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November 2016 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.

SENS NEWS             

1.5th Annual Handmade Holiday Gifting: Saturday, November 19th, Noon to 3 pm, Schubert Centre. Come, bring the kids, and experience (with ‘take-home’ instructions) short, easy, but cost effective demos for foods, sachets, toys, knitting, kids’ toys, candles, soaps, and more! Put the heart back in the holidays!  Schubert Centre’s thrift store and cafe will be open too. 

2. Volunteer at Handmade Holiday Gifting? Do you have one (or more!) craft or skill that you’d like to share and demonstrate with kids and/or adults that they could then make for Xmas instead of buying? Please let Heather know at hermmill@telus.net . Set-up on Nov 19 is 11am – noon, then you’d enjoy sharing with the public until 3pm. Clean-up is very fast…. 

3. No Events Planned for December. Drive, walk, or cycle safely and enjoy time with family and friends!

 4. Tekmar Application: John Barling, SENS director, toured the Tekmar facility, talking to management and familiarizing them with current VOC abatement technology because they had applied for a release of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) and SENS was concerned about chemicals involved.

John found the Tekmar facility to be designed with environmental impact considerations at the forefront. For example, their facility uses an estimated 75% less energy than other comparable manufacturing plants in BC. Most of their energy is derived from an extensive geothermal field located on their property.

By law they are currently required to obtain a permit for VOC emissions regardless of the extent of those emissions. There are very few areas in their facility that emit any VOC's, in fact, the electronic conformal coating section is the only one of any significance. They estimate their total emission of VOC's to be equivalent to that emitted by a quarter of a gallon of paint containing VOC's, per day. When compared to Auto Paint Shops (unregulated for VOC emissions as we understand),  Tekmar's emissions are miniscule. The management at Tekmar is committed to the introduction of VOC controls, if and when, emissions increase significantly. 


1. Farmers’ Markets: 

  • Vernon: "Fall Customer Appreciation Market", Nov. 11th, 9:00 – 6:00 pm, Vernon Rec Centre
  • INDOOR Farmers Market, Starting Dec. 2nd, Fridays, Noon – 4:00 pm, Kal Tire Place 

2. Planning for the Environment: Nov. 4th, 9:30 – 4 pm, Four Points by Sheraton Kelowna. Workshop, + keynote speaker Deborah Curran (Environmental Law Centre), approved for 4.75 PIBC  CPL (Continuous Professional Learning) units. Lunch + nutrition breaks provided. Register on Eventbrite before it's too late! 

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

 4. Allan Brooks Nature Centre's Work Bee: Nov. 3rd – 5th, 10 – 3 pm. Volunteers are needed to prep the ABNC for cold weather and help with iannual shut-down. Call Janice: 250 306-7945 or operations@abnc.ca.    

5. Why Are People Afraid of Chemicals? Nov. 17th, 6:30 – 8 pm, Coast Capri Hotel, Kelowna. A UBCO panel will discuss the myths and realities of our chemical concerns. Tickets $10. Register online or email krista.stokell@ubc.ca . 

6. Vernon Permaculture Meeting: Last Wednesday of the month at 7 pm. This open community group aims to share regenerative knowledge and hands on experiences with one another in order to build a stronger community and healthier local environment. Everyone is welcome! Check them out on Facebook.

7. North Okanagan Naturalists Meeting: November 2nd, 7 pm, Sierra II Room at the Village Green Hotel, 27th St. at 48th Ave. The speaker will be Ed Nowek from Planet Bee on the subject of ... BEES! 

8. Waking The Frog: This two day event aims to find solutions to the Okanagan's climate change using B.C.’s new Climate Leadership Plan. It starts Nov. 17Th  at 6:30 – 8:30 pm in the Lake Country Theatre, with a keynote session from author Tom Rand. The next day at 9 – 3 pm in the Community Gym, workshops on sustainable transport, green building, waste reduction, public sector leadership get underway. Tickets for both days are $99. Register here for tickets. 

9. “The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast”: Nov. 30th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Author-photographer Chris Harris shows this verdant, stunning area, and will sell/sign this newly released book. Admission is by donation. 

10. Tackling Poverty: Here is an in-depth interview with Seth Klein of the Centre for Policy Alternatives. Here's an article he wrote too!  See notes from the Oct 11 talk below.


1. Self-repairing Road in India: UBC professor testing a road that self-repairs in Karnataka, India!

2. Recalculating the Climate Math : Here’s a recently released report which recalculates the math about climate change. Basic gist: oil and gas fields and coal mines already in production contain enough carbon to carry us past the two degree mark. That is to say, if we’re even remotely serious about stopping runaway climate change we can’t build any new fossil fuel infrastructure anywhere. The frontier of the fossil fuel industry must be closed. NOW! Also, here's a great piece about what this new math means for Canada.

3. Science Behind Yoga and Neuroplasticity: https://upliftconnect.com/watch-science-behind-yoga/

4. Electric Vehicles: Really cool bike-cars and more! https://youtu.be/SWdtP6mJrmg

5. Action Re: Nestle and Our Water: Nestle buys Canadian water and pays $3.71 for every ... million liters. They’re tapping into and can deplete a precious water source near Hope…what will YOU do?  https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1899&ea.campaign.id=56392&ea.url.id=744121&forwarded=true

FROM AVAAZ.ORG  (A Non-Profit Social Media Group)

1. Save the Tigers: Banks are dishing out millions to build a planet-frying coal plant, right next door to the mega forest that’s home to some of the last Bengal Tigers. It’s the worst example of our disconnection from nature and corporate greed gone mad, but we can stop it. Please sign this petition!

2. Avaaz Wins: They've had 4 huge wins in the past few weeks! They won: (1) by having governments agreeing to protect 30% of our oceans; (2) by ending the career of Brazil's corruption king; (3) by helping to create the world's largest marine reserve in the Pacific; and (4) by finally stopping Monsanto's mega-plant in Argentina for good. Also, check out Avaaz's top ten all time wins and their 100 favourite highlights of campaigning. It's a smorgasbord of people-powered achievement! 

FROM DOGWOOD (non–profit social media)

Tugboat Sinking and Spillage: Dogwood reports that so much fuel was spilled that 50 families at Bella Bella, who rely on harvest of clams + 25 other species for traditional food, cannot harvest them for years– and food there is fiercely expensive due to transport costs. The oil barge company has clean-up insurance but economic loss and cultural damage are not paid for by the company. Via ‘fundrazr’ your donation will help the Heiltsuk compile evidence of what was lost so those responsible can be held to account.


1. Atlantic Salmon Protection: They launched a case to protect wild salmon on the Pacific coast to prevent genetically modified salmon from escaping into the wilds…

2. Canada’s Environmental Laws: Right now, Canada is reviewing some of its most important environmental laws.. Until December, you have a chance to have your say in person or online. This review marks a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Canada to enact a leading-edge environmental law for nature, communities and democracy. We hope you’ll be a part of it! Here too is a PDF with many recommendations.


1. Hurricane Matthew: “As the international development community, national and local stakeholders join efforts to respond to the storm, resilience building can be useful in four ways.” Read about those ways here!

2. Bayer-Monsanto: Bayer has purchased Monsanto and, according to the IISD, the merger will no longer give the public competitive prices, innovation and choice. Read more here

3. Online Knowledge Hub: This recently launched online Knowledge Hub provides an unparalleled view of multilateral, national and sub-national efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the platform draws on IISD’s network of experts to provide real-time information on SDG implementation. 


1. Climate-Sensitive Investment Portfolios: According to this report, there can be little downside to gradually incorporating climate factors into the investment process — and even potential upside." 

2. Glyphosate in Baby Foods: In response to the news that FDA tests confirmed the presence of glyphosate in baby foods, one of our members wrote his forthright statements to advance a position on glyphosate and its cousins and other relatives. Here are just a few: “Glyphosate is sprayed heavily on "Roundup Ready" crops, which comprise 90% of all GMO food crops.”, “ALL food grown conventionally is heavily contaminated with glyphosate. And don't be fooled by industry claims that the amounts of glyphosate are too small to have any health impacts!”, and “ALL OF US ARE GUINEA PIGS IN MONSANTO'S (AND OTHERS’) INCREDIBLY LUCRATIVE GAMBLE WITH THE FUTURE HEALTH OF HUMANKIND!” 

3. Electric Bus: It has a lower lifetime cost than its competitors and many other advantages. Check it out!

4. Feds Choose Economy Over Environment: With much shortsightedness, the federal government has done just that. Many times in fact. For instance, they chose a $36 billion LNG facility over any effects on climate change and wild salmon stocks despite the concern of scientists.  And then there are the subsidies we continue to dole out, contrary to PM Trudeau's pledge to stop them! Granted, the Liberals are doing better than what the Harper regime did... But really, Harper set the bar SO low. Hopefully growing citizen demand for a better way (electoral reform, etc.), will make the government listen. 

5. CAPE’s recent achievements: https://cape.ca/resources/impact-reports/

6. Renewables and Political Will:  China, whose legacy of "dirty" energy and intense pollution is well -known, has now become the world leader in new renewable energy capacity. The rest of the world is struggling to catch up or in denial despite comments otherwise.



Flame Retardant Action: Canadian scientists concerned about widespread chemicals that disrupt hormone (endocrine) systems, the Endocrine Disruptors Action Group (EDAction), have just released a new report Toxic by Design.  Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) manufacturing is now banned in Canada, however goods (foams, fabric, furniture, clothing electronics…) that contain this chemical can still enter and be sold here due to globalized trade. Labelling could help. EDAction says to write a letter asking for labelling. We have until December 7th to respond about more flame retardants and until December 1st to tell Parliamentarians that we want to shift to clearly least-toxic, inherently safe options.

Co-Edited with Egan Mandreck

October 11 Event: Seth Klein and Climate Justice (What will our lives and society look like when we really get serious about climate change?).. some of the notes taken…

Seth is director of the CCAP (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) which does detailed research on social justice …and they are now able to link social justice to  climate change.

Climate change really is a crisis. If we continue with ‘business as usual’ and the temperatures globally go above 2 degrees (we’re at 0.8 degrees, due to carbon generated 30 years ago!) then we’d have a catastrophic runaway positive feedback loop created and there’d be no stopping the heat increase.

BC should be at Carbon-zero by mid century, with residents living the good life - good jobs that lower emissions.

Inequality undermines social cohesion – in BC 13.2% in poverty (11.3 % in Canada) and 100,000 in BC use food banks. The richest in BC have 2 times the emissions of the poorest in BC. After the 2007 BC Legislation our emissions went down 1 %, but due to the fossil fuel industry, our emissions really increased 16%. So, we need to avoid pipelines and LNG that would lock us in for decades more of heavy carbon emissions, and manage for a 30 year wind-down now from fossil fuels, and build communities so that there’s low reliance on cars (no sprawl). 

A carbon tax aimed at carbon – zero would hurt people on low incomes so they’d get carbon tax dollars help with increased home efficiency(more jobs!), and get compensation for high home heating costs etc. With half of BC’s food imported using huge amounts of fossil fuels, farm markets need to scale up and school lunch programs need to use local foods – more higher paying jobs there would provide better living standards. 

Also needed for good, lower emissions jobs would be universal day care, apprenticeships for disadvantaged and those with job loss, and rethinking resources so that forest-type jobs are good and oil/gas jobs aren’t. The private market is not working. For every 1 million invested, in the oil/gas industry 1 – 2 jobs are generated, 25 jobs in education, 20 jobs in waste management, 15 jobs in the health/social services area…and many in alternative energy fields.

How do we pay for all this Climate Justice? – tax changes, and a carbon tax ( in BC it isn’t used for green infrastructure but it allows tax breaks for the rich). A carbon tax should give tax breaks for low income earners.

Political will? In countries with proportional representation there are more green initiatives. False majority governments are risk averse so don’t act for everyone’s benefit. BC still has only $30 per tonne carbon tax and should go much higher. Sweden has a $200+ per tonne carbon tax and they’re still doing well…

Seth ended on a positive note with a few examples that indicate that we can achieve and change –local and municipal level politicians have worked to get emissions down, smoking is no longer allowed in restaurants, and fossil fuel divestment is working.