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December 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

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

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


1. No SENS Events this Month! Enjoy your Christmas holidays and New Yea Celebs and safe travels!

2. Vernon in Transition and “The Secret of Change”: Check out this site www.crowdfunder.co.uk for a few excerpts from the film's cross Canada and beyond tour. Can you spot at least 2 shots of Vernon? They’re asking for crowd source funding to assist with documentary completion...

3. Vandana Shiva, Feb 27, 7 pm, Schubert Centre : Tickets for the Vernon event available at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/vandana-shiva-in-vernon-tickets-19677249182


1. Farmers’ Markets:

  •    Coldstream: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 6 pm.
  • Vernon: Fridays, noon – 4 pm, inside, Kal Tire Place
  • Armstrong Winter Market: Thursdays, 12 – 3 pm, Odd Fellows Hall on Bridge St.
  • Armstrong Christmas Market: December 12th, 9 – 2 pm, St. Joseph’s Parish on Patterson.

2. Allan Brooks Nature Centre: There are many volunteer positions available here, from Display Builders, Nature Interpreters, Event Positions, to Groundskeepers, and more. If interested, call 250-260-4227 or email: events@abnc.ca. Also, The new Brooks Nature Trailer is available now until March 2016 for class visits (contact: education@abnc.ca).

3. End The Bikes vs. Cars ‘War’: Learn from this Urban Systems presentation and let council know what we all need for long into the future! Let’s be proactive, not reactive!

4. People-Powered Transportation: Safe cycling offers great (business) benefits such as increased cycling infrastructure. But first we need a local cycling coalition to help City Council move forward for all our futures. If you’re interested in helping set one up, contact Kim (coach5@notthatfar.ca) or meet December 2, 7 pm, upstairs meeting room Alexander’s Pub.

5. A Billion For Bikes: The BC Cycling Coalition is asking the B.C. Government to commit a billion dollars over 10 years towards actions that will allow everyone in B.C. to walk or bike for their daily needs. This investment would upgrade and build new trails, routes, cycling facilities and networks, with safety, cycling tourism, and inclusion all in mind. Please sign this petition to encourage the government to take this bold action! Also, spread the word via Facebook and Twitter.

6. B.C.'s Water: Watersheds across B.C. are showing signs of stress, and unprecedented droughts. Water quality degradation and water use conflict are only a few of the problems. The POLIS Water Sustainability Project is concerned that we could experience the same crises as happened in California and Washington State if we don’t ensure that sustainability is included in the new water act. The POLIS’ report Awash with Opportunity offers clear recommendations.

7. N.O. Naturalists Club and NatureKids of BC: One of co-leaders for this wonderful program, which introduces children to nature in the North Okanagan, is stepping down. They need a new co-leader now! There are about eight outings per year, plus a few planning meetings, so the time commitment is not great. If you have a passion for nature and enjoy working with children, please contact Marnie, mpw660@telus.net.


1. 1 Million Acres By 2020: The Nature Conservancy of Canada has set this as a goal and would like your help via donation, fund-raising, or spreading the word!

2. G20 Prop Up Fossil Fuels: According to the Overseas Development Institute they’re still spending 4 times more (an average $462 billion) on fossil fuel subsidies and related stuff than they do on alternative renewable energy, calling into question their commitment to halting climate change.

These same governments are falling short on their promises to help poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change...

3. Green Party Wish List: In short, their list basically REPEALS/REPAIRS/REFUNDS almost everything Harper broke or jammed through parliament! For the entire list, go here.

4. Bottled vs. Tap Water: About 500 times more energy is used to provide bottled water (for materials and distribution) than tap water (for piping from source to home) and 25% of that bottled water is from City water anyway! In blind tests, more tasters favor tap water…If you’re a bottled water user will you switch to tap water to reduce the environmental impact? Article here.

5. Tiny Houses: If you’re interested in living with a small footprint (low energy and minimal resources) but can’t build a Tiny House on your own, there are 2 Vancouver companies, NOMADmicrohomes and CameraBuildings that have designed pre-fabricated homes. Some can even be built and towed by car to new sites... For a ‘walk-through’ of a tiny house, check out this video!

6. Gut Bacteria and Asthma Risk: According to new research by scientists at UBC and BC Children’s Hospital, infants can be protected from developing asthma if they are exposed to four types of gut bacteria by the age of three months,... Obviously, we’re making our environment too clean!

7. Freshwater Alliance News: In September, the B.C. government took back a water license it had granted to Nexen Inc., shale gas fracking company, after much scrutiny and legal pressure. Apparently, the license had permitted the company to drain billions of litres of lake and river water from First Nation lands. So, are we likely to see other First Nation governments challenging water licenses in the future? Is this the (much needed) first step to the end of fracking in Canada?


1. Science in Government: Kristy Duncan is our new Minister of Science! Kristy has a PhD in geography, and has taught and conducted research in the fields of climate change, global flu epidemics, and medical geography. As well, scientists can now talk openly to media and can even lecture to the public on their research without government/departmental approval.


1. Ouch! Science Magazine recently named Monsanto as one of the best places to work in the industry. Hmm….what happened to social responsibility? Sign this petition to ask Science magazine to retract the honor in light of Monsanto's devastating GMO regime.

2. Trans-Pacific Partnership: According to SumOfUs, this secret deal will drive up drug costs, weaken workers' rights, and put corporations on the same level as sovereign nations, able to sue in special TPP courts to overturn protections for consumers and the environment. They’re asking for donations to educate about the deal and change/defeat it. Here's a petition to sign!

3. Nestle’s Water Extraction In Oregon: SumOfUs’ recent petition caused Oregon’s governor to put the Nestle deal under review. Now the Local Water Alliance is setting up a ballot to block Nestle from corporate privatization of what should be a local resource. And here's a related story...


1. Mushrooms: According to this article, 90 % of land-based plants have a mutually beneficial relationship with these fungi that include communicating, sharing nutrients, and defense against disease/pests. Mushrooms could even help us clean up oil spills, defend against weaponized smallpox, break down toxic chemicals such as PCB’s, and decontaminate nuclear sites!

2.Urban trees: They’re a key infrastructure asset for resilient communities. Governments should fund these trees as well as such aging infrastructure as roads and bridges. Benefits? … stormwater management, clean/cool air, filter/regulate water, reduced energy use, protect buildings during storms, shade roads/walkways to reduce effects of weathering…10 trees added to one city block produce health benefits equal to a $10,000 salary raise or being 7 years younger.

3.Oceans: Nature Climate Change magazine reports that many shellfish such as our west coast scallops are very vulnerable to ocean acidification (unable to make hard shells) due to excess CO2 absorbed by those ocean waters. Oceans supply half our oxygen, absorb ¼ of global emissions, produce food, regulate climate and weather, give us medicine, renewable energy and much more but human actions threaten them. Let your government know that you want stronger protections so that our oceans are more resilient in the face of so many human-caused challenges. Check out a recent peer-reviewed paper: “Canada at the Crossroads: The imperative for realigning ocean policy with ocean science.”


1. Alberta’s Coal Phase-Out: Coal-fired power plants are a significant source of mercury pollution and have a health impact of $300 million in Alberta annually. When Ontario phased out their coal plants, air pollution levels decreased greatly to reduce air-pollution-related premature deaths by 23% and hospital admissions by 41 % just in Toronto.

2. Economic Literacy: Check out this fun and simple PowerPoint presentation: “Getting Beyond Supply and Demand”!


1. The Fine Print of the TPP: The recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement was made public last week, and IISD experts have been pouring over the text. Here's their analysis of the agreement's chapters on environment and investment.

Co-edited with Egan Mandreck