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December 2014 Newsletter




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. SENS will not be holding an educational event in December. Enjoy a warm, safe time with family and friends this month!

2. January 22, 2015 SENS Event: An early “heads-up”. SENS Director John Barling will speak on “DIY Solar Energy Projects” and covered swimming pool / domestic water heating, cabin photovoltaics, solar greenhouses, cooking in the sun, and food drying. Workshop planning to follow.

 3. Vernon In Transition Launch: This October's Open Space Meeting was a huge success with about 200 people attending throughout the day. 12 working groups were formed there, with the hope that they will continue working towards transition to a resilient, low energy community. If you were unable to attend the launch and would like to take part in one of the working groups or be involved in some way, email VernonInTransition@gmail.com.


1. GMO Victory for Hawaiians: Despite Monsanto spending over $8 million to defeat the ban, Maui County residents banned the planting of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Read more here. Predictably, following their loss, Monsanto announced plans to sue Maui. Please chip in to support the locals.

 2. Feedlot Photos: Here are some damning feedlot photos that show the shitty (pun intended) conditions animals here must endure. Even worse, this animal waste (chalk-full of antibiotics, pesticides, and diseases) leaches into the groundwater, land, and air, raising serious health and environmental concerns. For more, here's a recent study cited by the CDC. 

3. RDNO to do More Studies on GM crops? Readers of this newsletter all know how harmful these crops can be, so why on earth does RDNO need to hire a consultant to consult on studies we already know the answers to?! Obviously, we need new elected officials... 


1. Farmers’ Markets: Most closed by mid October or switched to an indoor venue for winter.

·       Coldstream: Fridays, 2:30pm – 6:00pm.

·       Armstrong: Saturdays, 10:00am – 1:00pm, Odd Fellows Hall, Bridge Street.

·       Lumby Co-op: daily 10:00am–5:00pm, Sunday noon-5:00 Arbour Park Mall on Hwy 6 - Organic and GMO/pesticide-Free produce. 250-547-7808.

 2. Food Action Society Annual General Meeting (AGM): Dec 3, 7 pm, Vernon Library.  Come to meet, greet, and learn about successful functions throughout the year. Currently there are: (1) Communal Cooking for $1 per portion (email here to register for Jan 22 and 23 – Mexican dishes); (2) Good Food Box (visit their website or call Diane at 250-545-7617); and (3) Phones For Food: Recycle your old wireless devices and the proceeds go to your local food bank (Drop them off at any Rogers/Fido store OR mail them in using this postage-paid label).

 3. Vernon’s Infrastructure Deficit: We only set aside about $7 million annually for upkeep of Vernon’s existing roads but it costs over $8 million to maintain those same roads! Canada has been plagued with an infrastructure deficit for decades ($570 billion now). Here are the challenges and opportunities surrounding this crisis as discussed at the recent Canada 2020 Conference.

 4. Action By Vernon Mayor and Council?  Here is some helpful BCSEA information: 5 Climate Solutions for Small Towns and City Councils. The Mayor and Council already received copies, so hopefully action follows...   

 5. Liveable Communities Overseas: They're doing it right in France. According to one local resident living overseas, he's loving it! “Rode with the locals this morning. All four of us on bikes to take the kids to school…. It's all so very civilized to ride your bike everywhere. On a 4 kilometre ride we must have crossed hundreds of folks of all ages, 4 to 90+ going off in all directions. … shopped for tonight's dinner and rode back home with full paniers….Will go for a night ride with lights on, as all bikes are fitted with fore and aft lights.” Vernon officials, take note!

 6. Fresh Outlook Foundation's Community Innovation Lab (Feb 3 - 5): This first of its kind Canadian event, that focuses on sustainability challenges and their community-based solutions, is still a long ways off but mark your calendar and see FOF for more information. 

 7. The Okanagan’s Natural Capital: The Okanagan Valley is rich with natural ecosystems and biodiversity that provides enormous benefits to our well-being, quality of life, and pocketbook (e.g. tourism, agricultural, etc.) Researchers at the CEL Lab at UBC Okanagan estimate that its value likely exceeds $6.7 billion/year (in 2007 dollars). For more information, go here.

 8. Permaculture Design Certificate Workshop: Element Eco-Design offers this program in Lumby, every other Mon and Tues, starting Jan 12 and 13. Details on website. 


1. Local Multi-layer Forests in A few Years? Here's an interesting video on how to create a mini-forest ecosystem ten-times faster than normal. Sadly it's short on details…

2. Save The Oceans: Here's a great video that proposes we need to fix our global fisheries. Doing so will save the oceans and feed the world. A win-win! 

 3. Japanese Ingenuity With Plastic: Here's a neat invention: a machine that converts plastics back into oil.

 4. The Hybrid Air Car: This article explains how such a car would work. Very cool!

 5. Earth Resonance and Human Health: This documentary tells the full story of how life on earth is threatened by the man made wireless frequencies that we use.

 6. Carnivore Numbers Determine Plant Diversity:  According to this UBC study, "The global declines in carnivore populations could embolden plant eaters to increasingly feed in areas they did not dine in before, driving losses in plant and tree biodiversity."

 7. Rooftop Garden Project: The Skeena Recycled Energy Garden Project has constructed a rooftop greenhouse to help local residents of Hazelton B.C. grow their own fresh, sustainable food. Read all about it here

8. The New “F” Word: Did you know that the pesticide Flupyradifurone, a toxic nerve poison akin to bee-killing neonicotinoids, might get approved here in Canada? Despite warnings, our Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency it is now preparing to give the green light for it. Read the entire David Suzuki article here. You can also take action by going here!


1. We Must Clean Up Our Act: In this powerful piece, David outlines the global warming crisis, its solution, and what's impeding us from acting. He asks, " Will we take advantage of the numerous benefits of energy conservation and clean energy or remain stuck in the old way of just blindly burning our way through?" A must read. Also here's 10 Terrifying Facts From the U.N.'s New Climate Report that you ought to know. 

2. Right To A Healthy Environment: Did you know that our Canada doesn't yet recognize environmental rights?!? Evidence shows strong environmental protection can benefit the economy by spurring innovation and competitiveness and reducing health-care costs. Four Canadian municipalities have already adopted declarations recognizing their residents’ right to a healthy environment… shouldn’t Vernon be next? The entire nation? Well, the private member's Bill C-634 proposes to do just that. Read the entire article here and sign the petition

3. Attacks: Edelman (very large PR firm) has created fake citizen’s groups to attack the Foundation and 3 other organizations to change public opinion on pipelines. TransCanada Co hired them…

4. Involvement Via Citizen Science: Through NatureWatch, you can collect data on amphibians, record flowering times for select species, or monitor earthworms and soil health.  All help track effects of climate change.  Via IceWatch  record yearly freeze and thaw of lakes/rivers. With RinkWatch, track skateable days on local outdoor rinks.

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Subverting Democracy For Profit: Kinder Morgan, the fossil fuel corporation that is trying to pipe Tar Sands crude through Burnaby and out through Vancouver Harbour, is getting annoyed at protestors. As such, it has launched a $5.4 million lawsuit against four of the protesters. Please support these beleaguered individuals! For more information and to take action, go here

2. Fracking For Dummies: Here's a quiet but effective 3D animation that lays out the basic technology - designed specifically to show how fresh water aquifers can be easily contaminated. Positively chilling!

3. Climate Change Advocate’s Talk: Here's a video of Leonardo DiCaprio taken Sept.23 at the 2014 .U.N. Climate Summit.

Happy Holidays!

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck