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Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

April 2017 Newsletter +  

APRIL 2017

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.



1. Journey To The Future: April 27, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Guy Dauncey, author with a positive vision of a sustainable future, discusses his latest book and provides numerous ideas of how we can act on his visions to make life much happier and healthier for everyone - grandchildren too! Discussion welcome. Bring a carload!

2. Repair Café: May 28, 11am – 3 pm, Okanagan Science Centre. SENS is again supporting Vernon in Transition for this valuable community event. Do you have a skill that we might be able to use to repurpose or repair household items so they don’t go to the landfill? Please contact VernoninTransition@gmail.com Also, check out http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/every-town-needs-a-remakery/ and http://transitionnetwork.org/news-and-blog/farnham-uks-repair-cafe-takes-bite-waste/


1. Farmers’ Markets:

Vernon: Monday and Thursdays, 8 am – 1pm, Kal Tire Place. Starts April 20, 2017

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. Get your Tickets TODAY! Eco-friendly Home Tour: May 6th, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm, Vernon, Lake Country, and SE Kelowna. Check out some certified net zero energy homes! Only 100 tickets are available ($25 each) at Bean Scene on March 31st and April 1st,10 am – 3 pm until all tickets are sold. For more information, email franceswarner@shaw.ca.

3.North Okanagan Naturalist Club: April 5th, 7 pm, Vernon’s Village Green Hotel. Brett Ford will speak on badgers.

4. Armstrong Environmental Trust (ASET) Green Fair: April 15th, 9 am – 1 pm, at Askew’s in Armstrong. It’s by donation for those wishing to set up a table to sell, showcase a business, or provide non-profit-type information. Contact David at dderbowka@prsi.ca.

5. Protecting/Preserving the Shuswap River: RDNO is looking at managing motorized vessels on this river with a jet-boat near Cherryville: Check out this video! Also, let RDNO know how you use the Shuswap and your reaction to noise pollution, chemicals, and erosion on the river.

6. Myth That Pesticides Are Necessary to Feed the World: This idea is a myth, according to a new U.N. Report. It is highly critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of greed and unethical practices, resulting in “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”! We can already feed 9 billion people today, but the problem is poverty, inequality, and distribution. For the entire article, go here.

7. Toxic Chemicals on the Brain: Thursday, April 6th, 7:30 pm, Vernon's Okanagan College campus. Science in Society speaker, Dr. Lanphear, will explain how harmful chemicals impact brain development and discuss prevention. He will also discuss the pandemic of consumption. To register or obtain more information, go here. Tickets in advance are $7 from Okanagan Science Centre or Eventbrite; $10 at the door.

8. Organics: Craig of Hoisington Organic Farms was unable to be at Seedy Saturday, but if you’re interested in chicken, turkey, sausages, lamb, garlic and more, check out his website and make contact.


1. Bees and Volunteer Stewardship Day: Saturday, April 8th,, from 9:30 am to noon, at the Pollinator Pasture in Brent's Grist Mill Park in Kelowna. This year, Dr. Nancy Holmes and her team of volunteers will be expanding bee-beneficial native flowers into last year's planting area, and removing some invasive weeds.

2. Kelowna's Nectar Trail: They are also directing a community native-seed growing activity supporting bees (bee streets, pollinator pathways, etc.). Nectar Trail “wannabees” are invited to attend the free workshops for this. They are on Saturday April 1st, from 1 to 4 pm, at the Okanagan Regional Library Mission Branch, 4105 Gordon Drive.


1. YouTube Quickies: Check out this Hobbit House and this Teardrop Camper! Inconvenient Sequel: https://youtu.be/1BcRQ5wTRRY

2. Safe Roads Toolkit: Here's a great document for protecting those who bicycle and walk!

3. Paris Climate Goals Eye-opener: Do we’d need mass mortalities + large uninhabitable areas for it to happen http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/3/23/15028480/roadmap-paris-climate-goals

4. BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA): created a “big question survey “ on BC’s energy future for BCSEA hosted debates. Check out the public’s answers at www.bcsea.org/your-answers-to-big-questions


1. Asthma and Yeast: University of British Columbia microbiologists have found a yeast in the gut of new babies in Ecuador that appears to be a strong predictor that they will develop asthma in childhood. The new research furthers our understanding of the role microscopic organisms play in our overall health...

2. Honey and Food Safety: Vancouver’s non-profit Hives for Humanity has caused researchers to seek a means of testing to show that their honey was free of pollutants. This is valuable since urban beekeeping is expanding all over the lower mainland. And here's how the Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geo-chemical Research (PCIGR), a testing lab, helped Vancouver’s Hives for Humanity.

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

Pepsi’s Broken Palm Oil Promise: It means loss of elephant, tiger, orang-utan and rhino habitat… Watch and share the shocking footage revealing how the world's biggest snack food companies are linked to rainforest destruction.

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

Action to Stop the Ivory Trade: Sign this petition to help end this practice in Europe!


The UN is battling Ocean Plastic: Sign Tyler’s petition to urge Canada to help lead the way. The UN campaign calls on countries to: *Pass plastic reduction policies – Plastic bags, microbeads, disposable plastics,  *Target Industry to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products, *Encourage and call on consumers to alter throw-away habits, by 2022. Here’s more on the UN’s War on Ocean Plastic.


The Secret Inside Your Phone : the cell phone industry at Berkley California is fighting to keep instructions on how to use your phone out of sight. Tests show that today's phones exceed emission standards, when held against the body ... or ear. Wendy Mesley’s CBC Marketplace report with the latest on cell phones and cancer was shown March 24, 8pm and March 26 at 10:30 am but you may still be able to view via your computer… http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2016-2017/the-secret-inside-your-phone


1.Supporting Active Transport: The World Economic Forum has amassed a list of 12 major cities that are either going to eliminate vehicular traffic entirely, or sharply limit it in various ways, in the not too distant future. Would you like Vernon’s 30th Ave to be for pedestrians/bicycles only? Ask Council for this! Also, CAPE has produced a new toolkit to help health professionals become advocates of active transportation for their patients and communities. Check it out :  https://cape.ca/active-travel-toolkit/

2. Renewable Energy in Holland: In terms of renewable standard-setting numbers, look no further than the Netherlands! Advances there are outstripping anything done in Canada and in most countries around the world, by a country mile. Want proof? Check out these three stories (1, 2, 3)!

3. Shell’s 1991 Prediction of Global Warming: You'll be surprised to learn that 26 years ago, Royal Dutch Shell made 28 educational documentary films laying out the probability of global warming, the hazards and risks associated with its evolution, and the need for action to address this now-dominant threat to the human project. And what has Shell done since? Read all about it in this Guardian piece.

4.Mercury Amalgam: Acceptance was based on everything but its potential to harm human and ecosystem health… http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=27e2f2d4d51d0311acb2ec134&id=a4599dd896&e=5f2c59245d

5. The Detox Project: This group is pushing certification of US food products as being glyphosate-free so consumers can avoid this ‘probably carcinogenic’ chemical.  http://detoxproject.org/glyphosate-residue-free-certification-creates-new-transparency-shift-for-us-consumers/


1. Will Atrazine Be Banned? Banned in Europe yet still allowed here, Atrazine, a pesticide linked to birth defects, reproductive problems, and cancer, is currently under review by Health Canada. Canada’s pesticide regulator has a ripe opportunity to follow the lead of Europe by instituting a ban. If all goes well, Atrazine will be shelved for good. The original piece is here. And for even more, check out this PDF!


2. Polluters Must Pay: The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has confirmed that polluters must clean up a decade-long contaminated site in Harrietsfield. With this ruling, Nova Scotia sends a strong message to those who pollute the land! While we wait for implementation of the clean-up, Nova Scotia Environment has since pledged to provide community members with water filtration systems. Stay tuned for an update in the coming weeks on this.. .Also, please help spread the word about this important case.


1. Webinar Series on Adaptation to Climate Change: Check out these lessons and experiences as countries work on their National Adaptation Plan! Watch the first in the series here.

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

March 2017 Newsletter +  

MARCH 2017

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.


1. Seedy Saturday: March 18th, 10 am – 3 pm, Vernon Recreation Centre. Suggested donation of $2 at the door. Children get in free. Gardening experts speak at 11 am, noon, and 1 pm. Many organic seed and plant sellers, garden support materials, great food, kids’ activities, and lots more!

2. SENS 8th Annual Seed/Plant Swap/Sale and AGM: March 23rd, 6:30 - 7:30pm: seed/plant swap/sales, 7:30 pm – 7:40pm: Annual General Meeting (short!), 7:40 pm – 8:30: Jocelyne Sewell and Juila Lissau share garden tips and tricks for hot, dry Okanagan gardening, 8:30 pm:: more seeding! Come with free seeds/plants, envelopes, and questions. Everyone is welcome!

3. February Winter Carnival Parade: Thank-you to Terry Dyck and Sheila (artwork) for again organizing a super educational presence for SENS at the parade with a large fleet of 10 no-noise, no-smell electric cars plus inspirational banners!


1. Farmers’ Markets:

Vernon: Fridays, noon – 4 pm, Indoors at Kal Tire Place.

Armstrong: Saturdays (until April), 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 Naturalist Club: March 1st, 7 pm, Vernon’s Village Green Hotel. The speaker is Tanis Gieselman, Msc. The topic is 'The edge and beyond: conservation and the seeds of a solution'.

3. Permaculture Group: Last Wednesday of the month at 7 pm in the Vernon library meeting room. 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 out their modern homesteaders blog.

4. Seedy Saturdays Elsewhere:

Enderby: March 4th, 10 – 4, Splatsin Community Centre

Westbank: March 11th, 10 am - 3 pm, Westbank Lions Community Centre, 2466 Main Street

5. Local Grower Support: Curlew Orchard seeks apple lovers via a CSA (community supported agriculture) subscription for their apples (about 20lbs per month for 5 winter months). They will be expanding into nuts and other foods in the coming years and certified organics too! For more, visit www.curleworchard.ca.

6. NOCAT Bike Swap: April 2nd, Science Centre. More to follow, mid- March…

7. #Canada150: To celebrate Canada’s 150 year as a country, Valley First is selecting one individual or team every week in 2017 "from B.C. communities who volunteer to make a positive difference. The chosen volunteer can then donate $1,500 to the non-profit of their choice." Nominate this person/team today!

8. Repair Café: Interested in helping to plan for a 2017 Repair Café in Vernon? If so, please contact Julia, 250 542-0892 or jblissau@telus.net. Also, check out this related site!

9. B.C. Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA): In the upcoming election, B.C.’s energy future will be on the table. BCSEA wants to make sure your interests and concerns are represented, and have as such developed a short survey to understand what you think is of greatest importance for B.C. Your answers will help BCSEA ensure your interests are brought to the attention of the next batch of B.C. Politicians...

10. The Impact of Toxic Chemicals on the Developing Brain: Thursday, Apr 6th, 7:30 pm, Okanagan College, Vernon Campus, Lecture Theatre. This Science In Society Series will be given by speaker Dr. Bruce Lanphear. Tickets are $7 in advance (Okanagan Science Centre 250-545-3644) or $10 at the door.

11. Eco-friendly Home Tour  - May 6th, 9:30 – 3:30. Only 100 tickets available ($25 each) at Bean Scene (no pre-sales) from 10am - 3pm on March 31 and April 1 until all tickets are taken. Check out net zero energy homes in Vernon and Lake Country, and a certified passive house - one of only 6 in the province - in SE Kelowna. Thank-you from Vernon’s Canadian Federation of University Women for helping to provide 2 scholarships each year for two local students. More information: franceswarner@shaw.ca.


1. The Okanagan’s Vulnerable Monarchs: Monarch butterflies in B.C. are of Special Concern, showing long-term declines of 50% - 70%. This decline is related to loss of milkweed, a plant that Monarchs lay their eggs on. Showy milkweed is the only native milkweed in B.C. and is threatened by development and weed control programs. However, the plight of the monarchs has inspired people to plant more milkweed in their neighbourhoods. You can watch the Monarch migration each spring at the Journey North website.

2. Owl Survey: The B.C.-Yukon Nocturnal Owl Survey monitors trends in owl populations through road-based methods similar to those used in the Breeding Bird Survey. Participants survey their route at least once per year in March (Southern Interior) and April (Central/Northern B.C. and the Yukon). Participants receive annual newsletters and tax relief for travel expenses incurred during the survey. If you are interested in taking part in this long term monitoring program, please contact Karen Devitt, BC Program Coordinator, Bird Studies Canada at bcvolunteer@birdscanada.org


1. Tiny Houses: Here's a great interview and interior tour of a cheap Cottage Camper! Here's a beautiful floating, 4 season tiny house!

2. Smartflower Solar: Check out the world's first all-in-one solar system!

3. Inexpensive Cob House: https://youtu.be/kC-7ZGe5cwA


1. March 1st Potluck and AGM: 6 – 6:45 pm: Potluck, 7 pm: AGM. Vernon Library. Membership is only $10, so join and support FASNO. Also, let them know you can come...

2. Organic Bulk Buying Group: Interested? Check this out!

3. Websites of Interest:

  • "Cut your grocery bill in half" with this site!

  • Go here to learn how "gene-editing marks the next generation of genetically altered foods"!

  • And go here to learn how "armed with caterpillars, an African entrepreneur dishes up a child hunger solution"!


1. Declining Fisheries: “Sea Around Us” (www.seaaroundus.org) has published a Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries using research which shows that fish catches have been declining since 1990. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has consistently underestimated, by half, the annual global fish catch due to the uncounted throw-aways that fishers don’t want, non-industrial fishing such as that around Greenland, ecosystem damage by industrial trawlers and illegal fishing. Global fish stocks are in trouble due to this overfishing in areas said to be stable . Self interest also stops us from investing in the future. When rewards for cooperation are long into the future, groups tend to cooperate less.

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

1. Don't Let Them Off the Hook: Almost three years ago, Imperial Metals spilled 25 million cubic metres of toxic waste into pristine Quesnel Lake, one of the deepest lakes in the world. The 2014 Mount Polley Mine spill destroyed or damaged massive swaths of fish habitat. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to usher in a new era of protection for Canadian waterways. He needs to push forward with criminal charges against Imperial Metals. Tell Trudeau's government to enforce the Fisheries Act now!

2. Stevia Action: This sweetener comes from traditional knowledge of indigenous groups in South America. Coca-Cola is reaping billions by using stevia with nothing go to indigenous peoples despite rights enshrined in international treaties. Click here to watch the video and share it with your friends. Petition: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/stevia-coca-cola/?source+fb

FROM LEADNOW.CA(non-profit media group)

1. Good News On Grassy Narrows: Premier Wynne has promised that Ontario would clean up the river system and the Dryden Mill and that this cleanup would be led by Grassy Narrows First Nation! This is a moment for cautious celebration, but our work is not done yet. No schedule has been announced, and the remediation has not begun. Pledge right now to continue to support grassy narrows until the river is truly clean and mercury justice is achieved! Also please share this on FACEBOOK and TWITTER. For more, visit



1. Action on Clean Water for All: It’s a human right but many First Nations still have boil water advisories. The federal government promised to end drinking water advisories in First Nations within five years of being elected. However, research shows the government is not on track for this promise. Ask the federal government to live up to its promise to end the drinking water crisis in First Nations communities by 2020.


2. Rich Diversity Ocean Conservation Plan: Canada ratified a long-awaited conservation plan recently for one of the world’s richest areas for biodiversity, Canada’s North Pacific coastal waters. It’s home to trillions of plankton, billions of fish, millions of seabirds and thousands of whales among forests of kelp and deep-sea canyons. Ancient glass sponge reefs in Hecate Strait near Haida Gwaii are also being protected.

3. Renewable Energy: Shifting from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy is the smart thing to do for the environment, climate, economy and jobs. The foundation has some ideas on how to do it... Read all about it here! Local action items are coming soon.


1. Environmental Studies Programs: If you're interested in environmental science and/or advocacy, then this website, which connects to thousands of study programs in the U.S., is for you. For Canadian students, the "Alternatives Journal" is the place to go. They have an annual issue on every environmental course in Canada. There is a small cost associated with it, but well worth it!!


1. Do No Harm: The proposed New Prosperity mine in central B.C. would put the Tŝilhqot’in peoples’ land and water at considerable risk. The federal government rejected the project outright. And yet it's being appealed... As such Ecojustice is headed to court to stand in support of the federal rejection.


1. Subsidies and Climate: In the latest report from the Global Subsidies Initiative, Zombie Energy, ISSD explains how ending fossil fuel subsidies will not only save billions of public dollars, but will also help reduce the GHG emissions driving climate change. Read more here.

2. Optimism, Pessimism, and Climate Change: When it comes to action on climate change, should we be feeling optimistic or pessimistic? Read this for both sides of the coin.

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

February 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. Website: www.sensociety.org

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

Information contained in this newsletter may not imply approval by SENS directors.


1. Tiny House Nite: February 23th, 7 – 9 pm, Vernon Library meeting room. See and hear about local tiny homes: planning, constructing, and occupying, presented by several residents in the know. Questions and discussion welcome!

2. Dr Andrew Weaver, Climatologist, Jan 26, 2017 talk, 200+ in attendance:

a) Short Morning Star report of the evening… http://www.bclocalnews.com/community/412001346.html

b) Please check this 1 hour Youtube posting (thank-you Carl Ross) from Dr Weaver’s talk (audio only) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek3By1J608w

c) And…a few notes, paraphrased, that stood out from his talk:

Climate Change is a fact and it’s happening now. Everyone (including politicians) making decisions now that impact climate change will be long dead before the results of their actions drastically impact YOUR grandchildren and great, great grandchildren. Politicians are only interested in getting re-elected so they cater only to those who get out and vote (seniors!) not to those who do not vote/speak out. As a consequence, money will continue to go to such things as hip operations rather than to education or alternative energy jobs which create about 15 times more employment than oil/LNG jobs. Former BC premier, Glen Campbell, cared about intergenerational equity and so implemented a carbon tax – it was the most advanced decision made in the whole world at the time. Unfortunately it is now ignored so that such big projects as LNG can be pushed forward (Australian taxpayers are losing a lot of money now because there are no markets for their LNG and the same is already true for BC taxpayers). The cost of action on climate change is borne by individuals (heels dug in yet?) but the cost of inaction will be borne by future generations (so, should we care if our generation is all going to be dead by then? Do we owe anything to future generations?). The Tragedy of the Commons can occur because there are no rules to ensure sharing of a finite resource so some will try to hog it all (check out related books on how sharing of the commons has worked well in the past for such things as grazing land). Dr Weaver pointed to our atmosphere as an example because we have no regulations to prevent pollution so we all put all our trash into it. This is one reason why we need a carbon tax – to ensure everyone is involved in protection (polluter pay principle). We all must be stewards of what we have and not assume we can ‘lord it over everything’ with no repercussions. As well, carbon pricing creates innovations (think jobs!). Change will be slow because humans hate to adjust and change behaviour but Dr Weaver did feel somewhat optimistic that technology, behaviour change and changing markets will help, despite such things as vested interests that make sure we still have the internal combustion engine instead of electric cars. His university students several years ago implied that if he wanted change he had to be part of that change so, he is now a green party MLA , a lone voice in the legislature, speaking against costly, unnecessary government decisions that ignore climate change. If YOU want (positive) change what will YOU do?


1. Farmers’ Markets:

Vernon: Fridays, 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: February 1st, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel, speaker is Frank Ritcey, provincial coordinator of Wildsafe BC, who is based in Kamloops and is a frequent guest of Sheryl McKay on the CBC program North by Northwest (on weekend mornings, 6 – 9 am).

3. National Advisory Panel on Conservation and Biodiversity: Canada committed that at least 17% of land and inland water will be conserved by 2020, through networks of protected areas and other conservation measures. Applications are now being accepted for a National Advisory Panel that will provide advice to governments on solutions for protecting biodiversity, including how best to measure progress. Interested? Apply if interested!


Biodiversity Symposium: Jan 31st and Feb 1st in Victoria. OCCP has been assisting in the organization of "Conservation Without Borders” with SEAR-LGWG. OCCP will also be presenting at the symposium, providing an overview of the collaborative projects happening in the North and Central Okanagan, and outlining some of the recommendations from their recent "Planning for the Environment" workshop. You are encouraged to get involved and attend this symposium!! The SEAR-LGWG website has more information about this group, and how to get involved.


1. Ecological Economics: www.alternativesjournal.ca invites you to become a friend of A\J You’d receive a 2 year subscription and much more. The monthly magazine focuses on environmental change in Canada. For their next issue they partner with the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics on articles that help readers understand how to balance environmental protection with economic opportunities as we transition to a low-carbon economy, and articles that look at whether one can have well-being without traditional economic growth.


1. Learn and Grow! FASNO seeks new board members! Contact them at 250 275-8814 or info@foodaction.ca if you’d like to assist with any of the following: newsletters, websites, social media, finances, grant writing, staff recruiting, program development and management.


1. Bird-Window Collisions: Check the "FLAP" Website for details on joining the following webinars on how to prevent such collisions: Feb 16 - 10am, Feb 21 - 10am and 2pm, Feb 28 - 10am, March 6 - 10am and 3pm.

2. Action re: Toadlets at Summit Lake: This lake near Nakusp is a key breeding area for Western Toads but the forest where they head to complete their lifecycle after hatching is being logged right now by NACFOR. Only 6% of the forest is needed to protect these valuable amphibians. Write your letter now to Premier Clark using the Wilderness Committee’s information.

3. Mount Polley Mining Charges: The Crown hopes to stay the charges – ARGH!… See Mining.com Link


1.Climate Action: UBC researchers reported that if countries meet the Paris Agreement warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, global fish catches (but mostly in tropical areas) could increase by 6 million tonnes per year.

Our coastal indigenous people eat about 5 times more seafood than the rest of us so any disruptions (tanker spills, negative government decisions) would cost them greatly.

2.Carbon Prize: A UBC geology team hopes to put 2 common mining by-products—acidic drainage and carbon dioxide emissions—into stable, storable pellets and win a $20 million NRG Cosia Carbon X Prize.

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

1. Water Action: Ontario has issued a moratorium to block Nestle from taking water from a community that was experiencing drought. Now Nestle expects to pay $200 to Michigan to double the amount of groundwater it takes. Nestle is already the largest owner of private water sources there… Tell Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality to cancel this ridiculous plan!

2.Mining Pollution Action: A Samarco Co. mining dam collapsed a year ago, polluting Brazil’s Doce River so that 250,000 people have no drinking water and can’t sell or eat the tumour-riddled fish. The Company is paying a pittance to fishermen and hoping that people will forget… Tell Samarco to pay full reparations to locals impacted by its pollution of the Doce River.


1. Ontario’s Mercury Dump Site: In the 1960s, Dryden's pulp and paper mill workers dumped 9 tonnes of mercury into the English-Wabigoon river system. Even now, locals are finding mercury contaminated soil! Fish near Grassy Narrows are the most mercury-contaminated in Ontario, damaging to the traditional fishing way of life. LeadNow asks you to ask Ontario and Canada to clean up the mercury and meet Grassy Narrows demands for mercury justice via a mercury treatment centre, fair compensation, and environmental health monitoring station until the fish are ‘clean’.


1. Sunlight For Power: Elon Musk’s company Tesla is making shingles that double as solar panels!

2. Scott Islands Action: 40 % of B.C.’s sea birds nest here, just north of the tip of Vancouver Island. The federal government would like to create a marine national wildlife area around the Scott islands. However there are insufficient new regulations on fishing, shipping, or oil and gas exploration right now. Urge the federal government to give this world-class seabird habitat the world-class protections it deserves. The deadline is January 30th.

3. Work Less, Live Better: and reduce GHG’s and energy costs! Government employees in Utah went to a four-day week in 2007- the state saved $1.8 million in energy costs alone. Fewer commutes meant a reduction of more than 11,000 tonnes of CO2.


1. 2016 Summary: Asbestos will be banned in Canada! And here's PCN’s other summarized issues. Hats off to Kathleen Ruff who doggedly pursued scientific skullduggery and politics over the years at Right On Canada.


1. Pharmaceuticals In The Environment: International Doctors for the Environment (ISDE) provides results from a recent workshop. Find the report here.... Find other materials from the workshop and presentations, online here.

2. Energy in B.C.: Check out former MLA Rafe Mair’s article about the B.C. parties and their ‘climate-change-denial’ energy policies and also Dr. Bell’s additional note on the 2 main B.C. Leaders! In a nutshell, the only candidates to vote for are those who commit to voting to scale down fracking and LNG, renegotiating the run-of-river hydro deal, coming clean about BC Hydro’s “hollowing out”, and seriously ramping up the renewable energy sector (which generates far more jobs than the fossil fuel industry ever did!).


1.Ecological Protection: The NCC has taken over 26 different natural areas from the Land Conservancy of BC to ensure they will be conserved forever. Read on

2. Winter Hibernation: Want to test yourself on how some species make it through our winters? Test your hibernation knowledge here.


1.Arctic Drilling: The Canadian and US governments have announced a ban on offshore arctic drilling – hopefully it will become law quickly.

2.Climate Denial: Ecojustice has launched a complaint with the Competition Bureau to investigate groups that spread misleading information to promote fossil fuel development.

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

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

December 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.


1.No SENS events are planned for December. Enjoy time with family and friends and drive carefully!

2. OCCP: SENS is a partner with the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program (OCCP). Check out their annual report of accomplishments here: http://okcp.ca/images/annual-reports/OCCP-Annual-Report-Oct-23-2016-update.pdf

3. Blue Dot: Vernon is now one of 144 communities (40% of Canada’s population) that has passed environmental rights declarations stating the right to live in a healthy environment. SENS hopes NORD will also sign on, soon. Thank-you to Keli and Terry for their recent presentation to RDNO on the Blue Dot movement.


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. The Messenger: December 1st, 7pm, Vernon Library. This visually stunning film investigates the causes of songbird mass depletion and the compassionate people who are working to turn the tide. It also asks the question: Can we live in a world without birds? Sponsors are the North Okanagan Naturalists Club (donations appreciated) and the Vernon library. For more information, call 250-542-7610.

3. Free, Ride Thru Winter Workshop: Dec 3, 10 am – noon, Vernon library. Prizes! Learn about maintenance, clothing, equipment, routes and more! Sponsors: ORL, DVA, Sun Country Cycle, and NOCAT.

4.Coldstream Greenways For Active Transportation: GCAT is a volunteer group that is advocating for Greenways (separated/protected multi-use trails that are paved so that they can be safely used by all) in Coldstream. GCAT wishes people of all ages to be more active and healthy. Please provide your input through this short survey, share the survey, and ‘like’ their Facebook page!

5. Rail Trail Legacy Gift: Volunteers from the Okanagan rail Trail suggest giving a gift of a meter ($160) or even part of a meter to someone you know this Christmas. Trail Development Certificates are available with on-line donations. Community Foundation of the North Okanagan (542-8677) also accepts donations.


1. Solar Powered Pedaler: Check out this innovative invention!

2. $1200 Tiny House: Cash strapped? Well here's a home you can afford!

3. Unique Tap Attachment to Save Water: Check out this cool nozzle!

4. The True Cost of LNG: A great opinion piece that equates LNG to super high costs for B.C. taxpayers + climate!

5. Coursera: Interested in learning on line? Check out the free offerings from various universities on such topics as animal behavior, geology, dinosaurs, the universe, astronomy, global warming and even “Sustainable Food Production Through Livestock health Management”

6. Damage From Privatization: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2016/nov/22/justin-trudeaus-giant-corporate-giveaway


1.Approval of Monsanto's Herbicide: Last month, the EPA approved over-the-counter use of Monsanto's latest dicamba-based herbicide. Such a move will 'massively increase use of toxic pesticides' on GMO crops! It also poses a serious threat to biodiversity. Plants and animals around those crops will now be exposed to even higher toxic levels then before. In addition, children, especially those in communities where homes, schools, and playgrounds are in close proximity to pesticide use, are at greater risk to exposure. And a final issue to consider is that Monsanto is creating yet another cycle of herbicide resistance...


1. Cancer: The B.C. Cancer Agency will use UBC cancer detecting technology in a pilot study to determine if a blood test can pinpoint early signs of cancer.

2. Whales and Drones: Check out these rare high-quality images of bowhead whales in Nunavut!

3. Salmon Podcast: You can listen to a podcast or peruse pictures here.

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

Grassy Narrows Mercury: Wabigoon River fish are the most contaminated in Ontario, 40 years after Mercury dumping stopped. Finally, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, promised a cleanup in Grassy Narrows, “to the satisfaction of the chief and the health of the people." Ontario released a report this May outlining safe river cleanup options.

FROM SUMOFUS.ORG (non-profit social media group)

Nestle and Ontario’s Water: Even if you don’t live there, your public pressure can help Ontario with the 2 year ban it is considering for companies such as Nestle that take water (at $3.71 per million litres) to make a profit for shareholders. Please share this petition to your friends on Facebook.


1. Carbon Tax? Oil and Gas Subsidies? The Suzuki Foundation encourages you to contact your MP and ask for a quick end to the 3.3 Billion in subsidies provided through your tax dollars every year. They must be used for alternatives, re-training and supporting those with less. The promise is to phase them out in 10 years…but that is far too late! Also a lone national carbon tax won't be enough to curtail Canada's energy pollution. We need to be much more aggressive!

2. David Suzuki Fellowships: They’re providing three of these, each worth $50,000. The application deadline, Feb 1st, 2017. Please apply if you meet eligibility and have expertise in: clean energy solutions or the economics of sustainable development (based in Vancouver), climate solutions and traditional Indigenous knowledge (based in Toronto), or transportation, energy and climate solutions (based in Montreal). Details can be found here.

3. On Trump Win: Like many others, I was dismayed U.S. Election results. I then read this hopeful message!


1. Garden Prepping for 2017: Here's an article on putting your garden to bed 'til Spring, plus other ideas!

2. B.C.'s Agriculture’s Connection to Health: Here's a summary (PDF) of the evidence relevant to B.C. This evidence review aims to address the question of how local agriculture affects health by presenting evidence on the associations between agriculture, healthy eating, and the determinants of health. It also looks at the impacts of climate change on the food supply and the growing interest in supporting a more resilient and sustainable food system.

3. Household Food Insecurity: It exists! Here's proof! And here's the position and recommendations of the Dieticians of Canada.

4. Volunteer Opportunities: FASNO is looking for volunteers (and donations!) to help improve local food security. They cultivate a healthy, sustainable regional food system through education and community action. Contact them at 250-275-8814 or info@foodaction.ca. if you are interested in newsletter development, website, and/or social media management, please volunteer to help us with various activities. Or become a Board Member – they make things happen!

5. Good Food Box: Get a basket of fresh fruit and vegetables monthly, available in a central location. Pay $16 (cash only) by Wednesday the week before distribution day (3rd Thursday of the month). Delivery is available in Vernon (within city limits). Also in Vernon, a smaller $10 box is available. Info? Website or call Diane at 250-545-7617.

6. Healthy Eating Information: For more, check out the 'Your Health' website or dial 8-1-1!

7. Community Kitchens: Cook communally! Learn new recipes! The cost is only $1/portion of food you take home. Classes are on the 3rd Thursday and Friday of every month. You must pre-register. To sign up e-mail vernoncommunitycooking@gmail.com or call 250-275-8814.


1. Glyphosate Testing in Our Bodies: The health hazards associated with glyphosate are growing; not just cancer is associated with exposure to this chemical, but a whole range of developmental and neuroendocrine conditions are also implicated. This is because it is now known that glyphosate can substitute for glycine, a key amino acid in protein synthesis. Proteins made with this substitute will not function normally! As such, a project to try and determine the presence of glyphosate in the bodies of ordinary citizens, primarily of the U.S., is now underway...


1. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is proposing to phase out imidacloprid, not to protect bees, though. More here.

2. Triclostan: US Food and Drug Administration is banning triclosan in soaps as there’s not evidence it reduces infections. In Canada we are still hedging on whether to phase it out.

3. Bitumen: Prevent Cancer Now says bitumen should be “detoxed” before shipping.


Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck


Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR): SENS and the Library co-sponsored a full-house evening of dialogue with Richard Bullock, November 24, with interesting questions and comments from attendees. Here’s Richard on CBC radio: http://www.cbc.ca/listen/live/radio1/kelowna and here are some of the comments from the evening.

The Agricultural land Commission (ALC) came about, pre 1972, because the Regional Districts and Municipalities had lost control - housing took land instead of it staying for food farming and orcharding. It is still the best plan for preserving farm food land but it needs support from the RDs and municipalities. Less than 5 % of land release requests and other change requests come from farmers so work and time of the ALC is wasted by non-farmers out to suit personal choices. The NDP came into power and supported the ALR and ALC with a contract for fruit farmers to freeze land so it could not be sold for housing but only kept for farming. In exchange, farmers were protected with insurance against bad year damage etc. Later governments (Socred -Liberals) started changing how the ALC and ALR operated. Now ALR land is used for speculative reasons (hold to make money) so values rose and land is no longer affordable for young farmers. We are up against powerful money people. Speculator owners hold onto agricultural land until they can sell, not for farm land, but for huge, and personal profit. RD’s and Municipalities are not standing up and protecting agriculture – they’re not treating agriculture the same as they do other businesses, yet BC agriculture is the second largest GDP economic generator in BC.

Solutions: Eliminate ALL individual applications to the ALC. Any application to remove land should only be brought up at a public meeting The community should make the decision so that it benefits the whole community, not just one landowner. Victoria should not be making the decisions about local land. Local government should, with the public’s input make the final decision. “HANDS OFF FARMLAND”. If locals say this, then the government will back off. It should be Kristi Clark saying it, though, and then the fight by the ALC to protect farmland and keep it sacrosanct would be ‘over’. The NDP critic needs to push to have government say “no” to all individual applications. Local government (not federal or provincial) affects us most but we give them the least attention.

The price of food is an issue – how much are we willing to pay for food? If you buy it as farmland, then you sell it as farmland only. There are small successful retailers such as Davison’s and more are appearing. We used to have 13 large packing houses in the valley (1950’s) but now there’s only Sunripe and everyone ships to them. RD’s and Municipalities have allowed this loss. NOCA was a $17 million industry but the Foremost Co. would not work with them so no milk is not processed locally and many jobs were lost. Free trade agriculture is killing our sovereignty. All we do is shop and support foreign food production. The push is still to produce food for export, not use it locally.

In Salmon Arm 1100 farm land owners have received letters about a land lease rent workshop to be held. It most likely would discuss such things as 25 year land tenure leases to young farmers so that, even if the land sold, it would stay as protected farm land and the farmer could continue to produce food. Compartmentalizing may have meant farmers are not showing viability. Mixed use of land may help change how people see presence of farming. Big money corporations see farmland as a safe investment - too narrow a view of agriculture.

In Kelowna farmers were allowed to diversify – rent to a few trailer owners short term for extra money, but it has got out of control and now the trailer parks can’t be removed. They are trailer park renters, NOT farmers now. Diversification should only be allowed if farming is the dominant industry (and thus successful!). There is a perception that one has to diversify to make a go of agriculture but these are ”shit farmers” – they’re no good at it and have made a poor decision to buy to farm so have tried to diversify to make ends meet. The change of regulations at the ALC is aimed at non-farmers.

Right to Farm” legislation has meant that a mega cow farm on 400 acres can pollute aquifers with impunity and get government support to keep doing it.. Industrial farming needs control, though. (editorial aside: if it were 1000 humans, not cows, a tertiary treatment facility would be mandatory, right?). Chilliwack is sitting on the best aquifer water in the world but locals are getting concerned about the destruction of the high quality water due to local farmers’ “right to farm”…

Richard asked everyone to “tell Your Story” re; protecting food land, shopping locally etc. YOUTH have to make the difference..


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.