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May 2013 Newsletter

MAY 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 ***

SENS STUFF

1. SENS’ Annual Movie night! – May 23, 7 pm Schubert Centre. “Fuel” is a documentary showing how the oil industry controls, deceives and damages people and the environment - a must see movie! It has played at numerous film festivals and won 6 major awards.

2. Our next SENS evening is in September. Next newsletter - July? Enjoy your summer!

3. Repair Café!: May 11, 9 am – 3pm, Polson Park.

a) Do you have a repair skill you’d like to share and show others how to do? Contact Joanne at 250 542-5478 or e-mail vernonintransition@gmail.com and get involved!

b)Don’t throw it out! If you have something that needs repair come find out how to, or have it done by local volunteers and small, local businesses.

***Repair Café! was originally started in the Netherlands to repair or repurpose items to prevent landfill fill-up. Garden hose ends, blade sharpening, sewing, leathers, furniture, upholstery, bikes, small appliances…bring it in!

***We are joining the Hospital Auxiliary’s fund-raising garden fair for this event. They’ll have their own bake, plant and white elephant sale plus providing over 40 vendor booths, family-oriented fun, music, food, face painting and more!

4. Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program (OCCP): A biodiversity Conservation Strategy has just been completed for our area via the OCCP. Information sheets on the Aquatic Habitat Index of Kalamalka Lake and much more are available at www.okcp.ca.

5. Bike to Work Week (BTWW) (May 27- June 2): If you would like to be a member of the SENSational’s – a team of SENS members and readers who will cycle during BTWW and record all distances per day – and be eligible for great prizes! – please contact jblissau@telus.net to get on the list.

Also: a) Bike Skills and Safety Course: Saturday, May 4, 9 – 2 pm and May 7 and May 9 5:30 – 8 pm. More details/sign-up at 25- 550-3634 or dsbreception@vernon.ca.

b) BTWW Team Leaders Workshop: Wed. May 8, 5:00 – 6:45 pm, Vernon City Council Chambers. Lots of prizes involved. Pre-registration is free, but required, so go here, if you would like to organize a team of your own!

c) FREE Bike Buddy Program: Call 250-542-3050 to be a buddy who can provide info on best routes, what to take, and to do a pre-BTWW cycle together. Click here for more info.

LOCAL STUFF

1. Carpool.ca: If you carpool once a week, you reduce your emissions by 20%....signed up yet?

2. Pedal to Vote! Ask your MLA to ensure bike racks are present at voting stations and then cycle to vote! Pedalling to the polls is an easy, direct way to make active transportation visible. It also expresses the joy cycling brings, complete with health, social and environmental benefits. Heck, ask your MLA to cycle to the polls too!

3. Green Drinks: Monday, May 13, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub (2705 32nd St., Vernon). Drop in to talk “green”. If your organization wishes to sponsor one of these get-togethers contact Matt at 250 307-7364 or matt@valhallaconsulting.ca.

4. Top Dog in Vernon-Monashee: May 3 and 4, 10:30 am, Home Builders Centre (27th St.). Show support for your candidate choice at a Charity Hot Dog Poll. Buy a drink and a hot dog ($3.50) labeled with your candidate’s name and proceeds go to support Special Olympics.

5. Drinking Water Week Free Tour: For B.C. Drinking Water Week, RDNO is offering tours of the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant (May 23 – 25). Contact Emma at 250 550-3684 or by email to sign up. Participants must be over the age of 10, able to climb stairs, and, for safety reasons, must wear long pants and closed toe, flat shoes. Space limited to 40 per day.

MATERIAL CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS AND READERS

1. Wealth Inequality: Check out this 6-min video clip on this. What do our local candidates think about wealth re-distribution, I wonder?

2. Evidence4Democracy: This new non-partisan group advocates for transparent use of evidence in public policy. A few of their recent items have covered how are our scientists have been muzzled, the closing of many national research programs, and so on. Their latest article tears apart the government’s boast about being big on science.

3. Experimental Lakes Areas (ELA): According to Premier Wynne, the Ontario government and other partners will be providing support for the ELA, a one of a kind research facility where scientists can study freshwater ecosystems on entire lakes. ELA Research will now continue informing public policies that keep our lakes clean and our fish populations healthy. Thanks everyone!

4. What’s all that Volunteer Work Worth? A new report out asks this question as it looks at the 13.3 million people in Canada who do volunteer work. It pegs the economic value of their activity at a hefty $50-billion a year. For the full story, go here.

ORGANIZING FOR CHANGE (OfC)

1. The Future of the Carbon Tax: Being largely successful, we needn’t fear the tax being scrapped by our newly elected government come May 16. But for continued success, OfC believes we need to change the tax further (ala NDP). Check out their video (unavailable until post-election) that explains how.

FROM DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION

1. 30 x 30 Nature Challenge: Sign up for their challenge to use nature to get healthier and happier at www.davidsuzuki.org!

2. Two Reports Just Released: Protecting Canada’s Grizzly Bear, Inventory of Low-Carbon Energy in Canada.

FROM CAPE

1. Greening the Deserts: Here’s an inspiring TED Talk about reversing desertification. The key element is mimicking the behaviour of naturally occurring herbivorous herds.  

2. Debunking Safe Oil Spills: Read this wonderful article by Elizabeth May that debunks the lies Harper and his cronies are spouting concerning double hulled tankers and more.

3. U.S. Fish Stocks Bounce Back: Here's a good news story -- with some qualifications. Not being mindless and greedy is paying off in 28 out of 44 fish U.S. species stocks. There's a lesson in this…

4. Abolishing DNA Patents: Scientists are challenging the right of Myriad Genetics to own two genes, and with that, the whole world of patenting genes in general. Hopefully this takes! Read this Washington Post article here.

5. Loss of Charitable Status: Here’s a flippant, but excellent response to the Harper government’s unfair decision to deny PGS (Physicians for Global Survival) its charitable status.

6. Victory for Green Energy: Good news. A bill that would have killed green energy and conservation was defeated in the Ontario Legislature on April 18! It was close though. Read this blog for more details. 

7. How You Get Your Cheap Shrimp: This well written article by Gail Johnson at the Georgia Straight in Vancouver lays out the global shrimp farming industry in clear and disturbing detail.

8. Questions For Candidates: If you live in B.C., here is a list of long questions (best to abridge) to pose if you attend a public meeting for candidates, of if you want to send questions to them directly.

9. Corporations’ View of Green Change: “This article, from the US electrical utility industry, describes how worried the industry is collectively about solar photovoltaic panels and other renewable energy sources on everyone's rooftop or in their backyards.” It’s a good read as it looks at the underbelly of “the corporation itself”.

10. Views of the Feral Rich: Watch this annoying video! It’s a prime example of the ultra-rich, with their increasingly warped sense of all-encompassing entitlement and pervasive, ugly ways; A perfect tie-in to this article on the "The Feral Rich".

11. Charitable Status: Read this article to figure out why Harper’s Government is limiting it. Two words: political control!

12. BP’s Oil Spill Cover-up: Read this account of BP's astonishingly aggressive cover-up of the full extent of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. In order to avoid future repeats of this obscene behaviour, we must to advocate for it to never be allowed to happen again!

RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BC (RCBC)

1. Sea Plastic into Bottles: Ecover, the green cleaning company, said it will use plastic waste retrieved from the sea, recycled plastic, and plastic made from sugar cane to create an entirely new type of sustainable and recyclable plastic bottle. Products made from this packaging will go on sale next year. Read more

2. B.C. Study Advocates Model of Zero Waste: Closing the Loop: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Creating Green Jobs through Zero Waste in B.C. is a study into a post-consumerist society. Read more.  

AVAAZ – RECENT REQUESTS FOR HELP

1. Monsanto vs. Mother Earth: Monsanto Co. is trying to patent away our everyday vegetables and fruits. Bring in people power to pressure key countries like France and Germany to keep Monsanto’s hands off our food. Sign now and share with everyone to help build the biggest food defense call ever!

2. Save the Amazon of Asia: Indonesia’s ancient forests, home to roaming orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos is in danger of being bulldozed. A nationwide logging moratorium expires in weeks, and a local governor wants to clear cut an area the size of a million football fields. Sign this urgent petition and force the President to extend the ban. Share it with everyone you know!

3. Pledge to Stop Monsanto: This mega-company is gradually taking over our global food supply, poisoning our politics, and putting the planet’s food future in serious danger. Pledge just $4 now, and join forces to break Monsanto’s grip on our politics, our food, and our governments. The funds will help farmers speak out, challenge unjust laws and patents, and help AVAAZ go head to head with the corporate lobbies.

4. 'Fox News North' Seeking Public Handout: Sun News is seeking to be funded by a government handout, asking the CRTC to force it onto our basic cable packages. Sun News have been pushing their petition non-stop for 6 months. Sign this counter petition! Send a powerful signal to the CRTC about where Canadians stand.

SUMOFUS.ORG (This non-profit, like AVAAZ, works to expose/stop bad practices)

1. Arctic Drilling: Despite the failures (Shell) and doubts of its rivals (Total SA), ConocoPhillips is sticking with its current plans to drill in the Arctic. An oil spill in the Arctic would be disastrous: There is no proven method to cleanup oil spills in the Arctic’s extreme conditions, the proposed drill site is in even more remote than where the Exxon Valdez spilt, and ConocoPhillips’s track record in avoiding spills is dismal (they just paid the Chinese huge fines for its oil spill in 2011).

Update: ConocoPhillips announced that it will be cancelling its 2014 Arctic drilling plans.

2. Demand to Fess Up: Last month, the pipes from Suncor’s operations froze and then burst, spilling 2,200 barrels of toxic tar sands waste into the Athabasca River for 10 hours. Little else is known because Suncor refused to answer basic questions. Questions like: What time was the spill discovered? What chemicals were in the pipeline? How close was the rupture to the Athabasca River? This spill is still fresh in our minds, and by taking action now we can ensure that Suncor cannot hide from its responsibilities. Sign this petition demanding they release more information!

3. Patent Fraud: Fennel flower has been used as a cure-all remedy for over a thousand years. So it’s baffling that Nestlé is claiming to own it, and filing patent world-wide claims. No doubt they plan to turn it into a costly private drug. Despite a strong petition against their action, Nestlé still hasn’t given up… But now, under world-wide scrutiny, its claims will likely not stick!

4. Improved Reforms Needed: In Bangladesh, nearly 2,000 workers were trapped when a major garment factory/sweat-shop collapsed. More than 400 people have been confirmed killed. This tragedy could’ve been avoided had Gap, Walmart, and other retailers not been actively obstructing building and human rights reforms. Getting Gap on board is the key to changing this. Sign this letter and follow the delivery instructions. No one should die making clothes!

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck