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April 2013 Newsletter

APRIL 2013

The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 years!

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, c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5. Website: www.sensociety.org

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


1. Fracking and Climate Change (April 10, 7 pm, Schubert Centre): At this free public forum learn about oil extraction by fracking and how this extraction method affects all of us. Also find out the latest on climate change, the number one issue facing humanity, and how fracking relates to it, and bring your questions! Presenters are Joe Foy and Eoin Madden, Western Canada Wilderness Committee Directors.

2. Environmental All-Candidates Forum (April 25, 7 pm, Schubert Centre): Mark your calendars! Ask your “green” questions! Come early to read answers to environmental questions provided earlier and answered by candidates – they’ll be at the back, large print for ease of reading, and will be on the SENS website to read/pass on after the evening.


1. North Okanagan Naturalist Society (NONC): Monthly meeting is April 3, 7:30pm, and Dr. Michael Carlson speaks on “ The Big Tree Registry”.

2. Society For the Protection of Kalamalka Lake:

a) April 4, 7 – 9 pm, Susan Latimer speaks on the Kal Lake Aquatic Habitat Inventory, Coldstream Women’s Institute Hall, 9909 Kal Lake Rd. Music and refreshments provided.

b) April 18, 7:30 pm, Coldstream Women’s Institute hall, AGM, with a talk by Ted Osborn of the Coldstream Ranch on the History of Kal Lake Park.

3. Allan Brooks Nature Centre Fundraiser - Dinner and Auction (April 5, Best Western Lodge): Doors open 5:30 pm; dinner at 7 pm. There’s live entertainment and the MC is Mike Roberts! Tickets are $65 each from www.ticketseller.ca or 250 549-7469. Tax deductible receipt of $25 per ticket.

4. Ideas for Protecting Our Grasslands: Here’s a great video clip talk about this topic! Let’s conserve the remaining grasslands in the Okanagan.

5. Shoots ‘n Blooms Showcase (April 21, Fieldstone Organics, 4851 Schubert Road, Armstrong): From 1 – 4 pm come see the work of over 20 different local farmers. There’s local food, home-grown treats, demonstrations and much more to celebrate spring! Contact: info@foodaction.ca or events@fieldstoneorganics.ca

6. Cycling and the Election (May 14): Check out this site for ideas on how to make cycling an election issue. One suggestion is to encourage candidates to support the implementation of a comprehensive Cycling Strategy for BC that enables all residents and visitors to safely/conveniently cycle throughout the province. If London can do this, surely Vancouver can do even better!

7. Design and Build a Solar Greenhouse (April 13 – 14): Check out this local course here.

8. GM Crops Banned: Cherryville has become the 13th Municipality to ban GM Crops thanks to the efforts of Bee SAFE volunteers. How many more municipalities will surpass us before RDNO follows suit? Write them with your concerns.

9.Plant/Garden Sale, April 27: FLK Taoist Chi’s annual sale, 3105 28th St in Vernon, 8 am – 2 pm.

10. Cycling In Cities: April 23, 7 pm, Parkinson Rec Centre, 2nd Floor. Dr Teschke, UBC school of Population and Public health, presents research investigating factors that encourage cycling. Are preferred routes safe routes? How do you motivate cycling and reduce risk?.... just a few of the questions considered. Sponsor: Kelowna Area Cycling Coalition.

11. Upcoming 5 hour BTW Skills and Safety Courses: **sold out for past 2 years!

Sunday, April 28, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. OR Saturday, May 5, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

OR Tuesday and Thursday, May 7 and 9, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Place: Vernon City Hall Cost: $20 per person   Ages: 12 years & up

Pre-registration: 3 days prior to workshop date, dsbreception@vernon.ca or 250-550-3634

Bring: Snacks, lunch, bike, helmet, cycling attire (dress for weather), note pad and water bottle.

A 5 hour course to help cyclists learn about: * 3 common motorist errors * 4 types of falls * 5 traffic principles * Why and where collisions occur * The physical skills needed to negotiate with traffic safely. Taught by a certified CanBike2 Instructor Bruce Mol.

12. 2013 Environmental Sustainability Awards: Who (individual, group or organization) do you know that you might nominate by April 22? Details at: www.vernon.ca/sustainability for City of Vernon and www.rdno.ca/environmental_leadership for RDNO.


1. Is Sustainability Still Possible? Check out this booklet for more information… Not free sadly! 

2. Live Below The Line: CUSO International would like to challenge Canadians to do just that – live on $1.75 for food and drink per day for 5 days (April 29 – May 3). This represents the daily reality faced by the 1.4 billion people who live in extreme poverty who survive on this amount everyday for everything. Join the challenge now!

3. Dogwood Initiative Fundraising: This B.C. non-profit group is seeking financial support for their “No tankers in B.C. Waters” campaign. Please sell your unwanted items with “gift-it” and direct the proceeds to the Dogwood Initiative Society.

4. Volunteering is Good for You: According to a Canadian study, high school students who volunteered improved their own health, showing significantly lower markers for cardiovascular disease risk, including body mass index and cholesterol levels. They also reported to have better moods with increased empathy and altruistic behaviours. Read the full story here.

5. Nanoparticles Damage Plants: According to a study, man-made silver nanoparticles, used in consumer products to kill odour-causing bacteria, are escaping into the environment and are stressing out plants and beneficial microbes. Read the entire article here.

6. GM Glyphosate Threaten Crops: Ignoring the anti-Obama rant, here is an article on the dangers of the GM biocide glyphosate!

7. Autism and Fecal Transplants: Some work has been done recently to show that if a child with autism is “cleaned out” and bacteria from a different person provided, they no longer display autism symptoms. Also read this related article on fecal transplants.

8. BC’s Species-At-Risk Draft Plan: This draft, for protecting vulnerable species, is at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/sartaskforce/ Please provide your comments for revisions online and by mail until April 12, 2013 at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/atrisk/5_yr_plan/

Recommendations from the task force include:

* Improving species conservation through management at ecosystem and landscape scale.

* Providing information to support identification, management & recovery of species at risk.

* Encouraging BC ers to embrace stewardship of species at risk across all lands and waters.

* Applying protection for species at risk consistently across all sectors.

* Measuring and reporting on government's investments in species at risk.

One reader noted that there was no mention of legislation for protecting species at risk…

9. Mutations in Older Dads: These new mutations can lead to autism, schizophrenia, dyslexia and other brain function conditions. The child of a 36 year old father would have about twice (50) the mutations of a 20 year old father (with 25 mutations). Genetic counseling for men over 40? http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/02/15/the-dangers-of-older-dads-2/


1. Action to Protect Wild Salmon: In October, 2012, Justice Cohen made 75 recommendations to government to sustain Canada's wild salmon runs. To date, the government has not acted on any of these important recommendations. Send an e-mail to Prime Minister Harper urging him to do so.


1. Protecting Our Oceans: With only 1% of our oceans protected, Canada has a long way to go to reach its future commitment of 10%. Canada’s 243,000-kilometre coastline provides employment for over 315,000 and contributes more than $26 billion annually to Canada’s economy. It makes good fiscal sense to take care of an asset this big and productive. Unfortunately, the government of Canada isn’t doing that. Please tell the federal government to start funding established marine protected areas and ensure Canada’s oceans are healthy now and into the future!


1. Prostate Cancer and Deep-Fried Foods: Researchers recently found that eating deep-fried foods such as chicken, fish, French fries or doughnuts increases men’s risk of prostate cancer by about a third over the risk for men who eat less deep-fried foods. Read the entire article here. It also has some tips on how you can make a cancer-prevention diet. “Your best bet is a brightly-coloured selection of vegetables and fruit, with frequent choices of plant-based proteins, and gently cooked animal-based proteins. Organically grown, locally produced foods are ideal. Bon appétit!”

2. The Misleading War on Cancer: Here’s a great article on the history of the war on cancer. It then details one of the latest opponents: wireless radiation. This known carcinogen is believed to weaken cell membranes, making it easier for chemicals to cross into cancer cells. “With more than six billion cell phones and a growing numbers of microwave radiating devices in use around the world today, our exposures to microwave radiation may be increasing exposures to other toxic substances at the same time!” The author concludes that in order “to reduce the burden of cancer and other chronic diseases today, we must prevent them from arising in the first place, and we have to find new ways to keep the millions of cancer survivors from relapsing.”


1. Death of Evidence: The Federal government is trying to muzzle scientists. If you object and would like to support our scientists, go here to send a message to the government telling them that you want public scientists to speak freely! Also, here’s more on their latest restrictions.

2. Moratorium on Fracking: In New York State they got a 2-year reprieve. Now if only Canada and B.C. followed suit…

3. Cheerleading for the Tar Sands: Read this to find out how Stephen Harper is wasting taxpayer dollars… again.

4. More GM Problems: A Swiss study demonstrates inferior performance of GM wheat resistant to powdery mildew, alongside non-GM comparators.


5. Ocean Clean-up Array: A 17 year old has come up with this concept to remove 7 ¼ billion kg or OUR plastic from our oceans and asks for your support… http://www.boyanslat.com/plastic4/

6. TED Talk on Reversing Desertification: http://archive.org/details/AllanSavory_2013


1. Living Planet @ Work: More than 16 million people make up the Canadian workforce and they will collectively make over a billion decisions at work every day. Living Planet @ Work, an initiative started by the WWF, is aimed to make those decisions take the health of the planet into account. To sign your business up, visit the WWF website.

2. Beyond Recycling: Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program is teaching kids in Castlegar and Robson how to shrink their ecological footprints. They will get some good ideas on how to reduce the use of resources at their homes and schools. Read more. Let’s do this in the North Okanagan!

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck