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December 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. For December: No SENS Events.  Safe driving/walking and may your ‘Santa’ work be fruitful!

2.  Dr Thierry Vrain and GM Foods: Over 200 people attended, Nov 28, for a powerful presentation on the massive harm from GE in sprays and our food. A u-tube taping should be available soon, otherwise google his name for TED talks and other interviews. 


1. Indoor Winter Farmers’ Markets: - great selection at both sites!

·       Mondays until April, 2014, 9 – 1 pm, Schubert Centre (3505 30th Ave, Vernon). 

·       Wednesdays until April, 2014, 11 – 3 pm, Kal Tire Place in Vernon. 

2. Vernon-North Okanagan Cycling Coalition (VNOCC): December 3, 6:30 pm, Alexander’s Pub in Coldstream. Everyone welcome to discuss ways to promote and advocate for cycling issues on a regional level. Randoneering events, a rail trail, and liaising are all possibilities!

 3. Okanagan Rail Trail: Show your support via their website or via e-mail.

 4. Okanagan Wetland Strategy: About 84% of our local low elevation wetlands have been lost due to building, draining, farm expansion and industry. These ventures seem to improve the economic performance, however, wetlands have a value of  over $22,000 per hectare per year as home for wildlife, flood protection, water purification, groundwater recharge, and erosion control. Doesn’t their value trump perceived “economic performance”? Mapping and data collection are starting. http://okcp.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=508:okanagan-wetland-strategy-phase-1&catid=3:news

 6. Permaculture Design: Should you wish to earn a certificate for this intensive course, Element Eco-design will be offering a 72 hour design certification workshop held over 6 weekends in the spring., March 29 & 30,
April 12 & 13, 26 & 27,
May 10 & 11, 24 & 25,
June 7 & 8. To learn more about this amazing workshop opportunity click here!  Sign up now!

 7. Environmental Causes/Projects: UVic Environmental Law Clinic will provide students for free work on worthy causes. Examples on their website www.elc.uvic.ca   Contact Calvin Sandborn, legal director at 250 472-5248 or csandbor@uvic.ca     Deadline is December 6.

 8. Year-Round Greenhouse: It would only cost about $300 and is mostly underground! Video included at the website; http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/build-underground-greenhouse-garden-year-round.html


1. Chemical Flame Retardants: These retardants, specifically their PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), are known to persist in people and the environment for many years. In addition, foetus exposed to this have a higher risk of development problems. http://www.healthline.com/health-news/children-flame-retardant-chemicals-linked-to-lower-iq-scores-050613

 2. Evidence for Democracy: Here are two articles that focus on how the Harper government is harming science in Canada. The first deals with the degree to which our government scientists are being muzzled. The second relates to how Canada needs a Science Watchdog.

 3. Delayed Gratification Hurts Climate Change Cooperation: A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals that groups cooperate less for climate change mitigation when the rewards of cooperation lie in the future, especially if they stretch into future generations. The authors suggest that international negotiations to mitigate climate change are unlikely to succeed if individual countries’ short-term gains are not taken into consideration. For the UBC story, go here.

 4. Petition to Conserve Water in Pakistan: Fresh off their loss in B.C. courts to keep draining our lakes fee-free, Nestlé is now (in truth they’ve been doing it for a long time) draining Pakistan’s local water supply, rendering entire areas uninhabitable in order to sell mineral-enriched water to the upper class. Wells are running dry and children are falling ill and dying. Please sign this petition to tell Nestlé to stop! With enough pressure, the company will scale back its water-draining facilities to avoid a damaging global backlash. Please share this campaign on Facebook too.

 5. Wild Salmon? – or Gold? Bristol Bay Alaska has the last wild salmon (40 million) run in the world but Northern Dynasty Minerals wishes to start up ‘Pebble Mine’. A non-profit, “SumOfUs”, wishes your support to preserve this ecosystem  and preserve the fishing livelihoods of  many locals. Tell Northern Dynasty Minerals to save the salmon and stop the Pebble Mine.6. Guilt Inhibits Consumption: A recent article in the Guardian noted that advertising and consumerism dull our capacity for empathy. If we don’t see or feel then we will buy, buy, buy! We cease to care when we become rich. What do YOU do to conserve the earth’s resources at this time of year? See article here: www.monbiot.com/2013/11/25/spend-dont-mend/

7. Action on Enbridge via ”Black Out Speak Out” (which was launched by CAPE and numerous well respected environmental groups): The gateway project would run through and impact the Great Bear region. Add your name here: www.askacanadian.ca

 8. Salmon In The City: Evergreen BC is delighted to announce that, for the first time in 80 years, there are salmon returning to Vancouver’s Still Creek. See video at http://info.evergreen.ca/en/

 9. 6th Great Species Extinction: It’s happening now and scientists believe the best action is to put the most effort into saving those species which have few close “relatives” so that diversity stays high. Their DNA contains the most unique and historically important genetic information. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/how-to-combat-another-great-extinction-event/article15572735/

 10.Loneliness and Our Environment: Suburbs, high-rises, lack of city parks and mini-park corners in town, self-absorption, and thus lack of community contribute. Loneliness is also bad for health. Tweets and ‘likes’ are meaningless compared to supportive relationships. The Vancouver Foundation is counteracting this problem by giving grants to individuals who will organize community events that bring strangers together!   Now, what about in Vernon?



Clear The Coast: Check out their site to see how the clean up for washed-ashore plastics on north western Vancouver Island is going!  Donations are also being sought to fund this work.


1. Glass Sponge Reefs: Hidden at the bottom of the Strait of Georgia lie the ancient glass sponge reefs. These rare reefs act as homes for many marine species and their impressive filtering properties keep the ocean water clean and healthy. To learn more about this previously unknown Canadian treasure, click here. There’s video!

 2. Hometown Heroes Award: Do you know an individual, a volunteer group, or a business in your community who/that is taking heroic action to support a healthier environment? Nominate them or yourself for Earth Day Canada’s Hometown Heroes Award Program. The nomination deadline is March 31, 2014. For more information/to download the nomination packages, please visit here.

 3. Dam on the Similkameen: Identified as one of the top ten most endangered rivers in B.C., the Similkameen is the site of a proposed hydro dam by Fortis Generation Inc. The plan is drawing immediate environmental concerns. To read the entire article, visit this Vancouver Sun Link.

 4.Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project – public comments invited: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency invites the public to comment on which aspects of the environment may be affected by this project and what should be examined during the environmental assessment. The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines, are at www.robertsbankterminal2.com/.../draft-eis-guidelines... Written comments must be submitted by Dec. 8, 2013 to: Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency , 410-701 West Georgia Street , Vancouver, BC V7Y 1C6  Tel: 604-666-2431 Fax: 604-666-6990    RobertsBank@ceaa-acee.gc.ca


A B.C. Fracking Case: ECOJUSTICE is challenging a B.C. Oil and Gas Commission practice that allows the gas industry to exploit fresh water for fracking operations (among other things). This case is a crucial step forward in curtailing an industry whose practices increasingly threaten B.C.’s water resources and the ecosystems and people that depend on them. More on this case is here.


1. Bi-weekly Food Scraps Program In Vancouver: The new “greenest city” program has reduced garbage collected by 40%, and increased collection of food scraps and organic materials by 50%. Sure, there’s been an expected rise in complaints, but according to the city, “they only represent less than 1% of customers served … In the long-term this will be more affordable and responsible.” For the article, go here.

 2. Recycling Old Shoes:  Scientists at Loughborough University in the U.K. have recently created and trialed "the world’s first comprehensive” recycling system for old footwear. The university is now working with "major footwear manufacturers" to develop methods of designing footwear that would make it as recycling-friendly (quicker and thus cheaper) as possible. For more, read the entire article here.

 3. Cocoa Waste = Chocolate Wrappers: British paper manufacturer James Cropper has pioneered a way to bio-recycle the 3.5 million tonnes of cocoa beans produced each year in chocolate production and turn them into paper. This paves the way for millions of chocolate bars to be wrapped and sold in the stuff of their creation. For the article, go here.


1.Land lines: Their new endeavour is to provide “Land Lines”, numerous facts and good reads on biodiversity, hiking in conservation lands, interviews and more. To contribute your research or discoveries e-mail them: landlines@natureconservancy.ca         Click here to visit Land Lines >

 2. Frog Bear Conservation Corridor Project:  It’s at the south end of Kootenay Lake - the only known breeding location in BC of the endangered northern leopard frog. The corridor project aims to protect essential habitat for many rare and important species such as the leopard frog in Creston Valley’s lowlands and to create a zone of safe passage for grizzlies and other wide-ranging animals moving between the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains.

 FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1.  Ghosts in our Genes: This 5 part BBC series starts with Part 1. Apparently inheritance isn’t as clear cut as we once thought…

 2. Alberta’s Failing Health: According to this report, emissions from the ‘Industrial Heartland’ of Alberta, made up by more than 40 major chemical, petrochemical, and oil and gas facilities, affect local air quality and human health. The air quality was particularly bad, with high levels of known carcinogens. This is most likely linked to the rise in the incidence of blood-related cancers as one gets nearer to the heartland. Not too surprisingly, the Alberta government and industry are attacking the study...

 3. Only One Chance: Here is book review for Only One Chance. In the book the author, Professor Philippe Grandjean, a renowned expert in the harm from trace heavy metal exposure and from organic pollutants, describes how the human brain drain is taking place because of scientific fallacies and a lack of caution in our current use of industrial chemicals.

 4. Holistic Cattle Farming Fairy Tale: According to one misinformed Allan Savory, simply switching to a specialized form (i.e.  "holistic management") of grazing by cattle will resolve the world's climate crisis. Thankfully two climate scientists debunked this dangerous theory of minimal effort. For more, check out the article here.

 5. Business Rules Us: Here is a detailed analysis of the role played by corporations (quite sickening), and is a challenge to the citizens of this planet to take action. The article is Britain-based, but holds many universal truths. A good read!

 6. 90 Companies Caused 2/3:  of man-made global warming emissions  which caused our climate crisis. Most were oil, gas or coal producers.  7 were cement manufacturers. Details here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/20/90-companies-man-made-global-warming-emissions-climate-change

 7. Glyphosate toxicity: It’s the main ingredient in Roundup. A recent paper showed that glyphosate suppresses Cytochrome enzymes and affects the human biome and suppresses tryptophan synthesis, which is a serotonin precursor. This links it to serotonin-deficiency-related pathologies. Result? - illnesses such as autism, alzheimer’s, infertility, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, and diabetes that have risen to the fore over the past decades. A direct link has been made between rise in use of roundup and rise in such disorders. Autism used to be 1 in 10,000 but now it is 1 in 50.   http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4     *** see pages 1416 – 1463.

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!