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March 2014 Newsletter

MARCH 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 ***


1. Annual Seed & Plant Swap/Sale, March 27th: Schubert Centre. Come on down for the seed and plant swap/sale (6:30 pm), the short AGM (7:30 pm), then composting talks with several experts. Bring a carload plus envelopes or bags for seeds and plants!

 2. Winter Carnival Parade, February 8th: SENS won the 1st place trophy in the Service Category! Thank-you to SENS directors Terry and Keli, and to Wilde Imagination for all your work! Check out the Facebook picture page! Also, be sure to "like" it and tell your friends to do the same.

  3. Deconstructing Dinner, March 25th7 pm, OK College, Kal Campus lecture theatre. Several “short” videos on a variety of Deconstructing Dinner topics are being screened here at this time. Author Jon Steinman of Nelson will be present to talk. More details to come. For more, go here.


1. Indoor Winter Farmers’ Markets:

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

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

·       Lumby is opening a food coop and has a list price from Pro-Organics. 

o   Email Jaye Siegmuller to get involved.  

 2. Enderby Seed Swap, March 1. - See info here: http://beesafemonashees.us4.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=7ef2a73834a6cc6635a2223f7&id=64ff2c1cf4&e=2b91839fb6

 3. Invasive Species Talk, March 5th: 7:30 pm, Best Western Vernon Lodge. North Okanagan Naturalists bring in Lisa Scott of Okanagan and the Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) based in Summerland to speak on the topic of zebra mussels in our lakes.

 4. Energy Savings for Low Income Earners: Please be advised that there is a program out there to help low income home owners.  The program, administered by BC Hydro and Fortis, has a 6 months (at least) wait time. Please get the word out wherever possible about this program. By next winter, those exorbitant gas bills will hopefully disappear! To apply for the program, go here.

 5. Garden Friends Wanted: Are you a keen gardener who likes to learn and to share your knowledge and experience with a younger generation? Enjoy working with children?  We are seeking volunteer garden friends to work with grade 4 students in the Intergenerational Landed Learning program  in the school garden at St. James School. This involves 7 Tuesday afternoons between April 1 and June 17.  Garden Science programs will be delivered by the Okanagan Science Centre and you will help children plan, plant, care for, and harvest food crops. You will help prepare food crops for eating and learn about nutrition science. If you would like to be involved in this exciting garden program, please contact Linda Peterat at 250-545-6171. 

 6. Nanotechnology for Solutions to the Global Energy Crisis: Thursday March 6th,  7:30 pm, main theatre on Okanagan College’s Vernon campus. The Canadian Association of Physicists presents this talk, part of the Science in Society Speaker Series, given by award-winning nano-scientist Dr. Rosei. Here he discusses how advanced materials and nanotechnology can be used for energy saving, energy storage, and energy conversion in the future. To subscribe or to learn more, visit: okanagansisss.wordpress.com or www.okscience.ca

 7. March Match Madness Campaign – March 3  start-up. Register to carpool  at www.carpool.ca. share stories, photos and enter to win.

 8. Healthy Communities: March 12, 6:30 – 8pm, East Hill Community Church, 3605 12St.  All are invited to review best route cycling/walking maps and give feedback. RSVP  to csbreception@vernon.ca or call 250-550-3634 by March 10.

 9. The Buzz on HoneyBees: March 15, 2 – 3:30pm, Vernon Museum by donation. Pre-register at 250 542-3142 - space is limited. John Gates, owner-operator of Gates Bee Farms, Armstrong is speaker.

 10. Allan Brooks Annual Dinner Auction, Friday April 4thBest Western Vernon Lodge. “Flights of Fancy” is the optional theme this year, so please come with something feathery (e.g. mask, hat, scarf, etc.) or buy one of our feathery brooches at the door.  Tickets will be $65 per person or $500 per 8 people. Available at WWW.TICKETSELLER.CA  All proceeds will help execute school programs, develop interpretive displays, and assist day-to-day operations of the Nature Centre. For more information or to donate an auction item, please contact Janice Buick at 250-306-7945. 


1. Check out the New Website: Under RESOURCES on the Bee SAFE website you will now find important recent NEWS such as how the Coldstream Market is going NO GMO.

 2. Recent Bee SAFE Action: The “non-GM crops” presentation is available here. We stressed the urgency to not plant any new GM crops, such as GM corn (a little blood thinner in your corn anyone?), as contamination cannot be prevented! Please contact your city councillors.

 3. Roundup Linked To Groundwater Contamination: In a recent study, evidence surfaced that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto's patented herbicide Roundup, is flowing freely into the groundwater in areas where it is being applied. Apparently, despite the manufacturer's claims, glyphosate herbicide does not break down rapidly in the environment, and is accumulating there in concerning quantities.

 4. Working Together: The Kootenay Local Agriculture Society provides an excellent model for how organizations that work together can really help grow sustainable agriculture. Check out KLAS and let us know if you'd be interested in working with Bee SAFE and the Lumby co op in the future to build this type of society in our own communities.

 5. STOP the GM Apple!

A) Tell store managers everywhere you shop that they must not sell it.

B) Print petitions and put them in all local popular spots.

C) Call/write your MLA asking him/her to support a moratorium on the GM Apple.

All info and documents to print are here:     http://beesafemonashees.us4.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=7ef2a73834a6cc6635a2223f7&id=a8f278512d&e=2b91839fb6


1. Cashews and Harvesting: Check out this article!

 2. Evergreen CityWorks: Can you imagine a better future for our cities? How are you building your city for the next century? Watch this video to see how Evergreen CityWorks is working to answer these questions. Get inspired to join the movement by visiting the CityWorks website.

 3. SumOfUs Report: A Canadian mining company (Infinito Gold) is suing Costa Rica for $100 million in lost profits because the country would not let them pollute the rain forest with an open pit cyanide-leech gold mine. SumOfUs is asking for donation support to expose the problems with this Canada-Costa Rica free trade agreement. More on their work at www.sumofus.org
 FROM LIVING OCEANS - LOS (www.livingoceans.org)

1. Great Bear marine Plan: As the population of the coast increases, humans are putting a greater strain on the ocean. Less than three percent of Canada’s Pacific waters have some form of protection from over-use or unrestrained development. Recently, LOS presented a plan to protect the health of the North and Central Coastal region of the Great Bear Rainforest. Find out more about the Great Bear Sea planning process and how you can take part.

 2. Diver/Paddler Survey: Did you dive, kayak, or canoe in northern Vancouver Island (between Campbell River and the Scott Islands) in 2013? If so, please complete this brief survey. Your information will be used to inform LOS’ study on the local recreational economy and important natural areas where people dive and paddle. Your information is strictly confidential. If you have any questions, please contact LOS’ Ecosystem Services Analyst, Sharlene Shaikh.


1. 2014 Federal Budget Cuts: 1.5 billion in cuts to the environment by 2016; 5 oil spill response offices closed across Canada; 8.4% cut to rail transportation safety; 99% of rivers and lakes now exempt from federal regulations; $56 million in cuts to Canada's food inspection system; 35 government libraries closed; More than 5,000 job losses at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, Fisheries and Oceans and Agriculture Canada over the next three years; Over $298 million in government advertising since 2009-2010. All while federal fossil fuel subsidies add up to more than $1.38 billion. Ugh!

 2. Thorium as an Energy Alternative? In a word: no. Although this isotope produces less radioactive waste, is safer to shutdown, and is better than normal nuclear or coal-fired energy, it would take 30 – 50 years to see the benefits (too long!), weapons can still be made from it, and it is largely untested. Renewables like solar and wind are still the best options. Read the full article here.

FROM ECOJUSTICE (www.ecojustice.ca)

1. Delay No More: That’s the clear, strong message the Federal Court sent when it recently chastised the Canadian government for its chronic, unlawful delays in producing recovery strategies for four of our country’s vulnerable species. Read the entire article here.

 2. Review of Toxic Pesticides: For the first time in Canadian history, the Minister of Health has agreed to do special reviews of harmful pesticides banned in Europe but still used in Canada. Thanks to you, the Canadian government will hopefully cast a critical eye on these dangerous substances, which are known to pollute our waterways; kills bees, birds and fish; and trigger neurological disorders and cause cancer in humans.

FROM ALTERNATIVES JOURNAL (www.alternativesjournal.ca)

1. Out of Business: Remember Salad Towers? This large-scale farming business that uses dense urban roof tops in Vancouver has gone into receivership! More details to follow.

 2. Food Waste to be banned from Vancouver’s Landfills in 2015: The ban will apply to both residential and commercial waste. And with over 40% of all food waste in the Metro Vancouver region coming from businesses and institutions – amounting to over 100,000 tonnes every year – small businesses will likely want to get a head-start in planning how to redirect their share of this food waste. For more details and suggested tips, go here. Vernon ought to be doing this too!


1. Plastics from Carbon Pollution: One company, Newlight Technologies, is tackling this conversion! The company’s mission is to replace oil-based plastics with so-called “air-based plastics” on an unprecedented global scale. In doing so, the company hopes to “stabilize and end climate change.” For their website, go here.

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Green Light For ‘Salmon Feedlots”: The Harper government recently gave the Norwegian salmon feedlot industry the green light to expand in B.C. With a federal licence, fish farms can now freely use fish infected with salmon viruses in their farms. The only hurdle left for the fish farms is the required provincial licence. Please sign this petition urging our Premier to not grant them. For details, go here. Please share the petition with your friends and family too!

 2. Divestment from UBC and SFU: Students there voted for endowment funds that divest (don’t support) fossil fuels. For the full story, go here.

 3. The Tobacco Legacy: This sad legacy is to adopt a ‘deny, denigrate, deceive and delay’  strategy when faced with the truth. Major corporate players and political leaders with a dark side adopt the same strategy. Yet this self-serving approach doesn’t take their children or children’s children into account. This type of thinking needs to be changed! Read the full story here.

4. Short Tar Sands Video: This 6:46 minute video on the Tar Sands pretty much says it all…. rising cancer rates, dreadful changes in water quality and wildlife…pollution levels in fish…racism against the members of the local First Nations community for said pollution.

5. Transparent Talks with Bayer? The chemical corporation BAYER is offering to talk to its critics; a move never done before in 35 years. Given their track record for intimidating and silencing critics, the Coalition against BAYER Dangers (CBG) wants the meetings to be transparent for the general public and to be meaningful (I.e. they led to solving current problems). Read entire article here

6.. Coal-Fired Power: Check out this recent CBC radio program where  Dr. Joe Vipond explains why CAPE doctors support a complete coal phase-outhttp://www.cbc.ca/the180/excerpts/2014/02/17/who-backs-coal-and-who-is-backing-away-from-it/

7. Dementia and Alzheimers: This Scientific American review summarizes the evidence linking dementia with environmental toxins.


8. The Gandhi of Natural Farming:  92 year old Bhaskar Save has been regenerating land in India for decades and now his orchard farm is a new supplier of water, energy and fertility to the local eco-system, not a net consumer. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Bhaskar_Save-Gandhi_of_Natural_Farming.php

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck