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May 2014 Newsletter

MAY 2014

          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.Electric Car Show: May 22, 7 pm, Schubert Centre’s east parking lot. At 7:30 pm we’re inside to discuss operation costs and use of electric cars in relation to global warming and air pollution.  Questions welcome. 

 2Repair Café: Saturday, May 3. 11 – 3pm, Okanagan Science Centre parking lot. Got items that need repair? Want to find out how to do a repair?  Bring your small appliances, computers, bikes, darning/knitting, glue-able ‘stuff’, musical instruments, books, clothes, plus knives and tools that need sharpening. Dine in style at the food vendor’s stall and even find out how to ‘up-cycle’!  Vernon in Transition is sponsoring this second event as a side-branch of SENS.

3. "Stop BC's War on Wolves" Petition: SENS director Huguette Allen has created a petition for MLA Thomson, BC’s forest land natural resources minister. Extinction of BC’s wolves is not the answer to achieving a healthy wildlife population and seeks at least 5000 signatures.  More, plus petition here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/BCs_Forest_Land_Natural_Resources_MinisterThomson_Stop_BCs_War_on_Wolves/?Day2Share

 4.Bike to Work Week (May 25th – 31st):

A) IF you’d like to take part this year, changes have been made to include individuals as well as teams. A team leader’s workshop is planned for April 30th at the Vernon Council Chambers , 4:45 - 6:45 pm. Register as a team leader at www.biketowork.ca and attend the workshop for information, pizza, a team leader prize, and ALL that you will require as a team leader! 

B) OR: Join the SENS ‘team’ and cycle/walk/skate to work/shop/meetings during BTWW… please contact me (jblissau@telus.net) and I’ll add your name to my list for our “SENSationals” team.


1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Vernon: Mondays & Thursdays, 8 am – 1 pm, Kal Tire Place.

·       Vernon: Starting May 2nd, Friday nights, 4 pm – 8 pm, 30th Avenue.

·       Coldstream, Fridays, 2:30 pm – 6 pm.

·       Armstrong : Saturdays, 8 am – 12 noon,

·       Enderby: Friday mornings, Cliff Avenue.

·       Cherryville: Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm.

·       Caravan Farm: Sundays, 10 – 2pm, May 11, June 15, June 29. August 3.

·       Lumby: Is opening a food co-op and has a list price from Pro-Organics. 

o   Email Jaye Siegmuller to get involved at info@barenature.ca.   

 2. Rail Trail Support: Please click on the link and fill out the simple form indicating your support before CN sells to private developers and we lose this corridor.www.okanaganrailtrail.ca


 3. Anti-Monsanto Actions: Countries all over the globe are taking a stand against this horrible company (maker of the cancer-causing Roundup)! France has banned Monsanto’s GM corn; Mayans have gotten rid of Monsanto’s GM soybeans; Mexico, following their ban of GM maize, won a major battle against Monsanto’s appeal; Chile derailed Monsanto’s seed controlling law; and In Canada, Roundup Ready alfalfa will not be selling this Spring thanks to strong public opposition. For more stories, check out the Bee S.A.F.E website.

4. Loon Study: If you spend at least one day a month from June to August on a Canadian lake where loons breed and would like to help monitor loon and lake health please sign up as a Bird Studies Canada member and opt into the loon survey. Active members can sign up by emailing Kathy Jones : volunteer@birdscanada.org

 5. Gleaners  Open House Tour: Everyone’s invited, May 2, 8 – noon, Tours at 9:30 and 10:30.

May 3, 10 – 2, Tours at 11 and 1pm. Come and help process veggies too! Coffee and goodies!

 6.Carpool.ca: About 30% of Greenhouse gas emissions are from personal transportation. Carpooling is one way to reduce. Are you signed on yet? Use of this system continues to increase in Vernon and Armstrong. 


1. Help Stop Bill C-18: Our federal government is hoping to pass an omnibus bill that would give multinationals control over seeds, making it too costly for farmers and seed producers to save and sell seeds. Read about this bill and take action to stop it.

 2. Farmed Salmon and Pregnancy: Go here for numerous articles from Norway that expose the dangers of pregnant mothers eating farmed salmon (that contain a cocktail of chemicals).

 3.Avaaz International Poll Results:     http://point4counterpoint.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/all-member-poll-final-results/

 4. Dogwood Initiative:

a)This non-profit (http://dogwoodbc.ca/) recently reported that our BC government secretly approved a permit amendment allowing Texada Quarries to expand its coal-handling operations by almost 20-fold, enabling it to become the final transfer point for up to 8 million tonnes of U.S. thermal coal via Fraser Surrey Dock without informing 1st nations or local authorities or residents who have repeatedly complained of coal (high in arsenic) being washed up on the beach… You may wish to call your ministers: Minister of Health Terry Lake – (250) 953-3547
          Minister of the Environment Mary Polak – (250) 387-1187

b)Let BC Vote!  Residents of Kitimat voted ‘no’ to Enbridge’s pipeline and oil tanker proposal! What if all BC’ers were allowed to vote? Reclaim decision-making power here: LetBCvote.ca.

5. Liquid Natural Gas: one citizen noted that if we ship and sell LNG offshore at a high price – 3times more than at present -  then those in BC who heat with natural gas will also have to pay that high price…

6.The Danger of Monetizing Nature: Monbiot shows through example how, if we put a price on nature, then as a commodity it becomes easier to destroy it…  www.monbiot.com/2014/04/22/reframing-the-planet/

7. New IPPC Report  (details via Guy Dauncey):

Climate Panel Stunner: Avoiding Climate Catastrophe Is Super Cheap — But Only If We Act Now


IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable. Guardian


The 3 Most Sobering Graphics From The U.N.’s New Climate Report. Climate Progress


Leo Hickman, in the Guardian:

"The IPCC will publish an official synthesis of the three reports in Copenhagen in October, but here's my own in less than 140 characters


1.Rio Tinto proposes an open pit copper and gold ‘Pebble Mine” in Alaska.  Tell Rio Tinto to pull out of the mine that will destroy the largest wild sockeye salmon run (40 million) in the world.  The site – Bristol Bay -  supplies almost 50 % of the world’s commercial sockeye, supporting 14,000 jobs yearly.

 FROM LIVING OCEANS - LOS (www.livingoceans.org)

1.Humpback Whales: will soon be downgraded from ‘threatened’ to ‘species of concern’ unless you say otherwise. It might be easier to allow tanker traffic on our coastline with this change. The public has 30 days to comment. Click here to send an email to the government. Tell them to protect critical habitat for B.C.'s humpback whales. The whales are recovering but they still need our help.


1. Queen of Green Ideas: Want to lighten your footprint and adopt a green lifestyle? Check out the Queen of Green's do-it-yourself tips, eco-friendly cleaning recipes, answers to your green living questions, and how-to videos that will help you protect nature. You'll learn simple ways to make yourself — and the planet — healthier. And you'll save money, too! Source

 2. Windmills as Things of Beauty: Excerpt: “Our perception of beauty is shaped by our values and beliefs. Some people think wind turbines are ugly. I think smokestacks, smog, acid rain, and coal-fired power plants are ugly. I think windmills are beautiful. They harness the wind's power to supply us with heat and light. They provide local jobs. They help clean air and reduce climate change… “ (David Suzuki)    For the full article, go here.

3. Webinar –Review of Pesticides Banned In Europe: RSVP to health@davidsuzuki.org  to register for this May 7 English session at 1:30 – 2:30pm ES. Instructions will follow.

 4.War On Cars? Check out Seattle newsweekly :The Stranger”, which provides a manifesto for a real war on cars. "We demand that car drivers pay their own way, bearing the full cost of the automobile-petroleum-industrial complex that has depleted our environment, strangled our cities, and drawn our nation into foreign wars," it says. "Reinstate the progressive motor vehicle excise tax, hike the gas tax, and toll every freeway, bridge, and neighborhood street until the true cost of driving lies as heavy and noxious as our smog-laden air." 

FROM ECOJUSTICE (www.ecojustice.ca)

1. Enbridge Wins… for now: Unsurprisingly, the National Energy Board gave the green light for the Enbridge pipeline that will carry Alberta oilsands to the B.C. coast. There were many reasons to say "no", such as: it being too close to heavily populated areas; the many water crossings; the "high" likelihood of failure; and the lack of an emergency response (highlighted by the 2010 pipeline failure and massive spill in Michigan). But fear not, Harper may have won this battle but hardly the war! For the article, go here

2. Going to Court to Protect B.C.’s Water: In March, Ecojustice argued that the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission’s practice of repeatedly granting short-term water approvals to oil and gas companies is unlawful. Intended for short-term projects like roadwork or construction, these approvals grant them access to huge quantities of freshwater far long terms (i.e. five years) without getting a water licence. By doing so, they avoid a process that generally involves more oversight and public consultation. To read more about this case, go here. Here’s an update too. 

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Most Contaminated Nuclear Site in Earthquake Zone: This brief article highlights the major problem with nuclear energy, whether generated in bombs, or in power plants: highly radioactive waste. 

2. Opportunity for Better Health: According to this IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, climate change poses an urgent threat to human health. Here are a set of resources; a short film about climate change, health, and the benefits of sustainability; and a webinar with climate and health experts. Concerned? If so, sign up here for ideas on how to take action. One idea is to read and sign the Lancet’s manifesto for planetary health here. Of course, one simple way to show your support is to ‘like’ the Global Climate and Health Alliance facebook pagefollow them on twitter for updates, and share the links with friends.

 3. Good News #1: the Government of Manitoba has introduced a chemical pesticide ban for lawns, playing fields, hospitals, and schools – a first in Western Canada and a huge contribution to human health and environmental protection. Let’s hope it passes next week.

 4. Good News #2: Ontario has fully eliminated coal as a source of electricity due to strong efforts by CAPE and others.  It was once the largest single source of greenhouse gases in the province.

 5.Factory Farming Film: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=741072019271454

 6. Canadian Medical Association’s Health Concerns over Fracking: http://www.cmaj.ca/site/earlyreleases/15april14_new-legitimacy-to-concerns-about-fracking-and-health.xhtml

 7. Mothers Out Front: "...mothers, grandmothers, and other caregivers who can no longer be silent and still about the very real danger that climate change poses to our children’s and grandchildren’s future." http://www.mothersoutfront.org/who_we_are     Start it in Canada too?

 8.Salmon Spawning Protection: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/cayoose-creek-band-refuses-cede-salmon-spawning-territory

 9. QR Code as a URLhttp://survey.cpccaucus.ca/eap14/3044/?qrcode=1  The Conservative Party would like people to use this to tell what a great job they’re doing of creating jobs etc (it’s from a recent flyer)…but feel free to use it to give your thoughts on environmental concerns too.

 10. Fishers and Oceans Canada: “Fisheries” is no longer for wild fish. One of their highest priorities now is to support ‘biotechnology’ – which means GMO…  Click here: DFO's Mandate is Not What We Thought.  Also, changes would allow DFO to grant blanket authorization to industry to pollute waterways without any science/evidence.  Action: https://evidencefordemocracy.ca/fisheriesact

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck