June 2012 Newsletter

If you have difficulty reading this newsletter as e-mail, view it instead at http://sensociety.org/v6/?q=201206.

JUNE 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 ***


1. No evening events until the end of September. Enjoy a safe and happy summer! Also, the next newsletter will be sent some time during the summer.

2. Bike to Work Week (BTWW): It ends June 3rd. Send all your cycling (or walking distances) per day to Julia at jblissau@telus.net Sunday evening, June 3rd.


1. BEE Safe (Securing a Food Economy): June 16 garden tours? - visit www.Beesafemonashees.org.

2. Farmers’ Markets:

  • Armstrong – every Saturday, 8 am – 12 noon, IPE Fairgrounds (BC’s oldest, started in 1973!)

  • Lavington – every Sunday, 9 am – 1 pm, at Jeffer’s Park on School Road

  • Cherryville – every Saturday, 9 am – 1 pm, by the Highway

  • Vernon – ​every Monday and Thursday, 8 am – 1 pm, behind Westbilt Centre
    ALSO: Fridays, 3 – 7 pm, north of Sport Chek, Village Green Mall
  • Armstrong Caravan– Sundays, June 17th, July 1, August 5, Sept 2, 10– 2, 4886 Salmon River Rd

3. Sustainability/Environmental Leadership Awards: The City of Vernon and RDNO will be presenting these awards, June 4, 7 pm, Powerhouse Theatre, as part of Environment Week. Attend and celebrate with the award winners AND view numerous great ‘short’ films produced and entered by local and talented film-makers for the 2nd annual Inquisitive Clips Film Competition.

OTHER Environment Week Plans: Sunday, June 3, Tree Care workshop, Xerindipity Garden, 1 pm.

Wednesday, June 6, Clean Air Day – Free transit all day. Free breakfast at the new downtown exchange 6:30am – 9 am. Check out the routes and new schedule times! Thursday, June 7, 10 – 2. Styrofoam Round-up, Vernon Wholesale Club and Lumby Super A parking lots. Friday, June 8, 3 – 7 pm, Local Food Day – celebrate at Farmers’ market, Sport Chek parking lot.

4. Tree Smarts Workshop: As part of Environment Week, the City of Vernon is hosting a Tree Smarts workshop (June 3rd from 1 to 2 p.m.) at the Xerindipity Gardens. Come out and learn about proper tree care from species selection, planting, and ongoing maintenance. Bring your questions and take home free seedlings for your yard too! Seedling choice is on a first-come first-served basis.

5. BX Creek Wetland Creation and Interpretive Trail Project (ABNC): This project is now complete and the site (located east of 20th Street, behind Rona and Walmart, and north of 48th Avenue) is green and healthy. You’re invited to visit this riparian ecosystem, using the project’s interpretive trail and tying this to hands-on experiences, such as invasive weed pull events. The Allan Brooks Nature Centre Society is looking for volunteers for upcoming events (project coordinator, info@abnc.ca.)

6. Growing Up Wild Workshop, June 6, 9am – 3:30pm, People Place, $40: Produced by Wild BC for those who work with age 3 – 7 kids.  coordinator@noecdcoalition.ca or 250-549-9178/250-938-5450.

7. Sewage Treatment Solutions: RDNO appears to have chosen to send excess treated waters to our lakes should the need arise. Check out some alternatives here (old video), here, and here!

8. 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.


1. Sounds of Spring: Click here to hear the sound of the spring peeper's call.

2. Energy Conservation: Here are excerpts from a Globe and Mail review of the book “The End of Growth”: “[Mr. Rubin] argues that sustained high oil prices mean that advanced economies are gearing down into a new era of slow – or no – economic growth. Citing research to show that some of the happiest people on Earth live in slow-growth economies, [he makes a strong case] … that in the long run, the environment and its citizens might be better with [the transition].” Read the full article here. As well, check out excerpts from the book itself.

3. Antibiotics Use Linked to Asthma: A study released by UBC microbiologists in March indicates that widely used antibiotics may increase incidence and severity of allergic asthma in children. For the entire article, click here.

4. Welcome to the Age of Man: Check out this 3-minute film that charts the powerful growth of humanity up to the Rio+20 Summit. It was commissioned by the Planet Under Pressure conference.

5. Getting it Done: Excerpt: “Cities around the world have been taking concrete steps to reduce their environmental impact. So have many businesses. The message is clear; when it comes to planning for sustainability, they’re not waiting for governments to set the agenda.” Order the magazine “Canadian Wildlife” to read this great article.


1. World’s 1st Zero Waste City by 2020: San Francisco is home to a massive mandatory composting program (biggest in the U.S.), giving a major boost to local organic food farmers who use the city’s nutrient-rich compost as fertilizer. Coupled with the city’s regulation for city-wide source separation of all organic materials, the city has reduced the city’s greenhouse gas emissions to nearly 12% below 1990 levels and has a nation-leading 78% waste diversion rate.

2. Zero Waste for Kit Kat: Chocolate junkies who call zero waste their cup of tea will be pleased to learn that the world’s largest confectionary plant is now a zero-waste operation. The Nestlé plant in the U.K. that churns out Kit Kats and Aero bars has achieved a zero waste milestone!

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Flame Retardant Fake Out: 25 years ago, scientists set fire to a designed room packed with flame retardants and then measured how much the chemicals slowed the blaze. The chemical industry claimed the results showed that flame retardants gave people a 15-fold increase in time to escape fires. But the lead scientist said industry officials "grossly distorted" the findings. The small amounts of flame retardants in typical home furnishings offer little to no fire protection! This is but one example of how the chemical industry has manipulated scientific findings to promote the widespread use of flame retardants and downplay the health risks. Read the full story.

2. BC’s Green Light For Pesticide Use: Health professionals, academics, scientists and well-informed citizens who spoke at hearings were considered to be “anxious, over-wrought teenagers with passion” compared to fatherly ‘scientific evidence’ provided by pesticide manufacturers and industrial users who stressed the important environmental benefits that result from maintaining healthy lawns and gardens. They reassured the committee on the safety side too. “He who pays the piper calls the tune”.

3. Wild Salmon At Risk: The DFO has covered up information on wild salmon virus outbreaks incoming from farmed salmon and refused to allow independent tests for proof of ‘safety’. The BC government has backed off on Bill 37 but hasn’t removed it from consideration. They planned to end all disease reporting from any location where animals are kept (land or sea), and to fine and jail people who, for whatever reason, report a disease outbreak to anyone - anti-whistleblower legislation! Mid-May, a large fish farm dumped farm salmon carcasses, dead from a lethal virus outbreak, in a landfill right next to a major salmon spawning area -- boating them up the waterway leading to this site and then pumping them out of the boat into the landfill, with bloody effluent splashing all over the place into the water. …sign this petition to be sent to the supermarkets selling salmon culled from viral outbreaks.

4.Chernobyl of 1986, Revisited: The "official" position of smooth reassurance (with not a little corporate boosterism) has gradually been whittled away, leaving a much starker and more challenging picture of what happened… The article can be found on the I-SIS website at http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Chernobyl_Deaths_Top_a_Million.php


1. Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer: According to the scientific literature, extremely low frequency (ELF) fields contribute to breast cancer and for childhood leukemia (less so). It is important that men and women with a family or personal history with breast cancer to avoid these fields. These fields are generated by devices like power lines, transformers, and substations outside the home as well as plugged-in and turned-on appliances (e.g. your computer). Electrical wiring within the home can also be a source of EMFs. For great tips on how to limit your exposure, read the entire article here.

2. Greening Your Beauty: Toxic chemicals (from toothpastes to soaps) are being introduced to the environment every time they are washed down the drain. The Sierra Club Canada is therefore urging everyone to avoid toxic chemicals by becoming a critical shopper. To help make this green makeover possible, they’ve made a Healthy Beauty for Life Cosmetic Kit. It contains cosmetics and personal care products, information, samples, and coupons from our eco-friendly, non-toxic partner companies. To learn more about the Kit, visit their website! Read the full story here.

3. Dandelions and Dietary Health: Dandelion is a strong antioxidant, containing vitamins, potassium and other important minerals. In addition, recent (hopeful) evidence shows that dandelion extracts can suppress the growth and invasive behaviour in several types of cancer.
Before you start munching those weeds though, it’s probably best to wait for results from the upcoming clinical testing on patients. For the entire article, go here.


1. Speak Out – June 4th: The 400+ page 2012 “budget” bill is very bad for the environment, removing many protections and trying to muzzle opposition. But Ecojustice and their allies in the environmental community will not be silenced. Join them and raise your voices on June 4th by taking part in a symbolic show to darken websites. Check out the campaign website to learn more and get involved. Take action now! Listen to Elizabeth May on Bill C- 38: http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/features/2012/05/30/elizabeth-may/#

More on Bill C-38 … brings in sweeping changes to many environmental laws, devastating years of work for environmental protection…….repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, replacing it with a completely new version of environmental assessment, while undermining the Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Species At Risk Act, thus dramatically reduced the scope of federal engagement in environmental protection.

Under the new law, if a project wipes out whales, eagles, caribou and bears as well as forests, wetlands and coastlines it will not register as a negative environmental impact. The Fisheries Act, as changed, will no longer mandate protection of fish habitat.

The House has remained silent on the destruction of our natural resources and their sale to private industry.

Take a minute to tell your MP that silence is an unacceptable response to the destruction of Canada’s natural environment.  Write or call your MP today and ensure this issue gets the attention it deserves.

Consider signing this petition that asks the Senate to protect the rights of charities to speak out. http://petition.liberal.ca/stop-conservative-attacks-charities/?utm_source=charities&utm_medium=email&utm_content=charitiesfwd&chid=18934


1.Snapping Turtle Extinction: They’re listed as an endangered species yet 2/day are allowed to be caught by hunters and fishers in Ontario. Write: www.action.davidsuzuki.org/snappers

2. Queen of Green: Take the “What’s Inside? That Counts Cleaning Survey” to help the Foundation advocate for more transparent labeling on cleaning products: www.davidsuzuki.org

Recipes for cleaning: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/downloads/2011/QueenOfGreen-Green-cleaning-recipes.pdf


1. Cycling in Copenhagen: Copenhagen has built such a strong cycling culture. 80% of the city’s residents ride a bike once a week and 32% of all trips are by bike (37% of commuter trips). The city bike-planners’ goal is to increase ridership for all trips, increase family ridership, and make it easy to go all the way from A to B, even when it is difficult (e.g. in winter). Ultimately biking is safer, saves money for everyone, and is good for the environment. For more details, go here.

2. Bees and Pesticides: Two studies published in Science appear to demonstrate that the guilty culprit of the Colony Collapse Disorder in bees is a sub-lethal dose of neonicotinoid pesticides. Please help save the bees by emailing the Hon Gerry Ritz (federal) and Hon Don Macrae (B.C.) Ministers of Agriculture, and ask for an urgent review of the use of the these pesticides! Without the bees, all agriculture is at risk. For more details on the studies, go here.

3. The Conservative Mindset: What drives conservative thinking? It’s not just politics. Studies show an actual physiological reason, rooted in their genes. Conservatives tend to be less open to change and to rate higher on conscientiousness, order and structure. Basically anything that makes Conservatives feel threatened (e.g. crime) or uncertain about the future (e.g. switching to non-traditional fuel sources) may stiffen their resolve to oppose change. In order to successfully sway the Conservative mindset one needs to present policy proposals and solutions in a calm, polite and orderly manner, so that they appear safe and reassuring. Also, one needs to remind conservatives whenever their policies will result in more untidiness and disorder, not less (eg. a ‘tough on drugs’ regime will cause more lawlessness and disorder, so the best way to a clean and tidy future is to legalize drugs and sell them from well-lit government controlled stores, rather than the crime-infested havens of gun-toting gangsters).

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck