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December 2017 Newsletter


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. Stay Safe for the Christmas Season! – No SENS events are planned for December.

2. ‘Solar John’ Night: January 25th, 7pm, 2018. SENS director John Barling provides lots of solar ‘you can build’ ideas and plans this evening. All are welcome!

3. Pollinator Pathways: The Border Free Bees research project in Kelowna helped set up a 7.4 km nectar trail for 2017. Want to get involved in this for the Vernon area? Contact Sheila Campbell, SENS director. She is coordinating a local Pollinator Pathways initiative for the Vernon area.

4. Handmade Holiday Gifting Event Success: It generated many kudos, loads of kids took ‘made stuff’ home, grandparents were delighted with new ideas they could do with grandchildren, and sharing with the community abounded! Attendees “joined the conversation“ to share their ideas for alternatives gifts from the heart. This gift list is on our website. Also, SENS member Evan Miller created a short video with a different ‘take’ on the afternoon. Enjoy!

5. Cosmetic Pesticides and Blue Dot:  We need you to take  5 min TODAY to email all Vernon councillors and mayor via this link… 

Council will decide on what action to take on December 11, now that SENS has presented on the harm that occurs with use sand has asked for a ban in the Vernon area.

Tell them their voters SUPPORT a ban on ALL cosmetic non-essential pesticide use. The evidence is overwhelming that they are toxic to humans and the environment.  Their voters WANT a healthier Vernon, as other communities have done including Coldstream, Salmon Arm, Vancouver, Victoria, Revelstoke and 8 other entire provinces.  City of Vernon voted FOR a Blue Dot community, now it’s time to Walk the Talk!! 

If we REALLY care about our children, whose growing bodies are harmed by such chemicals, then cosmetic pesticides MUST be banned. Coldstream banned them in 2008; School District 22 banned them in 2011 and grassy areas still look just fine. 

The City contracts out to spray  ‘cracks and crevices' around town and also  Polson Park  with...

 Dicamba…(documented health hazards associated with phenoxy herbicides such as dicamba include developmental and reproductive problems.) 

2,4-D… (…Despite industry efforts claiming the safety of this chemical, there is a large body of evidence indicating major health effects from cancer to immunosuppression, reproductive damage to neurotoxicity. The teratogenic, neurotoxic, immunosuppressive, cytotoxic and hepatoxic effects of 2,4-D have been well documented.) 

and  Mecoprop…(Use caution if near water sources… …and…understood to cause skin and eye irritation, coughing, burning sensations in the chest, dizziness, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion or bizarre behavior, increased heart rate, and kidney failure).


1.Farmers’ Markets:

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

Armstrong: Saturdays, 9 – 1pm, Odd Fellows Hall, Bridge St until March.

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. The State of Our Watershed: December 5th, 6:30 – 9 pm. Schubert Centre. Come for a great night of information and conversation! Plans will then be made to inform everyone of the importance of protecting our watershed and the ecosystems and habitats that rely on those waters. Sierra Club Okanagan will host. Contact Brad (250 308-4099) for more information.

3. Green Drinks: Monday, December 11th, 5 – 7 pm, Marten Brew Pub, 2933 30th Ave in Vernon. These are informal gatherings of those in the environmental field but open to all. Attend and enjoy the flow of ideas and make new contacts! Contact Matt for more information.

4. BXRL Taskforce - RDNO - GVAC Meeting: December 7th, 8 am, RDNO board room. At this meeting the Taskforce will be asking the RDNO to NOT sell the BX Ranchlands to private owners, and will be making their case to have the land become a public park. Check out their blog and attend to support them! Wear a green shirt! We all need to keep BX Ranchland public for generations to come (allowing for “re-creation” of the body and mind as one wanders around , space for community gardens and much more…)

5. Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program (OCCP): 2 OCCP members spoke to the RDNO board to introduce the opportunity to create a North Okanagan Conservation Fund such as used by other Regional Districts. The fund would enable the North Okanagan to establish a base of local resources that could be leveraged with contributions from private donations and federal money to be used for park acquisition and conservation works, such as the Swan Lake Wildlife Management Area, Shuswap Falls fish passage, and ongoing study and stewardship of biological values.

The OCCP has also been considering Lakeshore Ownership and working with several partners to draft a series of printed and online resources to help Okanagan residents connect with best practices for living on the lakeshore. It would provide information to lakeshore landowners and other Okanagan residents

about the importance of keeping our shores natural for water quality, wildlife habitat, and flooding protection.  Included would also be steps that should be followed when considering development on

lakeshore properties, obtaining the proper permitting, and best practices are for living on the lakeshore.


1. Welcome to Poopytown: This very informative 7 minute video is about watershed protection along the Buffalo River. Check it out!

2. Neat You Tube Posts

48 Earthships in 10 Minutes: Here's some nice EYE candy!

Steps To Net Zero Energy: Here's how we can reach Net Zero!

Cheap Bike Camper: Want inexpensive? Then check this out!

Unheated Winter Greenhouse:

Plus…Floating Cities:

Sierra Club Canada

Cyanobacteria: These blue=green algae have just been used in solar panels. They turn sunlight into electricity.

3. Limpets Rule: During the summer, when it is the hottest, starfish, anemones, mussels, barnacles, and seaweed fare well in the heat, but only if limpets (snails) are present. To find out why, go here.

4. Chalk River and Nuclear Energy:  Chalk River was created in 1944 to produce plutonium for nuclear bombs. It is now to be decommissioned. A multinational consortium of five U.K, U.S. and Canadian companies (including SNC Lavalin) was contracted in 2015 to dispose of waste there, quickly and cheaply. This consortium proposes a 1 million cubic meter pile of nuclear waste on a hillside that drains into the Ottawa River - a  “Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF). Many other industrial and commercial waste would also be shipped there for dumping. With deterioration, radioactive leachate (along with mercury, lead, PCBs, dioxins, etc.) would migrate into the Ottawa River. Millions source their water from this river…

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)’s environmental assessment hearing is scheduled for June 2018. They have never turned down a major nuclear facility and the old Chalk River site, after decommissioning, would be modernized and several small modular reactors would then be built. Please sign the e-petition 1220 before Dec 9, 2017.

5. Cell Towers, Mobile Phones and Honeybees: Apparently radiation released from these devices confuses bees so they’re unable to return to hives to feed the young so honey production has dropped drastically. Telus may be constructing microcells in Coldstream and/or Lavington where numerous beekeepers live…



1. Pacific Climate Change Warriors: This group is asking you to sign their declaration asking world leaders at the UN’s Conference of the Parties (COP23) to end the fossil fuel era, support finances going to help stressed countries, kick big polluters out of climate talks, and act to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

2. Tech Frontier Project: This extremely large open pit tar sands proposal is under review. It violates indigenous rights and goes against Canada’s national climate plan! So please sign this petition calling on Trudeau and his ministers to give this pit a real review that includes climate change and Indigenous rights.


1. PEARL Funding Success: This social media group sought your support last month to ask our federal government not to stop funding the Polar Environmental Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL). They happily report that funding will be provided through to the fall of 2019.


Neonics and Bees: France just approved use of a new bee-killing neonicotinoid from Dow Chemical called Sulfoxaflor despite a ban on all neonics…but Sumofus partner Generation Futures, won the battle in court… pesticide Chemical company Dow will appeal the decision because they've created a new pesticide that acts like a neonic and kills bees like a neonic, but they're claiming it's not really a neonic and should be legal.


15,000 Scientists’ SOS: species are going extinct at 1000 times the natural rate…. 90% of the Great Barrier Reef is dead or dying….etc but, if we can protect 50% of the planet, life on earth will recover. Avaaz is asking for your support ($$) to make this happen via education so that the Biodiversity Summit in 2020 adopts this 50% goal.


1. Bees vs. Government and Industry: Ecojustice and other groups are fighting against continued registration of bee-killing pesticides. They argue that Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has unlawfully registered neonicotinoid pesticides without the necessary science to warrant continued use! For more on their fight for accountability and science-based decision making, go here.


1. Caribou Science: Industrial resource-extraction operators often claim their practices are sustainable. Yet these practices have contributed to caribou decline and, under the current management regime, there is no evidence herds are recovering… Many herds were identified as threatened more than 17 years ago, and provinces and territories still have made no plans. For the entire article, go here.

2. Site C Folly: Behind schedule, over budget by at least 50%, and only able to service 500,000 homes!!! Meanwhile, the area to be flooded is some of the North’s most arable farmland, estimated to bring in $8 billion a year in natural capital. Not to mention these lands could feed a million people! For the entire article, go here.

3. Protect Nature in Canada: Our government has pledged to protect 17 per cent of land area and 10 per cent of coastal areas by 2020, including parks and protected areas. Contact your local MP and other ministers to ask them to honour this pledge. Read this to learn more.


1. Carbon Pricing in Manitoba: Last month the Institute provided information on Carbon Pricing options for the prairie provinces, especially Manitoba. Check it out!

2. Zambian Villagers to Sue a UK Mining Company: The villagers claim that chemicals from the mine have polluted rivers, streams, and aquifers, causing illness, injury, crop failures, and loss of income. Read the full story here.

3. Oil Spills In Fresh Water: Most research is for oceans. IISD’s Experimental Lakes Area has results for fresh water that will help for decisions related to pipeline development.


1. Fracking: CCPA is asking for your support to initiate a public inquiry into fracking due to a whole host of issues: from water contamination, poor consultation with locals, unlicensed dams, high methane emissions, to induced earthquakes. Check out CCPA’s latest research and sign here.


1. Toxic Algae: This fall, a large toxic algae bloom formed in the Western basin of Lake Erie, shutting down the drinking water supply for hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio state. The algae bloom is hazardous to the health of humans, pets and wildlife. The Freshwater Alliance team has been working diligently to engage communities around solutions to this problem.

2. Illegal Anti-Spawning Mats in B.C. Streams: Two months ago, the National Energy Board ordered Kinder Morgan to stop installing anti-spawning mats in B.C. streams along the path of the company’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline. However, a month later, they're still there! As such, the Alliance is calling on B.C. water lovers to raise the alarm bell to elected officials. Stay tuned to their B.C. Water updates for more stories like this and other ways you can be a water protector in British Columbia.

3. Water Sustainability and The City: In October, we brought together watershed planners, engineers, scientists, government (local and provincial) policy makers, and other savvy folks to discuss watershed challenges and solutions in B.C.’s urban areas. A research report detailing urban watershed challenges and recommendations for solutions is available. If you are interested in receiving the report, e-mail Christine.

4. CFA Webinars: There's a lot of interest in their Fresh Ideas webinars, but not everyone is able to attend when they are live-streamed. They are recorded though, and posted here so you can watch them at your leisure. Check out their most recent webinars: Rights of Rivers and Wetlands: From Science to Action!

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

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