Author Tags: Environment
Futurist Guy Dauncey, who started Victoria’s first car co-op, has an impressive track record for encouraging people to imagine bold solutions to environmental challenges. As one of the co-founders of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, Guy Dauncey is a visionary who could be described as the polar opposite of William Gibson having now written his first, near-futurist novel, Journey to the Future: A Better World is Possible (Agio $27.95), set in the year 2032.
“It’s one thing to criticize from the sidelines,” Dauncey has said, “and to warn everyone about environmental degradation. That’s responsible and important work. But people need to also have an alternate vision.
“Before we can move towards a sustainable future, we have to be able to imagine it.”
Hence Dauncey’s tenth book is the story of 24-year-old Patrick Wu who time-shifts to Vancouver in 2032 where he discovers a world brimming with innovation and hope. Christy Clark and LNG are long gone.
Climate crisis is being tackled, a solar revolution is underway. A new economy has emerged in which the word fracking is not heard. Take that, Copenhagen. Move over, Stockholm.
Vancouver, as Mayor Gregor Robertson foretold, has become one of the world’s greenest cities. For four days Patrick explores the city, interviewing people, and asking a host of questions. How does a modern metropolis operate without fossil fuels? How are poverty, homelessness and affordable housing being tackled?
The protagonist Patrick has grown up mostly in Sudan where his parents helped refugees. (The ongoing horrors of civil war in South Sudan, the world’s newest country, have been largely overlooked these days due to the situation in Syria.)
He visits a flourishing farm; he discovers how healthcare and education have changed. He visits a low income part of the city; he attends a Friday evening Song of the Universe. Politics and democracy are changing due to a popular uprising in a place called the OMEGA Days.
But it’s not all rosey. The rest of the world is not changing enough. Global warming persists. He attends a dinner party where he learns about something called syntropy, a scientific self-organizing principle that operates through consciousness…
After three years and 200,000 words of imagining a better world, Dauncey’s unorthodox story has been self-published, partly due to his futuristic beliefs in technology and partly because his main publisher over the years, New Society Publishers on Gabriola, doesn’t publish fiction.
Self-employed for more than 30 years, Guy Dauncey has travelled to India to study a Gandhian village, lectured in Britain and written The Unemployment Handbook (1981) while recovering from an automobile accident.
He followed that book with After the Crash: The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy (1987).
Dauncey is a co-founder of the Victoria Car Share Cooperative. In 2006 he was also a director of Prevent Cancer Now! and president of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association.
With Ethan Smith, Dauncey co-wrote Building an Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering (New Society 2007), with a foreword by Jane Goodall.
The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming (New Society, 2009) describes steps that are already being taken around the world to address climate change, showing how it is possible to reduce our carbon footprint to almost zero by 2040.
As a sustainable development consultant and publisher of EcoNews, Guy Dauncey has also written Earthfuture: Seeds of a Sustainable World (New Society, 1999) and Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change (New Society, 2001).
With Victoria physician Mary-Wynne Ashford, Dauncey also co-compiled Enough Blood Shed: 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror and War (New Society 2006).
His other books include Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic (The Solutions Series 2007), co-authored with Liz Armstrong, and Enough Blood Shed: 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror & War, co-authored with Dr Mary-Wynne Ashford, MD (New Society Publishers, 2006).
Guy Dauncey lives in Yellowpoint, near Ladysmith on Vancouver Island. He is an Honorary Member of the Planning Institute of BC, a Fellow of the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, and a motivational speaker. His websites are www.earthfuture.com and www.
His extensive endorsements for Journey to the Future reveal the extent to which his work has been respected.
Guy Dauncey's brilliant book shows there are solutions to the climate crisis that offer a future rich in opportunity and joy. All we need is to make a commitment to act.
– David Suzuki
Guy Dauncey has written an imaginative tour de force, blending science, philosophy, and fiction into a delightful story about how we can and must change the world, resulting in a bright green future.
– David R. Boyd
Co-chair of Vancouver's greenest city initiative and author of The Optimistic Environmentalist
Guy Dauncey has done it again: married hope and practical reality. Most of us see obstacles? Guy sees possibilities. This is a mustread for despairing sustainability champions. Guy paints an inspiring vision of a sustainable future and shows us how we got there. Brilliant!!
– Bob Willard
Author and Speaker, Sustainability Advantage
Journey to the Future is a creative book that will leave you full of ideas and hope. Guy Dauncey has produced a progressive tourdeforce unlike any book that I have ever read. Part creative fiction, part manifesto for the world we want and need, this book is an inspiration.
– Tzeporah Berman
Environmental activist, author of This Crazy Time
Guy Dauncey has done it again. Journey to the Future: A Better World is Possible takes us to a thriving Vancouver in the year 2032. Using dialogue among characters proves a remarkably accessible way to demonstrate how a new, cooperative economy can emerge. The author's unfailingly positive vision of democratic reform and sustainability is infectious. Richly footnoted and complete with many sources for future research, the "practical utopian" has equipped us with the tools to achieve a better world. Richly detailed—an amazing tour de force.
– Murray Rankin
Member of Parliament for Victoria
In making our way from where we are to where we need to be, advice from the future would be helpful. A dystopian future world might warn us what to avoid. A more utopian society could give us hope. Somewhere between the two, from future conflicts, revolution and war to a sustainable society is where Guy Dauncey charts us in his novel Journey to the Future. It is at one and the same time a great yarn and a call to action.
– Elizabeth May
MP, Leader of Canada’s Green Party
Guy Dauncey is an eco-hero whose enthusiasm for climate change solutions is infectious. Through remarkable creativity, Guy provides the reader with a glimpse into a plausible future that is vibrant, positive and joyful, while offering workable solutions to the major crises of our time. We owe Guy a debt of gratitude for his compelling narrative that fills us with hope and inspiration for a better future
– Andrew Weaver
MLA, Climate Scientist and Author
Earthfuture: Seeds of a Sustainable World (New Society, 1999) and
Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change (New Society, 2001).
Enough Blood Shed: 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror and War (New Society 2006). Co-compiled with Victoria physician Mary-Wynne Ashford
The Unemployment Handbook (1981)
After the Crash: The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy (1987).
Building an Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering (New Society 2007)
Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic (The Solutions Series 2007), co-authored with Liz Armstrong
The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming (New Society, 2009) describes steps that are already being taken around the world to address climate change, showing how it is possible to reduce our carbon footprint to almost zero by 2040. Foreword by Jane Goodall.
Journey to the Future: trade paperback edition (Agio 2015) ISBN 978-1-927755-33-4; us$19.95/ca$27.95), Kindle (ISBN 978-1-927755-34-1; us$4.99), ePub (ISBN 978-1-927755-35-8; us$4.99), and PDF (ISBN 1-92775536- 5; us$9.99).
[BCBW 2015] "Environment"
Guy Dauncey’s Earthfuture: Seeds of a Sustainable World (New Society $17.95)
Goodbye Garbage. Farewell Toxics. The Dawning of the Solar Age. I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas. Hamlet’s Ode to the Motorcar. The Pangs of Gaia’s Wounds. These are some of the 50 vignettes and utopian visions in Guy Dauncey’s Earthfuture: Seeds of a Sustainable World (New Society $17.95), a radically optimistic portrayal of life in B.C. and other parts of the world ten years from now, after a new environmental consciousness has dawned.
Each vignette describes a situation—from neighbors converting a Victoria street into a linear park to a cooperative loan organization forming in Bangladesh—through the eyes of a central character. Each scenario has some basis in present fact; redundant streets can be converted to linear parks, revolving loan cooperatives are a current reality.
Diverse topics such as recycling, energy conservation, pollution abatement, neighborhood renewal, organic farming and so-called ‘Third World’ are all presented to dispel doom and gloom for the reader. And Earthfuture is definitely wired; each topic is followed by a list of websites providing more detail.
Dauncey came to Canada from his native Britain ten years ago, promptly fell in love with British Columbia and a British Columbian, and has lived in Victoria ever since. He has authored several other books, including After the Crash: The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy, and is the winner of ‘The Observer’ Green Book award.
Earthfuture is suitable as a resource tool for schools and community groups, as it touches on a very large range of practical environmental and social action activities. All of the situations presented in the book assume fundamental, positive changes in the way we relate to the earth, and to each other, but the book’s author does not apologize for what could be interpreted as a ‘Pollyanna’ philosophy.
“The biggest problem we face is our own cynicism,” says Dauncey, a futurist and sustainable communities consultant. “If we are unable to shape some kind o f a positive vision for our future, then we really are in trouble.”
The future, Guy Dauncey says, is actually happening now.
That’s a philosophy he shares with techno-geak and futurist Al Gore, a leading advocate for sustainability and a recent customer of Dauncey’s publisher. This summer Jonathan Weiss, an advisor in Al Gore’s office, called New Society Publishers on Gabriola Island because Gore had heard New Society were the publishers on sustainability. Specifically Gore’s office had heard about NSP’s “conscientious commerce” series that includes Mark Roseland’s Toward Sustainable Communities, Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees’ Our Ecological Footprint and Eben Fodor’s Better Not Bigger.
The NSP office is located in a clearing next to Chris and Judith Plant’s henhouse and vegetable patch. When the call came from the White House, New Society assumed it was either a joke or someone calling from the local pub, ‘the White Hart’. Weiss ordered two copies each of various New Society titles. New Society’s Judith Plant says she ended up sending the books to the White House for free because she didn’t have the nerve to ask for Al Gore’s credit card number. 0-86571-407-X
[Don Gayton / BCBW WINTER 1999]
Enough Blood Shed
Even when she was president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War—which won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize—Victoria physician Mary-Wynne Ashford knew disarmament wasn’t the only answer.
“We have to examine the roots of war and try to understand why, for over 5,000 years, human groups have repeatedly chosen violence to dominate others,” she says. “And perhaps more importantly, we must investigate what makes some societies choose not to use violence to dominate others.”
With futurist and sustainability consultant Guy Dauncey, Ashford has highlighted non-violent success stories of heroic individuals who have risked peace in Enough Blood Shed: 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror and War (New Society $23.95). It focuses on how ordinary people can make a difference.
“Working with Guy Dauncey has been a great pleasure,” she says, “because he is not just a problem solver, he is a problem seeker. He loves finding an issue that needs to be turned on its head and addressed in a new way.” 0-86571-527-0
Building an Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering (New Society $27.95)
from Shane McCune
Oil spills, the deforestation of the Amazon, overfishing. Extinction of species, shrinking wilderness, global warming. It’s easy to get numbed by tidings of eco-doom, but eco-redemption is at hand.
Although Building an Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering (New Society $27.95) has its share of sad tales of animal abuse and offers dire warnings about the consequences of neglecting nature, the overriding message of Ethan Smith and his co-writer Guy Dauncey is one of hope harnessed to action.
After an introductory section called “A Path Beyond Suffering,” provides a mini-encyclopedia of humanity’s crimes against nature—from the general (regarding animals as property) to the specific (internet hunting, cruise ship sewage)—the authors prescribe remedies grouped mainly according to the numbers of people involved or their occupations.
“Ten Solutions for Individuals” include practising humane pest control, switching to a vegan diet and getting media coverage for animal rights campaigns.
“Five Solutions for Fishers” includes alternatives to longlining and an end to
fish farming, and so on. There are suggested actions for farmers, businesses, cities and governments.
Another section focuses on specific threatened species. Some “solutions” are less concrete than others, and some are arguably facile. Developing nations are urged to “Practise Sustainable Forestry,” “Take a Stand Against International Whaling” and “Listen to the Dalai Lama.”
The final “Ten Global Solutions” are more manifesto than a how-to guide, with such headings as “Unite to End Suffering in Factory Farms” and “Practise -Reverence for Life.” But even these are clearly written with the desire to inspire, not criticize.
Speaking of clear writing, Building An Ark zips right along, with each chapter occupying precisely two pages including illustrations, fact boxes and lists of related materials such as books and websites. It’s easy to read and suitable for readers of high school age and up.
It’s a pity there are only five solutions for schools, but some of these are among the most thoughtful and practical: Creating a humane biology classroom, adopting an endangered animal through an international agency and incorporating animal references throughout the curriculum, from math to art.
In her introduction, zoologist Dr. Jane Goodall says many of these activities will be applied in her foundation’s “Roots & Shoots” programs for children. “Building an Ark will give our (Roots & Shoots) groups so many new ideas,” she writes. “It will help us realize the importance of small actions we can take each day. When billions routinely make these little changes, we shall see big changes.”
Ethan Smith was raised in a remote valley in the West Kootenays, where he was home-schooled on a family farm with no electricity. He now lives in the Gulf Islands.
Founder of the Solutions Project, Victoria-based columnist Guy Dauncey is the author of Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change, also from New Society. 9780865715660
-- review by Shane McCune
[BCBW 2007] "animals"
101 Solutions to Global Warming (New Society $24.95)
To paraphrase Dickens, it is the best of times and the worst of times.
With the advent of Skype, we can talk face to face, with someone on the other side of the planet, for free.
But our species must simultaneously consider its extinction as the result of burning fossil fuels and destroying the tropical rainforest.
If Canadians were all rationalists like Spock, there would have been a Green majority in Ottawa by now. But evidently precious few Canadians—less than 15%—agree with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who said, “I say the debate is over. We know the science, we see the threat, the time for action is now.”
We know the science, we see the threat, and we keep driving our minivans.
So somebody has to speak for the planet. That’s why environmental lynchpins like David Suzuki or Guy Dauncey, president of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, are essential in the fight to confront global warming. They can place our collective predicament in clear and palatable scientific terms. And at the same time they are able to act as cheerleaders for change. They do the math; they show the path.
According to Dauncey’s 101 Solutions to Global Warming (New Society $24.95), the human species began about five million years ago and the adventure we call modern science only began 500 years ago—one ten-thousandth of that time. We retain stone age brains in the space age.
“We are inside a bubble of time, so it is difficult to ponder the existence of humans 500 years in the future, let alone a million years, but ask your friends what they think will be the condition of humanity in 500 years, and then in a million years.
“I wager that most will respond with pessimism, suggesting that we will be extinct if not by the former, then certainly by the latter date. Yet a million years is only a tiny 0.028% additional fragment of the time since life began.”
Dauncey proceeds to argue that the single most important factor that will determine whether we navigate the rapids of global warming successfully will be whether we view the future as an inevitable disaster—as retribution for human greed and ignorance—or as an exciting invitation “to embark on a new adventure into a climate-friendly, ecologically harmonious world.”
It sounds like it could be a new Star Trek series—with Spock at the controls instead of Kirk—a fight to the death to save the world, the ultimate pitched battle between the optimists and the pessimists.
“We do not lack for solutions,” says Dauncey. “If we put our minds to it, there is no reason to believe we cannot succeed.”
To put his mind where his mantra is, Dauncey begins with 75 remarkably readable pages that summarize the ecological problems that we collectively face. Then he switches to a litany of 101 solutions for families, farmers, communities, businesses, the financial sector, transportation and even evangelists.
What kind of car would Jesus drive? This question, believe it or not, is being seriously raised by Born-Agains. And you probably did not know there are 80,000 apartments in Stockholm being heated with biogas from the city’s sewage works. The cars and buses in Kristianstad, Sweden, have been running on sewage biogas, mixed with organic wastes, for $1 per gallon (in 2002).
Sewage, according to one expert, contains ten times the energy needed to treat it. Closer to home, engineer Stephen Salter has calculated Victoria’s sewage contains enough energy to provide pure biodiesel for 200 buses and 5,000 cars, heat 3,500 homes, or generate electricity for 2,500 homes. Kelowna already uses heat pumps to extract heat from its wastewater treatment plant, a technology that has been introduced to Whistler.
There is no shortage of inspiring individuals like 15-year-old Malkom Boothroyd who completed three years of schooling in two years, subsequently persuading his parents to accompany him on a 10,000-mile bicycle ride from the Yukon to Florida to publicize the need for bird conservation.
Arrested 15 times for non-violent civil disobedience to promote climate concerns, Ted Glick fasted for 107 days, surviving on liquids only, as part of a campaign to get environmental legislation passed.
Felix Kramer founded non-profit CalCars in 2002 and then worked with a team to convert a Toyota Prius into a Plug-In Hybrid that gets more than 100 mpg, provoking major change in the world’s motor industry.
Now even some of the big corporations are playing catch-up to these heroes of personal initiative. Nike has found a way to eliminate AF6, a greenhouse gas, from the process they use to create air pockets in running shoes. A software company called Hyperion pays a $5,000 per year bonus to employees whose vehicles average 45 mpg or better.
Thanks largely to the spearheading of Chris and Judith Plant, who founded the company that has published Dauncey’s book, most Canadian publishers—including big guys like Random House which will allegedly increase its use of recycled paper from 3% to 30% in 2010—are inspired and intimidated by New Society’s formerly radical decision to switch entirely to post-consumer recycled paper.
“As a species, we may be stubborn, stupid and proud,” Dauncey says, “but we are also intelligent, creative and courageous, and we love a challenge.”