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January 2014 Newsletter

JANUARY 2014

The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 year

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 ***

SENS STUFF

1.  Innovative Building For The Future: January 23, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Local builder, Carl St Jean joins John Haller (Dean of Trades and Apprenticeships, Okanagan College) to talk about  “beyond LEED platinum” construction plus barriers and benefits to incorporating such construction in new buildings and renos. Carl will compare his local home building work to John's comments on upgrades and additions to the Kelowna Campus Trades Building.

2. The Benefits of Having a GMO Free Zone in Coldstream: Come see this presentation on January 24, 2014 at the District of Coldstream meeting. Bee Safe co-founder and SENS director Huguette Allen will speak. More details to follow. 

3. Winter Carnival Parade: SENS will be taking part to emphasize environmentally friendly means of transportation for walkers, cyclers, and electric cars. Could you help? –as a walker or cyclist, carrying a banner, doing art work, providing/wearing a super hero costume??  Contact terrydyck80@hotmail.com

LOCAL STUFF

1. Indoor Winter Farmers’ Markets:

·       Mondays, Jan 13 to April, 2014, 9 – 1 pm, Schubert Centre (3505 30th Ave, Vernon). 

·       Wednesdays at Kal Tire Place in Vernon cancelled – rent was too expensive.

·       Saturdays, 9 – 1pm, until Feb, 2014, Odd Fellows Hall, Armstrong. Contact Art, 250 546-3411.

·       Fridays, January 3 to end of February, 11 – 1 pm, Senior Citizen’s Complex, Enderby. Huge selection of veggies, baking, meat, cheese, arts,crafts etc. greencroftgardens@mybcdc.ca

2. Green New Year’s Resolutions: What’s yours? Are you set to minimize the use of water? Support your local farmers’ market? Get out and garden? Do it yourself gifts? Whatever it is, make it count! 

3. Improving Local Air Quality: Should you wish to provide support and/or look at ways to reduce air pollution using health data etc, contact Norm at jnf999@outlook.com

4. TWO Competitions for Students:

a)2014 International Schools Essay Competition: It’s for ages 7 – 17 with a grand prize of a trip for 3 to the UK. Deadline is Feb 10/14. Learn more here ...      Sponsor is www.livingforest.org

b) International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment: It’s for ages 6 – 14. Entries must arrive before March 15/14. Topic is “Wasting Our Food is Wasting Our Planet”. Details at www.thinkeatsave.org/   NOTE: Bayer is behind this, trying to look good despite flogging and aggressively defending neonicotinoid pesticides…so, complain to the UN Environmental Program about how inappropriate this is!   http://www.rona.unep.org/contacts.html   I’ve just sent a message. 

5. Free Styrofoam Collection: Until January 4/14 at Venture Training and Interior Freight & Bottle. 

6. Green Drinks: Monday, Jan.13, 5:30 – 7:30pm, Sir Winston’s Pub. On arrival ask “Are you green?” to get introductions started. 

7. Earth Day – April, 2014:  It’s some time away, but what would YOU like to organize locally for this event?  Earth Day Canada has numerous events planned.  Check out their website and join them on Facebook and Twitter to make connections with others who want to help our planet…and e-mail your ideas for a local group effort to jblissau@telus.net

8. ASET:  They meet again Wednesday, January 8, 7 pm.  Contact: dave.derbowka@asetbc.ca

FROM THE CITY OF VERNON

1. Carpooling: The recent Okanagan promotion saw an increase locally of 7 ½ %!  - a great way to meet new people and share community! It also saves participants thousands a year, and reduces stress too!  For a potential carpool (Oliver to North Okanagan) register (FREE!) at www.carpool.ca

2. Be Safe; Be Seen; Be Smart: For the winter season, pedestrians and cyclists should aim to BE SEEN! …bright clothes, reflective material, walk or ride with lights, NO cell phones or headphones, make eye contact with drivers, cross at marked crosswalks or intersections and follow traffic signals. Cyclists, please cycle on the side of the road WITH TRAFFIC! Pedestrians, walk FACING TRAFFIC when there are no sidewalks!  Details at Vernon.ca - Moves and Vernon.ca - Transportation.  

3. Pace Car Program: Volunteer drivers are still welcome to join the Pace Car program at Okanagan Elementary and Silver Star Schools by signing up at their front office. By signing the Pace Car Pledge, you’re pledging to drive at respectable speeds (< 30 km/hr) when in school neighbourhoods. Pace Cars act as a traffic-calming device slowing speeding traffic behind them. Drivers also agree to be more aware of, and courteous to, other road users. 

FROM BEE SAFE NEWSLETTER

1. Anti-GMO Talks Fill Halls: The Vernon, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke halls were filled to capacity for the talks given by Dr. Thierry Vrain. Check out the highlights of his talks at the BEE SAFE website. Another key note speaker is expected… here is one of Dr. Shiv Chopra's talks.  You can also hear of the corruption he speaks of here. Be sure to check out David Suzuki’s talk on GM crops too!

2. Okanagan Rail Trail: Good news! Thanks to many emails of support (2,400), this railway has another 6 months. Potential operators will be able to determine a business model to operate the railway within that time. There’s still a chance that the railway will continue to operate and support those businesses that rely on it. It also gives the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative and the various levels of government more time to determine how to best protect the corridor and create a community path. Please continue to spread the word and have others go to www.okanaganrailtrail.ca

3. GM Corn: GM crop farmers are returning to conventional crops as GM corn crops prove more expensive than conventional. 

MATERIAL CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS AND READERS

1.  Cycling Makes Us Happier: Check out the science behind why this is so! 

2. 12 Days of Christmas – Canadian Version: Check out this merry YouTube video! And, for snowshoe enthusiasts – snowshoe art…  http://www.viralnova.com/simon-beck-snow-art/

3. Fewer Bees. Songbirds, and Butterflies: Industrial farming is creating extinction in every field, every rural community. This article makes it clear that GM crop farming should be illegal.  

4. Materialism = Unhappiness:  An impressive body of psychological research suggests that materialism is both socially and self destructive. It smashes the happiness and peace of mind of those who succumb to it. It’s associated with anxiety, depression and broken relationships. It’s visited upon us by government policy, corporate strategy, civic life, and our acquiescence to it. Worldly ambition, material aspiration, perpetual growth: these things make up a formula for mass unhappiness. To read the entire article, go here

5. Guy Dauncey’s Ideas:  Check out his slide shows on: (a) Farm Villages(b) Green Buildings for 2032, and (c) a Future City for 2032. For more information, go to his website

6. Stop That Bully: Infinito Gold, a Canadian mining company, just slapped Costa Rica with a $1 billion lawsuit because the nation decided to protect its rainforests rather than host an open-pit gold mine. If thousands of us stand together against this toxic mine, we can let Infinito know that we will not stand by while Costa Rica is silently bullied for defending their natural resources. Tell them to drop their lawsuit! Corporate profits cannot take precedence over the health of the people and the environment. 

7. Trans-Mountain Expansion Project: It looks like there’s approval for the pipeline as long as certain conditions are met. Should  you wish to raise issues, present evidence, provide input, you need to get permission from the National Energy Board to take part in hearings.  See: http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/clf-nsi/rthnb/pblcprtcptn/pblchrng/pblchrng-eng.html    As well, via BC Nature, a video presentation on its impact and corporation involvement: Link Here

FROM DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION

Constitutional Rights Lacking in Canada: Our identity as Canadians is rooted in the landscape that surrounds us. But shockingly we Canadians don’t have a right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, or eat clean food in our constitution. It’s time to finally make the image of Canada match the reality of Canada. Take action now! Add your name (here) to the list of thousands of Canadians who want to finally guarantee our right to a healthy environment. There’s also a great video in the link too. Please spread the word. 

FROM BC NATURE:

1.Site C Dam and Peace-Athabasca Delta:  Its impact on Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park has not been considered. The area is already threatened by the W.A.C. Bennett and Peace Canyon dams. link here

2. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Video by Scott McKinley - YouTube Link

3. Fox Hunting under the snow Link Here to Video

4. Fishery Library:  ..’like a book-burning’ as a world class collection on freshwater science and protection is dismantled by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The government wishes to limit the role of environmental policy in decision making. Full article - Link Here

 FROM RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BC

Battery Recycling Success: Canadian municipalities in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec have collected 625,000 kilograms of alkaline and rechargeable batteries so far this year (more than 328% over the same time period in 2012) via Call2Recycle®, North America’s first and largest battery stewardship program. Read more

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Retraction of Paper on GMO Toxicity: Sadly the controversial Seralini paper on the toxicological effects of Monsanto GM corn (it caused cancer in lab rats!) was retracted. Here are two links to postings containing (1) the back story behind the retraction, and (2) a detailed response and analysis of this situation by a group of scientists who oppose GMOs. Finally, here is an analysis of the retraction decision and the reasons why it took place. 

2. A Sharing Economy: Sharing is a very fast-growing economic trend that has some great implications for helping the environment. For instance, car sharing removes a good number of cars off the road (15 for every shared car). Shared gardening means more local and healthy food.

Co-housing and shared equipment means less urban sprawl and less material waste. This promises to be a very beneficial trend… For a similar article, go here

3. Your Tar Sands Stories: The Vancouver Observer, an independent online newspaper with regularly featured stories about the fossil fuel extraction industry and its impact on the ecosystem, the economy, and the health of local and distant communities, is asking for stories about the Tar Sands from everyday people. To contribute, go here

4. Economy – Ecosystem Link: Finally, an open discussion -- with numbers -- of leaving oil and gas in the ground. The economy and the ecosystem are finally linked directly. 

5. US’s Fracking Awareness: “… largely unaware of and undecided about this issue. Over half of those surveyed had heard nothing at all or only a little about it, and more than half didn't know or were undecided about whether to support or oppose it."  Hope it’s not the same in Canada! CAPE’s comment on a Chamber of Commerce poll: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/world/canada/chamber-commerce-enbridge-poll-got-positive-results-avoiding-questions-about-tankers#comment-253931

6. CAPE Pledge re: Gateway and ‘Holdthewall”:   Sign here: http://www.holdthewall.ca/

7. Monsanto in Argentina: 70% of area residents are opposed to a large plant that will engineer seeds. However their president is supportive. Sign the petition here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_monsanto_in_argentina_global_/?bIzGxdb&v=32828

Also, here’s news on Argentina's GM soy disaster

8. Meat Safety: Read Urvashi Rangan's opinion piece in the January Consumer Reports on such details as these: 1 out of 6 people getting sick from foodborne illness, harm from antibiotic over-use...and chicken breasts (even organic mass produced) containing potentially harmful bacteria. Go vegetarian! Support local farmers! 

9. Breast Cancer, conflict of interest and Monsanto’s Legacy: Information on a scientist who, for over 20 years) wrote of safety in environmental contaminants while being paid by Monsanto…

http://bcaction.org/2007/05/21/conflict-of-interest-sir-richard-doll-1912–2005/

10. Timelapse of Climate Change Since 1984: http://ultraculture.org/blog/2013/08/24/incredibly-detailed-timelapse-climate-change/

Happy New Year!

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck