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May 2017 Newsletter

MAY 2017

Support Us! You can become a member (Family - $20.00, Individual - $15.00, Basic - $5.00), attend our monthly meetings (the 4th Thursday usually), donate, and/or volunteer. Mailing address: SENS (Sustainable Environment Network Society), c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5. Website:

*** SENS provides tax-deductible receipts for donations ***

Information contained in this newsletter may not imply approval by SENS directors.


1. No Newsletter this Summer: Enjoy the outdoors! Next Newsletter will be September.

2. Electric Car Show: May 25th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre, Vernon. Check under the hood, drive one? Try out an electric bicycle? They will be on display outside in the east parking lot until 8 pm. Then join owners inside as they speak to the benefits of their own mode of transport. Reading material and vehicle specs will be available.

3. 4th Annual Repair Café: May 28th, 11 am – 3 pm, Okanagan Science Centre parking lot. SENS again supports Vernon in Transition for this valuable and FREE community event. Skilled volunteer repairers will be there to fix and/or teach you to repair your stuff! … bikes, skateboards, computers, small electronic items & appliances, guitars & other string instruments, furniture, woodwork, 
clothes/knitwear that need sewing, darning, patching (leather/canvas too), things that need sharpening or gluing, and more! Coffee/Tea and a food vendor on site! Donations are welcomed!

4. SENS Facebook: SENS has 2 facebook pages. The first, where SENS makes all the event pages and does most of the posting, is a "public" page. People can “like” and not have to “friend” it and can also see it even if not signed up for facebook..

The second page, is where you have to "friend" it. It is not our main page.

We would appreciate your sharing our events on your person pages (or inviting your friend list to them!). Help us get the word out about our events to as many people in our community as possible.

5. Freecycle/Treasure Day: May 27, 28. Directors Heather and Sheila are again staging this day for Vernon & area. All unclaimed items have to be taken back in by original owners by Sunday eve, May 28. Details on our website soon.


1. Farmers’ Markets:

Vernon: Monday and Thursdays, 8 am – 1 pm, Kal Tire Place.

Lumby: Open year-round, Monashee Food Co-op, #3-1965, Shuswap Ave.

- GMO and pesticide free produce! For more information, call 778-473-2230 or visit their website.

2. North Okanagan Naturalist Club: May 5th, 7 pm, Vernon’s Village Green Hotel. Robyn Thornton shows scenes of Florida and Monarch butterflies of Mexico.

3. AGREENERFUTURE.CA Their annual Butt Blitz is May 6, 11am – 2 pm all over Canada. Please pick up cigarette butts during that time locally and send to Terracycle Canada for recycling. Jack Elliman, SENS director, is coordinating in the local area. Please contact him if you’d like to help or can suggest areas where there’d be high concentrations of cigarette butts (250 938-4202, ). Check facebook via Vernon Butt Blitz 2017 for details. Cigarette Butts do major damage to our environment due to poisons in the left-over tobacco. Ask cigarette smoking friends to use pocket ashtrays ( ) to encourage reduction in discarded butts!

4. Bike To Work Week (May 29th – June 4th): There are four main events during this week. The first is the Family-Friendly Kick-Off that starts on May 28th at 11 – 3 pm in Polson Park. The second is a Mid-week Celebration Morning on May 31st at Sun Country Cycle. The third is a Brain Trust BBQ being held that same evening. The last is the Wrap-up Event on June 2nd in Spirit Park near City Hall. For more details or to register, go to the Bike to Work website. Register and you could win an 8-day cycling trip for two on the Dalmation Coast!

5. Wood Stove Exchange Program: Lavington Life Society ( ) administers this program in Coldstream and would like to sponsor an event to further their educational actions. Contact Dian with your ideas and group venue support!


1. Spallumcheen Water Woes and Politician Trust: In March, a meeting between representatives of the Splatsin First Nation, the Spallumcheen community, and the B.C. government took place in regards to the protection of the local Hullcar Valley aquifer. Apparently, three years ago there was a manure spill that contaminated the aquifer, which the Government has failed to address since. At the meeting, residents were told that remediation of the aquifer would take at least a decade! No solutions to work towards remediation were mentioned; no time frame given. Instead the government promised $950,000 in provincial funding to find alternate solutions for local private well owners, as well as for farmers to adopt best management practices... Oh, one caveat though, they need to get re-elected first!

For more, check out Save Hullcar Aquifer Team (SHAT) on Facebook! This team researches the water quality in the Valley and other spots around the province. They also post ideas that come up from around the world, such as this one.

2. Stop Site C (a devastating and unnecessary project): Reps from the Peace Valley Environmental Assoc., Sierra Club of BC and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation have provided the following information for you to read, act on, and query local candidates on… lays out factual information. is the letter-writing website. All comments will go to your riding’s candidates, the PM and the federal environment and justice ministers.

FROM BCSEA: (BC Sustainable Energy Association)

Green Energy Doors Open: September 22 – 24, all over BC. BCSEA is again hosting this national initiative and seeks resident, businesses and community groups who wish to hold events, share successes, and give tours of sustainable energy projects to inspire the rest of us to adopt a sustainable way of living. Hosting and participating are FREE! To host please click here. As either sponsor or partner, please contact the executive director, Jessica McIlroy: Green Energy Doors Open website available soon with event listing and sign-up forms.


1. New Wildlife Management Plans: Did you know that government ministers may hand over wildlife management to an external agency supported by special interest groups (e.g. hunters, guide-outfitters, etc.)? Such a model would not work for the interests of most British Columbians (not to mention the wildlife)! For the whole story, go here.

FROM SUMOFUS.ORG (Non-Profit Social Media Group)

1. Action on Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem: SUMOFUS needs your help to share the stories of the people, the animals, and the crucial importance of this ecosystem, a tropical landscape spanning 6.5 million acres on the island of Sumatra, with the world. It provides millions of local people with clean drinking water as well as irrigation essential for subsistence farming. Sadly, deforestation and palm oil production is threatening it. Please share this Facebook link with your friends and family and/or this tweet!


1. Marine Protected Areas: Excerpt: “The federal government recently created two marine protected areas in the Pacific region and has committed to increase ocean protection from one percent to 10 percent by 2020 ... [But] protected areas are just one aspect of keeping coastal ecosystems healthy. Responsible stewardship also requires effective fisheries management, strong penalties for polluters, and a global carbon-emissions reduction [in order] to reduce the risks to ecosystems that provide us with the fish we eat, the air we breathe, and the bounty of nature we love. [On their own, they] won’t be enough to do all that, but with strong regulations and safeguards, they’re one piece of the intricate, multidimensional puzzle.” For David's entire piece, go here.

2. Action: Fracking Is Dirty: Methane Emissions are shown to be 2 ½ times greater than BC government claims. Methane is 84 times more damaging than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and often is released in to the air due to poor regulations. Contact BC party leaders Help stop this by sending a message now.

3. Blue Dot: Our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn’t show that most Canadians consider environmental rights to be human rights. Let your member of Parliament know you support environmental rights in the Charter, and that creating a federal environmental bill of rights would be a major step in this direction.


1. Nuclear Industry: Who would have thought George Westinghouse's iconic company would go bankrupt?! It wouldn't have, as it turns out, if it hadn't bet the farm on nuclear power, according to this piece from the Economist.

2. Advocating for the Environment: Access to key information to do with governance of our country and conduct of its affairs is vital to a successful democracy. But the Trudeau government, as with its forthright promise to change the electoral system, is backing away from a commitment to make access to information work in this country. It's time to hold them to account! As such, over 50 Canadian civil society organizations and citizens have sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to renew the commitment of his government to reform Canada’s woefully outdated Access to Information Act!

3. CO2 Accumulation: This article tells the sorry tale of this increasing rate. Here's an excerpt: “Climate change must be limited to a maximum of +2 Co in global warming. Beyond that point we risk destabilizing droughts, floods, mega-storms, heat waves, food shortages, climate extremes and irreversible tipping points ... Our foot-dragging at reducing climate pollution has left us in a dangerous situation with little time left to act.” We need to start DOING something! This election, don't vote for parties that just play at addressing climate change. Also, don't drive or fly if you don't have to, find ways to conserve and use energy more efficiently, and try to seek alternative sources of energy!

4. Prescribing Active Travel for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet: A Toolkit for Health Professionals : This new toolkit will help health professionals become advocates of active transportation. And transit. Let yours know!


1. Water Contamination: For nearly a decade, residents in Harrietsfield, Nova Scotia, have been afraid to drink the water in their own homes. Ecojustice is working with East Coast Environmental Law to make sure those in Harrietsfield have peace of mind. No one should have to consume and bathe in water contaminated with toxic levels of substances like boron, arsenic, cadmium and uranium. Please add your voice by sending a message to the Minister calling on her to act!


1. Wetlands Workshops: This summer,:Wetlandkeepers Courses set in Courtenay (May 19th – 21st), Cheam Lake (May 26th – 28th), Fort St. John (July 7th - 9th), and Campbell River (July 14th -16th); Map our Marshes Workshops set in North Vancouver (June 11th), Lillooet (July 24th – 25), and Oliver (July 28th); an Invasive Species Removal Workshop set in Cheam Lake (June 10th). Email here for more information; a Wetland Restoration & Invasive Species Workshop set in Revelstoke (July 27th); and a Lentic Wetland Assessment Workshop set in Canal Flats (July 20th – 21st). Kids and Youth Coordinator Chris Lim will be managing the Wild Kidz Camps set in Winfield and Rock Creek (July 17th - 21st and July 24-28th respectively) and Go Wild! Conservation Workshops set in Mission (August 7th – 11h). A 2nd Location/dates are still TBA. Contact for more information. Future workshops and more information will be shared on our website. You can also like us on facebook or follow us on twitter.


1.Mercury Pollution: Canada has just ratified the Minamata convention on mercury, bringing that landmark international agreement on reducing mercury emissions ever closer to entering into force.Watch the video here on cutting-edge science which is used to learn, then inform government so decisions can be made. Read more here on Canada’s mercury policies and recommendations.

2. Building Climate Resilience: Check out what these 8 cities are doing: Read more here How does Vernon compare?

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

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