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March 2018 Newsletter

MARCH 2018

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.
For the latest updates, check out the SENS Facebook Event Page!


1. Seedy Saturday: March 17th, 10 am – 3 pm, Vernon’s Rec Centre. Join us to celebrate seeds, gardening, bees, local food, and much more! Kids’ activities also provided. Buy a (used) gardening book. Sign one out from our on-site travelling library. Swap free seeds/plants and garden mags (bring envelopes + pen). Hear from local experts about Vermicomposting Worms, Bees and Pollinators, or Seed Starting and Seedling Care! Admission by donation ($2 suggested). Come and enjoy!

2. SENS Annual General Meeting (AGM): It’s scheduled for April 26th - and only takes 10 minutes! Here we will adopt the 2017 AGM minutes and financial statement, vote for directors, and vote to adopt an updated SENS Constitution and Bylaws which the BC government provided as a model for all BC Societies. Our current bylaws are about 50 years old… For most of the evening we’ll check out “Everything Fermented” with demos and tastings.

3. Regional District Solid Waste Advisory Working Group: This group attends monthly meetings to listen to and comment on presentations made by consultants hired by RDNO. These meetings are to develop the 2018 Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP). The new plan will be available for comment by the public in a few months. For RDNO meeting details, check here.

4. February’s Sustainability Film Fest: Minimalism The film's message: Instead of loving things and using people, we need to love people and use things. Check out how Project 333 works for dealing with all your clothes!

An extension of the “Bag It!” doc: Check the SENS website next week for a list of alternatives to plastics. See “projects” with And…ask our local food stores to provide an alternative to plastic for produce using “earthwise” bags ( or a similar product so we reduce plastic bag use. 80 trillion plastic bags are made each year; 3.5 tons of bags are discarded each year…all made from non-renewable oil. What a waste!

5. B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR): It protects farm land from development, so that we always have food-growing land to keep costs down and generate local jobs. What are your thoughts? Try the survey!

6.Wanted – sewers with sewing machines!. If you would like to show kids how to sew simple cloth shopping bags on April 25 and/or May 16 to coincide with reduction in plastic bag use in Vernon shops, please contact Joel ( at Vernon Christian School. Let’s quickly become a Boomerang Bag city!  Also, keep an eye out for when the Vernon Library sets a date for everyone tobring their machines and sew cloth shopping bags at the library!


1. Farmers’ Markets:

Vernon: Friday afternoons, inside, Kal Tire Place.

Armstrong: Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm, Odd Fellows Hall, Bridge St. Until mid March

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

GMO and pesticide free produce! Information is on their website.

2. First People of the Land: Vernon Library, 1 – 3 pm, Sundays of March 4th and March 18th and Saturday, March 10th. Mollie Bono, a member of the Suknaqinx band, will tell the tale of her people, their deep connection to the land, and what it means to them. You are invited to attend these free talks!

3. Green Drinks: Monday, March 12th, 5 – 7 pm, Marten Brew Pub, 2933a 30th Ave in Vernon. It’s open to everyone. Meet with NGOs, academia, and people in the field to share ideas, make contacts, and more!

4. Overwintering Hybrid Geese: To keep the population around 2500 yearly, the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program has, for 12 years, provided an egg addling program with no harm caused to the adult birds. If you notice nest locations or pairs of geese, email the coordinator or call 1 877 943 3209.

5. Geese/Deer Hunter/Teacher Wanted: With numerous local families without enough food daily, why not teach a wildlife hunting course and provide a job or two to locals who could ethically hunt geese and deer? The overabundant deer and geese could be culled safely and the meat go to those in need (e.g. Howard House, Upper Room Mission, Transition House etc). Want to get the ball rolling?

6. Amphibians: The OCCP (Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program) is looking for amphibian biologists and enthusiasts to help with a survey this spring in the North Okanagan. Please contact Tanis if you are interested in participating. For more, check out their Conservation workshop report. Also, the OCCP has been working on a committee to develop a gap analysis of wetland protection for the Okanagan.

7. North Okanagan Naturalists: March 7th, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel. The speaker is weed inspector John Friesen. His lecture topic is “Weeds, Damned Weeds!”


1.YouTube Links: Check these videos out:

* Cob House on Mayne Island, *New Forests in Iceland,

* Home Solar Storage, *Rise of Renewable Energy Worldwide

*“Net Zero” Home Renos,

* China’s Solar Energy,

* Farming at 7,000Ft (young people are encouraged to get into farming):

2. Riparian Restoration: Shaw TV has recently produced an excellent one hour video about this Community to Community project. This video explores why one tree, black cottonwood, is such an essential Okanagan species, what cottonwood ecosystems mean to syilx people, and why it should be valued by all of us. For more,. go here.

3. Thoughts from Author and Futurist Guy Dauncey: Here they are! And here's another one of Guy‘s recent thoughts on a New Cooperative Economy.!

4. Site C's ‘Death Spiral’: With the NDP’s approval of the controversial Site C, residents should prepare for higher electrical rates, a taxpayer bailout, and perhaps even a “death spiral” for BC Hydro, warns a consumer watchdog. A “utility death spiral” occurs when rates rise to cover megaprojects. Higher rates lead to reduced demand, which results in more increases to cover costs. A vicious cycle that ends in bankruptcy! For the entire article, go here.

5. Ouch! A Council of Canadians report notes that over 5 years ago federal protections were removed from most of our lakes and rivers to allow easy approval of energy projects. The Trudeau government’s promise to restore all protections to our lakes and rivers has not done so, and their promises to improve and modernize safeguards have not materialized. Waterways are exempt from having to pass environmental impact assessment.

6. Eco-Friendly Home Tour: It’s scheduled for Saturday May 5 but mark your calendars NOW! for April 1 when tickets ($25 each) will be available at Vernon’s Bean Scene or you might miss out. Thank-you to CFUW Vernon for supporting 2 $1500 scholarships for local college students through this venture.

7. Making Cities Flourish: website has interesting articles on Smart Cities ,kiln building restoration, the children’s garden, revitalizing buildings and more.


1. Stop the Worsening Expansion: The largest open-pit tar sands mine ever proposed in the history of Canada is still slated to be approved using the old fossil-fuel friendly rules. The Teck mine is designed to supply pipelines, like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, with dirty oil to export. The mine would produce 277,000 barrels of oil every day and would destroy a huge swath of land that the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation do not want developed, Help stop this by signing this petition!


1. A Sweet Victory: Cadbury, Ferrero, and 20 other chocolate companies just committed to ending rainforest destruction in West Africa! Hopefully they'll NOT move to other countries to access chocolate tree growing areas… For more , go here.

2. Bees: A brand-new report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) adds to the mountain of scientific evidence -- that neonicotinoid pesticides are a key culprit in bees' demise.


1. Eliminating Plastic Packaging: Iceland Supermarket in Great Britain has become the first major retailer to commit to eliminate plastic packaging for all its own-brand products. The current plastic packaging would be replaced with paper and pulp trays and paper bags, which would be recyclable through domestic waste collections or in-store recycling facilities. Greenpeace estimates that about 12.7 million tonnes of plastic (all made from oil) end up in our oceans yearly.


1. Ivory Ban: Success! Hong Kong, the world's largest ivory market, just banned ivory… but there are still markets open in Europe that we need to close. Click here and add your name to that campaign.


1. Your Body’s Health: “In charting a path towards a $15 minimum wage and beyond, it is important that we adopt a health equity perspective and consider the minimum wage increase as a matter of public health that can reduce health inequalities and free up public health care dollars for existing and new services.” For the entire article, go here.


2. B.C.‘s Budget: B.C. is long overdue for major public investments. It desperately needs a universal child care system, more affordable homes, ambitious action on climate change, stronger education and health care, and action to raise people out of poverty! And to help make it happen, we must continue to raise revenues by restoring fairness in our tax system. What we really cannot afford, however, is to stick with the status quo. Find out why in this recent piece.



1. Damage from NAFTA: Ecojustice lawyers are suiting up alongside the Government of Canada to challenge a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ruling that could force Canada to pay more than $500 million in damages for enforcing its own environmental laws. How this case shakes out will have lasting implications on the ability of the Canadian government to enforce its own laws within our borders.

2. Polluters Must Pay: There are about 80,000 inactive oil and gas wells that have yet to be properly cleaned up and decommissioned in Alberta. Landowners have to deal with the resultant contamination to avoid passing on the toxic legacy to their children. Ecojustice, via the Supreme Court of Canada, is supporting them to ensure that a now-bankrupt company’s inactive oil and gas wells are cleaned up.


1. B.C.’s Methane Emissions: According to this news, 85% of active gas wells in B.C. blow air-polluting methane into the sky. Studies, in turn, found these leaks to be massively under-reported.

2. Save the Planet: It's estimated that the human population will rise to 9 billion people by 2050; doubling the amount of food that is currently needed. But to generate this amount, the way we eat now would destroy our fresh water and surrounding environments. One solution, as this article suggests, is to add insects to our diet!

3. Safe Water for First Nations: A recent DSF report found the government failing on eight of 14 indicators developed to assess its progress on ending drinking water advisories for First Nations. Obviously, more action is needed to ensure safe water for First Nations For the full story, go here.


1. Ontario’s Carbon Pricing Works: According to this press release, the government is using "cap and trade" pricing for carbon reduction properly. Presently they simply take the money generated, and fund renewable energy projects. It's not perfect, but they’re heading in the right direction.

2. “What’s Making Our Children Sick”: This book, penned by a pediatrician, is a well-written account of health trends in children and the link to environmental degradation, in particular pesticide exposure.

3. Site C: Here's a piece on what happened in late January when the NDP in B.C. green-lit the Site C Dam. There was heavy criticism, from economists, environmentalists, First Nations, farmers, biologists, journalists and futurists.

4. Kinder Morgan's Dangerous Precedent: Last month, the National Energy Board ruled in favour of Kinder Morgan over the City of Burnaby. The company is now free to ramp up construction without municipal permits. Kinder Morgan is now asking for a way to bypass ALL municipal or provincial permits. Stripping municipalities and the province of their permitting jurisdiction is dangerous for our democracy and our safety. Please stand with CAPE!

5. Yet Another Broken Promise: Prime Minister Trudeau not only approved the KM pipeline project. Now, he is breaking his promise to enforce his own government’s conditions. And he is fighting to undermine oversight and permitting processes designed to protect local people. Don't let him get away with it!


1. Cancers are on the Rise: Particularly non-smoking-related ones among our young. Most notable are colorectal cancer and malignancies linked to hormone mimicking exposures. Many common substances in plastics, everyday products, and pesticides are the culprits, harming children from conception on. For more details, go here.

2. Unfortunate Substitutions: Here are two recent examples: (1) Phthalates are used in many household items and hence are commonly found in Canadians. When one is banned, the industry just switches in a substitute chemical from its family. (2) The antimicrobial chemical triiclosan is also found in many household cleaners and there's a genuine concern that triiclosan should be banned. It too is seeing substitution when banned. As such, PCN contends that the whole family of phthalates and triiclosan require elimination!

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

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