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January 2017 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. Our New Climate: January 26th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Nobel Prize winner and world renowned climatologist Dr. Andrew Weaver speaks about what we can expect for our climate over the coming years. He also explains the science behind the changes and what action can YOU take to mitigate those changes! Questions and discussion are welcome.


1. Farmers’ Markets:

Vernon: Fridays, as of Dec 2nd, noon – 4 pm, Indoors at Kal Tire Place.

Armstrong: Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm, Odd Fellows Hall, Bridge St.

Lumby: Open year-round, Monashee Food Co-op, #3-1965, Shuswap Ave.

GMO and pesticide free produce! For more information, call 778-473-2230 or visit their website.

2. North Okanagan Naturalists Club: For the January 4th, 7 pm meeting at the Village Green Hotel, the speaker will be author David Pitt-Brooke of “A Long Walk Through the Grasslands of the Southern Interior”.

3. City of Vernon Programs (See Vernon.ca for details):

Pace Cars: Due to concerns over speeding and pedestrians at risk, the City has become a “Pace Car Community” to help raise awareness around speed reduction, especially in school zones. The diamond shaped yellow stickers let you know you are behind such a courteous pace car. They’ll move aside for you to prevent road rage.

Heads Up Drivers and Pedestrians: This campaign asks all of us to share responsibility for safety and be more aware (heads up!) of drivers, pedestrians, etc. everywhere…. especially at this dark time of year.

Cool to Pool: Carpool.ca is a free service here and is a great way to meet people and save money. Driving by yourself costs about $25 a day ($9,000 a year). Carpooling creates at least $2000 in savings. There’s a lot of really neat people out there!

4. UBCO Research by ‘The Poop Lady”: Check out this feature called Diet-Dogma!

5. Hometown Heroes: Earth Day Canada (EDC) has launched the Hometown Heroes Award Program 2017 to award heroes, groups or individuals with $5,000 cash prizes. Know a local environmental hero in your community? Nominate them here. Nomination deadline is February 28th, 2017. Spread the word about the program!

6. Women Who Ride Meet and Greet: Jan 9, 6 – 8 pm, Sun Country Cycle. Whatever your activity level, come out to connect, ask questions, share bike riding tips and find out about upcoming clinics and rides led by local cycling advocate, Laura (lauramedalf@yahoo.ca ). Info on all cycling events/groups: http://www.suncountrycycle.com/about/calendar-pg133.htm

7. Young Agrarians 4th Okanagan Winter Mixer Workshops: Jan 21 – 22 , Syilx Territory - Okanagan Mission Community Hall, 4409 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna. Learn new information, share skills, network, and enjoy phenomenal food. Open to the public, and new and young(ish and at heart) farmers, and want-to-be-farmers. Details/register at youngagrarians.org/okmixer2017 Cost: $50 - $100 sliding scale and work-trades available. OR.. just bring a dish to the free Community Pot-luck, 6:30 – 9:30 pm at the community hall and bring a carload!

8.Okanagan Rail Trail: The campaign has already raised $2 million that will fund 12 ½ Km of trail. Thanks to all donors. Ribbons of Green, one major supporter, encourages us to give our support. Read more.


1. Jumbo Glacier Area Resort Appeal: The Ktunaxa people have recently presented to the supreme court an appeal to try to prevent construction of a ski resort on sacred lands. To read all about it, go here.

2. B.C.’s Climate Plan Misses the Mark: A Navius Research report notes that B.C. will miss its 2050 GHG targets by over 4 times due to a projected doubling of emissions from the province’s natural gas sector and development of a liquefied-natural-gas export industry!

3. A 100% Renewable Province: The Ontario Government asked, in December, for input on its future energy plans. They provided two ways for people to participate: The first was to start creating an Environmental Bill of Rights based on their input. The second was to complete a survey to help the government plan their energy future. Other related topics were also accepted. Why isn’t B.C. doing this too?

4. Sustainability Network: Registration for talks.ontario.ca is now open! This online training program, starting March 1st, 2017, builds better understanding of economic concepts, and their role in supporting a sustainable society. No prior knowledge necessary; learn at your own pace via video tutorials and quizzes. Environmental NGO price is $200.

5. Bladeless Wind Turbine: Check out these cheap, silent, and off-the-grid wonders!

6. Winter Greenhouse: Here's a 5-minute video showcasing a winter greenhouse; Snow and all!

7. Funky Alternate Building: Here's a video on a roundhouse...

8. Sierra Club Foundation: According to this recent article, coal plant closures in Ontario have made the air much cleaner (there's been only 1 smog alert since...). There have been health benefit savings of $4.4 billion annually too!

9. Cotton and Monsanto: Copagen (Coalition for the Protection of Africa’s Genetic Heritage) and 202 farmer-researchers completed a 3 year study on the impact of Monsanto’s genetically engineered cotton on farmer livelihoods in Burkina Faso. Results? Poorer yields, inferior fibre quality, environmental/human health impacts from production. The government is unable to find buyers for this inferior cotton, will phase out production, and is suing Monsanto for $280 million USD in damages.(Inter Pares 2016 Highlights). Related article…: Meedoddi Vindoda practises biodiverse agriculture with no fertilizers, pesticides or irrigation in India. In 2015 her 3 acre plot earned her 200,000 rupees despite a drought. A neighbour with 3 acres in Bt cotton earned less than 10,000 rupees.


1. Vegan Cheese : Here's a great Globe & Mail article for Canadians who have sworn off dairy!


1. Site C: Here's the real reason Clark and Co. are spending $9 billion on Site C...

2. Salmon Protection: Government action is needed to protect our wild salmon. Ask your MP to support Bill C-228, which calls for B.C.'s open-pen salmon feedlots to be closed for containment. Here's a form letter that you can use.


Check out their website for current issues, petitions and projects… *Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal with online petition at https:///www.change.org/primeval * Wolf Cull Killing – mostly to support big game hunters, serve logging companies, nad garner a lot or $$ from hunting licences. * Great Bear Rainforest – white spirit bears on Gribbell Island are NOT protected * Grizzly Bear Hunting – economic studies show far more revenue from bear-viewing than from killing grizzlies but the government refuses to end the hunt. They expect the 1rst nations to raise fund and buy out guide outfitters’ hunting territories. Check out www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcYU98e095


1. Fossil Fuel Divestment: The global movement to divest of fossil fuel has doubled in size since 2015. Close to 700 institutions in 76 countries, representing over $5 trillion worth of assets, will divest!

FROM SUMOFUS.ORG (Non-Profit Social Media Group)

2016 Victories: France banned neonics, Oceana Gold of Australia lost their lawsuit against El Salvador and has to pay court costs to the people. The proposed mine would have depleted the last source of water in the country. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) which allows corporations to sue countries over laws such as those that protect our environment may be “dead”. California bans sea world-type groups from imprisoning orcas for profit.


1. Government Scientists’ Right To Speak: The federal government and the Professional Institute of the Public Service have enshrined science integrity in collective agreements for federal government scientists. Government scientists now have the right to speak about their science and research, without being designated as official spokespeople!


1. Northern Caribou Survival: The First Nation people in B.C.’s Peace River region have watched caribou populations in their traditional territory dwindle. Industrial activity has destroyed or degraded 74% of this herd’s habitat (based on 2012 data; so more now). For recovery, elders recommend many strategies from halting industrial activity to protecting important calving habitat; etc. A community-led monitoring program would ensure these management recommendations are followed.


1. Eating your Cake: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has green-lighted the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and claims we can build this pipeline and be global climate leaders. But as this article shows, this claim is ridiculous! The other argument the Prime Minister fell back on was about jobs. He says we don’t need to choose between jobs and the environment, that we can have both. And we can – but not by pinning our hopes on fossil fuels and pipelines. There is no shortage of ideas for how we can create good green jobs. And for analysis into 'why', go here.

Recent news provided four planks for a bold, progressive jobs agenda for BC. It includes alternative energy, public transit, home retrofits and, in forestry, reforestation,, diverting wood waste and value added manufacturing.

2. 2016 reviewed: They share a few highlights


Managing Invasive Species: They wreak havoc on natural ecosystems, outcompete native species, threaten human health and cost us billions of dollars every year. They are the second greatest threat to biodiversity, after human-caused habitat loss. What to do? *Only use firewood from your area. Information here. *Clean clothes, boots, and other gear after outings. *Avoid non-native plants sold at garden centres (even ornamental cedars that don’t belong in the hot Okanagan!). *Attend an NCC Conservation Volunteers event (or Allan Brooks Nature Centre event!) near you and lend a hand. *Eat them! Some NCC blog posts feature delicious invasive plant recipes….


1. Soil Carbon Loss and GHG’s: According to this article, Nearly 55 trillion kilograms of carbon and methane could be released into the atmosphere from the soil by the year 2050 if there are no successful efforts to mitigate climate change. Such a release would further accelerate the pace of global warming, and vice versa in a vicious cycle.

2. U.S. Army at Standing Rock: Opponents of the oil and gas industry's expansion scored a major victory when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers called for the owners of the Dakota Access pipeline to find a new route! Also, here's a thoughtful piece about the ecological and social questions the pipeline, and the resistance to it, raise.

3. U.S. Pipeline Peril Video: Here's a great video on the dangers of a U.S. laden with pipelines!

4. Asbestos Ban: Finally, after many inordinate delays, a real ban on Canada's asbestos industry is coming. For the entire Globe & Mail article, go here.


1.Sustainable Development Goals: details on implementation by other countries and suggestions for how Canada should proceed that included infrastructure, and protection of biodiversity and water resources... Read more here

2. China’s Low Carbon Actions: A few aspects…low carbon agriculture, limiting coal consumption, making low carbon development the new ‘normal’ high renewable energy targets….by 2020. Read more here


Check out their new research report - Top 5 Water Challenges That Will Define British Columbia’s Future.


Avaaz hopes everyone will, via a petition, ask hundreds of US mayors, governors, and businesses to be heroes and save our collective future so that the US doesn’t pull out of the Paris climate agreement.


Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck