012 at 10:45pm
Comment by Randy Chatterjee on May 13, 2012 at 10:44pm

For a primer on Green Building Codes, start with this Wikipedia article.

The primary issue is asserting accountability for lifecycle environmental performance of our building stock on those who have the most power to alter it: the builders themselves. UBC also has a unique and world-leading analytical program that does Life Cycle Assessments of buildings, and their results are common-sensical but revolutionary. Just try to mention LEED to them, and they will toss you out of the room. For you UBCers, every been to the CIRS building...and thought is really was as green as they tell you. These people know otherwise.

Greenwashing is the biggest danger to mankind today, as larger or larger than climate change denial. Often we waste more energy and create a greater carbon footprint simply by trying to be green. This has to stop.

Again, Vancouver is far far behind the rest of the world in adopting building codes that invite performance-based solutions. Every building built today will continue to pollute for as much or more than 100 years. The time to change this is now.

Comment by Randy Chatterjee on May 13, 2012 at 10:34pm

Here is where you can download this document: The language is tested in the US Supreme Court and has a long history in Common Law. It could be readily adapted to fit within Canadian Constitutional Law, our municipal/community charters in BC, and our legal practice here.

Its message is very strong; our environment cannot be regulated in such a way that presumes there is a balance always to be struck between corporate revenue generation and health and human safety. Needless to say, this is exactly how it is done now, and corporate revenue generation always and explicitly includes the health care costs for treating environmental illnesses as a public BENEFIT.

The truth is always stranger than fiction; this is the antidote.

Comment by Randy Chatterjee on May 13, 2012 at 10:22pm

Attached below for your advanced perusal is a draft ordinance from a citizen's group in Bellingham, a Community Bill of Rights. This was drafted specifically to deal with the shipment of coal by train through Bellingham and loaded in a new port facility to be built just northwest of downtown. Sound familiar? Replace coal with oil, and you have our situation.
This right-based solution to the issue is not unique, but is part of a movement sweeping the world to assert the inalienable rights of people to clean water and air. Entire countries (Ecuador) and dozens of municipalities in the OECD have adopted similar legislation, and it has proven effective against hydrofracking for gas, transportation of industrial chemicals, and corporate "ownership" of public assets. Vancouver is far behind in looking at this, and it could have a huge impact on the Kinder-Morgan pipeline expansion proposal.

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