September 2012 Newsletter


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:

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


1. September 27, 7 pm, Schubert Centre: Local experts tell us about how to preserve food, build root cellars and solar driers, can, pickle, dry and more!

2. Carpool Week (October 22 – 26): Start arranging your carpool buddies! Go here for more info.


1. 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

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

3. Roots And Brews, September 22: Local harvest dinner, local wines, live entertainment and more! Sponsor is the Food Action Society. More details to come.

4. Garden Volunteers: The Okanagan Science Centre (OSC) is seeking volunteers to be "garden friends" for the 2012-13 school year. In a small group under staff supervision, you’ll learn about growing food crops, harvesting, and much more. You will need to commit seven Wednesday mornings during April, May, and June and two or three mornings in September and November.

If interested, please contact the OSC at 250-545-3644 or

5. Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary’s Equinox Open House: Sunday, Sept. 23, 2 – 4 pm. Migrating birds, new water feature, native plant garden, poetry reading, artists at work….admission by donation.

6.Kal Garden OK College Campus Food Forest Planting: ½ or full day volunteers needed Sept 14 and 15, 9 – 4 pm. Contact Wendy at 250 542-6920 for details.

7. International Car Free Day: Sept 22, 12 – 4 pm Cenotaph Park. Leave the car at home and take in all the activities… parade, bike tips, prize draws, treasure hunt…


1. Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC): According to MoneySense magazine’s 2012 Charity 100, NCC is one of Canada’s top charities with a grade of A+. Give with confidence!

2. War on Home Gardens: In Drummondville, Quebec, one couple was ordered by the city to uproot most of their front yard food garden or else face lofty fines. Similar jack-booted oppression is taking place in the U.S. as well, even going so far as bulldozing a woman’s entire front yard garden! At least Drummondville city officials backed off from plans to ban all food gardens in front yards. For the original article, click here.

3. CFL Light Bulbs:

4. Rebuilding Global Fisheries: A UBC study shows that this would make them 5 times more valuable and improve ecology…reduce size of the global fishing fleet, eliminate harmful gov’t subsidies, use more effective management systems…instead of losing US $13 billion, they’d make $54 billion!


1. ‘Hot Damn’ Composter: Old freezers are finding a new lease on life when transformed into Hot Damn composters. This conversion into steaming compost bins provides perfect composting conditions. Read more here.

2. SmartFerm® Technology: Two new SmartFerm digester facilities are being installed in Napa and Monterey counties in California. These two units will be semi-mobile, modular plants that utilize dry fermentation of organic waste-streams traditionally consigned to landfill disposal. This will greatly augment the management of these wastes. Read more here.

3. Brazilian City Offers Vegetables for Trash: Ten years ago, the city of Jundiaí launched a program aimed at encouraging residents to collect and exchange recyclable waste in exchange for fresh vegetables, grown locally in a public-run garden. Not surprisingly demand skyrocketed! Today, the garden boasts more than 30 thousand plants and the city is quite clean. Read more here.

4. The Greener Container? The container (e.g. of juice, soda, or milk) is a major part of your beverage footprint. Thankfully, companies are responding to greener consumers and are making huge sustainability strides. Go here to find out the answer.

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Support Manitoban Pesticide Regulation: The Manitoba Government has opened up public consultation on this so please email the Government asking them to support a ban on the use and sale of lawn and garden pesticides. For more information, visit here.

2. Leaked Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal: Here is a link to Enbridge‘s proposal submitted to the federal government. It raises a number of concerns: (1) The pipe wall design is the absolute minimum allowed; (2) the highly pressurized oil the pipeline carries will creates friction heating and stresses that exceed the 90% safety standard; and finally (3) a NTSB report found that their Kalamazoo pipeline ruptured as a result of fatigue cracks from normal operation. Worse yet, the Northern Gateway will be carrying a far more corrosive and abrasive material. Obviously we must put a halt to building this heavily flawed pipeline!

3. Sleepwalking towards Armageddon: Here’s a great article that lays out the disarming and unnerving truths about the Tar Sands and the Keystone XL pipeline. It has comments from scientists, oil company executives, politicians, Tar Sands workers, and activists. You'll read about a lot of people acting locally, but deathly afraid about thinking globally.

4. Heat and Heart Disease: This study shows in very concrete terms that heat waves in formerly temperate areas are going to be more than annoying; they'll be lethal, in a dose-dependent way. A more reader friendly explanation of the study's technicalities can be found here.

5. The Pros and Cons of Wind Power: The primary objections to wind turbines centre around noise effects, visual disturbances, annoyance, and possible EMF effects. These ‘cons’ can be mitigated if the turbines are properly sited though. The pros for wind power are that they have a very low carbon footprint, are sustainable, and are less injurious to both humans and the environment. More community engagement, better government regulation, and a sharp reduction in the role of the fossil fuel industry will make the introduction of wind power far less controversial.


1. Community Water Fluoridation Debate: Be sure to read this article about this at The Green Student website, a sister site of the environmental magazine Alternatives Journal, with the goal being to reach out to student audiences. It’s very non-partisan.


1. The Danger of Mobile Gadgets: The microwave radiation from cellphones and tablets disrupts DNA, weakens the brain’s protective barrier, and releases damaging free radicals. According to studies, a child’s skull absorbs 10 times more radiation than an adult, while that of infants and toddlers absorb even more. Another disconcerting study showed that prenatally exposed rats and rabbits have fewer brain cells — and those that survive sustained more damage to their brains, livers, reproductive systems and eyes. Exposure also kills human sperm cells, directly alters brain metabolism, and greatly contributes to the odds of brain cancer developing. To limit your exposure when it comes to using electronic devices, just remember: Distance is your friend. For the entire article with more advice, go here.

2. Demand for Health Study on Oil Sands Grows: Health Canada recently announced a $1.8 Million study on health impacts of living near wind turbines. This million dollar inquiry, blatantly partisan and a waste of our tax dollars will only duplicate what multiple international studies have already shown: Turbines, if properly sited, pose no health concerns. Ironically, there have been no similar health studies conducted into Alberta’s Tar Sands. Given this glaring discrepancy, Sierra Club Canada has begun gathering support from other organizations to demand a study on the health effects of the Tar Sands. If you know an organization that might like to get involved or just want to stay informed on the issue, email John Bennett, the Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. To read the entire article, go here.

3. Avoid That New Car Smell: That new car smell typically means the presence of toxic chemicals, dangerous to our health and potentially cancer-causing. It is recommended that car buyers purchase an older car since these airborne toxics decline significantly over time. To further avoid these toxic fumes it is also recommended that you: (1) Open your car windows and air your car out as much as possible, especially if left out on a hot and sunny day; (2) Park in the shade whenever you can; and (3) Don’t try to mask that new car smell with an air freshener. For even more options, go here to read the entire article.

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck