Archive for the ‘Blue Dot right’ Category

The Blue Dot is hot—in Richmond

October 16, 2014

Update, March 20, 2015: We have now been informed that Victoria city council is bringing the environmental bill of rights to their area association and, with any luck, from there to the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

Update, March 19, 2015: On Sunday, April 19, Richmond Blue Dot will extend a broad welcome to the Richmond celebration of “Connect the Blue Dots—A national day of community action.” Details soon.

Update, March 18, 2015: Richmond will be urging the Lower Mainland Local Government Association to ask the provincial government to enact a provincial environmental bill of rights. It includes the Right to a Healthy Environment that Richmond adopted last October 14, becoming a model for Canadian municipalities. It also goes further, as shown in this report from Amarjeet Rattan, Richmond’s Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. It has been ratified by committee, and it’s likely to be ratified by council on March 23. Great work, council and staff, in proactively furthering the Right to a Healthy Environment! 

Richmond Blue Dot team

When hot means popular, it’s great that the Blue Dot is hot in Richmond, British Columbia. It means that the community is behind the Right to a Healthy Environment in Canada and on Planet Earth, which (as seen from space) is a blue dot.

Lots of citizens in blue showed the strength of the Blue Dot campaign the Right to Healthy Environment at the Richmond council meeting of Tuesday, October 14. They included the group of Richmond Blue Dot campaigners shown above, displaying signed cards of support. National organizer Sophika Kostyniuk is in front of the Richmond Blue Dot Movement sign  with her young daughter.

In a positive and collaborative spirit, we experienced an excellent presentation by Sophika Kostyniuk and three young people, then several citizen follow-ups, and finally council follow-ups by every member there. I think that Richmond is the first small or mid-size city in Canada to take that step. (Congratulations to Montreal for being the first large city to act.)

Sophika has described the event in a Blue Dot blog article that includes this:

On October 14, Richmond city council unanimously adopted a declaration in support of the Right to a Healthy Environment, ensuring that access to fresh air, clean water and healthy food guides the community’s direction.

The residents of Richmond have clearly demonstrated that citizens have the power to positively transform their community by gathering around a key issue and amplifying a hopeful message. (more here)

You can watch the relevant Richmond council meeting online. The Blue Dot presentations begin at 00:19:25. Council discussion about the Right to a Healthy Environment begins at 00:37:00.

You can read other articles on this blog about the Blue Dot movement and the Right to a Healthy Environment by clicking on the Blue Dot Right category.


Wear Blue Dot blue to council, Oct 14, 7 pm

October 6, 2014

Update: Everyone supported the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a very positive collaborative spirit, there was an excellent presentation by Blue Dot national organizer Sophika Kostyniuk with three young people, several citizen follow-ups, and council follow-ups by every member there. I think that Richmond is the first small or mid-size city to take that step.

You can watch the council meeting online. The relevant part begins at 00:19:25. The video may take a minute to load.


A message from Carolyn Quirt, a Friend of Garden City who coordinates Richmond Blue Dot:

blue-dot-here-thereA Richmond Council committee voted unanimously to present the Right to a Healthy Environment at the next Richmond City Council meeting.

If City Council supports the declaration, Richmond will be the first municipality in Canada to do so. You can help to make the dream a reality.

How can you help? It’s simple! Please attend the next Richmond City Council meeting. Your presence will tell Richmond City Council that you believe we must enshrine this right for our health and that of future generations.

Wear BLUE and show your support for the Blue Dot Movement.

Where: Council Chambers, City Hall, 6911 No. 3 Road, Richmond, B.C.

When:  Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm

The Richmond Blue Dot Movement is a group of local volunteers. Working with the David Suzuki Foundation, we’re fighting for the Right to a Healthy Environment: fresh air, clean water, and healthy food.

The Blue Dot Movement started here in Richmond. Over 1,500 citizens in our community have signed our petition asking the City of Richmond to declare that its citizens have the right to a healthy environment.


Note: The Garden City Conservation Society acted quickly to endorse and support Blue Dot as soon as Sophika Kostyniuk of the David Suzuki Foundation approached us. Sophika and a colleague addressed our annual gathering in June. So far there are five articles about Blue Dot and the Right to a Healthy Environment on this blog. One way to  reach them is a search (top left corner) for “Suzuki”.

Learning from “Sow Much Love”

September 23, 2014

Sow Much Love

The Right to a Healthy Environment includes access to healthy food. That depends on access to seeds, which is threatened. I’m impressed with Sow Much Love, a Development and Peace campaign to protect that right in down-to-earth ways. I’m especially impressed with their video.

Note: My intent is to highlight the clear communication about the crucial goal, not primarily the charitable group.

The Blue Dot Tour starts soon

September 16, 2014

Update, Sept. 17: The Blue Dot project will seek council endorsement for the Right to a Healthy Environment at the Richmond Parks Committee on Wed., Sept. 24, at 4 p.m. in the Anderson Room of Richmond City Hall.

David Suzuki Blue Dot TourDavid Suzuki will soon begin the Blue Dot Tour across Canada. It celebrates a simple yet powerful idea:

That all Canadians
should have the right
to drink clean water,
breathe fresh air
and eat healthy food.

We’re a country where amazing things can happen. We’re a place were a small-town minister can build a universal health-care system. Where five women from the prairies can change the lives of women forever by helping guarantee their right to vote. Canadians stand up for what they believe in.

Once again, it’s time for our highest values to be reflected in our highest laws. And as always, this kind of change comes from a movement of Canadians committed to protecting the people and places they love.

Blue-Dot-TourThe Garden City Conservation Soccity has endorsed the right to a healthy environment, which is described above in red type. In fact, we helped the campaign get started.

The Blue Dot Tour video is here.

The information is from the David Suzuki Foundation.

Act locally for the right to a healthy environment

July 17, 2014
Children at the 2014 Steveston Salmon Festival coloured a “Bog Life” cartoon—butterfly, vole, killdeer, bog blueberry and sphagnum moss in the Lulu Island Bog. This Sunday, Michael Wolfe will lead a related activity at the David Suzuki Foundation event at Britannia Shipyards. Carol Day photo and Suzanna Wright art.

Children at the 2014 Steveston Salmon Festival coloured a “Bog Life” cartoon—butterfly, vole, killdeer, bog blueberry and sphagnum moss in the Lulu Island Bog. This Sunday, Michael Wolfe will lead a related activity at the David Suzuki Foundation event at Britannia Shipyards. Carol Day photo and Suzanna Wright art.

“What’s up, guys?” the vole seems to wonder as he pokes his head out of the Lulu Island Bog in the cartoon. The chance to colour it was a hit at the Salmon Festival, so Garden City Conservation’s Michael Wolfe and Eldon Lin are adapting the activity for a free David Suzuki Foundation family event.

It’s at the Britannia Shipyards site 1–3 pm this Sunday July 20, 2014. The “Bog Life” part is for “kids from one to 92” and beyond. The cartoon will prompt Michael to share insights, since he loves the sphagnum bog and loves teaching.

The event will kick off a far-reaching campaign for the human right to a healthy environment. The campaign is starting at the local level, and the aim is for Richmond to be a model for the communities of Canada. The Garden City Conservation board has strongly endorsed it.

The first need is for broader awareness—leading toward commitment—about the right to a healthy environment. With council action, the right could become a guiding principle.

After two or three years to build locally and provincially, it might be time to include the right in Canada’s constitution. Support across the country could actually make that feasible.

I was curious how a constitutional right to a healthy environment might work in practice. I found that half the national constitutions of the world already state that right, and three-quarters state some environmental rights. Canada, which has yet to act, can glean the best of their experience.

Canada’s right to a healthy environment, like other human rights, is sure to include limits to enforcement. And it will have to be moderate to survive the tough formula for amending our constitution.

I also see the right as a freedom. We gain freeness from clean water, air and soil and, in the long run, from biodiversity.

At this time, the challenge is to apply the right to a healthy environment locally. To become a model for the country, we must get results.

A good place for results is the Lulu Island Bog, the area from Westminster Highway north to Alderbridge Way and from Garden City Road east to Jacombs Road. It’s government-owned land that’s hanging on as a remnant of huge sphagnum bogs that had a vital role in forming the island.

That brings us back to the “Bog Life” cartoon and Sunday’s event at Britannia Shipyards. As a follow-up, Michael is enabling further action with a free eco-tour two days later. Whether you can come on Sunday or not, you’re welcome on Tuesday, July 22 at 7 p.m.

The eco-tour will start from the east entrance of the Garden City Lands, on No. 4 Road a little south of Alderbridge Way. Michael will help you see a world you may not know is there. With that you’ll see its role in the local right to a healthy environment.

For teachers, “Bog Life” class sets will be available courtesy of Garden City Conservation both days.


This article also appeared as a Digging Deep column in the Richmond Review of July 16, 2014, but it did not appear in the Richmond Review online.


Our Right to a Healthy Environment

July 6, 2014

Update: We’ve added an article above this that goes further on the topic.

The Garden City Conservation Society endorses the David Suzuki Foundation campaign to establish the Right to a Healthy Environment. The intent is to use Richmond as a model for the communities in the rest of Canada.

It all begins on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at the Britannia Shipyards. The Suzuki campaign is led by Sophika Kostyniuk, National Organizer. Sophika is also a Garden City Conservation member.

In addition, Michael Wolfe, is active in the campaign. Michael is one of our Garden City Conservation directors and a longtime conservation leader in Richmond. He is also a director of the Richmond Nature Park Society. Michael will be leading a “Bog Life” activity at the family event.

As the flyer below states, the event is from 1–3 p.m. As it implies, the event is kids-friendly.


Richmond_BlueDot Flyer_Page_2

There’s a two-minute video on the Right to a Healthy Environment page.

David Suzuki has taken that further in “We can make Canada’s reality match its image.”

From space, Earth is a blue dot, and the campaign features the Blue Dot Tour.

Welcome to our Annual Gathering!

June 6, 2014

Post-gathering update: Thank you to the 23 members who made the gathering such a wide-ranging event.

Michael WolfeSophika KostyniukWinnieHwo



Carol Day

The Garden City Conservation Society has a great Annual Gathering coming up on the evening of Wednesday, June 18. The interactive Sharon MacGouganJim Wrightpresenters, clockwise, are Michael Wolfe, Sophika Kostyniuk, Winnie Hwo, Carol Day, Jim Wright and Sharon MacGougan. Have a look at the attached invitation for the story.

One update to the story: We are delighted to add Winnie Hwo of the David Suzuki Foundation to the team. Winnie is expert in what could be called cross-cultural communication or ethnic engagement—bridging gaps for conservation action. That will now be a motif running through the evening.

The gatherings always go well. Typically there’s a feature presentation with lots of people joining in. This year it’s a set, with a sequence of interactive presentations beginning with an optional eco-tour.

We have a registration (sign-up) approach that makes things easy for you and the people taking care of food or setting up the venue, the Red Barn (shown at bottom). You’ll see that there are flexible ways to answer.

To register, you can go to the form now.

The annual gathering is for members of the society, which has a nominal annual membership fee, $10. Beyond that requirement, there is no charge for the gathering.

Also, you may wish to join or renew your membership. You can do that on the membership page or at the sign-in desk at the Annual Gathering. Membership is open to all who support the purposes of the society.

Once again, welcome! And please act now! The Red Barn, Terra Nova Rural Park, Richmond, BC

Kudos to city parks leaders

September 27, 2011

It’s that season again when the tall lush green on the Garden City Lands gets cut back and people ask about it. This year they ask why it was halted when less than half done.

I checked with our city parks leaders. They’ll finish in October when weather and equipment permit.

At this stage, their staff are like paramedics: spread too thin to give extended care to the patient in critical condition but arriving in time to protect the potential for recovery.

What’s clinging to life is the sphagnum bog ecosystem on a large area of the lands. Coincidentally, its natural shape is like a profiled face with strong features.

When council empowers them, our parks people can be counted on to restore the Garden City Lands with ongoing care. They’ve proven themselves with great outcomes from blending their expert efforts with community partners’ at Terra Nova.

The Garden City Lands are the urban cousins of the Terra Nova Rural Park and Natural Area, much alike though each with unique potential for community wellness. If the caregivers get clear support to go ahead soon, the results in the city centre should be just as magnificent for a healthy environment and the happy people it nurtures.

This post builds on “Mowing is a stopgap,” which was published in the Richmond News a year go. You’ll probably find that worth reading if this post interested you.