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September 2014 Newsletter



 promoting environmental awareness in the North Okanagan

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 (Sustainable Environment Network Society), c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5. Website: www.sensociety.org

This newsletter is being sent out for your interest. Information contained within does not imply approval by SENS directors. 

*** SENS provides tax-deductible receipts for donations ***


1.Developing Community: September 25th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Kim Flick, Community Development Director for the City, will explain how to build community for a healthier, happier, and more liveable life for all of us with the help of our Official Community Plan (OCP). Huguette Allen, SENS Director, will speak on planning seven generations or more into the future, and relate the OCP to our upcoming municipal elections. Questions encouraged. Everyone welcome!

2. Vernon In Transition (VIT): October 4 Community Gathering, 2 pm start, Trinity United Church. “How can we work together to become a more resilient, lower-energy community?”

 VIT, working under the SENS umbrella, seeks volunteers (contact VernonInTransition@gmail.com) for numerous activities and jobs for the day. Volunteers are welcome to take part in the afternoon’s and evening’s activities as we plan where we want Vernon to go in the next 30 years. Please contact VernonInTransition@gmail.com to volunteer.

One aspect of the day is creation (using upcycled or found materials) of costumes and musical instruments for children who attend. Please contact Joanne at riverjunkmail@gmail.com to contribute such items as jar lids, bead, yarn, buttons bottle caps and 4 foot branches with a ‘Y’. More items will be asked for as we plan for the October 4 community gathering.  A more detailed invitation letter will be sent soon so mark your calendars and plan to be there!

3. SENS Video Documentaries Library: Please contact Terry at 545-6191 for short term borrowing. There are many titles available, such as: In Transition, Power Down, On the Line, The Great Warming, etc.

4. Community Teamwork: Would you like to spend time with people who have similar interests and work on environmental issues you are passionate about? Whatever the issue, SENS has a team for YOU!  Please contact Huguette Allen at huguette@Imagine-ere.ca to tell us of your interest.


1.Roundup Dangers Re-Confirmed: For over a decade, corn with the GM trait NK603, known to cause severe liver and kidney deficiencies and hormonal disturbances, such as breast tumours, has been used for animal feed and in processed food ingredients in Canada. But did you know that Monsanto started putting that same trait into GM sweet corn as early as 2012? And according to tests, it’s in some grocery stores and farmers markets across the country. Concerned? Well here’s a 2-page resource on how to avoid GM sweet corn. Check it out!


1. Farmers’ Markets:

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

·       Vernon: 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.

·       Lumby: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm and Sundays, noon – 4 pm, Lumby Shopping Ctr.

o   Support the Monashee food co-op! They provide seasonal and dried foods, organic pastas, pickles and more, as well as locally-made cleaning products, jewelry, art etc.Email Jaye Siegmuller to get involved!

2. North Okanagan Naturalist Society: September 3rd, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel.  Norbert Maertens speaks on “Waking up in a genetically modified world.”

3. BC Hydro's Community Champions Program: BC Hydro is looking for non-profits focused on sustainability and the environment. The grand prize is a $10,000 conservation award. Non-profit submissions are open until September 30th. Voting is open to the public and participating schools. Winners announced December 8th. For all the information you need to answer questions and get started, go here.

4. Haz Waste Round-up: Saturday, September 13th, 8 am – 2 pm, Okanagan College and 8 am – 1 pm at Enderby and Lumby Firehalls. For more, contact 250 550-3700.

5. Okanagan Water & Biodiversity Forum: The BRAES Institute and the Okanagan Basin Water Board  will be hosting this Forum in Kelowna on September 16th and 17th. For more information about the event and for registration, go here.

6. Food Action Society’s 4th Annual Fundraiser: September 20th, Best Western Vernon Lodge. Tickets are available at the Bean Scene.

7. Organic Okanagan Festival: September 28th, 11 am – 4 pm, Kelowna’s Rotary Festival of the Arts.

8. Energy Alternatives: Methane will soon be collected from our landfill for energy use. As well our area will soon be installing 14 super charging stations for electric cars.

9. Food Security Speaker Series: Amy Kermociev of Patchwork Farms at OK College is organizing a day of food–farm-permaculture-garden etc speakers for October 18 at our Kal Campus. If you have a topic you’d like to speak on for ½  - 1 hour, please contact  amy_kermociev@kindale.net

Also, mark the date and plan to attend a great day of Workshops ‘n talks! More details to follow.


1. Badger Mom and Young Photo: Aren’t they cute? Thanks for sending this to Helen and Ann!

2. Safer Cosmetics: Interested in signing a petition as part of a campaign to ban microbeads (plastic) in personal care products? If so, go to 5gyres.org to sign.


1. Could B.C. Become a 100% Renewable Energy Region? “Here in B.C., 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions—the direct cause of climate change—come from burning fossil fuels [mainly for electricity, heat and transportation].” Obviously we need to change, just like Germany (PDF) is doing! Read Guy’s series of insightful articles (1-4) on how we can make this transition as smoothly as possible. As pointed out, “Where there's a will, there's a zero-carbon way.”


1. Canada's Cities Lead on Climate Action: “With many benefits like livable communities, improved air quality, protection of natural spaces, and greater economic efficiency, it's not surprising that tangible positive action on climate change is happening in Canada's cities.” Calgary, Edmonton, Guelph, Vancouver, and many other cities are “[prioritizing] clean energy, better transit, smarter urban design, [and waste reduction] … There's still a long way to go, but cities are showing the way.” Read the entire article here.

2. Nano Particles: I never thought they’d come, but it turns out many items and food ingredients already contain them. And unlike the helpful machines flowing through my blood that I envisioned, these guys can be downright harmful! As the article points out, “We don't know enough about their long-term effects to be adding them so indiscriminately to our food systems and other products. If we've learned anything from past experience, it's that … reality doesn't always match speculation, and a lack of knowledge can lead to nasty surprises down the road.”

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Asbestos Scandal: Here’s a Globe & Mail worthy story about Canada's asbestos scandal written by Kathleen Ruff.

2. No Dying Fish Here: On his website, you’ll find interesting videos showing Alexandra Morton and three friends scouting a fish farm whose manager has said "there is no problem: fish are not dying" when in fact, the opposite is true. It's quite unnerving…  

3. Mt. Polley Mine Tailings Disaster: Here's a well-written outline about the spill of toxic tailings from this copper/gold mine in central B.C, and it’s clean-up from the Vancouver Observer.

4. Site C Dam: Here’s a Vancouver Sun article that explains why the B.C. government is planning to build this expensive ($7.9 billion) and destructive (will destroy many ecosystem services and disable prime agricultural land) megaproject. In a nutshell, it’s all so that there’s a big repository of water that B.C'.s shale gas industry can use. Ugh!

5. Coal and Human Health: Here’s an excellent Calgary Herald article that presents some of the science linking coal emissions to illness. The piece is part of CAPE's campaign to phase-out coal-fired power across Canada.

6. Economy Improves via Climate Change: The governing Ontario Liberals have taken the first step towards tackling climate change by appointing a dedicated minister of environment and climate change. Hopefully this will lead to other new steps, such as charging polluters for the pollution they create,  putting a price on carbon, investing in green infrastructure, etc. For even more steps, read the entire article here.

7. More on Fracking: Two pieces. First is an article that suggests that the German government is mulling over a proposed seven year fracking ban. Second is a video where The New York Court of Appeals has made it final: communities can "prohibit" fracking! Yeah!

8. We Mean Business: Check out this cool, no denial/prevaricating website on climate change!

9. GMO Industry’s “Safety” Studies: “Who would have expected that toxicology would become a rich reservoir of farce and irony? Yet that is exactly what has happened in the area of GMO toxicity testing, thanks to double standards that mean studies finding harm are judged very differently to those finding safety [and blatantly false claims of no self-interest].” For the latest example of this groan-worthy practice, read the entire article here.

10. Seralini Study Republished: Here’s some good news! The famous Seralini study of tumour formation in rats fed GMO corn, vilified by industry and its sycophants, has finally been republished, including all the raw data generated by the research carried out by Dr. Seralini and his team. And having found a new home, it’s quite unlikely the GMO industry will be able to quash its damning findings again! Read the entire good news story here.

11. YouTube“Do It”: Here’s a two-minute video that tells the story of how two young German women (along, no doubt, with a great team of others) set up a supermarket without any non-reusable packaging whatsoever… And it was remarkably easy!

12. China is the World's Leading Renewable Superpower: Here are a few reasons it’s #1: First of all, it’s got full government support. As a result, it’s leading substantially in global clean energy investment. In addition, many new policies and mega projects are geared towards renewables. Secondly, China is beginning to wean itself off of coal. For instance, a growing number of Chinese provinces have introduced caps on coal use. Finally, there is also increasing awareness that smaller scale decentralized forms of clean energy generation are just as important as mega projects. For even more reasons, read the report here.

13. Deepwater Horizon Disaster: - it occurred 4 years ago in the Gulf of Mexico and is continuing to cause serious problems (Vibrio vulnificus, found in tar balls on shorelines, can kill in 48 hours). http://www.care2.com/causes/flesh-eating-bacteria-renal-failure-and-the-long-term-effects-of-oil-spills.html


1. Invasive Species:  check out some from this photo gallery at http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/what-we-do/resource-centre/invasive-species/

2. Tasty Invasive Species Treats: Check out several nutritious dandelion recipes here: http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/blog/a-dandy-way-to-bite-back-for.html#.U_6HiEu4nH


Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck