Effective And Easy Remedies For Snoring

Controlling snoring is very tough task but still you have to try your best because your partner gets very disturbed with your loud noises. All the remedies for snoring are effective but it all depends upon the reason that is causing snoring. There are different reasons for different people and I will address the most common reasons that cause snoring. On top of the list is problem of weight because it is observed that mostly overweight people snore more than average people. To control this kind of snobreathing-wellring that happens due to extra weight, you have to exercise and maintain a healthy diet. This small change in routine will eventually get you rid of it. Secondly people that smoke and drink heavily often snore more. Quitting drinking and smoking may not be possible for you but you can at least make sure that you do not drink or smoke before you go to sleep. If you can stop smoking before 2-3 hours of going to bed then it can help you to minimize snoring. Lastly you can change your position while sleeping and it will also help you to control snoring. Keep a relaxed and comfortable position and especially pay attention to the position of your neck and shoulders. Remember that the answer to the question: “How do I stop snoring?” is much easier if you have the right devices and mouthpieces. Find some of those here.

Controlling Snoring Can Be Simple

Snoring can become very irritating and especially if you do not control it properly then it can keep getting worse. You need to diagnose the exact reason behind snoring and then address that issue. There are few common issues that cause snoring and there are some very easy remedies that you can implement to get rid of snoring. First of all you should know that snoring is not incurable and you can control it very easily. Secondly there are anti-snoring medications also available that you can take in extreme situations. These anti-snoring products are easily available over the counter because most of these do not have any side effect. You need to try all the home remedies for snoring first because these remedies have absolutely no side effect. Breathing exercises are the first thing that can limit your snoring because exercise helps you to enhance your breathing power. You should also keep your weight under control because overweight people often get into snoring problem. You should also sleep in a comfortable position because position does matter a lot. Your neck and shoulders must be in balanced position. You can use pillows as many as you want but make sure that your neck stays still.



Daishowa Vs Lubicon – An Epic Battle

dvlWhen the FoL began their work in 1989, the Alberta government had already sold off the timber lease on the Lubicon’s traditional territories to Daishowa Canada, a division of Daishowa Paper Manufacturing, one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies. In 1990, Daishowa began logging. The Lubicon asked for help and the FoL answered the call, asking the company to stop clearcutting until the tribe’s land rights had been settled. In 1991, after moral suasion failed, the FoL began a letter-writing and picketing campaign to persuade customers and companies to stop using Daishowa paper products.

The idea for the boycott emerged from one of Daishowa’s own paper bags. At an meeting in 1989, an FoL member “looked at the bottom of a paper bag [from] the pizza joint, and there was a little Daishowa logo on it,” recalls Kevin Thomas, a legal researcher and university student. “Suddenly we realized we had the ability to do something. We could talk to these companies and try to get them to switch their paper bag supplier. We figured that was worth a try.” By 1994, nearly 50 companies and 4,300 retail outlets later, the Daishowa campaign was one of the most successful consumer boycotts in North America–and, more notably, a small group of volunteers had convinced the multinational not to log on the disputed lands. Companies who joined the boycott include Pizza Pizza, Safeway, Holt Renfrew, Roots, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Country Style Donuts and Club Monaco.

In January 1995, Daishowa launched its lawsuit against the FoL. “We’ve suffered for three-and-a-half years and our customers have suffered for three-and-a-half years,” said Tom Cochran, Daishowa Canada’s director of corporate development. “We really had no choice but the courts.” Seeking unspecified damages, the company continued its year-to-year commitment not to log on Lubicon land until courts delivered a verdict. Cochran noted that the company’s goal was to put a “stop to all boycotting activity.”

Nearly three years after the lawsuit was first served, the full trial of Daishowa v. Friends of the Lubicon began in September 1997. A decision is expected this spring. But the decision, important as it will be, is only part of the story. In the years of pretrial wrangling, Daishowa has succeeded in severely limiting the activities of the FoL. With the exception of a four-month period in 1995, the defendants have been under a court order that essentially outlawed their boycott. The court order banned street-side pickets and demonstrations by making it an offense to directly communicate with consumers regarding the boycott and Daishowa’s activities in Northern Alberta. In addition, there’s been a court order against publicly using references to certain disputed moments in the Daishowa-Lubicon history and to saying specific words–“genocide,” for example–that were used to criticize Daishowa’s plan to log on Lubicon land. The pretrial period has, in many ways, been a period of punishment before a fair hearing. “People who look at the case for the first time wonder what it was that we did,” explains Bianchi, a film-maker and national co-ordinator of the Aboriginal Rights Coalition. “But the shoe never drops.”

With a “temporary” court order in effect now for three years (less that four-month span in 1995), Daishowa’s persistent legal efforts have increasingly been described as a SLAPP action–a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Win or lose, many critics say that the intent of a SLAPP is to disable pesky activists and public advocates by dragging them into an expensive and exhausting civil suit. “It started in the United States, where a big powerful company hires its lawyers and because they’ve got trillions of dollars, they sue,” explains Toronto lawyer and civil-rights advocate Clayton Ruby. “They sue all the environmental protesters, all the people who are trying to organize against them. Some of those suits have merit; most of them do not. But the object of it is not to win the lawsuit, [it's] to bankrupt those who you’re suing by the high cost of litigation.”

Kevin Thomas received his lawsuit several days after the other defendants; in true Kafka style, the papers had first been delivered to the wrong Kevin Thomas. “We didn’t know anything about civil law or what a tort was. It made for amusing reading at first,” he recalls. “We thought there was no way you could outlaw a boycott.”

After some initial inquiries, the Friends realized things were actually much more serious than they’d thought. With less than three weeks notice, they had to find a lawyer and file a defence to the lawsuit–no small matter for a volunteer group with a $3,000 annual budget, raised mostly through raffles and rummage sales. A week before the deadline, they found pro bono counsel with Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby and were told, point blank, that they’d better get used to being in court. “Ruby said we were going to get creamed,” recalls Kenda, a native-rights activist. “But the more we worked on the case, the more [the lawyers] became optimistic.”

The defendants were also shocked to find out that their Charter-guaranteed right to freedom of expression didn’t necessarily matter, either. “We assumed early on that we had Charter protection,” says Thomas. “When Clayton told us we didn’t, that’s when we knew we were into something serious.”

Most Canadians assume that the 1982 Charter protects them unconditionally–a trump card against oppression and injustice, what Trudeau’s constitutional engineers once called the “people’s package.” But soon after the Charter was enacted, the courts made decisions that affirmed corporate entities were entitled to Charter protection, too. In fact, argues University of Victoria law professor Chris Tollefson, “Corporations have been the major benefactor of the Charter so far. For the most part, courts have treated corporations as human beings and extended to them all of the rights individuals are entitled to under the Charter.”

What this means is that large corporations like RJR-Macdonald tobacco company can successfully wage Charter challenges against government rules and regulations: in its 1996 Supreme Court victory, RJR-Macdonald won the right to more freely advertise cigarettes using the argument that Canada’s existing tobacco advertising laws violated its right to free speech. By contrast, the Charter has yet to emerge as a major factor in protecting freedom of expression for the Friends of the Lubicon. Sixteen years after its triumphant arrival, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms defends us from Big Government, but not from Big Business.

The reason is that there’s a double standard in Canadian law, a seldom-talked about legal distinction that draws a division between public and private in the application of constitutional justice. By and large, the court has determined that the Charter applies to relations between individuals and the state, but not between “individuals” whose relationship is essentially non-governmental and private. In private disputes, Charter freedoms have, at best, been considered “values” to be balanced–and often trumped–by property rights. Which is why a large tobacco corporation is more successful at winning rights from the government to “freedom of expression” than the Friends of the Lubicon have been in running a successful boycott against a private company.

One favourable signal for FoL defendants was a 1995 decision by Madame Justice Kiteley against Daishowa’s request for an interim injunction, which temporarily lifted the ban on boycott activities in 1995. But again, constitutional rights were to be weighed against property interests: the Charter “must be given consideration along with the competing interest of the plaintiff to profit,” while acknowledging the important “public interest in protecting the claims of aboriginal peoples.”

pmtFour months later, the Ontario Divisional Court reinstated Daishowa’s injunction because FoL’s picketing had caused undue economic harm and altruistic political motives could not justify “illegal” means. Daishowa has maintained that customer picketing, sometimes referred to as “secondary picketing,” is illegal because it encourages companies to break off their business with Daishowa, thereby causing harm to Daishowa’s profit.

“We are not trying to shut down any public discourse,” says Daishowa lawyer Peter Jervis. “We’re simply saying you can’t go to the customer of the person that you have the problem with and picket them and pressure them.”

The defendants have been free to picket Daishowa itself and send information to customers, assuming the language meets the terms of the court order. But by limiting picketing to situations that can’t directly engage consumers, the power of a consumer boycott falls apart. Under the current terms, protesters are free to protest an indifferent Daishowa central office that will gladly ignore them–as opposed to a direct campaign that informs consumers of the ethical and political possibilities of their purchases. “In Canada, we might not ban picket lines but we reroute them,” says Alan Borovoy, general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Union. “So, the picket line becomes an exercise not in freedom of communication but in freedom of soliloquy.”

The current three-year-long injunction sanitizes the boycott, makes it polite discussion and keeps it well-removed from the nation’s shopping malls and franchise outlets. As a Lubicon adviser told Kevin Thomas, “You have constitutionally protected rights to run an unsuccessful boycott.” Interestingly, despite all the talk about the harms of unrestricted picketing, a total of only seven FoL pickets actually occurred in the four years preceding the lawsuit–three in front of Toronto Pizza Pizza outlets and four in front of Woolworth’s and its affiliates.

While much of the court proceedings focus on the economic harm to Daishowa, there’s relatively little to protect the defendants from the economic fallout of a lengthy lawsuit. Even if they win their trial, the costs alone may defeat the FoL. Despite three years of pro bono representation from some of Canada’s finest civil-rights crusaders, the Friends of the Lubicon have still managed to accumulate more than $50,000 in associated legal costs. Had the FoL paid the full costs for legal representation, the bill would be upwards of $700,000, given a standard lawyer’s rate of $200 an hour. (By some estimates, Daishowa has spent about $1 million on its legal expenses.)

“Every one of these cases costs a small fortune,” says Karen Wristen, the FoL’s lawyer from the Sierra Legal Defence Fund (SLDF). “It’s a tough go–and we can’t take them all on.” And without pro bono representation or a fat legal budget, public interest groups and citizens burdened with a SLAPP action can only turn to legal aid. In many provinces, this kind of lawsuit would not even be covered by legal aid. In fact, Wristen notes, any lawyer considering the suit on its economic merits would be professionally inclined to strongly recommend an out-of-court settlement. For most defendants, fighting a SLAPP action cannot be considered a viable economic pursuit. “They can be resolved quite cheaply: apologies, retractions, conditions against various activities,” says Wristen. “Ninety-nine per cent of them are resolved like this.”

After building up fears by citing millions of dollars in boycott losses, Daishowa finally stated its claim against the defendants during the trial’s final summations in December 1997: a request for $1 in compensation from the FoL. It was both a symbolic gesture of corporate goodwill and a realistic admission that the group couldn’t supply Daishowa with a fraction of its $14-million claim. (Back in July 1996, Daishowa’s Tom Cochran was still building up the fear factor: “There is compensation that’s due, and we’re quite determined to get a damage settlement.”)

But costs aside, one of the most unsettling things about lawsuits such as this one is that they affect a much broader community than the people fighting in court. For example, the Daishowa suit names the three defendants but also specifies “Jane Doe, John Doe and Persons Unknown,” a legal caveat that assumes if you know about the suit and the temporary injunction, you then have an obligation to observe its terms. This is the basis upon which Daishowa’s counsel threatened contempt of court proceedings against the defendants for a segment about the trial that was broadcast last June on Big Life, the CBC Newsworld show. They also demanded that the segment not be rebroadcast. Nothing became of the threat, but it was added to a long list of jousts and squabbles that are endemic to the case. (For three months in 1996, Daishowa did succeed in keeping professor Tollefson–who’s written extensively about SLAPPs–from talking about the suit while a trial judge deliberated about placing him under a special injunction.)

A SLAPP, as David Suzuki noted, can chill whole communities. When the Friends first entered into the world of the lawsuit, they lost group members who couldn’t afford legal trouble. “There was no group for a while,” says Kenda. “Just the three of us going to meetings with lawyers.” And because court orders are enforced at the request of the plaintiff, one never really knows what’s permissible and what’s not: there can be substantial grey areas within the terms of an injunction. “Self-censorship affected us a lot at first,” says Thomas. “Sometimes we’re still a little more timid than we need to be. It’s important to be factual and honest. But the problem is when factual and honest is illegal.”

On one level, none of this is Daishowa’s fault. The company has no real legal obligation for how its actions affect the situation of the Lubicon Cree. Provincial and federal governments are, arguably, the primary authors of the troubles surrounding the Lubicon claim. Indeed, in 1993, when Jean Chretien was in opposition, he acknowledged federal culpability in a letter to the Friends, writing, “We believe that the government has reneged on its fiduciary responsibility to the Lubicon People.”

Nor can Daishowa be blamed for logging trees in Alberta. Daishowa, like any other corporation, has only taken advantage of the opportunities Canada makes available: hardwood trees cost the company about $1.40 a tonne in provincial timber rents; the final pulp product brings about $900 a tonne on the market. If you build it, the saying goes, they will come.

Nor can Daishowa be blamed for the gaping hole in Canada’s constitutional edifice that allows for the steam-rolling of Charter rights.

“This is the only case I’ve ever heard of where a company is being boycotted for something it’s not doing,” argues Daishowa lawyer Peter Jervis. In narrow, contractual terms, this may be true: technically, Daishowa doesn’t owe Canadians a damn thing, besides periodic taxes and rents on harvested trees. And it hasn’t logged on Lubicon land since 1990. Plus, there’s the jobs of 118 workers in the Canadian packaging division that will be lost, Jervis claims, if the boycott continues. From an economic perspective–which is the dominant perspective in civil law–Daishowa positions itself as a victim in the lawsuit. (This despite the parent company’s reported consolidated profit of $123.9 million (U.S.) for 1997 and its Canadian units posting an estimated profit of $22 million (U.S.). Daishowa’s Koichi Kitagawa even testified during the trial that its Canadian packaging division enjoyed increased profit during most of the boycott–a testimony to the corporation’s ingenuity and ability to find new markets not affected by the boycott.)

But whatever Daishowa’s legal obligation, it simply can’t be ignored that there are also major historical and social considerations in this case. Daishowa may own its timber lease, but some of the land isn’t necessarily theirs to harvest. The people of Lubicon Lake were one of several remote tribes left out of the federal government’s 1899 Treaty Eight, which, the Lubicon claimed, left a 10,400-square-kilometre area untreatied (246 square kilometres of which have been requested as part of the Lubicon’s settlement proposal).

Nor is Daishowa’s arrival in Alberta without consequence. By 1988, with its new $500-million pulp mill planned only 105 kilometres from the Lubicon’s Little Buffalo settlement, Daishowa’s arrival in the Lubicon Lake area meant that a second wave of intensive resource exploitation was inevitable. Dr. Ryan, who did extensive field work with the Lubicon in the 1980s, found that the accelerated decline of the traditional hunting economy created profound despair. “People who had once been fit were sitting at home depressed, smoking and drinking,” she reported. Likewise, with the boreal forest under siege, the spiritual base of the society was profoundly shaken. “If they cut down the trees, my life is over…I’m dead,” one elder told Ryan. “My soul is out there on the land and I’m waiting to die.”

Bianchi and Thomas had visited the Lubicon settlement in 1987 and had seen the TB epidemic up close. To them, Daishowa represented the final chapter in a determined–and possibly tragic–60-year struggle for the survival of a tribe whose culture and spirit had been eroded by multiple waves of disappointments and setbacks.

Which leads us to the forbidden word of the trial, the term that helped launch the original lawsuit and the temporary injunction: “genocide.” As the Friends’ 1995 statement of defence argued, “The Lubicon community took the position that to permit logging on its territory by Daishowa would have the effect of `finishing off’ their band.” The boycott campaign often referred to the Lubicon people as victims of “genocide”–a reference to the Canadian government’s historic pledge to rid Canada of aboriginal society. (“Our object,” pledged Indian Department deputy minister D.C. Scott in 1921, “is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic, and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department.”)

Daishowa, understandably, bridles at the suggestion that they may be involved in a genocidal process. “If you’re going to boycott,” says Jervis, “make sure the information is truthful.” Citing a Webster’s dictionary version, Daishowa’s counsel argued that “the plain, ordinary meaning of genocide is killing people.”

By contrast, First Nations scholar and American Indian Movement leader Ward Churchill testified that a much more nuanced definition of genocide has also been in circulation since the Second World War. “Genocide is not synonymous with mass murder,” said Churchill. “There are plenty of ways to accomplish de-nationalization [through] non-lethal [means, whereby] the individuals might remain healthy but the genocidal process dissolves a group.”

In civil law, the principle of “fair comment” is sometimes invoked to protect people who, without malice, participate in public discourse. Which isn’t an argument for permitting hate crimes or defamation so much as acknowledging that difficult issues provoke different opinions and require socially relevant interpretations–that there may be more to “genocide” than a dictionary definition. Wristen asks, “How robust is our democracy? Words like `genocide’ put that to the test. You have to look at the context and the circumstances of where the word was used. Was it used to defame the plaintiff or was it used fairly and with justification?”

Daishowa sees its relationship with the land one way; the Lubicon Cree and the FoL read it another. Is Canada big enough to accommodate both these views?

The decision on the Daishowa v. Friends of the Lubicon trial that arrives this spring may well clarify the Charter status of the defendants, but it won’t for all Canadians: even with a favourable decision for the FoL–total dismissal of Daishowa’s allegations and reimbursement of legal expenses–any court will avoid making broad statements. “They’ll stay close to the facts,” says Wristen, noting the reluctance of Canada’s judiciary to be seen as “legislating” new laws within court decisions.

Even after the decision, questions will abound: Is it unlawful to communicate with fellow consumers via pickets and demonstrations? Are conscientious, outspoken shoppers not tolerated in Canada? The case is a good bet to reach the Supreme Court because it so profoundly embodies a growing crisis surrounding the Canadian Charter: the devolution of citizen freedoms in an age of shrinking government and a growing trend toward recognizing corporations as having Charter-protected rights.

Roosevelt Set The Table For New York Conservationists

gwpAs New York approaches the 100th anniversary of his election as governor, the state has another chief executive, George E. Pataki who embodies the progressive policies of “TR,” who finds inspiration in his words and deeds (as well as in the portrait of Roosevelt on the wall of his Capitol office), and who, like Roosevelt, is guiding New York into a new century amid major environmental initiatives.

Both Roosevelt and Pataki developed a love of, and respect for, New York’s natural resources as young men growing up in New York — Roosevelt on Long Island and Pataki in the mid-Hudson Valley. As Governors of New York, both worked to enhance the environment and preserve those resources; both addressed the need for a solution to the New York City water problem; and both found enjoyment and relaxation in the Adirondacks.

Indeed, the Adirondack mountains of New York were a major influence on Theodore Roosevelt’s personal and professional life. As a sickly, young teenager, “Teedie” (as the family called him) was allowed to go on a camping trip to the Adirondacks where he slept on the ground, hiked, canoed through the rapids and gathered specimens for his “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History.” He labeled these with their proper scientific names. In his diary he recorded, “We wandered about and I picked up a salamander (Diemictylus irridescens). I saw a mouse which from its looks I should judge to be a hamster (Hesperomys myoides). We saw a bald-headed eagle (Halietus leucocephalus) sailing over the lake.”

Later, TR’s first publishing endeavor came as the result of another expedition to the Lake St. Regis area. The result was The Summer Birds of the Adirondacks in Franklin County, a four-page pamphlet which listed more than 90 species of birds. The following year he published Some Notes on the Birds of Oyster Bay, Long Island. The Adirondack work of the 18-year-old Roosevelt, which received a favorable notice in an ornithological journal, demonstrated his talent for writing.

For example, TR’s journal sensually describes the sounds of the wilderness birds in this passage, referred to as “Keatsian” by biographers:

Perhaps the sweetest bird music I have ever listened to was uttered by a hermit thrush… We had been out for two or three hours but had seen nothing; once we heard a tree fall with a dull, heavy crash; and two or three times the harsh hooting of an owl had been answered by the unholy laughter of a loon from the bosom of the lake, but otherwise nothing had occurred to break the death-like stillness of the night…Suddenly the quiet was broken by the song of a hermit thrush; louder and clearer it sang from the depths of the grim and rugged woods, until the sweet, sad music seemed to fill the very air and to conquer for the moment the gloom of the night. I shall never forget it.

Later in life, the Adirondacks were the setting for a major milestone in the career of Teddy Roosevelt — his ascendancy to the presidency of the United States. As the nation’s vice president, Roosevelt and his family were visiting Camp Tawahus. TR was hiking with friends on Mount Marcy when word reached him of President McKinley’s deteriorating condition as the result of an assassin’s bullet. The hiking party, on the way down from the summit of the Adirondacks’ highest peak, stopped to eat near Lake Tear-of-the-Clouds, the source of the Hudson River.

wpBiographer Nathan Miller writes that Roosevelt “was just about to bite into a sandwich when he looked up and saw a guide on the trail from below. `I had a bully tramp and was looking forward to dinner with the interest only an appetite worked up in the woods gives you,’ Roosevelt recalled. `When I saw the runner I instinctively knew he had bad news.'”

After a harrowing ride across Adirondack back roads, he arrived at the North Creek railroad station at dawn. He was handed a telegram, which he read by flickering light of a kerosene lamp, informing him that McKinley had died and he was president of the United States.

In between these Adirondack experiences, Roosevelt, who was only 42 when he became president, had a distinguished career in public service including three terms as a Republican assemblyman in New York and one term as governor of the Empire State.

Two years out of Harvard, he was elected to the Legislature from New York City. As a brash, unconventionally attired newcomer to Albany, dubbed “Oscar Wilde” and “the Cyclone Assemblyman” by observers, his energetic efforts were directed toward issues of perceived corruption and those related to his position as chair of the Committee on Cities.

Roosevelt rode into the Executive Mansion in 1898 on his reputation as leader of the “Rough Riders” in the Spanish American War. At the outset, he turned to experts outside of government to help shape policies. Among these was Gifford Pinchot, who, for years, had been Tit’s source for ecological information and a strong proponent of “controlled, conservative lumbering.” Pinchot’s impact was evident in Tit’s second Annual Message to the Legislature with a revolutionary call for “a system of forestry gradually developed and conducted along scientific principles.” He also stressed the need for more qualified game wardens and enforcement of game laws, the importance of controlling forest fires, and true to his ornithological interests protection of songbirds in the state.

In the 1890s, public confidence in the state’s forest commission and its attitude toward conservation was particularly low. Laws were circumvented and land set aside in the Catskills and Adirondacks as forest preserve was being sold to private developers. In 1894, the Legislature enacted the “forever wild” clause in the state constitution and the efforts of Governor Roosevelt, including his reform of the Forest, Fish and Game Commission, began meaningful change.

In addition to strengthening the forest commission, Governor Roosevelt won approval of environmental reforms including preserving the Palisades against development, and preventing the dumping of sawmill waste into streams of the Adirondacks and Catskills. He was vehement about concerns for pollution of the state’s waterways, many of which had become, in his words, “little more than open sewers.” In this regard, he issued an order prohibiting the discharge of untreated sewage, domestic waste or manufacturing refuse into Saratoga Lake (or its tributaries which flowed into the Hudson River) because of potential effect on drinking water. He also ordered Saratoga Springs and Ballston Spa to install sewage treatment facilities and forced tanneries and pulp mills in the area to treat their waste before discharging them into the waters.

Almost 100 years after Governor Roosevelt proclaimed, “we should build a water system that shall once and for all meet the needs of the future city and be capable of almost automatic expansion as these needs increase,” Governor Pataki helped resolve the issue. The agreement, announced jointly in January 1997 by Governor Pataki, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and local officials from 32 towns in the watershed region, was hailed as a major accomplishment by all parties involved.

And, on the cusp of another century, Governor Pataki has initiated environmental programs in the spirit of his hero. Governor Pataki chose to announce the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act at the Roosevelt family home at Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, Suffolk County. Roosevelt would have appreciated the emphasis on clean waters and open space conservation that are among the cornerstones of the Bond Act. Both Governor Roosevelt and Governor Pataki placed environmental issues in the forefront of their administrations.

Logging Companies Have Little Choice But To Adapt

dcIn 1988 the Alberta government granted to Daishowa Canada (a predecessor to Daishowa-Marubeni) logging rights to a massive tract of land east of Peace River in exchange for building a $650-million pulp mill. However, the tract included a 4,000-square-mile area claimed by the Lubicon, who were in the midst of a 50-year-old land claims dispute with Ottawa and the province.

That year, Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak met with Daishowa officials in Vancouver. The chief ended the meeting believing he had a verbal promise that Daishowa would not log until the land claim was settled. Daishowa claims the meeting was merely an introduction. The company was preparing to log in the disputed area in 1991, but about then, explains Mr. Thomas, a Friend noticed that a bag from a pizza joint carried a Daishowa logo, having come from a Daishowa Inc. plant in Winnipeg. (The Japanese-based Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Co. Ltd. owns Daishowa Inc. and half of Daishowa-Marubeni.)

The Friends wrote to dozens of Daishowa customers; each letter alleged that the proposed logging was a betrayal by Daishowa and constituted “genocide” of the Lubicon. Failure to confirm participation in the boycott would result in pickets, the letter warned. Daishowa removed its label from its bags, but the Friends managed to keep finding Daishowa customers. How they did it is a “trade secret,” says Mr. Thomas.

Over the next four years the Friends targeted 50 Daishowa clients, all of them major retailers, including Country Style Donuts, Mr. Submarine, Bootlegger, A&W, Club Monaco, and Holt Renfrew. All but two stopped using Daishowa bags after the first letter. Many cared little about the Lubicon and were satisfied with the bags but preferred to avoid controversy. Only Woolworth’s and an Ontario chain called Pizza Pizza held out, briefly, until Friends picketed their stores dressed as trees while another went among them with a chainsaw.

dmgDaishowa-Marubeni considers the whole boycott grossly unfair, complains general manager Jim Morrison, considering the company voluntarily stayed out of the disputed area the whole time: “We’re the only forestry company in the world that has been targeted for not logging.” In 1995 the company sued the Friends, claiming that the “secondary picketing” was illegal and that the Friends were defaming Daishowa. After a lengthy trial, the decision was released last April.

Justice James MacPherson ruled that the Friends defamed Daishowa by claiming that the company was engaged in genocide and awarded $1 in damages, which is all Daishowa was seeking. However, the picketing itself was “lawful in a democratic society which values free speech,” he wrote, and refused to forbid it.

In May the province agreed to negotiate to replace any timber rights Daishowa-Marubeni might lose in the disputed area with timber rights elsewhere. Consequently, on May 20 the company committed itself to not log there until the land claim is settled. On June 12 the Friends ended the boycott. Daishowa spokesman Tom Cochran estimates that the affair cost the company over $15 million.

Greenpeace’s $100-million European campaign against MacBlo has not ended officially, but at a press conference three weeks ago Vancouver Greenpeacers toasted with champagne the announcement of president Tom Stephens that MacBlo will phase out clear-cutting over five years. It will adopt “variable retention logging” which will leave forested areas of varying sizes untouched, depending on the type of forest.

The decision follows years of intense Greenpeace campaigning in Europe against Canadian firms. This spring alone, demonstrators have protested outside Canadian embassies in European cities, blockaded pulp plants, and boarded a Canadian timber ship. Also this spring, several U.K. firms, including major home improvement chains Do It All and Sainsbury Homebase, have announced that they will purchase wood products solely from ecologically-certified firms–ruling out clear-cut wood from old-growth forests.

“We have not been victims of a boycott,” insists MacBlo vice-president of public affairs Alan Stubbs. Rather, the company is trying to meet the demands of its customers. “There’s a trend here,” he says, “and we can either follow the trend or get ahead of it.” He declines to estimate the cost to MacBlo of the Greenpeace campaign.

MacBlo says that abandoning clear-cutting will raise costs from about $120 to $124 per cubic metre of wood. But as B.C. forestry firms pointed out last week, if MacBlo finds a market for premium-priced eco-friendly products, everybody else will follow suit. “MacBlo sees this as a way of satisfying its customer base, and that’s a good thing,” comments Anne McMullin, media manager for the Forest Alliance of B.C. “It’s a marketing issue. Whether it is sound environmental practice is something we’ll find out.”

Making A Difference In America

enmNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,” said anthropologist Margaret Mead. Country Living readers have proved her words true time and again. Since 1978, the environmental movement has become more organized and more influential. No longer dismissed as “hippies,” “tree huggers,” and “radicals,” today’s environmentalists include world-renowned scientists, Fortune 500 executives, garden clubs, 4-H groups, and kindergartners. Families across the country have made the effort to recycle and seek out energy-efficient appliances. Over the years, our readers have championed the Endangered Species Act, applauded the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, and supported the creation of the Canyons of the Escalante National Monument, in southeastern Utah. They have sought out information on organic-food regulations, national park funding, global warming, composting, lead poisoning, creating backyard wildlife habitats, and the availability of solar power.

In short, men and women committed to saving our countryside have worked to make a difference and have much to show for their efforts. Over the past 20 years, the Endangered Species Act has helped to recover the bald eagle, American alligator, California sea otter, and many other threatened or endangered animals and plants, serving as our main defense against species and habitat loss. Groups like the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, the Center for Marine Conservation, and the National Wildlife Federation have provided leadership and guidance, empowering grassroots conservation groups to save marshes, forests, and sand dunes from development in their towns and cities.

enmmRoughly 25 percent of America’s trash is now collected for recycling. More and more of it is being used by manufacturers to create new products. Every ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees. Recycled paper can be found in the boxes that line the cereal aisle at your local market as well as in high-end stationery shops. Today it’s not uncommon for discarded plastic soda bottles to be spun into Polarfleece, a plush, colorful material used to make clothing, bedding – even teddy bears. (One jacket made from this material keeps 15 two-liter soda bottles out of our landfills.) For the home, there are recycled glass tiles, carpets made without formaldehyde and toxic glues, and paints that emit few volatile organic compounds.

Timber consumption is also being reduced by forward-thinking companies that make paper products from such materials as kenaf, hemp, and agricultural residues like wheat straw. And labels like SmartWood and Green Cross, both certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, let consumers know which woods have been cultivated and harvested with minimal environmental destruction.

Alarmed to learn that the United States is losing approximately a million acres of farmland each year to nonagricultural use, our readers have reached out to support urban farms, local farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture programs, and groups such as the American Farmland Trust, a hardworking nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the family farm. And Country Living readers from coast to coast have generously contributed to the Country Living National Arbor Day Forest, which is now 1,336 acres strong.

Much has been accomplished in 20 years thanks to the continued efforts of individuals who have made a personal commitment to “do something” for the environment – whether it’s installing water-saving aerators on their faucets, switching to longer-lasting fluorescent lightbulbs, starting a recycling drive at the office, biking to work, carpooling, or planting a vegetable garden. Conservation is about choices. We all play a part.

Being God-Fearing And Green Can Coexist

In the 1996 debate over the Endangered Species Act in the United States,  the religious right was as fervent as the green left in defending tough legal protections for at risk species.

ccaIn Canada, the phenomenon seems most developed on the West Coast, notably among Anglican evangelicals. The largest Anglican church in Vancouver, St. John’s Shaughnessy, which is a perpetual thorn in the side of liberal bishops on many social and theological issues, is hosting a “Visions for the Earth” conference April 17, the day before Earth Day, sponsored by Vision TV.

Loren Wilkinson, professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Regent College in Vancouver and an orthodox Anglican evangelical who has been a green activist for 25 years, believes that environmental awareness comes in waves. “Generally the evangelical world is a few years behind the wave,” notes Prof. Wilkinson, who was arrested in 1993 for protesting against logging in Clayoquot Sound. “But the wave crests and then it recedes. As a culture we’re faddish, and the evangelical world is no different.”

The wave may have hit the U.S. and the West Coast, but there’s scant evidence of it in the rest of Canada. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, an umbrella organization for 28 denominations representing approximately 2.5 million Canadians, has shown little interest in the subject but for its 1995 Bible study guide called “God’s Earthkeepers.”

Gail Reid, editor of Fellowship, the magazine for the hardy evangelical minority within the United Church, says her congregation is so preoccupied with the raging debate within the church over the divinity of Christ that the environment–along with most other issues–has been pushed off the agenda.

Still, it is undeniably true that conservative evangelicals are increasingly estranged from their historic allies on the political right, the free market neo-conservatives, and environmental policy is one of the points of conflict. That could drive evangelicals closer to religious liberals, who long ago traded the hair shirt for a hemp shirt. Tom Robinson, New Brunswick-based spokesman for Barnabas, the key group that promotes evangelical reform in the Anglican church, thinks there is room for accommodation. “Environment issues are one of those things on which we can agree,” he argues. Mr. Robinson believes evangelicals may also be willing to overlook the Green Goddess theology that inspires some elements of the environmental movement.

pdwcBut will greens be willing to overlook their philosophical disagreements with Christians, whether liberal or conservative? Many traditional environmentalists see Judeo-Christian orthodoxy as their implacable enemy, because it holds that human beings are special and that human domination of the planet is a good thing.

Vancouver televangelist Bernice Gerard, who got involved with Visions for the Earth at the request of Vision TV, finds that evangelicals are very cautious in their dealings with environmentalists because of their New Age associations. She is sceptical that alliances between liberal and conservative church factions will succeed.

Calvin Beisner, professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Covenant (Presbyterian) College in Georgia, cautions evangelicals to remember that environmentalists are often narrowly focused on the protection of plants and animals, typically at the expense of people. He points to the campaign to rid the world of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals used in refrigeration which have been associated with the destruction of the ozone layer. If that campaign succeeds, he notes, the net effect will be to raise the cost of refrigeration around the world. “Since the poor are least able to afford refrigeration anyway, you raise the threshold of income at which the poor will be able to begin to afford adequate refrigeration. You delay the time at which you reduce the incidence of foodborne disease,” says Prof. Beisner. He adds that environmental protection usually follows from higher standards of living: “If you slow economic advance, you will also slow protection of the environment.”