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February 2013 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: www.sensociety.org

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


1. February 28, 7 pm, Schubert Centre: Our Water – How Available In Future? John Janmaat, Water Research Chair at UBC-O, discusses our future water supplies, groundwater and aquifer loss, and the impact of global warming.

2. Sewage Lake Discharge: Check the SENS website: www.sensociety.org for a synopsis provided by SENS director Huguette Allen. AND… then please write to Vernon Council about discharge of effluent into Okanagan Lake. There are less costly solutions that prevent pharmaceutical drugs, endocrine disrupters and viruses from entering the lake. Concentrations will only increase.


1. Indoor Winter Markets:

  • Armstrong – Thursdays, noon – 5 pm, Odd Fellows Hall, Bridge Street. Call Art @ 250 546-3411

  • Enderby – 2nd and 4th Fridays (Feb 8 and 22), 11 am – 4 pm at the E. Seniors Citizen Complex.

  • Vernon – Wednesdays, noon – 5 pm, behind Westbilt Centre on 43rd Ave.

  • Vernon – Tuesdays, 10 am – 3 pm, 2913 29th Ave, behind Towne Theatre.

  • Coldstream – Wednesdays, 2:30 am – 6 pm, Coldstream Women’s Institute Hall

2. 5 Gallon Pots: Laurel is still wishing more pots for a “Youth and Tomato Plants” project with teens (and seniors eventually) and needs lots of them.  Contact her at: 250 542-5478.

3. A Unique Presentation: Listen to this CBC radio clip where a local grade 5 student speaks to Vernon Council about combating climate change.

4. A Cherryville First? Area E residents will meet February 12, 7 pm, at Cherryville Hall to try to make a decision on banning GMO crops. Non-residents may wish to attend.

5. COABC (Certified Organic Association of BC): Their conference will be February 22 – 24 at the Prestige Hotel, Vernon. Speaker/workshop details at www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca/


1. Recycling Musical Instruments: Here’s a short video of a young people's orchestra with instruments made from recycled materials in Paraguay! 

2. Cold Remedies that Work: This site provides research study results on benefits of Echinacea and Zinc for tackling viruses. Check it out!

3. Tuberculosis Treatment: UBC microbiologists are finding that Avermectin drugs (used to treat parasitic diseases such as elephantiasis and river blindness) actually killed the bacteria that cause TB, including drug resistant forms. Researchers are now working to determine effective dosage levels and study whether avermectins could be combined with other drugs for even better effect.

4. Doubts about Global Warming? – Check out size of glacier calving with Manhattan superimposed…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC3VTgIPoGU

5. Endocrine Disruptors: Recent research via UBC notes low concentration of endocrine disruptors in our wastewater treatment effluent, however, amounts will only increase and research and monitoring must continue. These chemicals may soon break down however they are known to feminize fish and amphibians and cause fish population collapse in higher concentrations. See: https://people.ok.ubc.ca/publicaffairs/news/2010_endocrine/report_2009.pdf

6. Action To Help The Amazon: The non-profit Avaaz is asking for support for an indigenous people in the Amazon who may lose their forest and lives due to a change in forest laws being considered by Brazil’s congress. Details and sing-on at http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_amazon/


1. Protect Whales: Supertankers that would service Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, would cross "Whale Passage" in Douglas Channel, where humpback whales return year after year. It is a rich feeding ground for humpbacks that is unequalled on B.C.'s North Coast. Click on “take action” at www.livingoceans.org for information, then send an email to Prime Minister Harper urging him to follow DFO's recommendations and protect critical habitat for humpbacks.

 2. Sustainable Seafood: Canada Safeway is now labelling all seafood so that shoppers can easily identify which fresh and frozen seafood items are the best ocean-friendly choices.


1. GM – Recycling Wonder: General Motors, unlike many other wasteful Industrial facilities in the United States, recycles 90 percent of its worldwide manufacturing waste and has 102 landfill-free facilities toward a goal of 125 globally by 2020. Here is a downloadable blueprint that summarizes how they do it. For the entire story, go here

2. The True Cost of a Holiday Dinner: Apparently, hosting a holiday dinner can come at a high cost — for the host’s pocket and for the environment. Trucost analyzed the economics and environmental impacts of an average holiday dinner (turkey, potatoes, and corn) for a family of four and calculated that such a meal costs on average 22% more price-wise. Also the food choice of turkey (instead of going vegan) generates a good deal of greenhouse gas emissions. Neither is the choice of corn optimal for the environment. And then there are the leftovers… For the entire article, go here.

3. H&M Saving Clothes from Landfill: Working in global partnership with a European recycling group, the frugal fashionista chain H&M will collect their used clothes to keep them out of landfills.

Starting in February, H&M stores in Canada and other countries will give customers a $5 voucher for each bag of used clothes (any type, brand, or condition) they drop off. For the entire article, go here.

4. Electric Trucks Unveil in Chicago: The city of Chicago will deploy the heaviest electric trucks in the U. S. , as it deploys 20 Class 8 electric vehicle refuse trucks. These 52 ton behemoths are expected to reduce operating cost by 50% over an eight-year period for the city. These EV refuse trucks will provide the streets of Chicago with quiet, emissions-free garbage pick-up, without submitting residents to excessive diesel pollution or loud noise. Hopefully more cities will follow suit! For the entire article, go here.

5. Plastics in Asphalt: In its Push to be the World's Greenest City, Vancouver is experimenting with a new asphalt mix that includes recycled plastics - everything from old plastic milk jugs to yogurt containers to water bottles.  Read more here

6. Tired Toys: A Langley Recycling company is doing a Pilot Project at a Burnaby elementary school - A toy-recycling program that teaches kids to curb consumerism and waste. Read more.  

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Mercury Pollution: According to a major UNEP report, communities globally are facing increasing health and environmental risks linked to exposure to mercury. For more, go here.

2. Unscientific America: Here is a book review of this book by Chris Mooney that explains how scientific illiteracy threatens our future! It discusses the causes and outlines solutions.

3. More on BPA: Go here to read a well-researched, unbiased article on BPA!

4. Salmon Feedlot Boycott: Read and sign the petition at www.salmonfeedlotboycott.com.

5. GMO Salmon: Are we ready to have these abnormally enlarged and hormone-laced fish run rampant in our lakes and rivers? Well, brace yourself because the U.S. FDA might soon allow it! Any U.S. citizen reading this is urged to read the entire article and make your disproval known to the FDA. Comments must be received no later than February 25, 2013.

 6. Value of Wetlands: “A new report by the David Suzuki Foundation and Earth Economics values the annual services provided by aquatic areas to Lower Mainland residents. . . The results are remarkable: our wetlands, beaches, coastal areas, lakes and rivers give us benefits of $30 billion to $60 billion every year. One benefit for example is [that our wetlands]… work to store vast amounts of carbon, something crucial to preventing runaway global warming. . . Protecting and restoring the Lower Mainland’s natural water ecosystems is a capital investment worth making . . . Our communities will be healthier and more sustainable if this thinking is at the core of business and land-planning decisions.” For the full article, go here.

7. No Leaded Gasoline Bliss: According to this article, gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century. As lead levels in gasoline decreased, the differences between big and small cities largely went away. Today, homicide rates are similar in cities of all sizes. Sceptical? After reading the article, you won’t be!

8. Ozone Pollution from Oil and Gas Wells: CIRES researchers have found that “… emissions from oil and natural gas activities have a unique ‘chemical signature’that is very different from emissions from other sources, and it definitively identifies oil and gas wells as the major source of the high levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) like ethane and propane… These VOCs can leak during extraction, like bubbles escaping from a soda can. VOCs can then react in the air to form lung-damaging ozone pollution, a chief component of smog.”

9. Dow Chemical’s Enlist GMO Corn: It is approved for use in Canada, despite much opposition. There are already weeds that are highly resistant to the weed killer that would be used to control weeds among this corn so Dow is delaying introduction for a while…  

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck