Vancouver Animal Rights Campaigns (VARK)

Activists Uniting For The Benefit of Animals

please Water Your Landscapes, to prevent drought and help wildlife

Ive been trying to educate people on the water, drought issue and just found this wonderful post written by Wynn, a gardener and landscaper from Bowen Island. It is written so much better than I could say, so here it is:

I’ve been asked a few times now if I would post this to the forum as well. If you’ve already seen it in The Office bulletin, my apologies. 🙂

This is an article that was kindly published by The Office bulletin in Artisan Square recently. Water is such a central issue to gardeners everywhere, not to mention our broader environment and the stuff of life itself!

My view is that we are experiencing not just a dry period between more normal weather cycles but a persistent, likely permanent, drying trend due to climate change. If that is so, then past practices that were adequate to get us and our plants through a temporary dry period are no longer adequate or even the right remedies to deal with what appears to be is a global drying trend.

However, the solution is not to let our landscapes die! Plants, trees, shrubs and ground covers act as our highly efficient air conditioners. Replacing them with barren ground, rock mulch, artificial turf or green painted surfaces is not only futile, it makes the problem worse. How is replacing living green surfaces that holds and filters clean water back into our aquifers, with heat absorbing rock mulch or plastic artificial turf supposed to cool the surrounding air?

Strategies such as imposing 4th level water restrictions disallowing any outdoor watering of plants, topping up of natural wildlife-friendly ponds (not swimming pools or hot tubs) or giving birds and other creatures a source of water where needed, is not “wasting water”. This is not a strategy. It is not a solution. It is an act of panic and desperation. As we lose the green, our world turns brown, not just our lawns. It needs a proactive not reactive response by municipalities and individuals working together. Rant over now, thank you.

Have been meaning to write about this for some time now. As a gardener, I am reminded every day.

We all are experiencing, first hand, the effects of warming and associated drought along with the rest of world, however unlike many others we still have drinking water, water to wash ourselves and to grow food. We are just beginning to be alarmed at the longer term consequences of a drying world.

Yes, we waste a lot of drinkable water, no question. Our water consumption, even when restricted for a few months in the summer, is generous compared to many other regions of the world. But I think we are mistaken, in some respects, in our understanding and definition of “wasted water”.

When is water wasted? We can argue that it is wasted in large and small ways but is it wasted when it’s plentiful or only in the dry summer months when less plentiful and expensive? Is it wasted by our building regulation and infrastructure practices that allows rainfall to roar off roofs and through drains and culverts into the sea rather than permeating the ground to nourish plants and replenish aquifers? I think so. California certainly knows the effect of ever diminishing aquifers and reserves. We absolutely need better building and landscaping practices in a drying world. I would also argue that using clean, especially treated water, for power washing buildings or cleaning cars and decks is a use that should probably be reexamined in today’s world.

And then, the main purpose of this letter, is it being wasteful to share water with our living landscapes and creatures. I would argue that it is not. Keeping our tended and wild landscapes alive and healthy is of the utmost importance – as it creates and maintains a livable world for us all.

What is the antidote for dry and hot; it is moist and cool. You know that feeling you get when you leave the heat of the asphalt road or cement parking lot and plunge into the adjacent forest? The ambient temperature immediately drops what feels like several degrees, you can suddenly breath easily as moist air fills your lungs, it smells earthy and cool. Ahhh, relief. That’s what our personal gardens, community parks, ponds, lakes and natural areas bring to us. Rescue and respite from our hot urban deserts. Yes plants consume water. They also transpire continuously, releasing that water into the air as moisture that, in turn, cools and dampens the air around us. They are our air conditioning.

When I hear people discussing whether to bother planting a garden, to water that thirsty tree or, worse, to pull up existing landscaping in response to drought and water restrictions, I almost despair. The solution is not to let landscapes die. The solution is to plant more tree canopy and shrub layers for permanent ground protecting shade and to plant barren eroding ground with a living surface that holds and filters clean water back into aquifers. The solution is to protect and increase our native forests, wetlands and lakes as a counter balance to a drying climate and urbanization; to mitigate, not reduce and diminish it. The solution is to “green” our buildings, streets and urban spaces, create significant public parks, collect rain water and use ground permeable landscaping and green roofs for cooler cities. As we lose the green, our world turns brown and dry, not just our lawns.

Garden trees and shrubs suffering repeated near-death experiences every summer with no or shallow watering are never going to develop deep, drought resistant roots. They need deep watering, less often. A timed trickling hose or focused “spot” sprinkler does a good job, also tree “water bags”. After a few years of sufficient watering there may not be a need to water these hard stemmed plants at all. Hand spraying, unless done properly, is often less effective than a tree waterbag, a focused spot sprinkler (NOT the wide/high spraying ones) and mulching. And may not use less water in the end. Ask, research, educate yourself and talk to neighbours about the best practices. Your garden will reward you.

We need to be pre-emptive, innovative and smart about water, not reactive and panicked. And that goes for municipalities and Boards as well. Get on with changing the big stuff, e.g., obsolete building practices, allowing grey water systems, mandatory cisterns, collection reservoirs, permeable landscaping, greening urban spaces, metering, public education, creating parks, protecting our green “air conditioning”. We citizens will take care of the small, but vital stuff.

And, lastly but so importantly, flora and fauna need and are entitled to have water to live, too. We need to share — it’s not just about us.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/16/2015 07:31AM by Wynn.
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Leaving Wild Alone


Filed under: Education/Leafletting, Environmental

No fireworks Vancouver Rant and ask Officials to Switch to Laser Shows

Im getting so sick of trying to politely educate people about things, like for example fireworks harming wildlife, and receiving their brutal prejudged completely uneducated, self righteous responses. Because they have spent so much time thinking about the effects on wildlife and researching it and helping people find their lost cats and dogs the days after. 

Of course they all have asthma, so they know what it is to inhale plumes of carcinogens into their lungs. And they are such caring and thoughtful individuals they actually take the time to think, hmmm, how does that effect the ear drums, of sensitive animals, babies, elderly. And how does the chaos of light and the thundering noises affect fish in the water, birds in the trees, squirrels, racoons, and the infinite species that are aching to find clean water and food and a green tree in sprawling suburbia land of etched in highways, pavement, deafening construction that kills every living being as far as eyes could see… 

Why would anybody care about fireworks?

Maybe i just attract some of the most hardened, jeering people but the snorting rolling eyed looks to my explaining that i do not go to fireworks because it destroys wildlife, makes me dislike people all the more.
Other than all my earth angel friends fighting to make this world a better place, I do not get people, their self imposed righteousness, their complete disregard for every other living being, their selfish and petty needs of pure unequivocal happiness at the expense of others. Its almost like we are living in a mini hell. Where some of us try to plant flowers and someone else comes along and stomps on them, just for the fun of it.
Rant over, I guess common sense will never change anything. That is the reason for activists. Whether they want to or not, for the defenceless.

You can help birds and other animals by asking officials in your town to ban fireworks and switch to laser light shows, which provide all the awe of fireworks displays but are more affordable and kinder to animals and the environment. – Peta



Filed under: Education/Leafletting, Environmental, , , , , ,

Water, Water the Wildlife Everywhere!

Summer season is here. Yesterday. I saw a little duck on the sidewalk at English Bay, paddling in a small puddle, trying to keep wet and find food, unfortunately, she was in the middle of the bike path. She tried to keep her cool, really wanting to stay cool, but the bikes finally annoyed her. She cried, and waddled off, before flying away. I felt so badly for her.

We aren’t California yet, but we could be. Summer is hot enough to burden all the wildlife with lack of food and especially water.

What can you do to help? Can you plant a few flowers on your patio and leave out bowls of water? The core of the city is pretty miserable for animals. A small refreshment amid the jungle city, could go a long way, for our wild life’s broken hearts, wings and a lot of misery.

In the West End, Coyotes are leaving Stanley Park, an unusual occurence, from what local residents say to find, food, which is sadly, some of our beloved pets :-(. I’ve also witnessed skunks and racoons eating pigeons, which seems strange.

When natural habitat is abundant, wildlife is happy, boisterous, alive. Here, in the city, animals struggle. There is not enough “life.” There is not life support.

What can you do? Feed them? Support them? Love them? Keep your cats inside? But definitely, water them…. Build a little Oasis, somewhere, if you can.

Filed under: Environmental, , , , ,

Help Vancouver city council stop Kinder Morgan

Dogwood Initiative:

Earlier today Kinder Morgan submitted an application to twin its Trans Mountain Pipeline and more than triple the amount of bitumen being shipped by tanker from the Vancouver area.

The proposal would bring hundreds more bulk crude oil export tankers to our south coast every year, dramatically increasing traffic through Burrard Inlet and the southern Gulf Islands – we all know the unacceptable risks this poses to our communities. Fortunately, our municipal government is stepping up.

Vancouver city councillors are voting on a motion at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday Dec. 18 that would allow the city to intervene directly in the National Energy Board’s Kinder Morgan review. They need to hear from Vancouver residents who support their involvment. The Vancouver city council has already voted to oppose the Trans Mountain expansion proposal – they would be a powerful voice of reason in the review process.

Can you attend the meeting and speak in support of this motion? You will have five minutes to tell council you support their leadership and strong stance on this dangerous proposal. Here’s how to get involved:

To register to speak, call meeting coordinator Lori Isfeld: (604) 871-6355
Or register by email:
Please copy me on your email to the meeting coordinator or let me know if you’re planning to attend by replying to this email.
If you can’t be there in person, you can communicate your thoughts about the resolution to the mayor and councillors by emailing by the end of Tuesday.
This is your chance to show municipal politicians if they stand up against this project, Vancouverites will be there behind them.

Thank you for supporting our champions for the coast,

Celine Trojand
Organizing Director

P.S. Pasted below is the resolution being considered and a link to the agenda:

That Council direct staff to apply as an intervenor in the National Energy Board hearings on the anticipated Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion proposal to advance the following points:

1. The expansion of the pipeline through the Metro Vancouver region and associated increases in tanker traffic pose an unacceptable risk to the City of Vancouver, residents and businesses including, but not limited to, risks to Vancouver and the region’s vibrant economy, local environment and parks, infrastructure, financial and legal liability, public health, and our international brand as one of the world’s most liveable cities.

2. That the City of Vancouver does not agree with the NEB’s position that harms caused by the eventual combustion of the fossil fuels carried by the pipeline not be considered as part of the review of impacts on the public interest. Further that the City of Vancouver views an increase in the extraction of fossil fuels intended for combustion, and the increase in greenhouse gases associated with this extraction and combustion, as posing a direct risk to the City as a result of sea-level rise and extreme weather impacts associated with anthropogenic climate change.

3. The City of Vancouver has grave concerns on the following points:

that no appropriate emergency response plan is in place from appropriate provincial and federal government agencies, in fact capacity has been reduced in recent years.
that the City of Vancouver, it’s residents and businesses are not indemnified against all financial loss associated with a spill from current or proposed shipments.
that full recovery funding is not guaranteed for all affected parties.
that Kinder Morgan and other responsible agencies have not invested in appropriate mitigation efforts to avoid a spill of current shipments



Filed under: Campaigns, Environmental, , ,

Tonight, discussion on Tar Sands: Tsleil Waututh Community Centre September 11 at 7:00 p.m.

From the thousands of you who’ve taken action online, to the crowds that withstood the bitter cold at last fall’s Defend our Coast rally, to the rejection of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project by Premier Clark herself, the message is loud and clear. British Columbians have said ‘No’ to pipelines and tankers.

Unfortunately, we all know it is not enough just to say ‘No.’ We also have to find alternatives to tar sands we can say ‘Yes’ to.

That is why I am excited to invite you to ForestEthics Advocacy’s and the Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative’s Town Hall meeting to discuss our future: the end of our dependence on tar sands and the creation of local jobs we can all be proud of.

Join us Wednesday, September 11th at 7pm at the Tsleil Waututh Community Centre (3010 Sleil Waututh Rd. North Vancouver.) Act now to RSVP and reserve your spot in this important conversation.

Working with the Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline has been an inspiring experience for me. Not only are they committed to defending the land and water around Burrard Inlet — of which they have been the stewards for countless generations — but they have also taken bold steps towards making a safer and healthier economy a reality.

When you compare the environmental protection efforts of the Tsleil Waututh Nation to the record of our own Canadian government, it’s startling just how wrong of a path the Harper government is on.
Instead of investing in a healthy future of alternative energy, our government continues to subsidize the tar sands — one of the most dangerous industries in the world. This cheerleading for short-sited pipeline projects must stop. And we must demand alternatives.

Clearly Canada can and must do better. But that kind of change will only happen if we insist on it. That’s why your voice is so important. Speak up. Join us.

I hope to see you there,
Ben West
Tar Sands Campaign Director, ForestEthics Advocacy

Ready to talk about our future? So are we.

Join us for a Town Hall meeting and together we’ll find our future beyond tar sands.


Filed under: Environmental, Meetings, , , ,

Radical Animals and Ravaged Environments: A New Understanding For a Common Struggle

Radical Animals and Ravaged Environments: A New Understanding For a Common Struggle

Thursday, September 12th, 7pm
The Yet-to-be-named Former Rhizome Café, 317 East Broadway

Hosted by The Black Paw Print Collective and Rising Tide – Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories.


Join us for a community discussion about bridging together environmental struggles and animal liberation.

With presentations by
Aylon Cohen, Black Paw Print Collective
Comrade Black, Profane Existence and former SHAC Canada
Fletch, Rising Tide-Vancouver
Suzy Q, Black Paw Print Collective


The Black Paw Print Collective is an anarch@-feminist collective devoted to total animal, environmental, and human liberation through direct action and education.

Rising Tide: Vancouver Coast Salish Territories is a grassroots environmental justice group committed to fighting the root causes of climate change and the interconnected destruction of land, water, and air.

RSVP on facebook:


Filed under: Environmental, Meetings, Planned Events, , , ,

Did you know BC gov logs the Great Bear Rainforest?

Just a few weeks ago the Minister of Forests for British Columbia stood in front of a conference room full of representatives of major wood and paper purchasing companies and declared that completing the Great Bear Rainforest conservation agreement is a priority for the province. That’s great news and we thank them for it. But what are they doing to make that happen?

Four major logging companies in the Great Bear Rainforest control the logging rights to the majority of the forest land – millions of hectares. One of them is BC Timber Sales a company wholly owned and operated by – wait for it – the province of British Columbia. What?!

You’ve signed the petition to the BC government, demanding they make this agreement a priority, and they’ve heard you.

Now it’s time for British Columbia to put its timber where its mouth is. If BC considers the Great Bear Rainforest agreement a priority, it’s time to step up and show some leadership as one of the largest logging stakeholders in this partnership!

Email BC’s Minister of Forests, Steve Thomson, (the guy who oversees BC Timber Sales) and demand that the province:

Set the bar high and motivate action for meaningful levels of conservation in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Finalize initiatives with First Nations in the region to improve their communities’ social and economic health. A high level of human wellbeing for communities in the area will help ensure low levels of ecological risk to the forests.
Contribute more of BC Timber Sales timber lands toward conservation and share more of the pie with First Nations communities, who for decades have seen big timber companies make big profits logging their traditional lands.
While it seems like the BC government has its intentions in the right place, there is still a lot to be done before the March 2014 agreement deadline. With just 8 months left, there is no time to waste! Email the Honourable Steve Thomson now!


Valerie Langer
Director of BC Forest Campaigns,
ForestEthics Solutions

P.S. Don’t forget that by forwarding this email to three friends you can help us stregnthen our message to the BC government!

Tell BC government that it’s time to step up!

As owner of one of the biggest logging companies in the Great Bear Rainforest agreement coalition, the BC government should be putting its timber where its mouth is.


Filed under: Environmental, , , ,

Earth Walks in Vancouver are Back from False Creek Watershed Society

The summer is here and Earth Walks are back!

False Creek Watershed Society

Back by popular demand!

False Creek Watershed Society
has partnered with Vilage Vancouver to offer a series of “Earth Walks”

We live in the city of Vancouver with almost a million other residents. We are blessed to be surrounded by mountains, forests, oceans and rivers. But how well do we know about nature in our own backyard? The Earth and the natural world are present everywhere – from the arboretum of Queen Elizabeth Park to the buildings of downtown Vancouver to our last wild salmon stream to the farm flats of Southlands and even as nature applies to human economic theory.
Please join us for this exciting series of free walks this summer and fall. The leaders are amazingly knowledgeable in their specialty – so come along to listen to their words, connect with the land and ask lots of questions!

Register here for the event(s) of your choice.

1) June 30: “Rocks, Reservoirs and Rainforest – a Historical Walk Around Little Mountain” with Celia Brauer. A stroll around one of Vancouver’s green gems, talking about the quarry, reservoirs, arboretum and much more. 10:30 – 12:30
Register here for “Earthwalks1 – LittleMountain”
2) July 6: “St. George’s Street Rainway and street walking tour” – with Greta Borick Cunningham. A walk along the historic creek which will one day be daylighted, highlighting the beautiful painted mural. 1:00 – 3:00
Register here for “Earthwalks2 – StGeorges”
3) July 25: “Geology of Downtown Vancouver – A Tour of Buildings and Monuments” with Dave Cook. An unusual view of downtown! Check out the exterior and interior of a number of key buildings and monuments – their history, their architecture, rock quarrying methods and architectural/masonry terminology. 12:00 – 3:00
Register here for “Earthwalks3-Geology”
4) July 28: “Economics in Place and Time – False Creek Seawall” with Michael Barkusky. A walk on the False Creek seawall from Leg-in-Boot Square to Granville Island to look at the history of False Creek and how the natural capital of the water and shoreline has changed over the last 150 years. 1:00 – 3:00
Register here for “Earthwalks4-Economics”
5) August 4: “Deconstructing False Creek through Nature’s touch” with Pamela Zevit. A walk along the seawall from the Roundhouse to Habitat Island in SE False Creek – including discussions about restoring the natural shoreline in False Creek. 1:00 – 3:00
Register here for “Earthwalks5-FalseCreek”
6) August 10: “Still Creek – Lost” with Bruce Macdonald. A walk to retrace a portion of the Still Creek system that not long ago was a lake one mile long when it was still a remote portion of an uninhabited wilderness. 1:00 – 3:00
Register here for “Earthwalks6 -StillLost”
7) August 11: “Still Creek – Found” with Bruce Macdonald. Come and experience Vancouver’s seven block long Renfrew Ravine, home to Vancouver’s only deep ravine and flowing creek, set in a natural wilderness that amazingly lies mostly forgotten between 22nd and 29th Avenue. 1:00 – 3:00
Register here for “Earthwalks7 -StillFound”
8) August 17: “Musqueam Creek – Vancouver’s Last Salmon Stream” with Terry Point. The tour will take you through Vancouver’s last wild salmon stream and the restoration project that has been done over the last fourteen years by Musqueam Ecosystem Conservation Society. 1:00 – 2:30
Register here for “Earthwalks8 -Musqueam”
9) Aug 25: “A Walk ‘Roundabout Kits’ – Community Art, Bees and Gardens” with Mary Bennett. Visit some of the Green Streets gardens tended by volunteers in traffic circles and corner bulges around Kitsilano. See how gardeners are encouraging bee and butterfly habitat and building community connections through creative use of their gardens. 2:00 – 4:00
Register here for “Earthwalks9-RoundaboutKits”
10) Sept 8: “A Lost Stream Walk – Gibson Creek and Gibby’s Field” with Dan Fass. A walk along the path of an old lost creek, showing how the creek influenced the development of this part of the city. 2:30-4:30
Register here for “Earthwalks10 -Gibbys”
11) September 21: “”Salmon , Vegetables, Milk and Hay Fields” with Terry Slack . Listen to tales about the many tidal salt Islands, diked fertile river-flats and old farms all along the North Arm of the Fraser River. 10:30 – 12:00
Register here for “Earthwalks11 -Salmon”

FCWS event link at:


Filed under: Environmental,

Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop stocking neonicotinoids.

Scientists hot on the trail of the cause behind the massive global bee die-off have unearthed a slew of evidence on the devastation across the food chain caused by the most widely-used pesticide on Earth, neonicotinoids. Once they enter the water supply, neonicotinoids wipe out dragonflies, snails and other waterborne life. The few hardy species that survive are left so toxic that they’re killing birds — and Home Depot and Lowe’s are putting this toxic product right in our back yards.

The European Food Safety Authority just imposed a two-year ban on neonicotinoids. It’s a bold step taken to avert a new Silent Spring. With up to a third of all honeybees vanishing each winter, beekeepers are saying that we are “on the brink” of not being able to pollinate all our crops.

Home and Lowe’s Depot still stock their shelves with neonicotinoid pesticides, spreading the ecosystem-destroying toxin to homes and gardens across Canada. As consumers, we need to demand that these retailers pull the devastating pesticides from their shelves.

Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop stocking neonicotinoids.

Bayer and other pesticide manufacturers are shoveling cash at lobbyists in order to continue selling their poisonous products. But we’re not here to protect corporate profits, we’re here to protect our ecosystem to ensure our future. The first thing we need to do is take this devastating toxin out of our own neighborhoods.

One of the reasons these pesticides are so toxic is that they don’t simply coat the surface — neonicotinoids are absorbed into the plant itself. Scientists believe honeybees that stop by later to pollinate the crops accrue a lethal dose in their systems as they wander from flower to flower. Research suggests that the neurotoxin scrambles their system of navigation and other critical parts of the bee’s brains. Even when it doesn’t kill the bees outright, neonicotinoids alter immune system function in bees, making them more vulnerable to parasitic infections that are spreading through bee populations like wildfire.

Major retailers don’t care what type of pesticides they sell, only what type of pesticides their customers will buy. If we send Home Depot and Lowe’s, the two large home-and-garden superstores, a loud, clear message, we can get these toxic products off their shelves and out of our back yards — and get smaller retailers around the country to follow suit.

Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to get rid of the bee-killing neonicotinoids.

Thank you for being one of us,

Taren and the team at

More information:

The Independent: ‘Victory for bees’ as European Union bans neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for destroying bee population, 29 April 2013
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation: Are Neonicotinoids Killing Bees? (PDF), 2012
American Bird Conservancy: Birds, Bees, and Aquatic Life Threatened by Gross Underestimate of Toxicity of World’s Most Widely Used Pesticide, 2013
Mother Jones: 3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide, 29 March, 2013


Filed under: Blogging, Environmental, Help Needed, Petitions, , , , ,

Peta response to local restaurants serving boiled lobsters

Quick follow up on the conversations around serving boiled lobster. Peta is following up with a letter to the General Manager of the Restaurant who decided that boiling them alive is the most humane alternative.

Please check out the link that Peta Staff offered to send to other restaurants who still do this barbaric practice and forward it to any restaurants you know of that do this. And please let us know!

OBVIOUSLY we are dealing with pretty low life forms of sentience if we are talking to a tadpole conscious species who think boiling incredibly intelligent, sentient, feeling amazing creatures alive is, yummy! However, do your best to be kind, respectful and polite as it goes much, much further than harsh words (like the comical ones, we couldn’t resist writing here…. Sigh)

Dear Ms. Rose,

Thank you for your reply. I did forward the restaurant’s email address to the appropriate PETA staff member.

If you do contact other restaurants, you could send them the link to the Crustastun system of quickly killing crabs and lobsters. To learn more please visit

Thanks again for writing and for caring about lobsters.




Filed under: Alerts, Environmental, Follow Ups, , , ,

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