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June 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.

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

Information contained in this newsletter may not imply approval by SENS directors.


1. No SENS events until September… and no newsletter until then as well!


1. Farmers’ Markets:

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

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

·       Vernon: Friday nights (starts June 12th), 4 – 8 pm, 30th Ave. Market.

·       Enderby: Friday, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, behind City Hall.

·       Armstrong: 8 am – noon, IPE grounds.

·       Lumby: Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm, Community Oval Park.

·       Cherryville: Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm, Highway 6.

·       Caravan Market Days: June 21st, July 5th, Aug 2nd, 10 am – 2 pm, at their Spallumcheen farm.

2. Repair Café (May 2nd): What a great community sharing day for everyone! Andrew, a SENS member, used his solar panels to power drills, sanders, and more, for sharpening. Others fixed bikes (Hooray, Barry!) glued or gave advice, darned or sewed, fixed electronics, household appliances and phones… and there was even body repair with chiropractor and massages provided!

 3a. Allan Brooks Nature Centre's Trail Day: Support them by attending this June 6th event, 11 am – 3 pm. It's open to all ages! Also, if you’d like to help out as a citizen science leader or summer volunteer, please phone 250-260-4227 or email education@abnc.ca.

 3b. ABNC's “Get To Know” Contest: Take part in their “Get To Know” Contest for youth 19 and under! Visit here to submit art, writing, photos, music, etc. inspired by your outdoor experiences and you could win some wild prizes! The contest runs until November 1, 2015.  Also, stay in the loop on other great opportunities by visiting them on Facebook.

 4. Visioning Greater Vernon: Our public library is putting on 5 themed idea Saturday afternoons from 2 – 4 pm (see below). Each day will provide a short information session followed by community brainstorming and sharing. There is a children's portion of the event and it will tie into the Cities Fit for Children conference that Vernon will be hosting in the fall.  Attend, listen, and provide your input!

May 30th                     Transportation: How do you get around?

June 20th                    The Future of Water

September 19th          Community Building: Coming together in the age of (dis)connection

October 17th              Sustainable Development: Growing resilience

November 21st           Food: Local, sustainable, attainable

 5. Evergreen.caVisit the site for free, easy-to-use how-to guides on topics like bringing nature into the classroom, sharing within your community, and growing your own food!


1. Fossil Fuel Subsidies: As governments work towards the Paris Climate Change Conference, the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform launched a Communiqué, calling on governments to finally put an end to inefficient fossil fuels subsidies. A short video that makes the case for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies ahead of COP21 in Paris was also shown at the launch.

 2. Truthdig.com: This site has a great article that refers to letters Ralph Nader sent to presidents that went unanswered and makes a good point about today's communications, or lack thereof.

 3. New Way To Build: http://www.ted.com/talks/elora_hardy_magical_houses_made_of_bamboo

 4. The Dark Side of Solar: Their manufacture is energy intensive and generates highly toxic byproducts, and they may use “conflict minerals” (mined in countries with weak health/safety regulations). There’s no policy for recycling ‘dead’ panels either. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/the-darker-side-of-solar-power/article24649804/

 5. Survey Via Guy Dauncey: Give your input on climate change questions for which answers are not yet clear (future energy for marine shipping etc). The list of questions, is on their website. Survey questions: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/big_questions. Enjoy! Have fun! 


Benefits of Getting Dirty:  Our bodies are host to 100 trillion microbes that keep us healthy, Our food choices can affect their – and our – health. Microbe diversity is high in areas of rich plant diversity. Digging in dirt exposes us to microbes that reduce anxiety and improve cognitive function. Acinetobacter Iwoffii prevents asthma, hay fever and other ailments in children exposed to the microbe. So, spend a lot of time outside and try to live near biodiverse natural areas, not surrounding yourself in cement and lawns! 


1. Help Peruvian Farmers: Apparently, gold mining giant Newmont Mining is harassing farmers and trying to push them off their land... Even after losing in the courts! But with the proper funding, SumOfUs.org is confident they can put enough pressure on Newmont to have them stop for good. Please chip in to help these Peruvian farmers save their land... A petition isn't enough!

 2. Bee Victory: SumOfUs.org’s campaign resulted in Lowes, a very large home and garden retailer, announcing that it will no longer sell bee-killing ‘neonic’ pesticides.

 3. McDonald’s Action Plan for Palm Oil: Despite having already made a new commitment to help eliminate deforestation due to palm oil plantations, SumOfUs.org still feels we need to be vigilant in getting their action plan going.  Help urge McDonald’s to release an action plan for palm oil with an ambitious timeline and the strongest possible protections for tropical forests.

 4. Help Stop Pizza Hut: Pizza Hut claims to be deforestation-free, but a new report out shows that one of Pizza Hut’s largest international franchisees is responsible for massive destruction of rainforests and endangered elephant habitats in Indonesia. If Pizza Hut doesn’t act, it could contribute to the wiping out of the majestic and endangered Sumatran Elephant. Tell Pizza hut to honour their commitment of zero deforestation and tell their franchises to stop!

 5Canadian-Australian Gold Mining Co, “Oceana Gold” is suing El Salvador for $301 million because the country is trying to protect the 10 % of water in the country that is not yet contaminated. Sign the petition telling the World Bank to throw out OceanaGold's case!


1. Big Wins for the Environment: Last June, Ecojustice was in Federal Court challenging an aquaculture license issued by the DFO that allowed a fish farm operator to introduce farmed Atlantic salmon (potentially disease-ridden) into waters shared with wild salmon whenever they wanted. They won! And in October, they upheld a clean-up order for three Nova Scotia residents after their drinking water was contaminated by years of industrial activity. Read more about these important victories for wild salmon and for Nova Scotia residents fighting for safe drinking water.


1. Help Stop Shell: The U.S. government just gave Shell the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic for oil, putting our climate and the ocean's majestic wildlife under grave risk. But one man has the power to turn Shell away -- Seattle's mayor Ed Murray. He could put his lawyers and police force between Shell's oil rig and the vast, fragile Arctic. Our fate depends on what he does next -- let's give him the massive support that he deserves to do the right thing. Click here to sign now!


1. Coal License Buy-Back: The B.C. Government announced it is buying back 61 coal licenses in the Sacred Headwaters - a huge step towards permanently safeguarding the future of this magnificent area. No coalbed methane drilling or open-pit coalmining! Congratulations to all who worked so hard and made this announcement possible. For a similar Globe & Mail article, go here.


1. B.C. Society Act Revisions: Thank-you from Living Oceans to all those who wrote in to ask for removal of a provision that would have allowed the Oil & Gas Industry to lay defamation SLAPP suits on any opposing parties (non-profits such as ‘Living Oceans’ included). 

2. New Marine Plan for B.C.: On April 27th, the B.C. government unveiled their Marine Planning Partnership plans. The plans, being science-based and guided by traditional and local knowledge, will bring economic prosperity to the coast while protecting the environment, biodiversity and sustainable fisheries. Now the federal government just needs to join in with its implementation (e.g. adding in a network of MPAs, a federal tanker ban, etc.). For the full article, go here


1. Whistle-Blowing Tar Sands Doctor Fired: CAPE member John O'Connor, who had been the on-call (and occasional in-town) family doc for Fort Chipewyan, a small town near the Tar Sands, was abruptly fired recently. He'd become well-known for challenging Alberta's and the Harper government's fantasies about the benign nature of the Tar Sands extraction processes.  Whether that's the reason he was fired, or something else, time will tell... Read the opinion piece here.


1. Ecosystem Restoration: Some Nature Conservancy properties have recently undergone ecosystem restoration treatments to thin dense young forests that have encroached on grasslands. Mastication (mulching of tree clippings) produces less particulate emissions than burning, reduces invasive species colonizing of burned patches, and keeps nutrients on site. For details, go here.

                                                 Co-edited with Egan Mandreck