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May 2016 Newsletter


MAY 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. FREE Movie Night - Merchants of Doubt: May 26th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. This documentary shows how a few influential scientists obscured the truth about issues such as tobacco smoke, the ozone, and global warming in order to advance a political and economic agenda.

 2. Updated B.C. Societies Act:  At the 2017 AGM, members will be asked to accept a new Constitution and Bylaws for SENS as part of an improved B.C. Societies Act. This new, easy-to-understand act will be a benchmark for the rest of Canada! If you are interested in helping SENS directors change our bylaws to fit the new criteria, please contact Julia (542-0892) or Signn (503-3150). 

3. Site C: On April 18 the Sierra Club made a presentation in Vernon about the Site C dam.  The information given by members of the club,  educated  people about how great of an agricultural area the Peace River Valley is.  The valley has some unique circumstances; it is a desert sitting on a huge aquifer with lots of good  irrigation.  The summers are very warm because of the east west valley giving them long hours of sunshine.  They grow crops such as watermelon and cantaloupe and many other fruit and vegetable crops.    Most of the land that would be flooded by the dam is class 1 and class 2 land.   The land is capable of feeding 1 million people every year. The dam will be 60 meters high and the water will flood this land and the cost of construction is $8.8 billion dollars.  Stats show that people in BC have been using less electricity in the last few years because of Hydro's energy save programs and conservation.  There is no need for electricity expansion but the Oil patch and LNG projects are promoting this dam.  With fracking causing earth quakes and pollution of water we need to be careful with moving ahead on Fracking. 

4. Blue Dot: June 13 - Mark your calendars and plan to attend! SENS director Terry Dyck will be asking Vernon Council to join the Blue Dot Movement. The blue dot movement is the inherent right for everyone to have a healthy environment with clean water, fresh air and healthy food. 


1. Farmers’ Markets:

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

·       Coldstream: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 6 pm

·       Armstrong: Saturdays, 8 – noon, Fairgrounds.

 2. North Okanagan Naturalists Club Meeting: May 4th, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel. Lloyd Davies will speak on 'Geology of Alaska - and Grizzlies. 

3. Tomorrow’s ”Efficient By Design” Homes: May 6th, 7 pm, Vernon’s OK College Theatre. Here, 3 experts tell us all about designing ‘green’ energy efficient passive homes, including construction and energy costs/savings. The 3 finalists of the First Nations Friendship Centre Society's Design Challenge for a Tiny Home will also be present. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students) at the door. For more information, contact Frances Warner.

 4. Green Drinks: Every 2nd Monday of the month, 5 – 7 pm. Meet and discuss with like-minded people in the environmental field! For specifcs (e.g. venue), contact Matt.   

5. Ajax Mine Project: A giant Polish multinational copper and silver mining company wants to develop a massive open pit mine right next to Kamloops, close to 12 schools, a university, a hospital, and private homes. Here's an eloquent brief, signed on behalf Kamloop's Physicians for a Healthy Environment, that lays out the whole sad story. Also, check out the other groups fighting this too: Stop Ajax MineKamloops Code Blue, and Kamloops Moms for Clean Air

6. Pesticide ‘No-Spray” Registry: If you do NOT want pesticides applied for weed control by the city, call operations at 250 549-6757. They will spray twice this year.

 7. Shop Local Days: Downtown Vernon Association invites you to ‘shop local’ on Saturday May 7th, which brings big benefits to our community and businesses. For more information, go here

8. Food Forestry Workshop: May 13th -15th, Summerhill Winery. Join Richard Walker, Canada’s premier food forester, medical herbalist, and author of Food Forestry North of the 49th, for this hands-on intensive workshop delving into the principles and practice of food forestry. Learn how you can establish your own Edible Forest Garden while providing beauty and abundance for generations. For more information, go here.  

9. Bike Skills and Safety Courses: 9 – 2pm, May 7, 14 or 15. Register for $20 at  250 550 3634  or www.biketowork.ca/north-okanagan or e-mail csbreception@vernon.ca

Support: Canadian Braintrust at a BBQ at Cenotaph Park Wed. May 18, 11:30 – 1:30  as a precursor to Bike to Work Week events – great food and prizes. All are invited.

Bike to Work and School Week: Mon., May 30th - June 5th. Experience alternative transportation!

Monday, May 30: New this year is a bike ride with Mayors Akbal Mund and Garlick and the students of Ellison Elementary (from school to Polson Park + return on back routes) from 9:30 – 11 am. If you can help supervise the kids for the bike ride, please contact Wendy at 250-550-7831. Wednesday June 1, 6:30 – 9:30am: mid week Celebration Station, Sun Country Cycle. Coffee and continental breakfast, enter to win a free bike, get your bike checked or win additional prizes!

Bike to School Celebration Stations: Seaton Sec. BBQ May 26, 11:20-12:05, Ellison Elem, May 30, 7:54am, Harwood Elem, May 31, 7:45am, Alexis Park Elem, June 2, 7:45 am, Ecole Beairsto, June 3, 7:45am

Friday, June3, 4:30 – 6:30pm Wrap-up BBQ Spirit Square –  free burgers, quality entertainment by Vernon Community Band…and it will be your last chance to win a free bike!

ALSO; 2016 BC-Wide Grand Prize Trip: register at biketowork.ca for a chance to win a cycling adventure for 2 in Vietnam sponsored by Exodus Travel

9. North Okanagan Coalition for Active Transportation: NOCAT supports cleaner air and a healthier population by encouraging people to ride bicycles and walk more. They wish to see the N.O. as a world renowned area for recreation, sports, and transportation-oriented bicycling and walking.  Please  “like” them on Facebook!  

10. Barriers to Local Farmers: Check out CBC's Cross Country Checkup blog on “Homogeneity on Supermarket Shelves”!

 FROM FASNO (Food Action Society of the North Okanagan)

1. 18th Annual Gathering of the BC Food Systems Network: July 15th -17th, In Syilx Territory, at the En'owkin Centre in Penticton, B.C. More details will follow soon. Interested in volunteering? Please get in touch with gathering@bcfsn.org. For more information, go here.  

2. 3 Steps to Amending Clay: Check this out (with Video)!


3. Think Food Prices are high? Check out this Vancouver Sun opinion piece!

4. Afterschool Food Skills Program: Read this to learn how this program is having a powerful ripple effect in the Interior Health Region. 


1. Liveable Communities: Did you know that the more people that share the downtown core by walking it and cycling it, the happier the citizens are and the nicer the downtown core becomes? The book, “Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution” (here's a review), makes a compelling argument for this. Also here's a CBC story that does this too! 

2. Natural Elements In Playgrounds Benefit Kids: According to a new UBC study, adding natural elements like sand, bricks, and bamboo can transform a dull outdoor play space into an imaginative playground for children. It also seems to even reduce depression. The elements added were inexpensive, so a huge budget isn't needed!                                                                           

3. Ground  Fridge: - if you have the space – https://youtu.be/DHBMQPkvNx8

Earthship - Efficient Even In A Cold Clime: https://youtu.be/EAvY5JeMz9w

Alligator Clips: http://safeshare.tv/v/7nf_OxIrZN4                                                                                                                                                                                    


1. Geothermal, not Site C: According to a new study, the province could get the same amount of energy from geothermal sources for about half the construction costs. It would be less environmentally disruptive and would create more jobs all over the province! 

2. Milkweed and Monarchs: In April 2013, the Foundation launched its #gotmilkweed campaignto encourage Toronto residents to plant milkweed, a crucial food source to the, at then,  plummetting eastern monarch butterfly population. Today, apart from the 10,000+ plantings in Toronto, Montreal, and the rest of the country, thousands have pledged to help monarchs via the Monarch Manifesto. There’s now reason to be encouraged for their recovery... For those reasons, read the full article and please continue directing the monarchs home, one milkweed plant at a time.If you're local, buy Milkweed seeds/plants at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre! (info@abnc.ca)


1. Net-Zero Buildings: While the newer National Building Code of Canada does embrace upgrading existing buildings to make them “climate change ready”, it misses the opportunity to introduce tougher building energy efficiency (a net-zero)target for new and, eventually, existing buildings. Now is the time to extend this principle to every building in the country. Tell your MLA and your Premier that Net zero building standards must be an expectation for all of Canada! For the entire article, go here.


1. Another Win for National Parks: When Parks Canada granted an approval for a concept plan for overnight accommodation at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, Ecojustice sprang into action. In February, they got a big win! The court has essentially put Parks Canada on notice and signalled that future final project approvals that contravene existing management plans can be struck down. Ecojustice remains hopeful that their contribution in the courtroom will strengthen the fight against further commercial encroachment in our parks. 

2. To Court to Save Lancaster Sound: The Arctic waters of Lancaster Sound, the east entrance to the Northwest Passage, make up one of the richest marine ecosystems on earth. But old oil and gas exploration permits held by Shell Canada are obstructing efforts to protect Lancaster Sound. That’s why we’re going to court. Stand with Ecojustice and help them kill these permits!  

3. Death of Coal: Ecojustice challenged the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s approval of a new coal transfer facility on the Fraser River. The port authority tried to kick their challenge out of court but lost so the case will go ahead.  Climate impacts were given zero consideration and it is thought that the Port Authority gave approval before even completing the review.  The docks project would become the 6th largest GHG emitter in Canada with up to 8 million tonnes of coal shipped yearly from Wyoming in open cars.  Surrey and New Westminster Cities are concerned over health and environmental impacts for their area. 


1. Extreme Weather: Here's a recent case study examining risks related to extreme climate events faced by the energy sector in the Upper and Lower Souris River Watershed in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It found that greater cooperation with other jurisdictions, notably the provincial and federal governments, is needed. There is also a need for improved climate projections and greater access to land use planning information for decision making. 


1. Stop the Bulldozing: Apparently the Port Metro Vancouver board OK’d the bulldozing of 2500 acres of farmland in order to make space for a ‘logistics centre’ for a massive coal port! They foolishly believe that “[the lost] local food production can be replaced by imports”. For food security and no fossil fuel exports, please sign this petition to ask our provincial and federal governments to defend farmland and protect food security in B.C.!

2. Beijing in the Oil Sands: For reasons that remain unclear, China seems set to make two demands when our new PM goes to Beijing this Fall for trade talks. They want (1) the restrictions lifted on China’s state-owned oil companies and (2) getting a pipeline built to the West Coast... For many reasons -- the climate crisis, Canadian law, rights and title -- a pipeline to the West Coast is a non-starter! Here's hoping Trudeau can make this clear to the Chinese government without a trade backlash.


1. Mercury Clean-Up: Mercury kills and disrupts our DNA to cause mutations. Thanks to a previous SumOfUs petition, Unilever has finally agreed, after 15 years, to compensate poisoned workers affected by their factory spill... Yet the company still won't clean up the mercury-contaminated site. Please sign this petition and demand Unilever cleans up its mess!

2. Bee Victory- France has become the first country in the world to move forward on a ban on neonicotinoids.  The Senate must finalize the decision. Since the introduction of ‘neonics’ in 1990 300,000 bee colonies have died yearly and honey production there is very low. 

3. Gold Mine Lawsuit: Tobie Mining and Energy is suing the Columbian Government for $16.5 billion for stopping a gold mine that threatened the Amazon rainforest even tough the government has a duty to protect. Such actions are typical of what the TPP will bring to Canada too.


1. Coal-Free Canada: It is understood that the fastest way to slow climate change is to phase out coal-fired power plants. As such, CAPE want the federal government to phase-out of all coal plants in Canada by 2025. This would reduce Canada’s GHG emissions by up to 14%. It would also reduce air pollution, improve human health, and reduce health care costs in the four provinces using coal plants. If we want other countries to close their plants, we have to demonstrate that we are willing and able to do the same. So please contact your Member of Parliament (MP) and tell them that Canada’s coal plants have to go! Click here to find your MP's name and contact info. 

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck