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February 2014 Newsletter


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 ***


1. Okanagan’s Ecovillages and Organic Farming, February 27th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre: Join organic farmers Nevin and Shauna Gavigan as they share their experiences with the Yarrow Ecovillage and provide some insight into development of the Okanagan Ecovillage by Lumby. Discussion and questions welcome.

2. Winter Carnival Parade, February 8th: SENS will be taking part to emphasize environmentally friendly means of transportation (e.g. walking, cycling, and electric cars). Watch for us! 


1. Indoor Winter Farmers’ Markets:

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

·       Saturdays, 9 am – 1pm, until end of Feb., Odd Fellows Hall, Armstrong.

o   Contact Art (250 546-3411) for more info.

·       Fridays, to 11 am – 1 pm, until end of Feb., Senior Citizen’s Complex, Enderby.

o   Email greencroftgardens@mybcdc.ca for more info.

·       Fridays, 2:30 am – 6 pm, Coldstream Hall, 9909 Kal Rd. 

2. Food Action Society Community Potluck: Feb. 3, 6 - 8 pm, Vernon Public Library. Everyone is welcome. There will be speakers on school and daycare gardens, talk of funding, and much more. Bring a food dish, plate, cup, and/or utensils to share and get inspired!

 3. Pollinator Pathways: Here’s a neat project to protect native pollinators. It’s been a success in Seattle; so why not Vernon?

 4. Green Drinks: Feb. 10, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub.

 5. Upcoming Workshops by Element Eco-Design:

a) Part-Time PDC: Learn the skills you need to design Permaculture Systems! Workshops are being held on the weekends of March 29, April 12, 26, May 10, 24, and June 7. Already 75% Full!

b) Hugelkultur with Javan BernackevitchThis 1 day hands-on workshop will give you the skills to create your own Hugelkultur Growing System! May 10, 9 am - 5 pm. Registration is opening soon.

cFood Forestry With Richard Walker: A workshop on design, species selection and maintenance of a productive Food Forest System. June 21 - 22, 9 am - 5 pm.   Registration will open soon.

 6. Old Plastic Film Canisters: Okanagan Science Centre needs them. Please drop ‘em off at OSC.


1. A Sense of Community: Here is a great article about the importance of attachment to community and to place – something Transition groups do a lot to foster. Check it out!

 2. Alive Magazine Health Studies Vignettes: Here are 7 tips to help prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol: (1) walk fast (better than running), (2) keep your intestinal bacteria at normal numbers and diverse, (3) go on a low protein/fat diet, (4) exercise/move 90 minutes per day, (5) take more fibre to avoid having an initial stroke,(6) do 20 minutes of yoga (better than moderate and aerobic exercise for the brain), and (7) go on a Mediterranean diet (with #3). Two more highlights: Three  15 minute walks after meals are better for controlling glucose levels in older people at risk of diabetes than walking for 45 min in the morning or afternoon.   Texting while driving causes a 23 times higher risk of collision. Cellphone use causes a 4 – 6 times increase in risk.

 3. Valhalla Wilderness Society:   www.vws.org   Check their website for details on actions to protect the environment. One article is about the BC government-protected Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, threatened by a proposed Prince Rupert LNG (liquid natural gas) route. TransCanada Corp (illegally landing helicopters in the conservancies to study a route for a pipeline) was threatened with a lawsuit by the Valhalla Wilderness Society. They, and another company, Spectra Energy, withdrew their pipeline research.  Another deals with threats to the spirit bear population and to dryland BC Chilcotin grizzly bears due to, respectively, an oil spill and a gold-copper mine.

 4. Western Canada Wilderness Committee seeks your feedback on disclosure of chemicals used in fracking. Environment Canada proposes not to list such fluids despite toxicity.  Click here to take action now.

 5. Retirement Savings: Investment funds may expose investors to losses due to mismanagement … www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climate-change-threatens-retirement-savings


Rail v.s. Pipeline Is The Wrong Question: Instead, we should be looking for ways to reduce fuel use. Pipelines and fossil fuel development are not great long-term job creators, and pale in comparison to employment generated by the renewable energy sector. Many climate scientists, energy experts, and the International Energy Agency, agree that to avoid catastrophic climate change, we must leave at least two-thirds of our remaining fossil fuels in the ground. 

FROM ECOJUSTICE      www.ecojustice.ca

1. GM Salmon: Ecojustice is assisting Living Oceans and Ecology Action Centre with a lawsuit against the Federal government saying that it violated its own laws by failing to consider information regarding invasiveness of the genetically modified salmon, thereby putting wild salmon and the environment on which they depend at risk.

FROM ALTERNATIVES JOURNAL (www.alternativesjournal.ca)

1. Salad Towers: Local Garden provides large-scale farming on dense urban roof tops in Vancouver. Their greenhouse uses a specialized conveyor system to produce more crops (20x more than a conventional farm). With hydroponics and no soil they use 90% less water too. With so much leafy greens, they can provide up to 1,500lb per week to local restaurants with delivery every day! No more waiting for non-local greens. Check out these photos. Go here for more. 

 2. Greenest Industrial Economy: Germany fits the bill for town houses there that generate more energy (free of GHG) than they use. Tariffs are then paid to the owners based on the net amount of electricity it exports to the grid. For more, go here and here.

 3. No Land Needed: The U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab notes that only 7 % of existing rooftops are required to produce, from solar photo-voltaics, ALL the electricity in the U.S.!

 4. Mass Migration: According to this article, some species are moving to cooler grounds/waters thanks to climate change. Plankton are moving towards the poles at about 72 km/decade vs. terrestrial species at 6 km/decade.

 FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Roundup and health: “A new peer-reviewed scientific review paper has been released in the U.S. stating that glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup are contributing to gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.” Check it out!

 2. Toxic Reducing ToolkitToxin Toxout, the latest book written by Dr. Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie (both of Environmental Defense fame), gives practical and often surprising advice for removing toxic chemicals from your body, home and world. This sequel to the best seller, Slow Death by Rubber Duck, continues to hammer home the point that prevention is key. For more, go here.

 3. Phase-out of Coal-fired Power in Alberta: CAPE just kicked of their anti-coal campaign. Here are their talking points. And following the panel discussion hosted by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Edmonton Journal credited CAPE with building momentum for a coal phase-out. The full article is available here.

 4. The Capitulation of Biotech JournalismThis long article’s main point is that there are many examples of preliminary or doubtful research projects being inflated into positive global GMO news stories (e.g. protein-rich beans, disease-resistant sweet potatoes, edible vaccines, vitamin A-rich golden rice, etc.) by the media. The media also under report negative GMO stories (i.e. there was little mention of a highly critical U.N. report). This one-sided reporting demonstrates the extent to which biotech journalism has been captured by agribusiness interests. A good read with plenty of links! Farmers too, are ‘seeing the light’… http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/01/farmers-abandoning-gmo-seeds-reason-will-surprise/

 5. Electromagnetics Research:

a)Fielding a current idea: exploring the public health impact of electromagnetic radiation


b) Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: Fact or fiction?


c) The chemical erosion of human health: adverse environmental exposure and in-utero pollution – determinants of congenital disorders and chronic disease



6. Where There’s A Will There’s A Way: Innovative energy production in New York City… http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/28/food-scrap-recycling-joins-wastewater-treatment-in-new-nyc-project/

7. Neil Young Interview:   http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2014/01/13/neil-young-oilsands-occupation/

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck