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March 2016 Newsletter

March, 2016

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.

SENS NEWS               

 1. Fractured Land: Wednesday, March 2nd, 7 – 9 pm, Schubert Centre. The director, Damien, will attend this premier showing! The documentary follows Dene lawyer Caleb Behn over a 4 year period as he tries to balance his people’s need for fracking jobs with his sacred duty to defend their territory. $10 each, $5 students, at the door.

2. Seedy Saturday: March 12th, 10 am – 3 pm, Trinity United Church, Vernon. Join SENS and Vernon in Transition to celebrate gardening, local foods, and community. Check out locally grown heirloom seeds, garden products, and much more! There will also be educational displays, children' activities, and inspiring speakers there. Bring your seeds and envelopes to share at the free seed swap table! Admission is by donation ($2 suggested). 

3. SENS  Seed/Plant Swap/Sale and Annual General Meeting: March 24th, Schubert Centre. 6:30 - 7:30 pm for the free seed swap, 7:30 – 7:40 pm for the AGM (short!), 7:40 pm Heather Clay, local bee keeper, explains how to be an urban beekeeper. Come with free seeds, envelopes, questions and a carload! 

4. Green Ideas Night: April 28, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Got green ideas to share? …or are you a wanna-be entrepreneur?  Contact SENS (jblissau@telus.net or 250 542-0892) right now so we can add you to the presenter list for an evening of sharing, group brainstorms and action plans!

 5. Events: Please share SENS (and Vernon in Transition) events via facebook!



1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Vernon: Fridays, 12 – 4 pm, inside Kal Tire Place.

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

2. North Okanagan Naturalists Club Meeting: March 2nd, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel. Here Dr. March, Canada's Research Chair at UBCO, speaks on Breadfruit as a Modern Food Crop

3. Climate Change and B.C. Forests Workshops: March 7th, 1 – 4:30 pm or 6 – 9:30 pm, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops. The goal of the workshops is to generate ideas for climate change mitigation for this area. Confirm your attendance by contacting Guillaume Peterson St-Laurent.

4. Eco-Friendly Neighbourhoods: March 12, 1 – 3 pm, Schubert Centre. You’re invited to attend and find out more about “Vernon Village Co-Housing Community” where you own your own home but share companionship, caring and support for neighbours of all ages and backgrounds, and your environment.  Donations for room rent appreciated. Contact Barb at  778 475-3453. 

5. Green Drinks: March 14th, 5 – 7 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub. For a lively conversation, just ask, “Are you green”? For more info, call Matt at (cell) 1-250-307-7364 or visit www.valhallaconsulting.ca.

6. Vernon Permaculture: March 23rd, 7 – 9 pm, Vernon library, upstairs. Everyone is welcome! For more info, call 542-7610. 

7. DIY Solar Seminar: March 26th, 10 am – 3:15 pm, Schubert Centre. Learn about solar energy, photovoltaics, low energy house design, and over 25 solar projects (e.g. water heaters, greenhouses, cookers, etc.) you can do. Speaker is SENS' Director John Barling. Tickets are available in March at the Bean Scene. Also, check out short articles written by John concerning this here.

8. Eco-Friendly Vernon Homes Tour: May 7th. Only 60 tickets are available; Get your earlybird tickets ($25) at the SENS AGM on March 24th. Proceeds will go to local students for college scholarships. The line-up for the tour will be (1) a solar powered 'earthship'; (2) a passively designed house; (3) a home with wide spans for open spaces and energy efficiency; and (4) a short tour of the 'green features' at the Kal Tire Head office. For more info, email Frances Warner.

9. Okanagan Science Centre: Check out their new hands-on exhibit, Food: Too Good To Waste, and find out how to reduce waste from fridges, stores, and farms/orchards. Bring a food donation too! Spring Break Camps for kids are open for registration; Contact them via email, phone (250 545-3644), or their website.

10. Allan Brooks Nature Centre: Before 1996, the ABNC building was an active weather station… Now it's fully functional with newly installed monitors for temperature, humidity, and more! There’s even a live feed to the ABNC website. Also, ABNC needs a woodworker to build a small book shelf/bench. If you've got the skill, please call 250.309.2652. or email education@abnc.ca

11. Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park: Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has withdrawn their proposal to remove land from our park. Details at  www.kalamalka park.ca

12 Lumby and Mid-Shuswap Water Stewards: The online petition asking for protection of the Upper and mid Shuswap watersheds from boat motors (including Sugar lake) is still on the top right of http://sensociety.org.  There’s consensus on responsible boating (no riparian disturbance due to wakes, no disturbance of bottom or shore that creates turbidity, no wildlife/habitat destruction, no waste or garbage pollution, no undue noise, no threat to safety). A news report on a recent meeting said there was consensus, however towing on the lake was not part of the consensus and jets are NOT allowed in the upper Shuswap above Sugar Lake or the lower Shuswap. 


1. China and Canada’s Oil: According to the Dogwood Initiative, the Chinese government will be demanding that we build a west coast pipeline so China can get their raw bitumen (that Chinese companies operating in the Tar Sands extracted) in upcoming trade talks. Please donate what you can to ensure our government stands firm saying “no”! 

2. Self-Cleaning Oceans? Check out this interesting video!

3. West Africa’s Failing Agriculture and Water:  UBC’s Marc Parlange found that current farming practises are not sustainable in West Africa and make droughts worse, leading to crop failure and starvation! For more, go here

4. A Kid’s Sleep Environment: The International Journal of Neuroscience did a study that showed that when 12 year olds wear polyester pajamas to bed, they experienced almost twice the SWS (slow wave sleep) compared to those wearing cotton.  Growth Hormone amounts produced by poly wearers during sleep was much higher too. 

5. Food and Oil: According to this Scientific American article, for every calorie of food produced these days, about 10 calories of fossil fuel is used just to process the food (grind, package, ship, etc). For meat it's even worse, taking 35 calories of fossil fuels. Such a costly waste! How to fix ….? 

6. “The Leap “by Chris Turner: According to his book, burning of dirty fuels is still the main problem we face for climate change. To combat this, he points out successes in Europe and beyond. For instance, under Germany’s renewable business model, a $450 billion solar industry and 300,000 jobs were created. Cars in Copenhagen were taken off the streets and urban life flourished. A good read! For a Globe & Mail book review, go here

7. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) : This ‘partnership’ will allow multinationals to make demands of Canadians so that they can continue to make profits. For example, if we value and protect a  specific forest, a multinational will see it as an illegal trade barrier and make us change what we value. The non-profit Leadnow.ca wishes you reject the TPP via letters to our federal government or even cash donations to help Leadnow educate the public about repercussions of accepting the TPP. https://secure.leadnow.ca/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1694&ea.campaign.id=47012


1. Dursban: This pesticide contains cancer-causing, neurotoxic chlorpyrifos and was slated for a ban in 2000. Yet even now, Edmonton still uses it to kill mosquitoes, having acquired Winnipeg’s leftovers after it abandoned the practice. According to Pesticide-Free Edmonton, Dursban is sprayed in populated areas, contrary to the claims of the City. Edmonton is breaching federal law! 


1. What’s Your Water Solution Contest: This contest invites organizations and First Nations across B.C. to submit a short description of the most pressing freshwater issue in their watershed and their proposed solution to the problem. A report will be developed based in partly on this... 
Fill out your online contest submission form by March 20th, 2016! The top submission from a First Nation or organization will receive $500 to put towards programs. Questions?
 Email/Contact Rosie Simms of POLIS Water Sustainability Project at 250-721-8189.


1. For Conservationists: The IISD has researched, then compiled a toolkit that helps us understand migration dynamics and impacts and how they can be used to better protect ecosystems. Read about the toolkit here.


1. Renewable Energy IS Competitive: Storage and Grid technologies are improving to the point that saying “ solar/wind energy is only good if there’s solar/ wind” no long holds true. For example, check out AllGrid Energy and their low cost lead-acid gel batteries. A recent report showed the U.S. could reduce CO2 emissions from its electricity sector by 80 per cent relative to 1990 levels within 15 years "with current technologies."

2. Sea Wolves and Bears: They’re part of the Great Bear Rain Forest which is now protected from logging, however one can still hunt them for trophies. Neither black bears (which can carry the white spirit bear genes) nor grizzlies are protected! Only the spirit bear is protected. Write to your MP and the Premier to voice your concern…


2016 Endangered Rivers List:  If you know of rivers or streams where public recreation (fishing, walking the shore, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, birdwatching) is threatened, follow this link  to the survey from from the Outdoor Recreation Council. The deadline for nominations is Friday March 11, 2016.


1. Health and Environmental Hazards in a Wireless World: This webinar was on February 16th, but the presentation slides and Q and A are at:  http://healthandenvironment.org/wg_calls/18206

2. Energy Storage – a Key to Renewables Taking Off: This Scientific American article addresses a central truth about energy sources like wind, and solar -- battery storage. When every home becomes an energy producer, then, fairly rapidly, we'll have a production grid, instead of a distribution grid. Like the Internet, it will be far more safe, secure, consistent, and abundant than the current system of centralized energy production, which is far more vulnerable to breakdown or mischief. 

3. Ocean Acidification: While we sit here on land, the oceans are quietly taking a hit -- a very big hit. Check out this great article!

4. Renewables CAN Save Society:  http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/feb/17/solar-energy-isnt-just-good-for-polar-bears-its-good-for-the-working-class


1. Microbeads:  Ecojustice asks you to submit your comments on proposed regulations for microbeads at this e-mail address:   ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca  The Canadian government will ban use and sale of them in personal care products which we all use, however it would not occur for at least 6 months and during that time many millions more of these polluting microbeads will continue to enter our rivers and lakes.  

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck