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February 2015 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.Waterway Stewardship: Thursday, February 26, 7 pm Schubert Centre. Learn about our local waterways and join experts to find out what equipment and monthly tests you can use on a waterway near you to monitor continued safety and cleanliness for all of us.

2. First Vernon Earthship Meeting: February 4, 7 pm, People Place, Room 101 downstairs. Bring your skills for building an off-grid, recycled, closed-loop home/educational space for sustainably-minded folk. Space is limited, so please contact SENS director Keli at 250 307-6595.

3. Annual Seed & Plant Swap/Sale and Annual General Meeting (AGM): March 26, Schubert Centre. Free seed and plant swap/sale (6:30 pm), a short AGM (7:30 pm), followed by Brian and Rebecca Brewster’s talk  - Capping Growth in a Finite World – when is enough, enough? There’s time after their talk for more seed and plant swap/sales.

Interested in contributing to SENS as a Director? Please contact our Chair, Sigrid-Ann Thors, at 250- 503-3150 prior to our AGM.

4.Winter Carnival: Want to cycle/walk in the parade? Contact Terry: terrydyck80@hotmail.com.


1. Used ‘Stuff’: Bee SAFE is working with the Monashee Co-Op and in need of office and store furniture, desk, cash register, filing cabinets, older iPad, etc…. if you have any to donate, please contact  monasheecommunitycoop@gmail.com or 250-547-0272

2. Roundup and GMOs:: According to a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, Roundup herbicide (aka glyphosate) and its still-toxic degradation by-product AMPA were found in over 75% of the air and rain samples tested from Mississippi in 2007.      Nassim Taleb, the distinguished professor of risk engineering who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, has concluded that GMOs could cause “an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet". Here's hoping we listen to him this time....


1. Farmers’ Markets:

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

·       Vernon: Kal Tire Place, 12 – 4 pm, Jan 30, Feb 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27

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

·       Lumby: Daily, 10 am – 5 pm, Arbour Mall on Highway 6.

      -    Organic produce, both GMO and pesticide free. Contact: 250 547-7808.

2. Local CommUnity Innovation Lab: February 3 - 5, Fresh Outlook Foundation and Thompson Rivers University will be hosting a CommUnity Innovation Lab in Kamloops to tackle issues such as healthy environment, people, and economy. Find out more about this great event here.

3. North Okanagan Naturalist Society Meeting: February 4, 7 pm, Sierra Room of the Village Green Hotel. The speaker will be fish biologist, Jason Webster. For more, go here.

4. Learn to Fish Program: February 7, 10 am to 3 pm, Swan Lake in Vernon. This event is open to the public. Youth and their families will learn how to ice fish as well as the safety precautions needed to enjoy the sport. Fishing Gear, tackle, and a BBQ lunch will be provided for all participants. For more information, contact danny@bcfishn.com.

5. Green Drinks: February 9, 5- 7 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub in Vernon.

6. Local Transit Options: Feb 10, 10 – noon, People Place, Room 003. Seating limited so please RSVP to 250 545-0585. Topics: accessibility, handyDART pilot project and registration for handyDART.

7. Last Unfair Election: February 17, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Come see this non-partisan presentation from Fair Vote Canada with federal candidates. Admission by donation. It asks how can we renew democracy? How is our environment impacted?

8. Map our Marshes: In November, 50 students from the Vernon Community School participated in a Map our Marshes Workshop, which taught them how to track changes in wetland landscapes. The students then visited and assessed the Clarence Fulton Wetlands. The wetland will be added to the BC Wetland Atlas. Read more about this workshop on the BCWF Bog Blog.

9. The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society (OSS) Moves North: The OSSS provides information on native habitat restoration and protection, wildlife conflicts, managing invasive weeds, media recognition, funding options, etc., and is currently assisting more than forty landowners sustain eleven hundred acres of wildlife habitat.  It is moving North. For more information, check out their website or contact Alyson Skinner at 250-809-1980.

10. B.C. Swallow Conservation Project: This project is a volunteer based initiative working to obtain knowledge about swallow species and encourage shared stewardship. Please submit sightings of nests and important habitats to the website. For specifics, check it out!


1. Farmageddon: Check out this great book review! Some really sobering stuff...

2. Public Interest Science Attacked: 2014 hasn’t been a great year for public interest science in Canada. Here is a Toronto Star editorial summarizing how federal policies have continued to do serious damage to Canadian science last year. Here's hoping the upcoming federal election brings change! Also, here's the “Evidence for Democracy” article that prompted the editorial.

3. SumOfUs.org Mock Ad: Doritos has a massive ad budget and will pay millions of dollars to get its winning ad on air during the Super Bowl. But our community is massive too, and together we  made a video to drive home our message that Doritos needs to adopt a deforestation-free palm oil policy. Click here to watch this little video and feel free to share it -- and respond to the petition that accompanies it too!

4. Beauty From Wind Power: Italy has transformed an old viaduct into a wind turbine bridge with a bridge deck lined with solar cells. The entire structure is like a green Utopia, producing a combined 40 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year (that is enough to power 15,000 homes), while offering panoramic ocean views and an ultra-fresh farmer’s market (thanks to installed solar powered greenhouses)! For the entire article, go here.

5. Destroying Soil: Activities such as logging and removing native forests for ‘agriculture’, causes damage that would normally occur over thousands of years in just a matter of decades. Check out the full article on how humans erode soil 100 times faster than nature.

6. The Indicator: This recent iisd (International Institute for Sustainable Development) newsletter listed accomplishments of 2014. A few of the many items: youTube videos via  Social media, Partnerships for holistic multi-sector solutions to freshwater management, climate adaptation in Uganda ,  creating an award-winning Peg community indicator system  for knowledge, research on effects of Fossil Fuel Subsidies  which triggered reform in East Asia, launching a guide to help countries avoid farmland and water Land-grabs.

7. Our Energy Future: At the end of 2014 Clean Energy Canada released a pair or reports titled Tracking the Energy Revolution Global and Tracking the Energy Revolution Canada. The reports are full of maps, charts and graphics that tell the story of how plunging equipment costs, strong investor interest and government and business leadership are driving a global shift to renewable energy sources such as wind, sun and water. (Via Guy Dauncey)


1.Moose and… A few Canadian species employ unique adaptation strategies to survive throughout the winter. Read here.

2.Partnership: NCC, First Nations, and the BC Government coordinated so that Grace Islet is now protected.  Learn more.


1. Alberta’s Wolf Slaughter: Over the past 7 years more than 800 wolves have been killed as a crude, ineffective means of caribou recovery. Worse, the killing is planned to continue in 2015. Please read the following CBC article and visit www.wolfawarenessinc.org to learn how you can help stop this senseless slaughter of wolves!

Scapegoat (Wolf) Update: Sadly, British Columbia has joined the senseless slaughter!

As such, the Sierra Club is re-launching its #SaveTheWolves campaign with a letter writing action to B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice.

FROM CHANGE.ORG   This non-profit allows anyone with a cause/concern to use the Change.org website freely and safely regardless of who you are or what you believe.  One example is Sarah Kavanagh, a teenager from Mississippi who persuaded Pepsi and Coke to eliminate a controversial chemical from all of their soft drinks and beverages. Read update summary here.


Three Powerful Principles: Excerpt: "Our community has chosen 3 simple but powerful values to support each other to follow in 2015. When 500,000 of us pledge, we'll invite world leaders to join us, and we'll check in 3 times this coming year to see how we're all doing -- click here and sign a new year's pledge to ourselves."


1. Site C Alternative: Despite getting provincial approval, this fight is far from over. Case in point, a recent report out claims "geothermal (GT) plants could generate similar amounts of power at a much lower cost", effectively dismantling the government's rationale for building this monstrous dam!  Also going GT would generate many more permanent jobs (2000 vs. 150 for the Site C dam). This is a very appealing alternative! For the entire DESMOG article, go here.

2. Liquefied Fracking Gas: Here's David biting critique on the failings of our federal and provincial leaderships and the hardly "natural" LNG. A good read!

3. Canadian Mining Companies; They aim at maximizing profit with little regard for people or the environment – especially in Latin America. There has been some improvement but much more is needed.  Read the full article here.

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Inflammatory Chemicals in Red Meat: Not only are cattle an ecological conundrum -- generating the GHG gas methane, taking up precious resources to grow (e.g. feed, water, space, time, etc.), and being grossly inefficient -- now we learn that their meat contains a substance that isn't helpful for our metabolism. Bugs are looking tastier even more now!

2. Anti-SLAPP Bill for B.C.: The B.C. government has moved to change the rules governing non-profit societies to allow anyone at all to take the non-profit to court for doing something they deem to be "not in the best interests of society". Can't have those evil non--profits spreading lies about LNG, right? For this story, go here.

3. Connectivity: Water systems (streams, wetlands, bogs, swamps) are of great value and must be protected. Check the US Environmental Protection Agency’s recent research: Connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters ...


1. Toxicity ‘Ducked”: Living Oceans sued the Ministers of Health and Environment for approving the manufacture of the world’s first genetically modified (GM) food animal with no public debate. Now the federal government has finally produced the risk assessment on which the November, 2013 decision was purportedly based. Read more.

2. Enbridge Commitments: They said the Great Bear Sea and its communities would be protected from oil tankers making upwards of 800 trips per year to and from Kitimat. Many of the most important promises—like speed restrictions to protect whales from being struck and killed—aren’t required by law and won’t be enforced by the National Energy Board. Read more.


1.Cancer is Not Just Random: According to this Johns Hopkins media release, 2/3 of cancers are mostly just due to random bad luck. Well they're wrong! "In fact, the actual study [that prompted the media release] does nothing to disprove lists of carcinogens, and clusters of cancers in groups such as workers, around toxic sites, or in various regions around the world ... This study is NOT a reason to embrace the downsides of an industrial-promoted status quo." For entire article, go here.

EDITOR CORRECTION: Seawater to Oil is Not a Game Changer: Last month, I massively overhyped this! But this article grounded me in reality, sadly...  

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck