April 2012 Newsletter

If you have difficulty reading this newsletter as e-mail, view it instead at http://sensociety.org/v6/?q=201204.

APRIL 2012

The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 years!

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, c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5. Website: www.sensociety.org

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


April 26th – Health In the Home: This important panel tackles the question, “Is your household making you sick?”, and discusses various culprits (e.g. computers, microwaves, radon gas, household chemicals, and food toxins). Discussion encouraged. Bring a carload!

Over 160 attendees were at SENS’ March seed and plant swap/sale and AGM, with speakers on permaculture and GM foods and health. Thank-you for your support!


1. BEE Safe(Securing a Food Economy) Weekly Workshops: Info: www.Beesafemonashees.org . Or, contact them at 778-473-3029 or by email at jane@beesafemonashees.org . To subscribe to their newsletter: beesafemonashees@gmail.com . Please let them know if you can offer workshops. BEE Safe is a branch of SENS.

2. Green Drinks: Second Monday of every month at Sir Winston’s Pub. Find out more at: http://greendrinks.org/vernon and on this Facebook page.

3. Food Export/Import in Canada: Check out this excellent, short video about how much we have lost in food security.

4. Shoots ‘n Blooms: April 22, 2 – 4 pm, Pilgrim’s Produce Organic Farm in Armstrong (1568 Eagle Rock Road). Food Action Society of the North Okanagan (FASNO) is staging a spring event with coffee, food, live music, animals, artisans, growers, producers, demonstrations on permaculture, square-foot gardening and growing micro-greens!

5. World Water Week: Takes place from May 13th – 19th. Take the Community Water Challenge NOW! for a chance to win a helijet trip or hotel stay at the Vancouver Fairmont Waterfront. For more, go to www.drinkingwaterweek.org.

6. Calling for Environmental Leaders:  RDNO Environmental Leadership Awards and City of Vernon Sustainability and Seed Awards have been created to reward community members for their hard work and dedication. If you know of individuals, groups or organizations that are eligible for the awards please nominate them by Earth Day, April 22nd, 2012. For forms and additional details, go to the City’s website and RDNO’s website.

7. Arsenic Life and Open Science: Thursday, April 12th, 7:30 pm, Kal Campus lecture theatre. Dr Rosie Redfield, UBC microbiologist, discusses the role of social media in science, relating to arsenic being discovered in bacteria. Tickets are $5 from OSC or $7 at the door. For more, go here.

8. Avoiding the Middleman: In the northern Greek town of Katerini, one man did just that, organizing the direct sale of food (tons of flour and potatoes) from farmers at low prices to consumers. The man, Elias Tsolakidis, has organized a group of volunteers to oversee the sales and hopes to eventually see a vast European network. This could work in Vernon too…

9. Slaughterhouse Concerns: In Grindrod, the recent acquisition of a small slaughterhouse by a big company has raised serious concerns for neighbouring residents. One fear is that it will now expand, becoming a mega-feedlot and meet processing plant. Another concern is that this dangerously adds to the risk of waste water spillage into the Shuswap Watershed. To learn more about this risk, here’s a link and a YouTube video. You can also watch the CHBC news report on the Grindrod issue. Please become more aware about this and spread the word.  

10. Operation Clean Sweep, April 23rd30th: This is Pitch-In Canada Week. What will you do before, during, and after, to keep your neighbourhood or shoreline clean? Restore natural habitat? Set up a composting program or plant trees? Register at www.pitch-in.ca  or “go it on your own”!

11. “Eat Your Forest” Workshop: May 12th – 13th, 9 – 5 pm, $200 (+HST) includes tea, coffee and healthy lunches. Book now at www.elementecodesign.com!


1. Better Buildings: The University of Waterloo’s latest “Alternatives Magazine” includes many good articles on “Better Buildings”, tackling issues like getting more mileage from your home and retrofits. You can subscribe to an on-line copy here. A sample article on why every building is a long term contract : www.alternativesjournal.ca/articles/beyond-energy-efficiency

2. Non-GMO Shopping Guide: Download this handy guide here.

3. You and Your Microwave: Excerpt:Most people think that microwave ovens do not have any negative health consequences. After all, if they did the government would not allow this product on the market. Think again.” Read the entire article here.

4. Canadian Water: The Harper Conservatives broke yet another promise to Canadians, killing Bill C-267, a bill that would have banned bulk exports of Canada’s fresh water. The house is now considering a similar bill, Bill C-383, which if passed will only protect 10% of Canada’s fresh water resources. Write your MP to demand that the Prime Minister support amendments to Bill C-383 to incorporate key elements of Bill C-267 to ban inter-basin transfers.

5. ‘Gutting’ Habitat Protection: According to a retired fisheries biologist, the Harper government is planning to gut the powers in federal legislation intended to protect fish habitat, making it easier for projects such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline to clear federal hurdles. This would cause untold suffering to the health of coastal and ocean ecosystems. It would also threaten long-established coastal industries such as commercial and sport fisheries, ecotourism, and fish processing plants. The NDP has rightly accused the government of systematically dismantling environmental protection and regulation so that they can push through their agenda of pipelines, oil super tankers, mega-mines and other projects that harm the environment. Read the entire article here.

6. Invasive Species: Asian carp have migrated up the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and have advanced to within 90 kilometres of Lake Michigan. This poses a serious threat to the entire Great Lakes ecosystem and to both commercial and sport fisheries. Barriers would be needed to keep the Asian carp out, and so Ontario has pledged to work with federal and local governments to do just that. For the entire story, click here.

7. Pesticides Banned Due to Bee Deaths: The German government has provisionally banned a family of pesticides conclusively linked to the massive die-off (50-60%) of honeybees in a southern state. The pesticides banned are all neonicotinoids, which are highly toxic to the nervous systems of any insect that comes into contact with them. To read the entire article, go here or here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/science/neocotinoid-pesticides-play-a-role-in-bees-decline-2-studies-find.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss


1. Local Jobs through Recycling: With 1,100 workers, the Georgia-Pacific plant in Muskogee is the city's largest employer. The plant buys recycled newsprint and turns it into pulp for making many products, such as printing paper and paper towels. But the ultimate by-product? Jobs. This is way better than going the incinerator route, making ten to one more jobs! Read the full story.

2. Surrey’s Biofuel Future: Surrey has big plans to ultimately create a system that will use organic waste (kitchen and yard waste) to create methane that will fuel a fleet of compressed-natural-gas-powered waste collection vehicles. The city, until it can have the proposed system up-and-running, will rely on conventional natural gas to power the vehicles. For more, read the full story.


1.Help Stop the Gutting: As mentioned above, Harper is set to pull teeth from the Fisheries Act (IF he hasn’t already by tacking it into the Omnibus Budget Bill presented on March 29th). IF any time remains please voice your disproval to MP Randy Kamp, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans at 604-466-2761 (B.C. office) or 613-947-4613 (Ottawa office). Then contact your MP (use this link to find their number) and repeat your concerns. If you are too late, please call Mr. Kamp and your MP anyways and let them know you won’t be voting Conservative in the 2015 election. And brace yourself; Canada is going to get a whole lot dirtier as we wait!

2. Protecting Deep Sea Habitat: Living Oceans has a new agreement with the bottom trawler industry that improves their practises and protects the ecosystems of valuable, sensitive corals and sponges. Living Oceans thanks you for your support.


1. Infographics: For the latest news on pipelines, the threat to sage grouse, and human health in Sarnia (home to oil refineries), visit here.

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck