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October 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. Repair Café: Saturday, October 5, 11 am – 4 pm, Okanagan Science Centre and Xerindipity Gardens. If you have something that needs repair or repurposing, come down to find out how or have it done by local volunteers and small, local businesses. Doing so prevents landfill fill-up. Bring it in, from bikes, blades for sharpening, items to sew, furniture, darning… It’s an initiative supported by SENS. www.facebook.com/VernonTransition

2. Free Showing of “Fuel”: Thursday, October 10, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. This documentary shows how the oil industry controls, deceives and damages people and the environment. It also provides positive solutions - a must see! It has played at numerous film festivals and won 6 major awards.

3. Permaculture: October 24, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Gord Hiebert shows us how use of permaculture cares for the earth and its people through mimicking natural ecosystems. We’re already doing it here in Vernon at the Science Centre and the Food Forest at Okanagan College!

4. Feeding a Hungry Planet with Engaged Ecology: Monday, October 21, 7:30pm, Okanagan College, Kal Campus Lecture Theatre. Come and catch David Tracey, Vancouver-based environmental designer and community ecologist speak! Tickets are $7 in advance from the Okanagan Science Centre or $10 at the door. For more, call 250 545-3644 or go here. SENS and the Food Action Society are co-sponsoring this event with the OSC.

5. Who Speaks For Wolves: Over 150 attended the September 26 evening with Gary Allan and his 2 wolves, and heard how ecologically beneficial wolves are for all of us. There’s more on his website: www.whospeaksforwolf.com


1. Farmers’ Markets: Most will not function after October.

  • Vernon, Mondays and Thursdays, 8 am – 1 pm, Kal Tire Place.

    • Fridays, October 4 and 11 only, 3 pm – 7 pm, Village Green Mall, North End.

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

  • 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. Green Drinks: October 14, 5:30 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub. Call Matthew at 250 307-7364 for details.

3. Astronaut Chris Hadfield speaks in Kelowna: October 7, 7 pm, Kelowna Community Theatre, 1375 Water Street. Go here to register!

4. Fresh Outlook Conference: November 25 to 28, Kelowna. Join the Fresh Outlook Foundation for their 6th annual Building Sustainable Communities conference! Learn about green economic development, “happiness by design”, and how to accelerate community actions and initiatives. For registration and more information, click here.

5. Get Outside Challenge: The David Suzuki Foundation invites all of us to sign up for their 2013 Fall Family Challenge and make a commitment to explore nature in your own backyard and beyond. They’ll send weekly outdoor activities for you to do with your family. Join a growing community of Canadians determined to keep their outside shoes on! 

5. Bee Safe’s Grassroots activism; Thanks to all the committed and passionate GMO Free activists across the province, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), at their Annual General Meeting passed a resolution “that UBCM ask the British Columbia government to legislate the prohibition of importing, exporting and growing plants and seeds containing genetically engineered DNA, and raising GE animals within BC, and to declare, through legislation, that BC is a GE Free area in respect to all plant and animal species." Now, tell your MLA what you want! If the resolution is passed there’ll be no need to await a GMO decision from RDNO.

6. Free Styrofoam Round-up: Wednesday, October 16, 10 – 2 in Vernon at Wholesale Club ‘s parking lot and 10 – 2 in Enderby at the bottle depot. Thank-you RDNO!

7. Invasive Species: They’re one of the biggest threats to biodiversity and very costly to crops and food producers (and you!). The Invasive Species Council of BC (www.bcinvasives.ca) has information on alternatives to plants that nurseries provide (because they don’t know any better). Use the online “Grow Me Instead” booklet when you next shop for plants, then ask for cutleaf daisy, not oxeye daisy, pearly everlasting, not baby’s breath, showy daisy , not bachelor’s buttons, etc…. Complete the online survey at fluidsurveys.com/surveys/beyondattitude/plantwise

8. Carpool Month in the Okanagan: Details here :  http://www.carpool.ca/Week.aspx for costumes (!), stories, prizes and more! www.carpool.ca

9. Your Water: BC’s Minister of Environment has promised to provide a new Water Sustainability Act by 2014 since there are major shortcomings to the present fresh water act. Consider participating in the 2014 Budget Consultations. For help with presentation material, contact susi@freshwateralliance.ca or www.freshwateralliance.ca

10. Home Depot: Ask them NOT to sell pesticides that kill bees. More than half of the “bee-friendly” home garden plants they sell contain bee-killing pesticides called neonics – they’re not labelled!


1. Fukushima Threatens the Pacific: According to these two reports (1, 2) and this long winded video rant, the situation at Fukushima is bad! 300-400 tons of irradiated ground water overflows into the ocean every day. Best to STOP EATING FISH, KELP, SUSHI, etc. caught there?

2. Vertical Forest In The City: Also google bosco verticale, Italy for more pictures than those here: http://www.jetsongreen.com/2013/01/milans-bosco-verticale-on-track-to-become-worlds-first-vertical-forest.html

3. Eco-City Challenge: Canada wastes more energy than almost every other country on the planet. So, the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance is challenging us to change our habits and use less energy.
Share your energy-saving actions for your chance to win an energy-efficient Whirlpool home appliance set at https://challenge.energyefficiency.org/

4. $100 Million of YOUR taxes: is being used to do research to support Enbridge’s tanker plans rather than Enbridge doing the research (Green Party report via Min. of Natural Resources).


1. New Property Acquired: The NCC’s newly acquired and beautiful Tusket River Headwaters Nature Reserve has old growth trees, large mammals, endangered birds, various plants, and a host of reptiles and amphibians. Here’s a soothing 3-minute video clip! For more go here.

2. Green Wedding Tips: charitable donations to NCC as a wedding gift, no wedding favours, just a tribute gift to NCC in your guests’ honour, native flowers in bouquets and on tables, local, organic food, wine and beer for your wedding celebration, rent everything!, send e-vites or use sustainable paper, choose a central location to cut down guest travel.


1. Recycle My Cell Challenge for Waste Reduction Week: October 21 – 27. Register at Recycle My Cell Challenge!  Canadian students are challenged to recycle as many old wireless devices and accessories as possible. Do good for the environment and win some great prizes! Details at Recycle My Cell Page on RCBC’s website.  Businesses and individuals can also recycle phones through Recycle My Cell’s BC wide stewardship program. www.recyclemycell.ca  for details.

2. A House Fashioned From Garbage: This ‘Earthship’ uses both new and recycled materials, is a type of passive solar home, and is integrated into the environment. It can exist off the grid, 100% heat and cool itself, collect its won drinking water and manage its own waste water.  Read More.

3. Leader of the Pack: BC and Quebec fit the bill re: legislation that makes industry responsible for post-consumer products and end – of life packaging. We’re setting the bar high for others!.

4. Shipping Container Housing: It helps Downtown Eastside Vancouverites. Picture + Read more.  

5.Recycling Disposable Coffee Cups: 5% plastic content has made cups unsuitable for paper making but British James Cropper Co.’s technology removes the plastic to get high quality paper!

6. Household Composting: 61% of Canadians now compost kitchen and yard waste, up 38% from 1994. See this The July 10, 2013 survey, Composting by Households in Canada

7. Plastic Bank: This social enterprise project rewards people in developing countries with credits or micro-financing for collecting waste plastic, which is then recycled.  Read more.  

FROM LIVING OCEANS (www.livingoceans.org)

1.Value of a Healthy Environment? Over $230 billion for Canada in 2012. Internal Environment Canada briefing notes say more than thirteen percent of Canada’s $1.8 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) depends upon healthy ecosystems. Living Oceans is helping to build ecosystem-based management (EBM) into marine planning in BC to ensure nature’s ability to protect cities from storm damage, provide food security, and maintain resilience to climate change - all for free.

2. Tonnes of Plastic: were removed from our coastlines this summer by volunteers as part of their Clear The Coast Campaign. More at the Living oceans website.

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Governments Shouldn’t Adopt Business Models: Check out this three minute animation that hits at some hard truths, and is engaging and brisk at the same time.

2. List of the Muzzled: Here is a listing of anti-science actions that the federal government has taken over the last six or seven years. Shameful!

3. Japan's Nuclear Migraine: Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the company that once ran the Fukushima power plant and now responsible for cleaning up the site is in far over its head…. no long term plan, malfunctions rampant, and legendary bungling. Thankfully they’re finally asking for foreign help. But it will still take decades to fix. For the full article, go here. And here’s a similar one.

4. Big Pharma Study: Check out this study that shows that our medications do far more than Big Pharma tells us they do (specifically linking our meds to one type of autism)!

5. Chuckle Time…Government’s Answer to a Dead Horse: Common sense would be to dismount if you ever find yourself riding one. Well, not the government! Read this funny list of one-liners for how those in office deal with a dead horse.

6. Stop that Freeloader: Nestlé is taking 265 million litres of fresh B.C. water every year to bottle and sell off around the world -- and it does not pay a penny. It gets away with this due to a lack of proper regulation… Please sign this petition telling the B.C. government to enact laws so companies like Nestlé must pay to extract our precious water. For more information on this, read this Canada.com article and/or this Vancouver Sun opinion piece.

5. Surviving Global Warming: Heat waves much more common, fruiting plants will suffer as heat hits in summer, more water needed by food animals…yet more drought. Lots of time-tested solutions abound. Read more here: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Surviving_Global_Warming.php and here on

climate change: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/climateglobalwarming.php The ISIS’s Science In Society magazine is available here: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/subscribe

6. Nuclear White Elephant? In 1957 an explosion of stored liquid reprocessed uranium created a radioactive wasteland (Kyshtym disaster) and wiped out 30 villages…yet Japan is working on reprocessing at Rokkasho….Check this article: www.democraticunderground.com/112754769

7. World’s Cheapest Car: http://www.thismagazine.ca/issues/2009/03/online_only_tata_nano.php


1. Sage Grouse Protection: It took nearly two years of legal wrangling, but it looks like the federal government is finally prepared to introduce emergency protections for Canada’s endangered Greater sage-grouse. Oil and gas development in its critical habitat is one of its biggest threats, so quick action that takes that into account is needed. Otherwise these iconic prairie birds will disappear from Canada within the next decade. We can’t let that happen! Your continued support will be needed more than ever. Go here for the original story.

2. Suing for Species Protection: “This July, the Ontario government gutted its own species at-risk legislation”, paving the way for major industries (e.g. forestry, mining, and energy) to jeopardize the survival of 155 vulnerable species. As such, Ecojustice is “challenging the province’s decision [in court] and fighting to ensure that Ontario’s at-risk species get justice … Legal action could force the government to do the right thing: protect at-risk species and their habitat! Learn more about what Ecojustice is doing to seek justice for Ontario’s species at risk and how you can help.

3. Impact: This new series into your inbox per month will highlight Ecojustice’s work to defend species, air, water, land and your health. Sign up here: Subscribe to Ecojustice communications

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck