Eating that heals – Raw, living foods promote health

Allart interviews Brian Clement, PhD

clement
Brian Clement, PhD

Life Change Program 
with Brian Clement, PhD, NMD, CN
Director of 
Hippocrates Health Institute

Mon, Aug 17 
Workshop 10-5 PM
Evening lecture 7-9 PM

Unity of Vancouver, 
5840 Oak Street
Information and tickets: 
click “Events” onwww.DynamicHealthRadio.info
or call 604-328-1020

Brian Clement, PhD, is the author of Hippocrates Lifeforce: Superior Health and Longevity. He has spent more than three decades studying nutrition and natural health care. Since 1980, he has been the director of the Hippocrates Health Institute, the preeminent leader in the field of natural and complementary health care and education since 1956. Deemed the world’s number one teaching institute in the year 2000 by Spa Management Group, the centre was founded by visionary and humanitarian Ann Wigmore and is currently under the leadership of Drs. Brian and Anna Maria Clement.

Allart: I’ve been on the raw, vegan diet for long periods of time and sometimes I slip off, but I noticed about six months into the raw, vegan diet that I was waking up happy every day and I thought, “Well, the only thing that’s really different is that I’ve been on a raw, vegan diet for six months.” And it’s not like I was unhappy before; it’s just that I never woke up feeling that happy all the time and so I knew it had to do with the raw foods.

Brian Clement: It does and over the decades we’ve learned the chemistry of that. In raw, vegan, living food – uncooked food – you have hormones from the plant and those hormones literally help to activate and increase endorphins, dopamines, and seratonin, which, in great part, are made in the stomach. They’re all happy juices and they allow you to have more elation and less “glass half empty.” And this is what we’re all trying to do because happy people do nice things for themselves and everyone else.

A: How long have you been with Hippocrates Health Institute?

BC: I joined the staff in the early 1970s and as many of the listeners may or may not know, Hippocrates is the oldest natural health organization and institute in the world. It was begun by Ann Wigmore, a Lithuanian immigrant to North America, who was told by Harvard doctors in Boston she was going to die from colon cancer. That didn’t sound very good to her when she was in her fifties so she healed herself of colon cancer and was energetic enough and conscious enough to say, “Look, I can’t contain this. I’ve got to tell others not to always listen to what the boys and girls with the stethoscopes tell you, because I would have died in six months if I’d listened to them.” So she founded the Institute in the early to mid-1950s. People have come from all over the world since then; many of them have had catastrophic diseases and healed themselves – by the tens of thousands – of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis, etc.

tomatoI’ve been very, very lucky since the early 1970s – and after coming back from Europe where I spent three and a half years teaching the program and opening and directing and running centres there for living food – to work with these people because it’s not a job; it’s just a mission. When you come in every day and you see people have healed themselves of these diseases, it saddens you to think the rest of the world is believing the fallacy that we call modern medicine today. And it’s a good thing there are people like Ann Wigmore who had the courage to stand up and say, “No.”

A: We’re bombarded with so much brainwashing that it’s difficult for people to cut through all the layers of brainwashing to get to that knowledge and to the practice.

BC: You’re saying something extremely important. We in North America, and certainly in Europe, have been trained to be consumers. From the time we’re in the womb, they are enticing us. To give one small example of how pervasive and effective it is, we should understand that corporations control our governments now. All of the monies that elect our officials and the lobbyists in Winnipeg as well as in Washington as well as in London as well as everywhere in the world basically are corporate-sponsored and they guide which laws are going to be made. If we haven’t learned globally that corporations have greed as first and foremost on their mind, we’ll never learn it.

In this country, and I believe it happened in your country too, at about the end of the 1990s, they got rid of a long-standing law that said we could not advertise pharmaceutical medicines on television. They took that away in 1997 and since then they’ve been advertising. Let’s give the best example of how well this has worked. In the first three years they started to advertise, for the first time in history, the sale of psychiatric medicines increased by 250 percent. And when you’re sitting at home and not feeling good about yourself because you’ve just eaten fast foods and you don’t have a good marriage and your child is doing drugs, this sexy voice comes on after you’re exhausted and it’s eight or nine at night, and asks, “Are you feeling this?” “Are you feeling this?” “Oh gee, that sounds just like me.” Well, you better get whatever the name of the drug is. These people then march out to their doctor and basically tell the doctor what they want. And I’ve seen this.

In the 40 years I’ve done this work, I’ve seen it become a watershed of success for the pharmaceuticals and totally and absolutely destructive and pervasive in the general population. Canada and the US are the largest consumers of pharmaceutical medicine in the world. As an example, we take double per capita than the next nation, which is Germany. And why? Because Germany has the second largest pharmaceutical industry. And the third happens to be Switzerland/France, which happens to have the third largest pharmaceutical industry. Now isn’t that interesting? And we’re so greedy within these unbelievable corporations that they now convince us that our children have diseases that aren’t even real, like Attention Deficit Disorder, which by the way, the remedy generally is Ritalin, or something like Ritalin, which is literally cocaine.

A: We’ve covered that kind of stuff on the Dynamic Health radio program. We’ve talked about the insanity of prescribing to two-year-olds and diagnosing them as bipolar. We’ve done shows on orthomolecular medicine. Dr. Abram Hoffer showed that he could cure schizophrenia and so-called bipolar disorders by elevating people’s nutrient levels with vitamin B and C and things like this. Obviously, nutrients matter.

BC: We’ve been doing that here for 50 years. The sickest people in the world come here and the healthiest and smartest people in the world. We have people who are very smart who want to prevent premature aging and disease because they’ve seen their poor parents or friends suffer, and then we have people who have been chewed up, spit out and lied to by the pharmaceutical, medical industry and who have been told they’re going to die. They have the courage and wisdom to come here. They heal. And it’s really nutritionally based. Of course, we do many other very interesting things, but nutrition is the core.

A: How about telling us a few success stories.

BC: I came back from my ever-going lecture tours – this time in the northeastern part of the US. I was in Connecticut and in that conference two people stood up – one a former Federal Judge here in the US and he was told he had 18 months to live three years ago. He had stage four cancer and he stood up and that was the first I had seen him. He was told by Yale University – the very Institute that told him he was going to die – that he was totally free of cancer. So these are the kinds of things we expect and see consistently.

In the same room was a wonderful lady who came to us seven years ago after being told that she had stage four cancer and that she would live for no more than a year; it was in her liver and moving into her pancreas. I knew she had recovered but I hadn’t seen her in all that time, and there she was, standing up, looking unbelievably good. She looked 20 years younger than anyone else in the room her age and smiling and glowing. Now, this is reality and, sadly, what has been imposed upon us is fear; it’s gorilla marketing. That fear cripples us and takes away our power, strength, well-being and spiritual awareness. And we’ve got to awaken people, because if we don’t awaken, we’re going to go to sleep.

I see major hope for this. I travel all over the world and it used to be dozens of people who were interested; now it’s thousands.

A: Could you tell listeners that are new to this why a raw, vegan diet is superior to a cooked, vegan diet?

BC: I’ll tell you an interesting story and I think everyone will be able to relate to this. Humans and the animals we control are the only creatures on Earth that do not eat a 100 percent raw food diet. What we have to know is that the human body is biochemistry. I know we think we’re cute and we have names like John and Mary and we get dressed up and all of that business, but, really, it’s just a gathering of chemistry and you have 95 trillion cells in the body. Eighty-five trillion of those cells are in the human brain because the brain never shuts off and it works in multitudes of ways that even the smartest people aren’t even aware of today. And then from the neck down, you have 10 trillion cells. That’s an amazing fact, but more amazing is that those cells can consistently and constantly replace themselves. If we took your body and analyzed every cell here at the Institute and then put those cells back into you, seven years from today, not one cell would be there. And more interesting than that, if I took your heart out today and put it back in, not one cell would be here in 30 days because it’s completely changed and renewed in 30 days. The human lung, 70 days. Parts of the brain, which I was taught at university in the dark ages never regenerate, regenerate in two and a half days. Stomach lining, five days. Now with all of that said, when I look at your body, what I’m seeing is the largest organ – the skin, and that skin is no more than red blood cells.

We have to feed those cells – that chemistry – particular elements. Of course, it needs protein because protein is sort of the framework that holds the cell together. We need vitamins; vitamins are the covering of the cell. That’s why in our cultures, when people get old, their skin gets really thin and when they touch the table or somebody touches them, they bleed and get bruised. That’s because they’ve had long-term vitamin deficiencies. But if you have strong vitamin intake your whole life, it recovers and makes strong, healthy cells.

Of course, you need minerals and trace minerals; that’s what allows the electrical currency to go through the body. The body is first and foremost electric. The Asians knew that. Two, three thousand years ago, they invented things like acupuncture and acupressure because they realized that you’re foremost electric and even the most conservative medical doctor knows you’re electric. Why I know that and why you should understand that is because they test you electrically. What is an MRI? What is a cat scan? What is an ultrasound? All of these show the electrical magnetic frequency of your organs – or not, meaning that they’re not working the way they should. So here’s what else we need. Modern medicine stops where I just stopped there.

What else you need are hormones and as I mentioned early on in the talk, hormones literally are something that you constantly must have because they’re the chemistries of language for the cells – the way the cells communicate, and that’s important. These chemistries have to be available and the only way we have an ongoing reserve is by eating foods that have them in it. And the only foods that have the hormones your body receives are raw, vegan foods. Once you cook the food, the hormones are gone. If you don’t get enough hormones, which obviously, most of the people listening today do not, you’re going to age prematurely and your brain is not going to function. And what would happen, for instance, if I’m a cell and you’re a cell listening today and I say to you in a very loud voice because I have enough hormones, “Let’s go become a liver” Well, then we’d both go become a liver and have a healthy liver. But what happens if I don’t have enough hormones? The cell would say, “I can’t communicate clearly.” And now the cell wanders off and doesn’t become a liver and then the liver becomes weak. Furthermore, the cell may mutate and become cancer.

The second thing you get with living, vegan food is oxygen. Now, this is interesting. We’ve known since 1917 that, to digest proteins, vitamins and minerals, you need oxygen to be present. The only time you have oxygen present with them is in raw food. Once you cook a food, the oxygen leaves it. As a matter of fact, the fragrance you smell when a food is cooking is oxygen molecules leaving. So when you’re cooking food, put your head over the pot, don’t get burned and huff deeply and heavily. You’re going to get the best thing out of that.

The next one we’ve only known about for half a century. Inherent in all raw, plant-based foods there’s something called phytochemistry or phytochemicals. These phytochemicals, we’ve discovered, are the most important discovery in the field of nutrition. They have elements that nature put there from plants that started millions and millions of years ago to prevent and eliminate disease. When they started to do this research, it completely validated – and made even myself and other scientists working on this understand – how this program really works. They discovered the foods that have the most phytochemicals are sprouts – things like wheatgrass and all the other sprouts. The phytochemicals not only prevent and eliminate diseases you have within you, but they also prevent the premature aging process. That’s why none of us who live this way and exercise and do all the other things we need to do ever age the way the ‘normal’ – which is abnormal – population does.

Lastly, you get enzymes and this goes back to the electric. If you’re a doctor or a nurse or a chemist, you’re going to be taught that an enzyme is a protein, which it is. But that’s only a small part of the story. It’s a very unique protein – the protein that carries electric into the body. Since your body is first and foremost bioelectric frequency, we have to ask the obvious question, “Where do we get the ongoing electric from?” Well, you can get it from raw, organic, vegan food. Once you cook the food – even vegan, cooked food – the enzymes are gone; the phytochemicals are gone; the oxygen is gone and the hormones are gone. When you reverse that, there’s hope. And the 21st century understanding of nutrition is what I’ve just explained to you. You get the hormones, oxygen, phytochemicals, and enzymes. They are the most essential and elemental part of human nutrition that you can only acquire from raw, organic, vegan food.

A: And the absence of these leads to all kinds of diseases?

BC: Absolutely. And its presence, as we’ve seen here – clinically with hundreds of thousands of people – reverses those problems.

Allart is the producer and host of the “Dynamic Health” radio program, which airs live every Wednesday, 1-2 pm on Co-op Radio, CFRO 102.7 FM. The rest of the April 8/09 Brian Clement interview and all past programs can be heard on www.DynamicHealthRadio.info.

Journalism in the 21st Century

INDEPENDENT MEDIA by Steve Anderson

Which do you find more engaging: reading an article in a newspaper or having a conversation about it with a friend afterwards? This is the question journalists, editors and media executives should be asking themselves as they try to navigate through the current crisis in journalism. If you’re like me, you find conversation about current events more interesting than the consumption of news.

It appears that the Internet is facilitating an increase in expression, collaboration and conversation, which although unevenly dispersed, is unmistakable. The current crisis in big business, coupled with the explosion of personal expression through online media, is fundamentally transforming journalism practices and giving way to the emergence of a more participatory form of journalism.

A new relationship between journalists and audiences

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen calls this new form of journalism “pro-am,” short for professional and amateur. According to Rosen, “The pro-am approach looks for the hybrid forms that combine substantial openness with some controls.” Those controls come in the form of journalists acting as facilitators of collaborative “crowd sourced” journalism. Rosen maintains that pro-am or participatory journalism won’t replace traditional newsrooms, “but if taken seriously and used properly, this pro-am model has the potential to radically extend the reach and effectiveness of professional journalism.”

The Guardian newspaper harnessed its online community towards producing better professional journalism by inviting people to read through MPs’ expense documents, normally considered a highly expensive and unlikely initiative. To date, 23,376 people have reviewed 204,477 pages for the Guardian.

Ingredients for participatory journalism

A Canadian example of this transformation in journalism can be found in perhaps the most unlikely of places – the Financial Post. The FP’s live blog coverage of the CRTC’s traffic management hearing was facilitated by journalist Matt Hartley, who proved to be both a skilled online discussion facilitator and knowledgeable about the media and telecommunications industry. Hartley also added value to the hearing by inviting presenters to join the discussion. Hartley kept the discussion open; all twitter chats that were appropriately tagged were automatically fed into the conversation and messages were posted quickly.

The FP’s coverage was successful as a result of the three basic ingredients necessary for engaging participatory journalism:

  • Good facilitation (skilled, respected, knowledgeable)
  • Value (informative and relevant content)
  • Openness (provides open access via numerous points of entry)

Ownership matters

It could be a long wait indeed before big corporations become purveyors of open, transparent and participatory journalism. As Rosen put it when talking about the journalism system, “If you know how the old one fell apart, it’s easier to put something new together.” Keeping in mind that the greed of big media is largely responsible for the crisis in journalism, we can focus squarely on new independent and public projects.

One recent media success story is TVO’s The Agenda: On the Road, which ran a series of discussion panels that were hosted in local communities and focused on local issues. The show went one step further by allowing participants or “the audience” to drive the direction of the discussions. Through the “unconference” and other social media tools, the show collected citizen input and acted upon it. According to Mark Kuznicki, a social media and community management consultant involved in the series, “TVO is mixing the best of old and new media to stimulate a higher level of citizen engagement.”

Who will lead?

The public wants more participatory forms of media and we can’t trust that large corporations, with their matrix of commercial and ideological interests, can effectively curate democratic dialogue. While some enlightened media outlets have taken up the challenge of reinventing journalism, apart from the prematurely cancelled ZED series and Exposure, the CBC and many other socially mandated media outlets have yet to take full advantage of online media tools.

The media terrain is in the process of being renegotiated and public service media organizations should be at the forefront.

Steve Anderson is the national coordinator for the Campaign for Democratic Media. He contributed to Censored 2008 and Battleground: The Media, and has written for The TyeeToronto Star, Epoch Times and Adbusters. Reach him at: 
steve@democraticmedia.ca
www.FacebookSteve.com
www.SteveOnTwitter.com

Go meatless one day a week

NUTRISPEAK by Vesanto Melina

Going vegetarian, at least one day each week, is becoming the “green” thing to do worldwide. In Israel, upscale restaurants promote “Vegetarian Mondays,” an initiative that encourages people to explore veggie options and contributes to the fight against global warming. Sir Paul McCartney has been promoting a similar program In Britain and Australia. In the US, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore sponsors “Meatless Mondays” to help Americans eat healthier foods, which are also easier on animals and the environment.

Earlier this year, the federal environment agency in Germany asked people to return to pre-war norms of eating meat on special occasions only and to otherwise model their dietary habits on people in Mediterranean countries. The number of vegetarians in Germany increased from 0.4 percent in 1983 to approximately 10 percent a quarter century later.

In the Belgian city of Ghent, officials established Thursday as the day to go meatless (Veggiedag). In this city of a quarter-million people, the mayor asked fellow civil servants to abstain from meat every Thursday; restaurants extended their vegetarian menus and vegetarian meals will be served in city schools. This seems to be an appealing solution for those who wish to reduce their meat consumption for health or environmental reasons, but who don’t want to give up meat altogether. All the restaurants approached to participate in the Israeli campaign accepted enthusiastically and they’re coming up with creative, interesting vegetarian dishes.

This wave of enthusiasm was powered, in part, by environmental concerns and a love for our planet. A report by the World Resources Institute (www.wri.org) indicates how important it is that everyone reduces his/her meat consumption in order to help halt water pollution, climate change and other environmental problems.

This follows the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) paper “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” which concluded that the meat industry is one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems and that urgent action is required to remedy the situation. Animal products and dietary choices prove to be bigger contributors to global warming and climate change than our choice of transportation.

In the Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook, author David de Rothschild cites the refusal to eat meat as the “single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.” It takes significantly less water, land, grain and other resources to produce a plant-based diet than a meat-based one.

A vegetarian diet has a lot going for it. According to the American Dietetic Association’s literature, “A vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. When compared with non-vegetarians, vegetarians have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower rates of hypertension, less type 2 diabetes, lower overall cancer rates, and less obesity. Dietary features that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soyfoods, fibre and phytochemicals.”

If you’re inspired, pick one day a week not to eat meat. When you have comfortably made that transition, try it for two days a week. To explore your options in the Vancouver area, visit Earthsave’s website at www.earthsave.ca The organization has started the Vancouver Meatless Meetup group, which serves as an introduction to local potlucks, dine-outs, film showings and other events (see www.meetup.com/Vancouver-Meatless-Meetup).

For veg-friendly dining in BC, check out www.happycow.net and www.vegdining.com (if you know of more choices in the province than those listed, please contact these websites sites so they can update their information).

Vesanto Melina is a registered dietitian and author of a number of nutrition classics, including Becoming Vegetarian, Becoming Vegan, Raising Vegetarian Children and the Food Allergy Survival Guide. To book a personal consultation with Vesanto in Langley, call 604-882-6782.www.nutrispeak.com

To sign a relevant petition online, visit www.meatfreepetition.com

The Vancouver Island Diet

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot

I feel incredibly inspired and encouraged by all the efforts of Vancouver Islanders to increase local food security this year, yet I can’t help but think that we need a plan to move from providing five percent of the food we consume to 50 percent, the rate currently enjoyed by the rest of BC.

Before we begin, we need to know if we have enough farmable land on Vancouver Island and the outlying islands to make sure that a goal of 50 percent food security is feasible. The current population of Vancouver Island is 734,860; in order to maintain current American dietary standards, we need 1.2 acres of farmable land per capita population. This could be cut back to a half-acre if we reduce our meat consumption and adopt a more vegetarian/vegan way of eating. By quantifying farmable acres, we’d familiarize ourselves with the land that we need to protect from speculation and development, in order to feed ourselves.

We are fortunate to live in a cool, temperate climate, with Mediterranean-type summers and mild winters where we can grow food year-round. We are also fortunate that we have a solid core of community-minded people who understand the imperative of getting more food in the ground. When we shift from a social norm that encourages rugged individualism and competition to one that inspires cooperation, collaboration and community (the 3 Cs), we’ll be able to make the shift to a Vancouver Island Diet more easily.

We could launch a ‘REAL’ food campaign – it just so happens that REAL stands for regional, environmentally responsible, agricultural land use. Tests at a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) lab in Maryland show that greens grown in greenhouses lack the antioxidants essential for maintaining good health. The glass blocks the UVB-band in sunlight that prompts lettuce and other crops to make antioxidants outdoors.

This is how we market the REAL food campaign: growing our own food and supporting the local farming community means we eat REAL food, food that has been grown in healthy soils and allowed to sun ripen. This is how we protect ourselves against the onslaught of cancer and neurological problems, using natural phytonutrients in our food as our defence.

By 2040, the number of people older than 65 will double to 1.3 billion, accounting for 14 percent of the total global population. For the first time in history, the old will outnumber the young, a fact that could slow economic growth in both rich and poor countries alike. If our new mantra was ‘let food be thy medicine,’ we could prevent the bankruptcy of our healthcare system. And a new approach endorsing preventative health care – making it the individual’s responsibility to eat the right foods to achieve optimum health – would mean we would shift from depending on pharmaceuticals to living well.

So who’s going to grow all this food and where is the land going to come from? Farmers require secure land access so restrictions could perhaps be tightened on the future purchase of land that has been zoned as agricultural. A clause requiring that a minimum of 10 percent of the land be farmed would put a lot of land back into food production. For landowners who do not wish to farm, extending long-term leases to tenant farmers would get the next generation of farmers back on the land and the landowner could receive farm tax credits as a reward.

The Vancouver Island Diet mitigates the unknown effects of climate change, the economic recession and the swine flu pandemic. It creates both community and greater food security through ensuring that our neighbours are fed. It also means greater prosperity as we reclaim our right to good health and benefit from the power of community. What are we waiting for?

Carolyn Herriot is author of A Year on the Garden Path: A 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide. She grows Seeds of Victoria at the Garden Path Centre where she teaches The Zero Mile Diet – Twelve Steps to Sustainable Homegrown Food Production and Growing an Edible Plant Business.www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath

No ego, no anxiety

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. – Deepak Chopra

Increasing numbers of people suffer from anxiety or chronic worry and while there is sometimes a biological component and medications can be helpful, the real issue comes down to controlling one’s thoughts.

Most anxiety and worry come from thinking about the future or agonizing about the past. This is different from the anxiety one might feel sitting in a dentist’s chair or driving on slippery roads, however. That anxiety is quite normal because one feels threatened by a real situation.

It becomes unproductive when we start thinking about the future and what might happen. For example, when a thunderstorm begins, one could worry about one’s house being hit by lightning. The mind might then go to the thought that it might hail and if the hailstones are really big they might break the skylights. Then the water would come in and make a big mess. Ramping it up a little, visions of a tornado enter one’s consciousness. Then it’s all about what if I die or what if my house is destroyed? Where will I live and how will I work? In minutes, the mind has taken us from a mild thunderstorm to death and destruction.

Of course, it is the ego-mind orchestrating all of this catastrophizing. Ego is so wrapped up in itself that it constantly scans the horizon to see if anything is lurking that might interfere with its need to control. Like the over-anxious mother who so fears losing her child that she sees potential danger in every possible experience, ego likes to warn us about all that could possibly go wrong.

This keeps us off-balance and much more focused on survival and protection than on freedom and growth. Some can spend a lifetime contracted in fear, with all of life’s precious, present moments sucked into the black hole of “what if?”

There is a way out. It is impossible to be in the present moment and in the future at the same time. If we can keep our attention focused upon the present moment, we could be quite relaxed. This is why people can relax on a tropical beach; they have left their entire world behind.

We must learn to do this without having to travel to far-off places. We need to learn to control our thoughts and keep them focused on the present or, at least, on positive things. We can start with thought stopping: when we find ourselves slipping into worry mode, we can imagine a large STOP sign and immediately switch the topic of our thoughts. It is much like using the remote to change the channel.

For many, the idea of being able to control one’s thoughts might seem strange because they seem to come of their own free will and leave only when they are ready. Yet if we were talking about unexpected houseguests, we would quickly set boundaries and while it does require a lot of practice, we can do the same with our thoughts.

We can also make a conscious effort to replace negative ego thoughts with empowered higher-self thoughts. We can visualize the storm passing quickly without causing any damage. We can just as easily imagine positive outcomes as negative ones.

How we think determines, in large measure, how we feel. If we allow ego to scare us, to put us into a scarcity mentality or make us feel weak and vulnerable, we cannot possibly feel good. It then becomes even more difficult to do the things that might help us feel better.

Imagine being a marathon runner. Ego is behind you, trying to trip you or stop you. You are strong and determined. You burst forth, thinking how wonderful it will feel at the finish line. You enjoy the feel of your body’s strength, the camaraderie of the other runners and the beautiful scenery. Before you know it, you have left ego languishing in the dust.

Gwen Randall-Young is a psychotherapist in private practice and author ofGrowing Into Soul: The Next Step in Human Evolution. For more articles, permission to reprint and information about her books and “Deep Powerful Change” personal growth/hypnosis CDs, visit www.gwen.ca

Green filmmakers see red

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead

Paul Watson confronts whalers in At the Edge of the World

The 16-day Vancouver International Film Festival gets underway on October 1. If previous years are anything to go by, you can expect a program bursting at the seams with world cinema, documentary, music and arthouse works from across the globe. In particular, with the Earth Summit in Copenhagen coming in December, expect festival artistic director Alan Franey to field a strand of hard-hitting environmental documentaries when the full VIFF program goes live on September 12 at www.viff.org

Two such docs that reveal a swelling wave of righteous green anger are At the Edge of the World and H2OilAt the Edge of the World follows Captain Paul Watson, a buccaneering, white-bearded bear of a man and crews of two of his ships as they set sail on an annual mission to hunt down and stop Japanese whalers in the frozen South Seas. Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace, quit the organization to take a more proactive approach and is renowned for his aggressive, “interventionist” tactics when policing the oceans. He flies a Jolly Roger from his mast and is famous for the steel blade attached to the hull of his ship, the Farley Moat, to dispense with his enemy. On the side of his hull, markings of sunken vessels indicate that Watson is not afraid to use his so co-called “can opener.”

The captain of the second ship, the Robert Hunter, is Dutchman Alex Cornelissen, a combination of cool head and fiery spirit. The two men make natural leading characters in what becomes a gripping drama involving chases through icy seas as treacherous as they are scenically spectacular. At the Edge of the World is like a modern, eco version of a Hornblower adventure as it follows the motley crew of volunteers as they enter a freezing conflict zone. The difference is that the weapons are Zodiac speedboats, stink bombs – to sabotage the whale meat-processing boat – and frayed rope to foul a ship propeller. Director Dan Stone’s fly-on-the-wall approach pays off. Using multiple cameras, and some great aerial shots taken from Sea Shepherd’s helicopter, allows the filmmakers to knit together a compelling tale of green heroism.

Although less dramatic, H2Oil is quietly incendiary. The largely aboriginal community of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, downstream from the Tar Sands at Fort McMurray, has become a cancer hotspot. Local wetlands and fresh water sources are drying up. Vast, oily tailings ponds, so big you can see them from space, now define the area and the Athabasca River is a toxic mess. But as interviews in H2Oil reveal, addressing these problems is frustrating. Government leaders, seeing dollar signs, slither away from responsibility and sidle up with the oil barons. Worse, when the local doctor shares his fears about Tar Sands pollution, Health Canada removes him from his post for “alarming” his community. Left with no choice, we see the community go global with their concerns and “Fort Chip” is now making international headlines. If you want to put faces behind some of those headlines, H2Oil makes a good introduction.

Finally, a self-plug: the Museum of Vancouver’s excellent Velo-City exhibition, which looks at the historic role of the bicycle in Vancouver, ends this month with a double bill screening of You Never Bike Alone and Portland documentary feature Veer (Sunday September 6, 1:00 PM). The films celebrate the vibrant, urban sub-culture surrounding the ultimate green machine.

Robert Alstead made the Vancouver documentary You Never Bike Alone.www.youneverbikealone.com. He writes at www.2020Vancouver.com

Climate change wish list

EARTHFUTURE by Guy Dauncey

Back in June, I invited Common Groundreaders to send me their best ideas on how to tackle global warming. You responded and I will forward them to the Premier, as promised. Your responses were mostly quite achievable, if we could only organize the political support to make them a reality. You had visions of wind turbines along the road from Hope to Agassiz and along the west coast of Vancouver Island. You wanted to see high school automotive programs that convert cars to electricity and initiatives to reduce the number of cars in urban areas, coupled with far more investment in public transit, biking and walking.

You wanted all new houses to be built with solar hot water on the roof, efficient light bulbs and a single switch that turns off all non-essential lights and appliances when you leave the building. You wanted incentives to be available for people to install solar panels, as there are in Germany, and in areas with water-shortages, you wanted all new houses to be built with Earthship technologies that save water and energy.

You wanted people to use smaller washing machines and super-efficient dual flush toilets. You wanted the exercise machines in gyms to be equipped to generate energy and you wanted education and legislation that would encourage people to eat a more vegetarian and vegan diet, with more local food. You expressed the desire for a spiritual revolution to convince people that they don’t need all their swimming pools, second and third cars and fancy imported clothes.

Stepping outside, you wanted to see people planting zillions of trees along our highway corridors, boulevards and medians, in industrial parks and in their own gardens. You made the intelligent point that it’s a whole lot cooler under trees and with hotter summers coming, it only makes sense to plant more of them, especially since trees store carbon.

You expressed support for a carbon tax, but you preferred that we use the income to pay for free home audits and subsidies for solar equipment and other carbon-reducing measures, rather than giving it back as a tax-break.

Moving up the scale towards the bigger issues, you wanted BC to stop drilling for oil and gas, leaving it in the ground for a future day when technology will have advanced and it can be burnt in a carbon-free manner.

You also wanted BC to stop exporting coal from Roberts Bank and Prince George until carbon sequestration technology is available. How can we go on mining and selling coal while claiming that we want to stop global warming? It’s like being publicly opposed to slavery while continuing to sell slaves on the side.

These are challenging thoughts that make total sense, even if they require us to ask how we would retrain the 3,000 workers in BC’s coal industry, compensate the companies and help the coal-mining communities build new, more sustainable economies.

Looking further afield, you want to see a country-wide Canadian Energy Grid built that could help make Canada self-sufficient in energy without the need for fossil fuels, nuclear power or the Tar Sands, using green electricity to expand light rapid transit, high speed trains and electric vehicles, with local manufacturing of solar, tidal and wind turbines.

Looking immediately ahead, you suggested that the Olympic Games be either cancelled or scaled down, making it an athletes-only games with a far smaller carbon footprint, as part of a message to the public that we need to engage with far more seriousness in tackling climate change.

How can all this be done? You called for a coalition government to be formed with the New Democrats so that we can begin working together to plan the scale of popular mobilization that is needed.

Around the world, many of these things are beginning to happen, but oh, on such a small scale and in so few places. What will it take for the whole world to wake up and realize not only how excruciatingly urgent the climate agenda is, but how amazing the task of rebuilding our world will be, as we fashion a sustainable world beyond fossil fuels? We sit on the cusp of such an incredible future – or such a disaster.

Guy Dauncey is the publisher of the free, monthly newsletter, EcoNews; sign up to receive it at www.earthfuture.com.

A new economic paradigm

SCIENCE MATTERS by David Suzuki with Faisal Moola

I’ve heard economists boast that their discipline is based on a fundamental human impulse: selfishness. They claim that we act first out of self-interest. I can agree, depending on how we define self. To some, ‘self’ extends beyond the individual person to include immediate family. Others might include community, an ecosystem or all other species.

I list ecosystem and other species deliberately because we have become a narcissistic, self-indulgent species. We believe we are at the centre of the world and everything around us is an opportunity or resource to exploit. Our needs or demands trump all other possibilities. This is an anthropocentric view of life.

Thus, when faced with a choice of logging or conserving a forest, we focus on the potential economic benefits of logging or not logging. When the economy experiences a downturn, we demand that nature pay for it. We relax pollution standards, increase logging or fishing above sustainable levels, or, as the federal government has decreed, lift the requirement of environmental assessments for new projects.

A fundamentally different perspective on our place in the world is called biocentrism. In this view, life’s diversity encompasses all and we humans are part of it, ultimately deriving everything we need from it. Viewed this way, our well-being, indeed our survival, depends on the health and well-being of the natural world. I believe this view better reflects reality.

The most pernicious aspect of our anthropocentrism has been to elevate economics to the highest priority. We act as if the economy is some kind of natural force that we must all placate or serve in every way possible. But wait! Some things, like gravity, the speed of light, entropy and the first and second laws of thermodynamics, are forces of nature.

But the economy, the market, the currency – we created these entities and if they don’t work we should look beyond trying to get them back up and running the way they were. We should fix them or toss them out and replace them.

When economists and politicians met in Bretton Woods, Maine, in 1944, they faced a world where war had devastated countrysides, cities and economies. So they tried to devise solutions. They pegged currency to the American greenback and looked to the (terrible) twins – the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – to get economies going again.

The post-war era saw amazing recovery in Europe and Japan, as well as a roaring US economy, based on supplying a cornucopia of consumer goods. But the economic system we’ve created is fundamentally flawed because it is disconnected from the biosphere in which we live. We cannot afford to ignore these flaws any longer.

Flaw #1: Beyond its obvious value as the source of raw materials – fish, lumber and food – nature performs all kinds of ‘services’ that allow us to survive and flourish. Nature creates topsoil, the thin skin that supports all agriculture. Nature removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and returns oxygen. Nature takes nitrogen from the air and fixes it to enrich soil. Nature filters water as it percolates through soil. Nature transforms sunlight into molecules that we need for energy in our bodies. Nature degrades the carcasses of dead plants and animals and disperses the atoms and molecules back into the biosphere. Nature pollinates flowering plants.

I could go on, but I think you catch my drift. We cannot duplicate what nature does around the clock, but we dismiss those services as externalities in our economy.

Flaw #2: To compound the problem, economists believe that, because there are no limits to human creativity, there need be no limits to the economy. But the economy depends on having healthy people and health depends on nature’s services, which are ignored in economic calculations. Our home is the biosphere, the thin layer of air, water and land where all life exists. And that’s it; it can’t grow. We are witnessing the collision of the economic imperative to grow indefinitely with the finite services that nature performs. It’s time to get our perspective and priorities right. Biocentrism is a good place to start.

It’s time for a Bretton Woods II.

Take the Nature Challenge and learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org

Welcome to Village Vancouver – Talk to your neighbour. See what happens…

by Kathie Wallace and Ross Moster

Entrance courtyard of the Laura Jamieson Housing Co-op

We want to spread the good news of neighbourhood-based individual action. What have you created this summer and what do you dream of doing next year? What do you like the most about living in your neighbourhood? What essential components make your community the place you love to live in? Please blog us at www.villagevancouver.ca

In my village

The Laura Jamieson Housing Co-op (LJHC) is a dynamic and engaged community and a real example of how a village can thrive within a city. Members collectively own and democratically operate the LJHC. Participation is important and everyone has an opportunity to contribute in his/her own unique way. All members have an equal say in the operation and management of the co-op, including issues such as maintenance, grounds-keeping, finances and sustainability.

We are a diverse community, which brings a broad range of perspectives and encourages a culture of inclusivity and respect. As people do in a small village, we help each other in times of need. When an elderly couple moved into a smaller suite, more than 12 members showed up to help them with their move. Co-op members use common spaces for informal gatherings and socializing; events such as potlucks, kids’ parties, Spring Fling work parties and exchanges of goods and resources strengthen our social fabric. We also host a summer block party to celebrate our community and to connect with outside neighbours. Everyone contributes to the community, which makes our village a great place to live.

– Jamie Cowan and Lena Soots, Grandview

 

In the garden

The Two Block Diet turns our own neighbourhood into the place where we grow our own food. It started as a conversation between two neighbours about supporting each other to grow more food. From there, the initiative blossomed into a core of 10 households, along with a healthy following of interested sideliners. Our core organizing strategy consists of regular, voluntary work parties. Each week, we visit a neighbour’s garden and tackle a project. We all greatly value the shared experience of giving where “many hands make light work” and equally as importantly, we all take a turn on the receiving end. Together, we have built a greenhouse, raised an army of tomato plants from seed, built an herb wall, cleared an astounding pile of tree branches, added a hive of Italian bees and applied for a grant for a cooperative composting bin. These are only some of the countless benefits of working with, and getting to know, the people who share our street. See twoblockdiet.blogspot.com

– Julia Hilton and Kate Sutherland, Little Mountain

Salons: community conversations 

At a salon, people gather to talk about interesting subjects. Whoever shows up, it is a space where all opinions are heard and everyone is listened to. Salons are easy to start and the open interaction can lead to community action. They are also a great way to make new friends and be entertained without spending a lot of money or using fossil fuels.

Salon d’Elan Vital (life force) is a local community-building salon in Kitsilano. Now in its third year, it is dedicated to good food and thoughtful conversation. Previous topics have focused on arts and culture, the health and well-being of individuals and the community, and social and environmental justice. Sd’EV has evolved to include potlucks, film nights and drop-in spaghetti nights and it has inspired others to create their own spaces for salons. The media artists’ nonprofit group (IMAPON) and Village Vancouver evolved, in part, out of Sd’EV. 

Recent salons on “The future ain’t what it used to be: Envisioning sustainable scenarios in Vancouver and beyond” resulted in a group of people (many of whom didn’t know each other previously) presenting a proposal on urban farming that was passed unanimously by the North Vancouver city council. Contact us for help with starting a salon in your neighbourhood.

At Village Vancouver, we look forward to hearing your stories of what’s growing in your neighbourhood. Blog us at www.villagevancouver.ca

Details on future topics: 
www.villagevancouver.ca

A right understanding of matters

WRITING ON THE WALL by Henry E. McCandless

Canadian citizens accepted thousands of preventable deaths and wrecked lives from contaminated blood in the 1980s, and later the needless deaths of 26 Nova Scotia coal miners in a disgraceful mine. We tolerate wrongful imprisonments across the country and police forces inadequately managed, motivated and trained for interventions. We accept the corporation-driven medical treatment fixation rather than install rules for prevention. We don’t require the standards of care for seniors they are entitled to see met, and we don’t require facilities to uphold seniors’ dignity. We accept government ideology transferring public money to corporations and we don’t uphold the precautionary principle for the environment and our natural resources. We accept quiet decline in the competence of Canadian officials and don’t question their training and motivation. We tolerate Canadian legislators steadfastly sidestepping the application of public accountability even though it is a society imperative. We allow them in their ritual processes to refuse to grasp the basics of management control for what they oversee, something essential to running their jurisdictions competently. The list goes on and on – and for all countries.

In 1796 George Washington made an important observation: “I am sure the mass of Citizens in these United States mean well, and I firmly believe they will always act well, whenever they can obtain a right understanding of matters…” It is not clear whether the majority of Canadian citizens seek a right understanding of matters, or simply hope that someone else will fix things, while complaining about them after the fact.

Yet by holding to account fairly and relentlessly, citizens can control what goes on.

Holding to account means extracting the information from authorities that citizens need to gain a right understanding of issues they should deal with. Given the information, and not just data, citizens can more sensibly act to commend, alter or halt what authorities intend. Thus the essence of public accountability is the obligation of authorities to explain publicly, fully and fairly before the fact what they intend and why, the performance standards they intend for themselves and those they oversee, and later what resulted from what they did and how they applied the learning available from it. We have failed to install this basic obligation.

Most people think accountability is responsibility, the obligation to act (a related but different obligation). The fraudulently-titled federal Accountability Act is a prime example. Or they see it only as explanation after the fact, from financial statements, court cases and inquiries. But financial statements are only a part of public accountability and after-the-fact attention doesn’t prevent harm, injustice or irreversible environmental damage. We don’t get full and fair public explanation of the intentions of the directing minds of authorities such as governments and the agencies they control because the requirement, if seen headed into law, is apt to turn authorities’ knuckles white. (Think of the classic BBC’s “Yes Minister”.) The lobbying against it would be over funded.

Citizens should not trust an authority that does not explain publicly, fully and fairly what it intends, and why. As a former Provincial Auditor of Ontario put it, “If you know it, you can report it.” Authorities certainly know their underlying agendas.

When the Board of the Vancouver Island Health Authority acted to close the Cowichan Lodge facility in Duncan and turn over its operations to the private sector with no credible intention explanation before the fact, the spokesperson for 80,000 Cowichan-area citizens told the Directors at a public meeting, “You have lost the public’s trust.” This ought to have been devastating to the Board members sitting there, facing her. Given the Board’s purposeful ignorance of its public accountability, it likely wasn’t.

So why does holding to account work? If elected or appointed officials must explain their intentions, reasons and performance standards within their authority, knowledgeable organizations can publicly shred identified intentions reasonably seen to lead to harm. As well, independent audit can attest to the fairness and completeness of what the authority says. Fear of consequent loss of credibility with the public will exert a self-regulating influence on what the authority intends.

“Checks and balances,” monitoring and performance audit after the fact don’t create this self-regulating influence. Review boards for professionals review processes but don’t examine and report whether performance such as professional medical diagnoses and treatments met the standards of diligence that citizens are entitled to see met.

Citizens can act in two ways. They can require their legislators to install in the law the requirement for full and fair public accounting by all authorities affecting the public in important ways. That allows auditors general to audit compliance with the legislation.

As well, citizens can form citizen accountability groups to hold authorities publicly to account for their responsibilities in the issues of concern to the groups. They can set out publicly, for the relevant authorities, what they see as the nature of the public explanations the authority should be giving for its intentions, reasons, performance standards and results. Alongside external auditors, the groups can then publicly assess the fairness and completeness of the authority’s public explanations.

If we don’t do this, we carry on with activist citizens putting in terribly long hours, largely after work, to try to overturn intentions and actions seen as unfair — with the intentions not being given public challenge before the fact, and with officials who plan and carry out the intentions getting salaries and pensions for it.

As to the type of public reporting needed, George Washington’s observation fits with the 1989 Massey Lectures of Dr. Ursula Franklin, who said: “Whenever someone talks to you about the benefits and costs of a particular project, don’t ask what benefits? ask whose benefits and whose costs?”

Thus we can develop a useful form of public accountability explanation we can call an Equity Statement (EqS). The statement sets out, for proponents of an intention that would affect the public in important ways:

  1. who would gain what benefits from what is proposed, and why they should, in both the short and longer term;
  2. who would bear what costs and risks, and why they should, in both the short and longer term; and
  3. assuming the proposal were to go ahead, who would be required to meet what standard of performance and public explanation of how responsibilities are being carried out.

The proponents for an intention — and those opposed — can each draft an equity statement for public challenge of an intention. This can range from property developers and residents to governing and opposition parties in a legislature. The elected representatives making the decisions would account to their constituents if they disregard what a valid composite equity statement logically points to as the decision.

Whether a local municipal property development application, an intended “private-public sector partnership” or other executive government policy or regulation intention, a validated equity statement would give citizens information they should have to do their oversight duty. To be effective as a self-regulating influence on governments’ intentions, equity statement reporting would have to be assessed by auditors general for its fairness and completeness and by knowledgeable public interest groups.

As a society imperative, public accountability is non-partisan and isn’t political policy. In serving the accountability relationship between government and the legislature it is therefore open to auditors general to recommend to their legislators that equity statements by the executive government be made the law. But it is up to citizens to require their elected representatives to install it.

Henry E. McCandless is General Convenor of the Citizens’ Circle For Accountability (www.accountabilitycircle.org) and the author of A Citizen’s Guide to Public Accountability: Changing the Relationship Between Citizens and Authorities (Trafford 2002). From 1978 to 1996 he was a Principal in the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.