warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/sensocie/public_html/v6/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

October 2016 Newsletter +  


Sustainable Environment Network Society

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. Climate Justice in BC - Re-Imagining a Good Green Life: October 11th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Can BC become carbon-zero and generate 1000’s of good green jobs? Seth Klein (Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) shares key findings and policy solutions of the Climate Justice Project, highlighting how we can do this with fairness and equality.  SENS is co-sponsoring with CFUW, UBCO and other groups. Admission by donation ($5 suggested) to assist with costs. 

 2. Off The Grid: Thursday, October 27, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Join us for an evening to discuss solar’s costs, types and benefits. Come early to check out the information tables!  Solar and earthship information to augment this evening is at the end of this newsletter. 

3. Sept 22 With Dr Warren Bell

 Vernon, as of June 6, 2016, is a Blue Dot City - all citizens have the right to a safe, healthy environment -   … some tidbits from Dr Bell’s presentation that you might wish to use for a letter of concern re: pesticide use in our fair city…

**Round-up’s active ingredient (glyphosate) is all that’s ever tested in research, however the inactive ingredients have been found to be 1000 times more harmful than just glyphosate. 

**The Gilles – Eric Seralini study on glyphosate and mammals was done, not for 3 months (by Monsanto) but for 2 years, and it found many more tumours appeared and also that there was serious kidney disease that showed up – in some tropical countries that use glyphosate this has been very evident. Bangladesh scientists did research and therefore the product was banned but the US and Monsanto applied pressure (or money?) and the government ban was overturned. The next election ousted that leader.

 **Chemical companies have known the bad effects of their pesticides for decades but have kept it under wraps and used ‘spin doctors’ to avoid such exposure, even putting “Monsanto stooges” into high level positions elsewhere to influence decisions.… 

**1995 Environmental Working Group found 285 chemicals in umbilical cord blood of babies. **The Zeka virus has been around for a long time without the appearance of the microcephaly babies. Why now? Spraying started in 2014 to control the mosquito virus…. Brazil, with government support, uses much GMO product… 

**Denmark is going totally organic… they recognize the need to work with nature using biomimicry, and to go organic to get normal food. 

** we need to limit chemical use and not do more research or make more of the over 85,000 chemicals we already have in use ( most NOT tested stringently). 

** Check out the 2012 September Review of Pesticide Health Effects for details. 

** We can’t just look after ourselves via local parochial preoccupations but we need a global perspective driving our local lives and actions.

 3. April 27, 2017: SENS executive have met and planned all months until next May, however we have nothing yet for April.. Got a great idea for a speaker or panel or debate or??? Let us know! jblissau@telus.net


1. Farmers’ Markets: Until end of October…

·       Vernon: Mondays and Thursdays, 8 – 1 pm, Kal Tire Place.

·       Coldstream: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 6 pm, in the park.

·       Armstrong: Saturdays, 8 – noon, Fairgrounds. 

2. Vernon's i-Walk Month: Vernon is celebrating Walking with three i-Walk School Celebration Stations, on Wed. Oct. 12th at Ellison Elementary; Thursday, October 13th at Harwood Elementary; and Friday, October 14th at Alexis Park Elementary. All stations will have free refreshments for students walking, biking, scootering or taking the school bus and a chance to win an i-Walk grab bag! 

3. Carpool Week: Make October your month to rejuvenate on your way to work. Sign up to carpool locally at carpool.ca and meet other neat people for great pre & post work chat and sharing! There are prizes too!

 4. Family Astronomy Night: Oct 8th @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, Allan Brooks Nature Centre.  Join us on this International Observe the Moon night with local members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. They’ll answer all your questions during a short presentation beginning at 6:30, then point their telescopes toward the moon and other celestial wonders for an evening of family fun. In the event of rain, the presentation will be extended to include more fascinating information and focus on the Apollo missions. To end the evening the Society will tell a “bedtime” story about the moon. Admission is by donation. 

5. October’s Best Fest: Oct 29th @ 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Join us for our brand new closing event of season! Activities include pumpkin carving, kite building and flying, craft workshops, treats, games, prizes, a bonfire, a costume contest, and more! After dark we’ll light up our pumpkins for a spooky pumpkin walk with stories on the nature trail. Suggested donation of $10 per family includes take-home crafts and pumpkins. 

6. Murder and Maggots: Oct 12th @ 7:30 pm, OK College lecture theatre. This“ Science in Society” presentation by Dr. Anderson of SFU's School of Criminology features the use of forensic entomology in criminal investigations. $7 in advance from OSC (545-3644) or $10 at the door.     

7. North Okanagan Naturalists Meeting: October 5th, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel. Robyn Thornton will show her pictures from a recent visit to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

8. Recycling: If you have garage sale items you’d like to provide to a new home, OK Landing Association is holding a garage sale October 22, 8 – noon. Contact: Errol at errol2000@yahoo.com


1. Beehives and Elephants: In Africa, beehives are being used by farmers as a fence to keep out destructive grazing elephants. As an added bonus, the “elephant-friendly” honey sells at a premium and the bees pollinate the surrounding vegetation! To read the entire article, go here.

2. Solar Powered Creations: Check out this cool video!

3. Solar Industry Trends: In 2015, it was worth almost $23 billion US. By the end of 2016, it's expected to double... One of the trends driving that growth has been the falling cost of solar energy. The price of installing solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last 10 years. And thanks to new technology, installation is getting cheaper, too! A second major trend driving this is the quest to recharge electric cars in solar powered parking lots. Finally, the third major trend revolves around the idea of producing excess energy and selling it to the utility company. 

4. The Future of Humanity: How much of the fossil fuel in the world’s existing coal mines and oil wells can we dig, drill or burn to prevent global warming from cooking the planet? ZERO. Read on!

 5. Hippo-Roller: Check out this video to see how this simple tech is providing clean water for Africa!


1. Sockeye Salmon:This year’s run is the lowest in recorded history. Climate change and river/ocean warming, that encourages sea lice as well as low river flow, are to blame. Researchers also predict that these conditions will drive the salmon north. This migration/decline will seriously affect coastal ecosystems and wildlife (e.g. resident killer whales). Can salmon and their ecosystems survive? One recommendation is to move fish farm onto land… 

2. Air Travel: Aircraft emissions are not considered within climate change accords between countries, despite contributing 2 % of global emissions. However, a new deal to impose limits on aircraft emissions will be considered for approval at the UN International Civil Aviation Organization assembly early in October. As air transport becomes increasingly popular, experts project aircraft emissions could triple by 2050.

3. In Diversity There is Strength: This lovely little essay by David Suzuki lays out the fundamental scientific link between diversity in ecosystems, and diversity in human culture. It's a wonderful short read from a man who has had a major impact on the world both within and outside the world of biological science. 


1. National Energy Board Impartiality:  Read about how ECOJUSTICE is raising tough questions about the impartiality of the National Energy Board panel tasked with reviewing the TransCanada Energy East Pipeline project! 


1. B.C.’s Top 5 Water Challenges: The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance recently released this report, which documents dozens of examples of critical water issues unfolding in the province’s watersheds. Drawing on an extensive review of media, cases, and insights from attending over 100 recent water related events, the study identifies five key water challenges. They range from securing fresh water for ecological, community, and economic sustainability, to building a leading, robust science and governance framework.


1. Subsidies that Benefit Fossil Fuel Producers:  In a world that’s shifting to cleaner sources of energy, these subsidies don’t make sense!  Currently the federal and provincial governments give out about $3.3 billion in fossil fuel subsidies. When the Liberals were running for election in 2015, they promised to end fossil fuel subsidies. Let's ensure they stick to that promise. Support any provincial party in the next election that vows this. Also, check out this great website that explains these subsidies, debates them,  and explores solutions for Canadians and Canada’s economy. 

2. Green Finance In China: When in 2013, IISD and its Chinese partners began to look at how finance sector reform might speed the transition to green development, the Chinese were quick to act. In just a year they established the Green Finance Task Force and, in 2014, a Green Finance Committee. In October 2015, China announced that green finance would be a priority! China is, today, the unquestioned world leader in green finance. The country’s new  green era is well under-way. The consequences will be felt all over the world. 


1. International Criminal Courts: In a major shift of focus, the ICC will now, for the first time, consider cases of crime committed against the ecosystem. This falls in line with the actions of several nations and provinces around the world which have granted the ecosystem inherent rights, or have made the right to a healthy and diverse ecosystem a central position in human law. One band has decided to divest itself from fossil fuels (for “scientific reasons”). It’s a union owned bank with $4 billion invested. 

2. State of Provincial and Municipal Pesticide Regulations in Canada: On August 30th, CAPE released a new report on the state of provincial and municipal pesticide regulations in Canada. CAPE found that while seven provinces have cosmetic pesticide bans, only two provinces provide strong protection from toxic pesticides: Ontario and Nova Scotia. Three provinces - Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan - received failing grades. The report identifies and discusses best practices for both provincial laws and municipal bylaws. 

3. Peace of Mind For The Peace? A coalition of advocacy groups have raised $300K to help pay for Treaty 8 First Nations (up in BC's Peace River country) to mount a case challenging the Site C dam.



1. Revamp: Guy has just revamped his full coverage of the Climate Crisis and their solutions. 500+ slides. Feel free to use any or all when teaching or giving a talk. 


1. Canadian Species at Risk: Did you know that Canada has 40 IUCN Red List species that are now more endangered than the giant panda? Find out what the NCC is doing to protect these species by going here

2. A story of Good and Weevils: In B.C.’s West Chilcotin, a tiny bug is helping to control an aggressive invader. To learn more, go here

3. The Importance of Dead and Dying Trees: When thinking about healthy forests, it’s not often we include dead, dying or diseased trees. But any enlightened forest manager will tell you that they’re an essential part of a strong forest ecosystem, and a key characteristic of old-growth. Read on


1. Solar Water Heating

There are a few different ways to heat water with the solar energy. Using the summer sun to heat a pool makes perfect sense in the sunny Okanagan. The most economical method of heating a swimming pool is through the use of a floating, transparent, polybubble cover that traps the energy of the sun. Commercial solar swimming pool heaters can further enhance the heating of a pool, however, they are expensive and achieve about the same heating effect as a polybubble cover 

If you travel to the Mediterranean it seems as though every other house has a solar domestic hot water heater but in Canada they are a rarity. There are two reasons for this: first of all the lack of winter sunshine across most of Canada and the cost of purchasing and installing a heater. Some solar water heaters have a 20 year payback period, after which time the system will probably require replacement!
The solution could be to build your own heater which sounds difficult but actually is not. While teaching at PVSS we built a batch solar water heater out of two oil barrels mounted in a large insulated box that had a glass cover over its sloped south-facing side. In addition the glass cover was sealed-off at night, by raising a hinged reflective cover. Each barrel was painted with high-heat flat black paint and was 90% filled with water (to allow for expansion and contraction of the contents). A copper pipe carried cold water into a copper spiral in each barrel and then continued into the conventional hot water heater.
This very simple hot water heater, that was mainly constructed from recycled materials, supplied a family of four with about 60% of their annual needs for hot water. A heater of this design could very easily have a payback period of less than two years, which is a very attractive proposition.


Earthships are houses that are virtually self-sufficient in terms of energy, water usage and food production. The whole concept has been pioneered, developed and refined by architect Michael Reynolds in Taos, New Mexico. Reynolds prefers to call his work 'Biotecture', as it involves a lot more than traditional architecture. He has battled a great deal of resistance from those who write building codes and the establishment in general. After a long fight he has convinced the powers that be that this type of experimental housing offers a lot, including fighting global warming.
The houses utilize a lot of tires, bottles and cans in their construction; using up materials that fill landfills in many parts of the world. The walls are very massive being constructed of rammed-earth filled tires, which are plastered to make them attractive in appearance. The thermal mass of the walls and berming of the north-facing side of the house minimizes temperature swings and effectively insulates the houses. The whole of the south side of each house is covered with windows. The huge area of windows is sufficient to keep a house warm in the winter even when the temperature drops well below zero Celsius; hard to believe but apparently true! Behind the windows are large growing areas where fruit and vegetables are grown in abundance supplying as much as eighty percent of the food for the people living in the particular house. All water landing on the roof of the house is collected in two 5000 gallon tanks and is used four times over. The water is used for drinking and all other normal uses for water. Wash water from baths, showers and sinks passes on to the vegetable growing area where it is partially cleaned by the plants. Water leaving that area is used to flush toilets. The 'black water' leaving the toilets goes to a conventional septic tank. The water exiting the tank is used to water landscape plants, but not anything that might be eaten directly. Electricity is produced from photovoltaic cells that generate enough electricity to power the house..The whole house is insulated, apart from under the house, where the earth helps with heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.   ' Garbage Warrior',  which documents the world of earthships and Michael Reynolds’  development of the concept may be viewed on Youtube. 

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

September 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. Pesticides: September 22th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Dr Warren Bell, co-founder of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) speaks on the latest findings of such chemicals like round-up/glyphosate, the multinationals producers, and CAPE’s work. Questions/discussion encouraged.

2. Climate Justice and Income Inequality: October 11th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. SENS teams up with UBCO, CFUW, and other groups to bring in Seth Kline of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to speak on how these two things interconnect. He will also speak at UBCO Wednesday afternoon on Income Inequality and Taxes for those who can attend that event. Donation are appreciated and will assist with costs.

3. We Want To Hear From You! What topics/speakers/events would you like SENS to present next year? Let us know at jblissau@telus.net.


1. Farmers’ Markets: Until end of October…

  • Vernon: Mondays and Thursdays, 8 – 1 pm, Kal Tire Place.

  • Coldstream: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 6 pm, in the park.

  • Armstrong: Saturdays, 8 – noon, Fairgrounds.

2. North Okanagan Naturalists Meeting: September 7, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel. Duane Thomson speaks on the Okanagan Rail Trail.

3. Green Drinks: September 12th (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. Watershed 2016 Dialogue: Sept. 30th - Oct 1st, SFU Wosk Centre in Vancouver. Hear the talk onBuilding Capacity for Collaboration and Watershed Governance in British Columbia. Visit the website for costs, discounts and other details.


1. Site C and Water Privatization: According to this report, Site C, if built, could be bought by U.S. interests for the water rights. Ugh! Yet another reason to stop this reckless project...

2. Foreshore Mapping Project: RDCO will be starting the Foreshore Inventory and Mapping (FIM) for the entire Okanagan Lake this September. Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program
 (OCCP) is seeking volunteers to be part of the data collection team! Volunteers are needed to ride in a boat and collect data. Please contact OCCP123@gmail.com if interested.

3. Interesting Videos: Check out these videos on: (a) Simple Electricity Generation, (b) Mini RVs, (c) Growing In Winter, (d) NASA's Electric Plane, (e) CO2 Converted to Rock, (f) The True Environmental Cost to Industry, and (g) North & South Poles Glory!

4. Journey to the Future - A Better World Is Possible: Check out Guy Dauncey’s presentation on his book!

5. Renewables: South Australia gets 40 % of its electricity from solar and wind and hopes to reach 50 - 60 % within a few years. The area is blessed with abundant sunlight, but few jurisdictions have committed to solar as aggressively and successfully as South Australia. Solar panels are now mounted on one of every four houses!

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

1. Deep Sea Mine: It’s now licensed to go ahead despite our oceans already being very stressed. As such, Avaaz wishes you to sign their petition!

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

1. Proportional Representation: Check out their 1 ½ minute video at VoteBetter.ca. Such change would be better for the environment too!


1. Soil Building with Biochar: To reverse the damaging effects of industrial agriculture, one can mix biochar with organic waste to create humus-rich soil that stores large amounts of carbon, nutrients, and water. In the book Terra Preta, the authors claim that increasing the humus content of soils worldwide by 10% within the next 50 years could reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to pre-industrial levels!


1. Lawsuit: in July, they launched a lawsuit that challenges the unlawful registrations of a number of pesticides containing two neonicotinoid active ingredients, Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam. Both have been linked to mass bee die-offs! The case could set an important precedent under the Pest Control Products Act for more rigorous review of toxic pesticides before they’re registered for use in Canada.

2. Good News: An April Lawsuit to remove Shell Canada’s expired oil and gas permits in Lancaster Sound from a registry of active permits was successful. A Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area can now be established.


1. Moratorium on Old-Growth Logging: There are new calls to stop this! For more, go here.

2. Elk Hunting: Despite their falling numbers in southeastern B.C., hunters remain opposed to a ban. Read this Vancouver Sun article to find out why.

3. Unsustainable Seafood: According to a report, most Canadian seafood fails the harvesting sustainability test. Read a summary on the Vancouver Sun's website.

4. Oilsands Smog Levels: Go here to find out why scientists are so amazed...

5. Park Opposition: Apparently a potential national park in the South Okanagan faces opposition as debate continues over land protection. For more, check out the Globe and Mail's article.

6. Shattered Dreams: A new report out is knocking down pro-pipelines 'fantasies'. Check out this must read article!


1.Fossil Fuel Subsidies: More than 200 civil society organizations, including IISD, urged G20 governments to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2020. Read this statement, as well as IISD’s recommendations to the G20 on realizing the commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies! Read more here.

2.Full Cost to Public Purse of UK’s Nuclear Power: Numerous subsidies benefit a possible new nuclear plant but an initial EUR 6 billion is now indicated at about EUR 30 billion due to uncertainties for accident clean-up, decommissioning costs, loan guarantees, waste disposal costs and more. It’s costly and risky…and power from solar PV and wind power is estimated to be cheaper and renewable energy projects wohave much less level of construction/operational risk. Read more here.

3. Low Carbon Growth With Canadian Expertise: Ideas are put forward here to support overseas countries to adapt to climate change. Much assistance would connect with agriculture, which is responsible for 1/3 of global emissions… and 2/3 of global mitigation potential from agriculture is in the developing world. Read more here.


1. Canadian Environmental Assessment Act: The federal government will be reviewing this law, noted by many as being weak and undemocratic. For more information on the weakening of Canadian environmental assessment processes since 2011, see this report. For more information on the Environmental Assessment Reform Summit, go here.

2. Tar Sands: The Koch brothers own more real estate in the Tar Sands of Alberta than any of the fossil fuel corporations that have invested there. They have vowed to spend substantially on the U.S. election (see link). Donald Trump and the Koch brothers are a dangerous mix...

3. Solar, Not Nuclear: According to the Ukrainian government, the contaminated nuclear wasteland around Chernobyl, which has about 6,000 hectares of “idle” land, could be turned into one of the world’s largest solar farms. The European Bank, two U.S. investment firms, and four Canadian energy companies have expressed interest in Chernobyl’s solar potential.

4. Roundup/Glyphosate: This Dr. Warren Bell article makes an excellent case for the opposition to pesticides! Based on a growing body of conflict-free scientific research, many pesticides once believed to be safe have proven not to be. As a family physician, Bell's criticism of pesticides is as rational as to how he dealt with his patients — sensible, analytical, and grounded in evidence. He speaks on Pesticides, Sept 22, 7 pm, Schubert Centre – all are welcome!

5. Obama on climate Change: Here's a fairly blunt address about climate change by the President Obama to the combined Commons and Senate membership. This little segment, showing him speaking elegantly and articulately without notes, is great! Human civilization is in serious jeopardy. The planet may just have to give us the boot.

6. Site C: Site C is to water what the Tar Sands are to fossil fuels: outdated, unnecessary, disruptive of First Nations and local settlers' rights, hugely expensive (at $9 billion estimated price, the costliest infrastructure project in B.C. history) and deeply damaging to the local ecosystem. Here's a short (4+ minutes) video on it from Desmog Canada.

7. Respect For Ecosystem Interconnections (Chickens Especially):

a) Here's an undercover investigation of a very large food corporation, Tyson foods, carried out by an advocacy group called "Mercy for Animals". Be warned though; It's very disturbing!

b) This website, and in particular a few videos on it illustrate what happens when humankind treats the other parts of the living tapestry of the planet with indifference, and ultimately with heartless cruelty….

8. Environmental Health Task Force: The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has established a Task Force on Environmental Health to look at environmental sensitivities/multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. For the full bit, go here. Also, background information about the work that lead to this can be found here.


1. Cell-Phone – Like Radiation: A new study disproves the hypothesis that the only damage from microwaves and radio frequency radiation (RFR) is from heating. Cancers are indicated. More details are available here. Also, here are some tips to minimize your personal exposure to RFR.

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

June 2016 Newsletter +  

JUNE 2016


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. NO SENS EVENTS for June, July and August. Stay safe this summer. Enjoy family friends and the great outdoors. We’ll see you September 22!

2. Blue Dot: June 13th,(1:30pm?) -  Mark your calendars and plan to attend! SENS director Terry Dyck will be asking Vernon Council to join the Blue Dot Movement. The Blue Dot Movement is the inherent right for everyone to have a healthy environment with clean water, fresh air and healthy food.

3. We Want To Hear From You! What topics/speakers/events would you like SENS to present in the next year? Let us know at  jblissau@telus.net.


1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Vernon: Mondays and Fridays, 8 – 1 pm, Kal Tire Place.

·       Vernon: Curbside Night Market and block party, 30th Ave, 6 – 9 pm, June 24, July 22, Aug 26.

·       Coldstream: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 6 pm in the park.

·       Armstrong: Saturdays, 8 – noon, Fairgrounds.

2. Congratulations: North Okanagan Coalition for Active Transportation (NOCAT) is one of 25 organizations recognized by Green Communities Canada for endorsing the Canadian walking and walkability action strategy.

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. Pesticide ‘No-Spray” Registry: Every summer, the city hires a contractor to spray sidewalk cracks, front edges of properties, and back lanes. If you do not want pesticides applied next to your property call, 250 549-6757, Get your address and phone number on this No Spray Registry!

5. Bike to Work and School Week: May 30th - June 5th.

-      Mid Week Celebration Station: Wednesday June 1st, 6:30 – 9:30 am, Sun Country Cycle. Prizes, coffee, continental breakfast, enter to win a free bike, get your bike checked.

-      Bike to School Celebration Stations:  May 31st, 7:45am, Harwood Elem. / June 2nd, 7:45 am, Alexis Park Elem. / June 3rd, 7:45 am, Ecole Beairsto,

-      Wrap-up BBQ Spirit Square: Friday, June 3rd, 4:30 – 6:30 pm. Prizes,free burgers, quality entertainment by Kiki the Eco Elf and Vernon Community Band.

-      ALSO; 2016 B.C.-Wide Grand Prize Trip: Register at biketowork.ca  for a chance to win a cycling adventure for 2 in Vietnam sponsored by Exodus Travel.

6. First Peoples Celebration: June 11, 11am – 3 pm Allan Brooks Nature Centre. Celebrate our neighbours’ culture and heritage. Presentations, hands-on-art, bannock – making and more!

7. Local Bee Bylaw: Great benefits accrue with presence of urban honeybees.  Check out this info and ask for a bylaw allowing them here.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7LZe6XsV2k

FROM FASNO (Food Action Society of the North Okanagan)

1. 18th Annual Gathering of the B.C. Food Systems Network: July 15th -17th, In Syilx Territory, at the En'owkin Centre in Penticton, B.C. More details will follow soon. Interested in volunteering? Please get in touch with gathering@bcfsn.org. For more information, go here.


1.  Changing the World (via Guy Dauncey): The lower house of Parliament in Holland recently voted to ban the sale of non-electric cars by 2025. It still has to pass the Dutch Senate.


2. Site C Info: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZgDsJFJ4q0e-_AhgndZG0b3v8jE5cDUO

3. Fact-Resistant Humans: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/scientists-earth-endanger...


1. Bike lanes on Bloor Street: Toronto benefited from the Foundation’s and Cycle Toronto’s push to get a bike lane here. It will make cycling safe, reduce air pollution, and protect climate.

2. Feeding Humanity: GHG emissions from farms (including deforestation for farmland) is about 24% of all global emissions…but we need food for the 9 billion inhabitants, so, what will do it best and keep GHG’s down?... 1/3 of all food is wasted and we have both obesity and starvation so distribution and waste reduction would help, as would reducing meat consumption … GMO crops won’t help since they have yet to increase yields…industrial agriculture has increased food volumes efficiently but there are too many consequences (pollution, soil loss/damage, antibiotic resistance, chemical damage).

The Rodale Institute, a research organization devoted to organic farming, concluded global adoption of agroecological practices such as “cover crops, compost, crop rotation and reduced tillage” could “sequester more carbon than is currently emitted.” Agroecology is a system with high species diversity and a biologically active soil, that promotes natural pest control, nutrient recycling and high soil cover to prevent resource losses.

UN reporter Olivier De Schutter said “… scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live — especially in unfavourable environments.” …and… “agroecological projects have shown an average crop yield increase of 80% in 57 developing countries, with an average increase of 116% for all African projects.”


1. Net-Zero Buildings: While the newer National Building Code of Canada does embrace upgrading existing buildings to make them “climate change ready”, it misses the opportunity to introduce tougher building energy efficiency (a net-zero) target for new and, eventually, existing buildings. Tell your MLA and your Premier that Net zero energy building standards must be an expectation for all of Canada! For the entire article, go here.


1.  They won a federal court case that expected Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and fish companies to change practises so that no fish carrying disease could be transferred to open – net pens near wild fish in BC. DFO and those companies are filing an appeal….However, DFO scientists have diagnosed a potential case of Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) in B.C. farmed salmon. HSMI causes severe lethargy and weakness, ultimately robbing fish of their ability to swim upstream to spawn and making them easy prey for their predators. Ask Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Hunter Tootoo to save our wild salmon before this disease can be transferred, as happened in Norway.


1.Sustainable Seafood:  Globally, certified seafood production grew 35% annually over the last decade. The sustainable seafood market is surging. According to this report, sustainable seafood now accounts for 14% of global production. This is good news for the environment and fish stocks, and is helping to address decades of mismanagement. The report concludes by saying that “targeted investment in developing country certification is needed [for even greater numbers].” For more information please go here.  

2.  Climate Change On Our Prairies: U. of Winnipeg - IISD research shows that the area will warm much more than the planet.  Read more here. 


1. Site C: What BC Residents Have and Have Not Been Told About Site C Dam and Electricity Prices. From Powell River - Great article

2. Geothermal Energy: Why aren't we using more of it - Read about it here


1. Halifax Project Wins Cancer Prevention Award: On Earth Day 2016, Prevent Cancer Now announced that the Halifax Project is to be the recipient of the Group Cancer Prevention Award – 2015. With extraordinary scientific leadership and wisdom, the Project is leading to a reframing of cancer. It considers environmental contributors to cancer, as well as beneficial exposures (primarily diet) that may prevent occurrence, progression, or even foster a cure.


1. Neoliberalism and Planet Destruction: Destruction of our own ecosystem/nest makes no sense....unless there is a nutty ideology out there that declares that it does. That systemic thinking is known as neoliberalism. The neo-liberal agenda is to allow systemic unfairness and make it seem "right". Neoliberalism also generates actual institutions (e.g. tax havens) that perpetuate the imbalances and approved destructiveness inherent in this belief system...Obviously, neoliberalism must go! Once the imbalances become more fair, the resources needed to transform the Planet into a safe and secure place for future generations would be readily available. For a related article, go here.

2. World Health Organization: The WHO is thinking of going corporate, so this means Monsanto, Pfizer and any other corporate entity could sit at the decision-making table and direct discussion towards their business goals. The conflict of interest safeguards they have in place that prevent data distortion would be greatly weakened.

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

May 2016 Newsletter +  


MAY 2016

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. FREE Movie Night - Merchants of Doubt: May 26th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. This documentary shows how a few influential scientists obscured the truth about issues such as tobacco smoke, the ozone, and global warming in order to advance a political and economic agenda.

 2. Updated B.C. Societies Act:  At the 2017 AGM, members will be asked to accept a new Constitution and Bylaws for SENS as part of an improved B.C. Societies Act. This new, easy-to-understand act will be a benchmark for the rest of Canada! If you are interested in helping SENS directors change our bylaws to fit the new criteria, please contact Julia (542-0892) or Signn (503-3150). 

3. Site C: On April 18 the Sierra Club made a presentation in Vernon about the Site C dam.  The information given by members of the club,  educated  people about how great of an agricultural area the Peace River Valley is.  The valley has some unique circumstances; it is a desert sitting on a huge aquifer with lots of good  irrigation.  The summers are very warm because of the east west valley giving them long hours of sunshine.  They grow crops such as watermelon and cantaloupe and many other fruit and vegetable crops.    Most of the land that would be flooded by the dam is class 1 and class 2 land.   The land is capable of feeding 1 million people every year. The dam will be 60 meters high and the water will flood this land and the cost of construction is $8.8 billion dollars.  Stats show that people in BC have been using less electricity in the last few years because of Hydro's energy save programs and conservation.  There is no need for electricity expansion but the Oil patch and LNG projects are promoting this dam.  With fracking causing earth quakes and pollution of water we need to be careful with moving ahead on Fracking. 

4. Blue Dot: June 13 - Mark your calendars and plan to attend! SENS director Terry Dyck will be asking Vernon Council to join the Blue Dot Movement. The blue dot movement is the inherent right for everyone to have a healthy environment with clean water, fresh air and healthy food. 


1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Vernon: Mondays and Fridays, 8 – 1 pm, Kal Tire Place.

·       Coldstream: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 6 pm

·       Armstrong: Saturdays, 8 – noon, Fairgrounds.

 2. North Okanagan Naturalists Club Meeting: May 4th, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel. Lloyd Davies will speak on 'Geology of Alaska - and Grizzlies. 

3. Tomorrow’s ”Efficient By Design” Homes: May 6th, 7 pm, Vernon’s OK College Theatre. Here, 3 experts tell us all about designing ‘green’ energy efficient passive homes, including construction and energy costs/savings. The 3 finalists of the First Nations Friendship Centre Society's Design Challenge for a Tiny Home will also be present. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students) at the door. For more information, contact Frances Warner.

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

5. Ajax Mine Project: A giant Polish multinational copper and silver mining company wants to develop a massive open pit mine right next to Kamloops, close to 12 schools, a university, a hospital, and private homes. Here's an eloquent brief, signed on behalf Kamloop's Physicians for a Healthy Environment, that lays out the whole sad story. Also, check out the other groups fighting this too: Stop Ajax MineKamloops Code Blue, and Kamloops Moms for Clean Air

6. Pesticide ‘No-Spray” Registry: If you do NOT want pesticides applied for weed control by the city, call operations at 250 549-6757. They will spray twice this year.

 7. Shop Local Days: Downtown Vernon Association invites you to ‘shop local’ on Saturday May 7th, which brings big benefits to our community and businesses. For more information, go here

8. Food Forestry Workshop: May 13th -15th, Summerhill Winery. Join Richard Walker, Canada’s premier food forester, medical herbalist, and author of Food Forestry North of the 49th, for this hands-on intensive workshop delving into the principles and practice of food forestry. Learn how you can establish your own Edible Forest Garden while providing beauty and abundance for generations. For more information, go here.  

9. Bike Skills and Safety Courses: 9 – 2pm, May 7, 14 or 15. Register for $20 at  250 550 3634  or www.biketowork.ca/north-okanagan or e-mail csbreception@vernon.ca

Support: Canadian Braintrust at a BBQ at Cenotaph Park Wed. May 18, 11:30 – 1:30  as a precursor to Bike to Work Week events – great food and prizes. All are invited.

Bike to Work and School Week: Mon., May 30th - June 5th. Experience alternative transportation!

Monday, May 30: New this year is a bike ride with Mayors Akbal Mund and Garlick and the students of Ellison Elementary (from school to Polson Park + return on back routes) from 9:30 – 11 am. If you can help supervise the kids for the bike ride, please contact Wendy at 250-550-7831. Wednesday June 1, 6:30 – 9:30am: mid week Celebration Station, Sun Country Cycle. Coffee and continental breakfast, enter to win a free bike, get your bike checked or win additional prizes!

Bike to School Celebration Stations: Seaton Sec. BBQ May 26, 11:20-12:05, Ellison Elem, May 30, 7:54am, Harwood Elem, May 31, 7:45am, Alexis Park Elem, June 2, 7:45 am, Ecole Beairsto, June 3, 7:45am

Friday, June3, 4:30 – 6:30pm Wrap-up BBQ Spirit Square –  free burgers, quality entertainment by Vernon Community Band…and it will be your last chance to win a free bike!

ALSO; 2016 BC-Wide Grand Prize Trip: register at biketowork.ca for a chance to win a cycling adventure for 2 in Vietnam sponsored by Exodus Travel

9. North Okanagan Coalition for Active Transportation: NOCAT supports cleaner air and a healthier population by encouraging people to ride bicycles and walk more. They wish to see the N.O. as a world renowned area for recreation, sports, and transportation-oriented bicycling and walking.  Please  “like” them on Facebook!  

10. Barriers to Local Farmers: Check out CBC's Cross Country Checkup blog on “Homogeneity on Supermarket Shelves”!

 FROM FASNO (Food Action Society of the North Okanagan)

1. 18th Annual Gathering of the BC Food Systems Network: July 15th -17th, In Syilx Territory, at the En'owkin Centre in Penticton, B.C. More details will follow soon. Interested in volunteering? Please get in touch with gathering@bcfsn.org. For more information, go here.  

2. 3 Steps to Amending Clay: Check this out (with Video)!


3. Think Food Prices are high? Check out this Vancouver Sun opinion piece!

4. Afterschool Food Skills Program: Read this to learn how this program is having a powerful ripple effect in the Interior Health Region. 


1. Liveable Communities: Did you know that the more people that share the downtown core by walking it and cycling it, the happier the citizens are and the nicer the downtown core becomes? The book, “Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution” (here's a review), makes a compelling argument for this. Also here's a CBC story that does this too! 

2. Natural Elements In Playgrounds Benefit Kids: According to a new UBC study, adding natural elements like sand, bricks, and bamboo can transform a dull outdoor play space into an imaginative playground for children. It also seems to even reduce depression. The elements added were inexpensive, so a huge budget isn't needed!                                                                           

3. Ground  Fridge: - if you have the space – https://youtu.be/DHBMQPkvNx8

Earthship - Efficient Even In A Cold Clime: https://youtu.be/EAvY5JeMz9w

Alligator Clips: http://safeshare.tv/v/7nf_OxIrZN4                                                                                                                                                                                    


1. Geothermal, not Site C: According to a new study, the province could get the same amount of energy from geothermal sources for about half the construction costs. It would be less environmentally disruptive and would create more jobs all over the province! 

2. Milkweed and Monarchs: In April 2013, the Foundation launched its #gotmilkweed campaignto encourage Toronto residents to plant milkweed, a crucial food source to the, at then,  plummetting eastern monarch butterfly population. Today, apart from the 10,000+ plantings in Toronto, Montreal, and the rest of the country, thousands have pledged to help monarchs via the Monarch Manifesto. There’s now reason to be encouraged for their recovery... For those reasons, read the full article and please continue directing the monarchs home, one milkweed plant at a time.If you're local, buy Milkweed seeds/plants at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre! (info@abnc.ca)


1. Net-Zero Buildings: While the newer National Building Code of Canada does embrace upgrading existing buildings to make them “climate change ready”, it misses the opportunity to introduce tougher building energy efficiency (a net-zero)target for new and, eventually, existing buildings. Now is the time to extend this principle to every building in the country. Tell your MLA and your Premier that Net zero building standards must be an expectation for all of Canada! For the entire article, go here.


1. Another Win for National Parks: When Parks Canada granted an approval for a concept plan for overnight accommodation at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, Ecojustice sprang into action. In February, they got a big win! The court has essentially put Parks Canada on notice and signalled that future final project approvals that contravene existing management plans can be struck down. Ecojustice remains hopeful that their contribution in the courtroom will strengthen the fight against further commercial encroachment in our parks. 

2. To Court to Save Lancaster Sound: The Arctic waters of Lancaster Sound, the east entrance to the Northwest Passage, make up one of the richest marine ecosystems on earth. But old oil and gas exploration permits held by Shell Canada are obstructing efforts to protect Lancaster Sound. That’s why we’re going to court. Stand with Ecojustice and help them kill these permits!  

3. Death of Coal: Ecojustice challenged the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s approval of a new coal transfer facility on the Fraser River. The port authority tried to kick their challenge out of court but lost so the case will go ahead.  Climate impacts were given zero consideration and it is thought that the Port Authority gave approval before even completing the review.  The docks project would become the 6th largest GHG emitter in Canada with up to 8 million tonnes of coal shipped yearly from Wyoming in open cars.  Surrey and New Westminster Cities are concerned over health and environmental impacts for their area. 


1. Extreme Weather: Here's a recent case study examining risks related to extreme climate events faced by the energy sector in the Upper and Lower Souris River Watershed in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It found that greater cooperation with other jurisdictions, notably the provincial and federal governments, is needed. There is also a need for improved climate projections and greater access to land use planning information for decision making. 


1. Stop the Bulldozing: Apparently the Port Metro Vancouver board OK’d the bulldozing of 2500 acres of farmland in order to make space for a ‘logistics centre’ for a massive coal port! They foolishly believe that “[the lost] local food production can be replaced by imports”. For food security and no fossil fuel exports, please sign this petition to ask our provincial and federal governments to defend farmland and protect food security in B.C.!

2. Beijing in the Oil Sands: For reasons that remain unclear, China seems set to make two demands when our new PM goes to Beijing this Fall for trade talks. They want (1) the restrictions lifted on China’s state-owned oil companies and (2) getting a pipeline built to the West Coast... For many reasons -- the climate crisis, Canadian law, rights and title -- a pipeline to the West Coast is a non-starter! Here's hoping Trudeau can make this clear to the Chinese government without a trade backlash.


1. Mercury Clean-Up: Mercury kills and disrupts our DNA to cause mutations. Thanks to a previous SumOfUs petition, Unilever has finally agreed, after 15 years, to compensate poisoned workers affected by their factory spill... Yet the company still won't clean up the mercury-contaminated site. Please sign this petition and demand Unilever cleans up its mess!

2. Bee Victory- France has become the first country in the world to move forward on a ban on neonicotinoids.  The Senate must finalize the decision. Since the introduction of ‘neonics’ in 1990 300,000 bee colonies have died yearly and honey production there is very low. 

3. Gold Mine Lawsuit: Tobie Mining and Energy is suing the Columbian Government for $16.5 billion for stopping a gold mine that threatened the Amazon rainforest even tough the government has a duty to protect. Such actions are typical of what the TPP will bring to Canada too.


1. Coal-Free Canada: It is understood that the fastest way to slow climate change is to phase out coal-fired power plants. As such, CAPE want the federal government to phase-out of all coal plants in Canada by 2025. This would reduce Canada’s GHG emissions by up to 14%. It would also reduce air pollution, improve human health, and reduce health care costs in the four provinces using coal plants. If we want other countries to close their plants, we have to demonstrate that we are willing and able to do the same. So please contact your Member of Parliament (MP) and tell them that Canada’s coal plants have to go! Click here to find your MP's name and contact info. 

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck

April 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. Green Ideas Showcase: April 28th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Come early, check out info tables before we start, and be inspired! There will be about 15 presenters with ideas from 90 % energy efficient housing to Tiny House construction workshops, solar coops and installations heaters and gondolas!), roof top gardens, winter veg gardening for jobs and much more! … an evening of sharing, learning, group brainstorms, workshop sign-up and action! Start something great with others in Vernon!  Everyone welcome! 


1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Vernon: Fridays, 12 – 4 pm, inside Kal Tire Place.

·       Coldstream: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 6 pm,

2. North Okanagan Naturalists Club Meeting: April 6th, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel. Frank Townsley speaks on techniques for taking photographs of wildlife. 

3. Addressing Public Resistance to Vaccination: Thursday, April 7th, 7:30 pm, Vernon’s OK College Lecture Theatre. Speaker is Dr. Edgar Marcuse, Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, U. of Washington. Tickets $7 in advance (OK Science Centre at 250-545-3644) or $10 at door.  For more, go here.

4.Allan Brooks Nature Centre: Work Bees – April 12th and 13th - Confirm at events@abnc.ca. Also check out ABNC's 1 Hour Volunteer Orientations - April 4th or 5th. Register at volunteer@abnc.ca... Or, wish to only get involved in the Okanagan Raptor Festival? Email ed@abnc.ca. ABNC opens April 16, 11 – 3 pm with music, entertainment and more!

 5. “Just Do It”: Here's an inspiring Ted Talk on making New York more friendly to walkers and cyclists... This ought to be done in Vernon!  Also, the way we talk about people who use bicycles can become an “us” vs “them” situation but when wording changes, ”them” IS “us”! Check this out!    http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/02/dont-say-cyclists-say-people-on-bikes/385387/

6. Biogeography of Indonesian Forests: April 6th, UBCO, Kelowna. The speaker is Cam Webb. For more details, go here.

7.  Got Stuff to Recycle?: Spring Garage Sale April 9, Paddlewheel Hall. Reserve your $10 table at info@okanaganlanding.com  

8. Green Drinks: April 11.  Contact Matt for the venue this month – matt@valhallaconsulting.ca

9. Site C – Keep the Peace! - April 18, 7 – 9pm, Schubert Centre. It will impact government-indigenous relations and long term food security for all of BC as the area can feed 1 million people and is a culturally vital and sacred area to the Dane-zaa and Cree people. Data used to prove need for Site C comes from the 1980’s. Join Julian Napoleon, Saulteau First Nations and Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty and Ana Simeon, Sierra Club of BC to learn more about this area’s abundance and learn how you can help protect the Peace from another dam. Everyone welcome – and bring a carload! 

10.BC Sustainable Energy Association: The local BCSEA meets, April 20, 6:30pm. Vernon Library. Everyone welcome! 

11. Affordable Homes For Vernon Too? http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/161515/Big-problem-small-solution

12.North Okanagan Coalition for Active Transportation (NOCAT) is a new entity in our area and is a member of the BC Cycling Coalition.  Check out their information and get active!  https://m.facebook.com/NOCAT-is-North-Okanagan-Coalition-for-Active-Transportation-845643745545566/?ref=page_fan_invite_email


1. Ancient Medicinal Clay Beats All:.According to new research from UBC, naturally occurring clay from Kisameet Bay, B.C. — long used by the Heiltsuk First Nation for its healing potential — exhibits potent antibacterial activity against multidrug-resistant pathogens. In vitro testing of the clay killed 16 strains of such bacteria. No toxic side effects have been reported in the human use of the clay, and the next stage in clinical evaluation will involve detailed clinical studies and toxicity testing. For a related story , go here.

2. High Water in our Future: According to a new study published in Science, sea-level rise is coming. Even if we keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above historic norms, we may still see oceans creep four feet farther inland by 2100. Here's the original article with some handy before and after images to help us wrap our minds around this. 

3. ESC Association of BC's Spring Conference and Tradeshow: April 19th -21st, Ramada Inn, Abbotsford.  Come for speakers from around North America presenting on various topics of Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC). You can also take the CESCL & CPESC training and accreditation exams here. Register for the Tradeshow here and/or for the CPESC Exam & Review here.

4. Glyphosate and Corruption: Dr. Thierry Vrain, the geneticist who worked on the first GMOs in Peachland and spoke at a SENS evening last year, sent this documentary made in Germany (translated in English) that details the corruption that allows glyphosate to threaten our food system, our health and that of the planet. Agricultural polices are clarified here too. 

5. Reducing Concrete To Zero Waste:  Concrete is the 2nd most consumed material, after water, on earth (3 tons per person globally), accounts for 5 % of global anthropogenic emissions of CO2, and affects climate change, emissions to air/water, natural resource depletion, and worker health and safety.      Canadian, Steve Thorpe, founder of Formablok, is selling a sustainable and reusable landscape block mould that converts waste concrete into a useable, segmental block product. The mold is made of plastic and aluminum that is lightweight, rust-proof and durable.

Footing, cutting, core filling and mortaring is not necessary when using the Formablok. Thorpe’s design recently received a U.S. patent. 

6. Eating Organic vs Non-organic: Much decrease in pesticides etc in the body after just 2 weeks of switching to organic foods!  https://youtu.be/oB6fUqmyKC8


This non-profit group recently sent a letter to our federal government asking them to safeguard science integrity, and champion science and smart decision-making. Engage with them on Twitter & Facebook    Action items at:  https://evidencefordemocracy.ca/en/action


1. Proposed Amendments to the Fisheries Act: This group is working to reinstate lost protections in the Fisheries Act and to enact a process to see modernization of the Act.  Check out the open letter and let them know if you would like to add your organization to the growing list of supporters!

2. Webinar-Fresh Ideas: Building Climate Resilience at the Water’s Edge: April 6th,  11-11:45 am PT / 2-2:45 pm ET  ... a 1-to-1 conversation with Rebecca Wodder about her vision—laid out in this blog post—for river and watershed groups to “play a key role in helping the communities they serve build resilience against future climate catastrophes.”  Register for this important discussion today! 



1. Policy Solutions for Climate-Resilient Agricultural Value Chains: “To date, most of the action taken to address climate challenges in agriculture has focused on production alone. However, IISD believes that we need policies and approaches that recognize that climate risks affect the entire value chain … For climate-resilient agricultural value chains in Uganda and other developing countries, [IISD] research suggests that the domestic private sector plays a vital role, and SMEs and commercial banks must be involved in the process of integrating climate change into relevant policies and strategies.” For the entire report, go here


Numerous events are on at this time of year., Please check out all workshops and events and information on volunteering at www.natureconservancy.ca/bcevents.

AVAAZ “WINS” so far in 2016:

a). Stopping the Fin whale slaughter by closing off ports to whaler use and causing a media and political storm in the Caribbean where the whaling ship was registered.

b) Blocking Monsanto’s most profitable poison. Europe was set to re-approve its glyphosate weedkiller licence for 15 years, Avaaz delivered a petition and thousands more sent urgent messages to respective governments. In the final hour, support collapsed, and the EU commission postponed the vote!

c) Plus numerous more humanitarian actions

CHANGE.ORG have a petition to ask Costco and Walmart to NOT throw good food away.  France recently passed a new law on the same theme:  https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/italy-passes-law-to-send-unsold-food-to-charities/


1.Investing in a Clean Energy Economy: Leadnow.ca thanks all who acted to ask for such investments…  The Federal government has committed to spending:

$1 billion on clean technologies - resource, energy, and agriculture sectors

$3.4 billion to address climate change, protect sensitive ecosystems, and build trust in the environmental assessment process

$3.4 billion to improve/expand public transit in communities across Canada

$5 billion in green infrastructure projects that help support Canada’s transition to a "clean growth economy" 

2. Action: -BC As A Climate Leader: In 2015, the government asked academics, scientists, economists, business people + First Nations to draft recommendations for BC’s climate plan. Their 32 recommendations are a great first step in making BC a climate leader again. The recommendations are being ignored, LNG is being pushed and a climate denier has been put in charge or creating BC’s new climate plan. Hmmm. Send our premier a message today calling on her to take action on climate and remove climate deniers from her staff. 


1. CAPE Successes of 2015:

a)   Bees and Neonics: CAPE conducted opinion polls, wrote op-ed pieces and letters to the editor, ran ads, and met with Ontario Ministers. As a result, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to protect its bees (and citizens) from neonic pesticides.

b)   Coal Phase-Out: CAPE educated the public on the impact coal has on human health and the climate, wrote op-ed articles, prepared press releases, produced fact sheets and backgrounders, published ads in local papers, and met with decision-makers.  As a result, Alberta will phase out its 6 coal fired power plants by 2030. 

c)    Climate Change:  CAPE got  more doctors involved in the fight against climate change. As a result, the Canadian Medical Association redirected investments  out of fossil fuels. 

2.  Oil Industry Influence on the National Energy Board (NEB): Entitlement… corruption of public consultation…check these investigative reports.  Trans-Canada actually edited the NEB's comments directly, before they were released, in undisclosed meetings.



 3. Global Flooding: Climate Change is happening now and  a new study  indicates that climate change is happening much more quickly than previously predicted.  Read the full blog here.

4.  International Instruments of Corporate Power(TPP, CETA, FIPA, NAFTA): This free event at Rm 320  520 West Hastings, Vancouver April 16, 9:30 – 3pm, will expose how corporate rights impact communities, social services health, food security and more. RSVP / Registration: http://bit.ly/1MnsN7z    On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1U8LVhP

Co- Edited with Egan Mandrec

March 2016 Newsletter +  

March, 2016

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. Fractured Land: Wednesday, March 2nd, 7 – 9 pm, Schubert Centre. The director, Damien, will attend this premier showing! The documentary follows Dene lawyer Caleb Behn over a 4 year period as he tries to balance his people’s need for fracking jobs with his sacred duty to defend their territory. $10 each, $5 students, at the door.

2. Seedy Saturday: March 12th, 10 am – 3 pm, Trinity United Church, Vernon. Join SENS and Vernon in Transition to celebrate gardening, local foods, and community. Check out locally grown heirloom seeds, garden products, and much more! There will also be educational displays, children' activities, and inspiring speakers there. Bring your seeds and envelopes to share at the free seed swap table! Admission is by donation ($2 suggested). 

3. SENS  Seed/Plant Swap/Sale and Annual General Meeting: March 24th, Schubert Centre. 6:30 - 7:30 pm for the free seed swap, 7:30 – 7:40 pm for the AGM (short!), 7:40 pm Heather Clay, local bee keeper, explains how to be an urban beekeeper. Come with free seeds, envelopes, questions and a carload! 

4. Green Ideas Night: April 28, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Got green ideas to share? …or are you a wanna-be entrepreneur?  Contact SENS (jblissau@telus.net or 250 542-0892) right now so we can add you to the presenter list for an evening of sharing, group brainstorms and action plans!

 5. Events: Please share SENS (and Vernon in Transition) events via facebook!



1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Vernon: Fridays, 12 – 4 pm, inside Kal Tire Place.

·       Coldstream: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 6 pm,

2. North Okanagan Naturalists Club Meeting: March 2nd, 7 pm, Village Green Hotel. Here Dr. March, Canada's Research Chair at UBCO, speaks on Breadfruit as a Modern Food Crop

3. Climate Change and B.C. Forests Workshops: March 7th, 1 – 4:30 pm or 6 – 9:30 pm, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops. The goal of the workshops is to generate ideas for climate change mitigation for this area. Confirm your attendance by contacting Guillaume Peterson St-Laurent.

4. Eco-Friendly Neighbourhoods: March 12, 1 – 3 pm, Schubert Centre. You’re invited to attend and find out more about “Vernon Village Co-Housing Community” where you own your own home but share companionship, caring and support for neighbours of all ages and backgrounds, and your environment.  Donations for room rent appreciated. Contact Barb at  778 475-3453. 

5. Green Drinks: March 14th, 5 – 7 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub. For a lively conversation, just ask, “Are you green”? For more info, call Matt at (cell) 1-250-307-7364 or visit www.valhallaconsulting.ca.

6. Vernon Permaculture: March 23rd, 7 – 9 pm, Vernon library, upstairs. Everyone is welcome! For more info, call 542-7610. 

7. DIY Solar Seminar: March 26th, 10 am – 3:15 pm, Schubert Centre. Learn about solar energy, photovoltaics, low energy house design, and over 25 solar projects (e.g. water heaters, greenhouses, cookers, etc.) you can do. Speaker is SENS' Director John Barling. Tickets are available in March at the Bean Scene. Also, check out short articles written by John concerning this here.

8. Eco-Friendly Vernon Homes Tour: May 7th. Only 60 tickets are available; Get your earlybird tickets ($25) at the SENS AGM on March 24th. Proceeds will go to local students for college scholarships. The line-up for the tour will be (1) a solar powered 'earthship'; (2) a passively designed house; (3) a home with wide spans for open spaces and energy efficiency; and (4) a short tour of the 'green features' at the Kal Tire Head office. For more info, email Frances Warner.

9. Okanagan Science Centre: Check out their new hands-on exhibit, Food: Too Good To Waste, and find out how to reduce waste from fridges, stores, and farms/orchards. Bring a food donation too! Spring Break Camps for kids are open for registration; Contact them via email, phone (250 545-3644), or their website.

10. Allan Brooks Nature Centre: Before 1996, the ABNC building was an active weather station… Now it's fully functional with newly installed monitors for temperature, humidity, and more! There’s even a live feed to the ABNC website. Also, ABNC needs a woodworker to build a small book shelf/bench. If you've got the skill, please call 250.309.2652. or email education@abnc.ca

11. Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park: Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has withdrawn their proposal to remove land from our park. Details at  www.kalamalka park.ca

12 Lumby and Mid-Shuswap Water Stewards: The online petition asking for protection of the Upper and mid Shuswap watersheds from boat motors (including Sugar lake) is still on the top right of http://sensociety.org.  There’s consensus on responsible boating (no riparian disturbance due to wakes, no disturbance of bottom or shore that creates turbidity, no wildlife/habitat destruction, no waste or garbage pollution, no undue noise, no threat to safety). A news report on a recent meeting said there was consensus, however towing on the lake was not part of the consensus and jets are NOT allowed in the upper Shuswap above Sugar Lake or the lower Shuswap. 


1. China and Canada’s Oil: According to the Dogwood Initiative, the Chinese government will be demanding that we build a west coast pipeline so China can get their raw bitumen (that Chinese companies operating in the Tar Sands extracted) in upcoming trade talks. Please donate what you can to ensure our government stands firm saying “no”! 

2. Self-Cleaning Oceans? Check out this interesting video!

3. West Africa’s Failing Agriculture and Water:  UBC’s Marc Parlange found that current farming practises are not sustainable in West Africa and make droughts worse, leading to crop failure and starvation! For more, go here

4. A Kid’s Sleep Environment: The International Journal of Neuroscience did a study that showed that when 12 year olds wear polyester pajamas to bed, they experienced almost twice the SWS (slow wave sleep) compared to those wearing cotton.  Growth Hormone amounts produced by poly wearers during sleep was much higher too. 

5. Food and Oil: According to this Scientific American article, for every calorie of food produced these days, about 10 calories of fossil fuel is used just to process the food (grind, package, ship, etc). For meat it's even worse, taking 35 calories of fossil fuels. Such a costly waste! How to fix ….? 

6. “The Leap “by Chris Turner: According to his book, burning of dirty fuels is still the main problem we face for climate change. To combat this, he points out successes in Europe and beyond. For instance, under Germany’s renewable business model, a $450 billion solar industry and 300,000 jobs were created. Cars in Copenhagen were taken off the streets and urban life flourished. A good read! For a Globe & Mail book review, go here

7. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) : This ‘partnership’ will allow multinationals to make demands of Canadians so that they can continue to make profits. For example, if we value and protect a  specific forest, a multinational will see it as an illegal trade barrier and make us change what we value. The non-profit Leadnow.ca wishes you reject the TPP via letters to our federal government or even cash donations to help Leadnow educate the public about repercussions of accepting the TPP. https://secure.leadnow.ca/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1694&ea.campaign.id=47012


1. Dursban: This pesticide contains cancer-causing, neurotoxic chlorpyrifos and was slated for a ban in 2000. Yet even now, Edmonton still uses it to kill mosquitoes, having acquired Winnipeg’s leftovers after it abandoned the practice. According to Pesticide-Free Edmonton, Dursban is sprayed in populated areas, contrary to the claims of the City. Edmonton is breaching federal law! 


1. What’s Your Water Solution Contest: This contest invites organizations and First Nations across B.C. to submit a short description of the most pressing freshwater issue in their watershed and their proposed solution to the problem. A report will be developed based in partly on this... 
Fill out your online contest submission form by March 20th, 2016! The top submission from a First Nation or organization will receive $500 to put towards programs. Questions?
 Email/Contact Rosie Simms of POLIS Water Sustainability Project at 250-721-8189.


1. For Conservationists: The IISD has researched, then compiled a toolkit that helps us understand migration dynamics and impacts and how they can be used to better protect ecosystems. Read about the toolkit here.


1. Renewable Energy IS Competitive: Storage and Grid technologies are improving to the point that saying “ solar/wind energy is only good if there’s solar/ wind” no long holds true. For example, check out AllGrid Energy and their low cost lead-acid gel batteries. A recent report showed the U.S. could reduce CO2 emissions from its electricity sector by 80 per cent relative to 1990 levels within 15 years "with current technologies."

2. Sea Wolves and Bears: They’re part of the Great Bear Rain Forest which is now protected from logging, however one can still hunt them for trophies. Neither black bears (which can carry the white spirit bear genes) nor grizzlies are protected! Only the spirit bear is protected. Write to your MP and the Premier to voice your concern…


2016 Endangered Rivers List:  If you know of rivers or streams where public recreation (fishing, walking the shore, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, birdwatching) is threatened, follow this link  to the survey from from the Outdoor Recreation Council. The deadline for nominations is Friday March 11, 2016.


1. Health and Environmental Hazards in a Wireless World: This webinar was on February 16th, but the presentation slides and Q and A are at:  http://healthandenvironment.org/wg_calls/18206

2. Energy Storage – a Key to Renewables Taking Off: This Scientific American article addresses a central truth about energy sources like wind, and solar -- battery storage. When every home becomes an energy producer, then, fairly rapidly, we'll have a production grid, instead of a distribution grid. Like the Internet, it will be far more safe, secure, consistent, and abundant than the current system of centralized energy production, which is far more vulnerable to breakdown or mischief. 

3. Ocean Acidification: While we sit here on land, the oceans are quietly taking a hit -- a very big hit. Check out this great article!

4. Renewables CAN Save Society:  http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/feb/17/solar-energy-isnt-just-good-for-polar-bears-its-good-for-the-working-class


1. Microbeads:  Ecojustice asks you to submit your comments on proposed regulations for microbeads at this e-mail address:   ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca  The Canadian government will ban use and sale of them in personal care products which we all use, however it would not occur for at least 6 months and during that time many millions more of these polluting microbeads will continue to enter our rivers and lakes.  

Co- Edited with Egan Mandreck