Healing in the Natural World

by Guy Dauncey

Growing up in southern England and Wales, we always lived close to the woods, streams, and hills of the nearby countryside. The towns were built to be dense and tight, so it was relatively easy to walk out of the buildings and away from traffic into a land of kingfishers, beech trees, and marsh marigolds. It was “smart growth” before anyone had invented the term.

Shinrin

Today, I live in a clearing with a small, organic nursery in a recovering, second-growth forest, just north of Victoria. On a typical winter day, we see ravens, tree frogs, a Cooper’s hawk, hummingbirds, blue jays, and woodpeckers, as well as worms, spiders, and a host of smaller birds. And, of course, the forest.

Wood-Air Breathing

In the August 6 2005 issue of New Scientist, Joan Maloof, a biology professor at Salisbury University in Maryland, describes how the Japanese have a word to describe the particular air of a forest. They call it “wood-air bathing.” Maloof writes: “Japanese researchers have discovered that when diabetic patients walk through the forest, their blood sugar drops to healthier levels. Entire symposiums have been held on the benefits of wood-air bathing and walking.”

I’m able to enjoy shinrin-yoku all the time, but for those who live in concrete canyons, amidst a soundscape of car alarms and sirens, instead of the croak of frogs and the wind, it has become a distant experience. Continue reading Healing in the Natural World

Six big changes could put an end to poverty

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Sarah Petrescu’s series in The Times Colonist on poverty and homelessness made a valuable contribution to public awareness about the realities that people living in poverty have to live with every day.

Her final part, Big problem, small changes, laid out small changes that could help, such as raising income assistance rates. It’s a big problem, however, so here are some big changes that could contribute to a future in which there is no poverty at all, except the voluntary simplicity of those who want to live with a minimal footprint on the Earth. Continue reading Six big changes could put an end to poverty

Sixteen Building Blocks of a Green, Entrepreneurial, Cooperative Economy

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by Guy Dauncey

CCPA Goods Jobs Economy in BC Conference, November 21, 2014

The slides that accompany this presentation can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/GuyDauncey/a-green-cooperative-economy

Introduction

The transition from a capitalist to a cooperative economy could be one of the defining achievements of the 21st century.

In history, everything changes. The foundations of capitalism were built by merchants and mercantilists in the 16th and 17th centuries in response to the oppressiveness of feudalism. It developed into full-fledged industrial capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries, and into financial capitalism at the end of the 20th century, using global free trade, shadow banking and offshore tax havens to overpower and sidestep much government taxation, regulation and control. Continue reading Sixteen Building Blocks of a Green, Entrepreneurial, Cooperative Economy

Toxic Teachers, Toxic Government or Toxic Chemicals?

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Half a million schoolchildren are being denied an education in BC. That’s clearly a terrible failure—but what is its cause?

Is it Toxic Teachers?

Some who have not taken the time to study the issue are quick to blame the teachers—but they repeatedly point only to differences over pay and benefits, which are within easy reach of bargaining. Continue reading Toxic Teachers, Toxic Government or Toxic Chemicals?

The Dog Days of August: Consciousness, Science and the Climate Crisis

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Pick your despair: climate change, the death of the world’s oceans, the looming extinction of three million species, or the selfish egotism of the wealthiest 0.1% of humans?

Some may respond with angry words about fear mongering. Others will say, “Give me a cocktail—it’s all of the above.”

Most of my friends are in the latter camp: on the rare occasion when I meet someone who believes that climate change is a conspiracy and the real problem is government refusing to let people get on with their lives, well, let’s just say the meeting never blossoms into friendship. Continue reading The Dog Days of August: Consciousness, Science and the Climate Crisis

My “Wouldn’t That Be Amazing!” Wish-List for 2014

And why not? It is that time of the year ….

I have just spent the last two and a half years writing a huge new book into which I have poured all my hopes and fears, and an amazing collection of practical, positive, solutions to our many woes.

The book is titled Journey to the Future, and it tells the story of a four-day visit to Vancouver in 2032, by when it become one of the greenest cities in the world. I have never found writing a book such fun, or so compelling: maybe it’s the fictional format I have adopted, with almost the entire book being in dialogue between the characters. See www.journeytothefuture.ca Continue reading My “Wouldn’t That Be Amazing!” Wish-List for 2014