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Summer 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. No Evening SENS Events until the End of September. Enjoy a safe and happy summer! Also, the next newsletter will be out in September.


1. Farmers’ Markets:

  • Vernon, Mondays and Thursdays, 8 – noon, Westbilt Centre.

    • Fridays, 3 – 7 pm, Village Green Mall, North End.

  • Armstrong, Saturdays, 8 – noon, IPE fairgrounds. 3371 Pleasant Valley Rd.

  • Caravan Farms, August 4, 10 am – 2 pm, 4886 Salmon River Rd, Armstrong-Spallumch.

  • Lumby, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm at the Oval.

  • Enderby, Fridays, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, corner of Cliff Ave. and Maud St.

  • Cherryville, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm.

2.Transit Statistics: Recent North Okanagan ridership charts indicate that the growth in transit use in the past 5 years has been 59.6 %. For Vernon it is 19.7 %.

3. Permaculture: Check out this video! The technique is taught by a local company (Element Eco-Design) and used as part of a local business (In and Out Construction).

4. Local Railway Service Closure: Please write to Alan Pattison at OCP@District.Coldstream.bc.ca asking for this railway right-of-way to be returned to the community by making it into a transportation corridor for non-motorized (cycling and walking) use. Such a corridor would connect all our communities and attract tourism and also NOT be sold for development.

5. No Wake Flotilla: Lower Shuswap Stewardship Society is holding their 4th Annual celebration, Sunday, July 28, 10am, from Grindrod Park boat launch. All non-motorized craft (row boats, stand up paddle boards, canoes and kayaks) are welcome to join the fun. A shuttle bus will be available for those paddlers who want to leave their vehicle at Mara Provincial Park. The bus will depart Mara Park at 9:40 am to take participants back to Grindrod Park in time for the launch. There will be a lunch and bathroom stop at Mara Hall at noon. Paddlers must bring their own lunches and life jackets. We are asking paddlers to regroup at Mara Hall after lunch to paddle the final stretch to Mara Provincial Park together. No tubes, inflatable rafts and other floaties, please. Contact Raul 250 804 0960, or Jess 250 804 9260, or use this email: lowershuswap@gmail.com.

6. Back to Earth Community Harvest Fest - August 23rd & 24th: This festival takes place at the beautiful Lavington Park, Coldstream, BC. There’s going to be FREE Workshops, local and touring musicians, and the winners of the ‘Our Kids Have Talent’ competition. Sponsors for funding, local Artisans, and Volunteers are welcome to apply. Entrance is by donation and non-perishable food items. To apply, see event times, and much more, go here. Mark it on your calendar!

7. B.C. Rivers Day – Sept. 29, 2013: Look for events in your community - or plan one!

8. Aviva Community Fund: The 2013 competition starts Sept 23. If you have a green idea for your community and could use their funds check ‘em out! http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/

9. Student Volunteers Looking for Biodiversity Work: 24 students (16-17 years old) from the Students Without Borders Academy are looking for volunteer projects between September and December. If you’re a SENS member, or affiliated with the Okanagan Conservation Program, and have a Conservation project, and want them, email admin@okcp.ca


1. Insecticides and Birds Report: Here‘s a detailed report (90+ pages with charts) on the "impact on the [U.S.'s] Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds". Check out the PDF !

2. GMO-free Ben & Jerry's: Ben & Jerry's will remove all genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) from its list of ingredients as soon as possible.  They’ve also done a complete 180 and are now fighting for mandatory GMO labelling. With this, the large ice cream brand will help push more brands to change! Support their decision and new stance and sign this thank-you card today.


1. Top of the Class: Nature Conservancy has been given top marks from MoneySense magazine for a 4th straight year - an overall grad of A - it's Canada's top environmental charity! Congratulations!

2. Conservation Area Expanded: Through fundraising ($4.4-million) efforts, the 1,836-acre Elkink South Block was successfully acquired. Located southwest of Osoyoos, this acquisition more than doubles the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area already there, and will create a world-class refuge for the many rare and endangered grassland species that make their home there.


1. Natural Resource Monitoring Survey: Distributed by the Association of Professional Biology, this 10-minute survey is part of a B.C. Government initiative to integrate natural resource sector monitoring on Crown land. Your answers will help the Government better understand your natural resource value monitoring needs and communication preferences. Here is an example of a new monitoring report that is referenced in the survey questions. For more of the newsletter, go here.

FROM RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BC - lots of positive stuff here!

1. Turning Old TV's into Tiny Worlds: Read this CBC story to learn how Chinese artist Zhang Xiangxi is turning old CRT televisions into carefully constructed, incredibly detailed little rooms, modelled after scenes from his own life.

2. Recycling War Batteries: The vice president of Toxco Management in Trail recently returned from giving a presentation to NATO Command in Brussels. She proposed sending the the millions of used lithium ion batteries left over from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to be recycled. Read more

3. Sharing Project: “'The Sharing Project' wants to connect researchers of collaborative consumption and make Vancouver their laboratory. Backers of the project believe sharing can make the city greener and less lonely.” Go here for the story.

4. Architectural Upcycling: Read about 5 recycled buildings to 'blow your mind'!

5. Plastic Bag Ban Success: China’s plastic-bag ban turned five years old this June. According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), this has cut consumption by at least 67 billion bags, saving an equivalent of 6 million tonnes of oil. Wow! For the story, go here.

6. A Better H&M: In the wake of the Bangladesh fires and factory collapse, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the world’s second-biggest retailer in the fast-fashion business, which has most of its clothes made there, signed a legally binding agreement to improve building safety there.

7. School Recycling: Students of Royal Oak middle school of Saanich are diverting 80% of its waste from being tossed in the garbage. 50 makeshift recycling centres installed around the school recycle almost everything (e.g. cans, plastics, paper, etc.). They even compost kitchen waste! They’ve moved from having their garbage collected every week, to once every three weeks.

8.Cradle To Cradle Dumpster Diving: In this article, Cradle to Cradle designer William McDonough explains how a new partnership linking design to dumpster contents will help eradicate waste. Check it out!


1. Action on Farmed Salmon: In October, 2012 Justice Bruce Cohen made 75 recommendations to government to protect Canada's wild salmon runs. The DFO has not responded to a single one of his recommendations. In fact, according to this article, the DFO did the exact opposite: approving salmon farm expansion! Send an e-mail to Prime Minister Harper urging him to act on them!

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Chemicals Advice for Pregnant Women: The UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently released a report advising pregnant women to avoid daily life chemical exposures. Good stuff in it, so check it out! Also, here’s one take on this controversial report…

2. Obesity in Men with Childhood ADHD: A 33-year controlled follow-up study on 207 boys with ADHD revealed that nearly twice as many men who had childhood ADHD were obese as in those without the disorder. The association held even after the researchers controlled for socioeconomic status, mood, and substance abuse disorders. For the Scientific American summary, go here.

3. The West's Toxic Lead Hypocrisy: Children exposed to lead can suffer from brain damage and have an increased likelihood of becoming criminals in adulthood. Lead exposure is also linked to heart disease and thousands deaths per year. Yet despite this knowledge, many rich countries export it to poorer countries. For the full story, go here. For even more, visit www.first6years.org.

4. Two Articles: (1) How To Change People (2) Birth Control & Climate Change: The first article explains what we can do to make people change behaviour and embrace sustainability. The second article is a thoughtful paper on the direct link between population and climate change.

5. Ontario Releases Agent Orange Report: Provincial agencies used it from 1947 until 1979, and chemical exposure left hundreds of Ontario workers prone to birth defects, various forms of cancer and skin disorders. For the full story, go here. Here’s a related CP Press article too…

6. Protest Barrick: With a blind media, this rogue Canadian mining industry continues poisoning people. In this case, by using a toxic tailing pond in Tanzania. Read the shocking article here.

7. Norway’s Unsafe Farm Salmon: Realization is finally settling in Norway, the salmon farming mother country! Many articles are now coming out of there warning that eating farm salmon comes with health risks, particularly for pregnant women. Major markets are even considering pulling farm salmon from their shelves until it is guaranteed safe. Hopefully B.C. is next to open its eyes… Please add your voice to the feedlot salmon boycott.   For the original article, go here.

8. Connecticut Passes GM Labelling Bill: In a decisive 134-4 legislature vote, Connecticut recently became the first U.S. state to sign into law the required labelling of genetically modified (GM) food. More states appear ready to follow suit. For the source article, go here.

9. First Bees, Now Shrimp: Neonicotinoid pesticides, linked to the mass colony collapses of bees we’re seeing today, are also responsible for killing almost all of the freshwater aquatic shrimp. For more, check out this article!

10. Monsanto's Poisonous Win: Horrible news! The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just raised the limits for glyphosate residue allowed on fruits and vegetables sold in the stores. Glyphosate, the key ingredient to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, is very damaging to human health. Many vegetable oils will now be allowed to contain the residues well above levels known to cause cancer. For more, go here. And here’s a cautionary essay worth reading!

11. Boycott GMO Anti-Labelling Contributors: When the money to fund the NO side on Prop 37 started rolling in, topping the list of donors was the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). Parent companies, like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, General Mills and other junk food manufacturers are members of GMA and helped kill the bill. It’s payback time! Spread the word and sign the boycott pledge.

Also, Check out The Gene Revolution and the Future of Agriculture!

12. Fracking Fluid Effect on an ER Doc: After reading this story, one has to wonder why fracking is allowed…

13. Essential Reading for the Week: Check out these stories: New Studies Confirm: Raw Milk is Safe, Where Corn Is King, a New Regard for Grass-Fed Beef, Bloomberg Wants Mandatory Food Composting in New York City, Six Horrifying Things About Pork Everyone Should Know, Chipotle Becomes First U.S. Restaurant Chain to Voluntarily Label GMOs, and Food Companies Work to Make It Look Natural!

14. The Renewable Energy Rollback that Wasn't: Read this, and you'll never take a public pronouncement of unsupported public statement seriously again.

15. GMO technology is NOT increasing yields; …but has made crops more vulnerable to weather etc… http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14735903.2013.806408

16. Nuclear Renaissance Fairy Tale: Find out this (reactors are proven to be uneconomic) and more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/11/nuclear-renaissance-power-myth-us


1. An Ounce Newsletter (July 2013): Check out this newsletter for a bunch of good articles!


1. Save the Tuna: “For World Oceans Day, [the Foundation is] shining a light on tuna to ensure they’ll be with us for generations to come. Sign the Seafood Pledge.”

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck