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Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

June 2015 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. No SENS events until September… and no newsletter until then as well!


1. Farmers’ Markets:

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

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

·       Vernon: Friday nights (starts June 12th), 4 – 8 pm, 30th Ave. Market.

·       Enderby: Friday, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, behind City Hall.

·       Armstrong: 8 am – noon, IPE grounds.

·       Lumby: Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm, Community Oval Park.

·       Cherryville: Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm, Highway 6.

·       Caravan Market Days: June 21st, July 5th, Aug 2nd, 10 am – 2 pm, at their Spallumcheen farm.

2. Repair Café (May 2nd): What a great community sharing day for everyone! Andrew, a SENS member, used his solar panels to power drills, sanders, and more, for sharpening. Others fixed bikes (Hooray, Barry!) glued or gave advice, darned or sewed, fixed electronics, household appliances and phones… and there was even body repair with chiropractor and massages provided!

 3a. Allan Brooks Nature Centre's Trail Day: Support them by attending this June 6th event, 11 am – 3 pm. It's open to all ages! Also, if you’d like to help out as a citizen science leader or summer volunteer, please phone 250-260-4227 or email education@abnc.ca.

 3b. ABNC's “Get To Know” Contest: Take part in their “Get To Know” Contest for youth 19 and under! Visit here to submit art, writing, photos, music, etc. inspired by your outdoor experiences and you could win some wild prizes! The contest runs until November 1, 2015.  Also, stay in the loop on other great opportunities by visiting them on Facebook.

 4. Visioning Greater Vernon: Our public library is putting on 5 themed idea Saturday afternoons from 2 – 4 pm (see below). Each day will provide a short information session followed by community brainstorming and sharing. There is a children's portion of the event and it will tie into the Cities Fit for Children conference that Vernon will be hosting in the fall.  Attend, listen, and provide your input!

May 30th                     Transportation: How do you get around?

June 20th                    The Future of Water

September 19th          Community Building: Coming together in the age of (dis)connection

October 17th              Sustainable Development: Growing resilience

November 21st           Food: Local, sustainable, attainable

 5. Evergreen.caVisit the site for free, easy-to-use how-to guides on topics like bringing nature into the classroom, sharing within your community, and growing your own food!


1. Fossil Fuel Subsidies: As governments work towards the Paris Climate Change Conference, the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform launched a Communiqué, calling on governments to finally put an end to inefficient fossil fuels subsidies. A short video that makes the case for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies ahead of COP21 in Paris was also shown at the launch.

 2. Truthdig.com: This site has a great article that refers to letters Ralph Nader sent to presidents that went unanswered and makes a good point about today's communications, or lack thereof.

 3. New Way To Build: http://www.ted.com/talks/elora_hardy_magical_houses_made_of_bamboo

 4. The Dark Side of Solar: Their manufacture is energy intensive and generates highly toxic byproducts, and they may use “conflict minerals” (mined in countries with weak health/safety regulations). There’s no policy for recycling ‘dead’ panels either. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/the-darker-side-of-solar-power/article24649804/

 5. Survey Via Guy Dauncey: Give your input on climate change questions for which answers are not yet clear (future energy for marine shipping etc). The list of questions, is on their website. Survey questions: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/big_questions. Enjoy! Have fun! 


Benefits of Getting Dirty:  Our bodies are host to 100 trillion microbes that keep us healthy, Our food choices can affect their – and our – health. Microbe diversity is high in areas of rich plant diversity. Digging in dirt exposes us to microbes that reduce anxiety and improve cognitive function. Acinetobacter Iwoffii prevents asthma, hay fever and other ailments in children exposed to the microbe. So, spend a lot of time outside and try to live near biodiverse natural areas, not surrounding yourself in cement and lawns! 


1. Help Peruvian Farmers: Apparently, gold mining giant Newmont Mining is harassing farmers and trying to push them off their land... Even after losing in the courts! But with the proper funding, SumOfUs.org is confident they can put enough pressure on Newmont to have them stop for good. Please chip in to help these Peruvian farmers save their land... A petition isn't enough!

 2. Bee Victory: SumOfUs.org’s campaign resulted in Lowes, a very large home and garden retailer, announcing that it will no longer sell bee-killing ‘neonic’ pesticides.

 3. McDonald’s Action Plan for Palm Oil: Despite having already made a new commitment to help eliminate deforestation due to palm oil plantations, SumOfUs.org still feels we need to be vigilant in getting their action plan going.  Help urge McDonald’s to release an action plan for palm oil with an ambitious timeline and the strongest possible protections for tropical forests.

 4. Help Stop Pizza Hut: Pizza Hut claims to be deforestation-free, but a new report out shows that one of Pizza Hut’s largest international franchisees is responsible for massive destruction of rainforests and endangered elephant habitats in Indonesia. If Pizza Hut doesn’t act, it could contribute to the wiping out of the majestic and endangered Sumatran Elephant. Tell Pizza hut to honour their commitment of zero deforestation and tell their franchises to stop!

 5Canadian-Australian Gold Mining Co, “Oceana Gold” is suing El Salvador for $301 million because the country is trying to protect the 10 % of water in the country that is not yet contaminated. Sign the petition telling the World Bank to throw out OceanaGold's case!


1. Big Wins for the Environment: Last June, Ecojustice was in Federal Court challenging an aquaculture license issued by the DFO that allowed a fish farm operator to introduce farmed Atlantic salmon (potentially disease-ridden) into waters shared with wild salmon whenever they wanted. They won! And in October, they upheld a clean-up order for three Nova Scotia residents after their drinking water was contaminated by years of industrial activity. Read more about these important victories for wild salmon and for Nova Scotia residents fighting for safe drinking water.


1. Help Stop Shell: The U.S. government just gave Shell the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic for oil, putting our climate and the ocean's majestic wildlife under grave risk. But one man has the power to turn Shell away -- Seattle's mayor Ed Murray. He could put his lawyers and police force between Shell's oil rig and the vast, fragile Arctic. Our fate depends on what he does next -- let's give him the massive support that he deserves to do the right thing. Click here to sign now!


1. Coal License Buy-Back: The B.C. Government announced it is buying back 61 coal licenses in the Sacred Headwaters - a huge step towards permanently safeguarding the future of this magnificent area. No coalbed methane drilling or open-pit coalmining! Congratulations to all who worked so hard and made this announcement possible. For a similar Globe & Mail article, go here.


1. B.C. Society Act Revisions: Thank-you from Living Oceans to all those who wrote in to ask for removal of a provision that would have allowed the Oil & Gas Industry to lay defamation SLAPP suits on any opposing parties (non-profits such as ‘Living Oceans’ included). 

2. New Marine Plan for B.C.: On April 27th, the B.C. government unveiled their Marine Planning Partnership plans. The plans, being science-based and guided by traditional and local knowledge, will bring economic prosperity to the coast while protecting the environment, biodiversity and sustainable fisheries. Now the federal government just needs to join in with its implementation (e.g. adding in a network of MPAs, a federal tanker ban, etc.). For the full article, go here


1. Whistle-Blowing Tar Sands Doctor Fired: CAPE member John O'Connor, who had been the on-call (and occasional in-town) family doc for Fort Chipewyan, a small town near the Tar Sands, was abruptly fired recently. He'd become well-known for challenging Alberta's and the Harper government's fantasies about the benign nature of the Tar Sands extraction processes.  Whether that's the reason he was fired, or something else, time will tell... Read the opinion piece here.


1. Ecosystem Restoration: Some Nature Conservancy properties have recently undergone ecosystem restoration treatments to thin dense young forests that have encroached on grasslands. Mastication (mulching of tree clippings) produces less particulate emissions than burning, reduces invasive species colonizing of burned patches, and keeps nutrients on site. For details, go here.

                                                 Co-edited with Egan Mandreck

May 2015 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. Free Movie Night: May 28th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. SENS director Terry Dyck brings us the documentary “The 11th Hour” on the state of our natural environment, narrated by Leonard Dicaprio. The movie provides information and solutions from over 50 scientists, environmentalists, and politicians on how to reverse or slow damage to our planet.

2. No SENS events until September!


1. Farmers’ Markets:

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

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

·       Enderby: Friday, 8am to noon behind City Hall.

2. Repair Café: May 2nd, 11am – 3 pm. Okanagan Science Centre. Mark your calendars for another wildly successful session of gluing, clothing repair, darning socks and sweaters, sharpening tools, music instrument repairs, library book sign-outs, food, bike and skateboard repair, and much more! Sponsors: Vernon in Transition and RDNO.  OSC’s doing an ‘Unplug ’n Play’ Version!

3. Bike To School and Work Week: If you’re interested in taking a high quality bike skills and safety course at $20 (¼ the usual price!), phone 250 550-3634 or e-mail csbreception@vernon.ca. Pre-registration a must. Dates: May 2, 9 – 2 pm, OR May 5 & 12, 5:30 – 8pm OR May May 6 & 13, 5:30 – 8pm. Bike Buddy Hotline: 250 540-9397. https://youtu.be/t7CF1VH3XQU

Also… if you wish to be team leader for a business or non-profit (SENS?!?) locally, fill in the application and file data from those who cycle (even one way, one day!) during Bike to Work Week, May 24 - 31. Free T and prizes for those who sign up with you.www.biketowork.ca/north-okanagan  Cycle to the Mid week celebration station and Friday wrap-up BBQ, 4:30 – 6:30pm,  Spirit Square to enter your name in for that free bike or other prizes. Great live music!

4.Climate’s Changing…Why Should We Care? May 5, 7 pm, Schubert Centre, The Okanagan - Shuswap Green Party is sponsor. Local geoscientist Dr Brian Guy speaks for urgent action and will use climate variations through history to discuss implications for economies and societies. Admission by donation.

5.North Okanagan Naturalists Meeting: Wednesday, May 6th, 7:00 pm, Village Green Hotel, Sierra Room II. Mike Dunn will be speaking on rattlesnake research.

6. LUCI Inflatable Solar Lantern: The City of Vernon displayed this at their table during Seedy Saturday (March 21st). Great for backpacking and outdoor use!

7. Summer Water Shortages? California has only 4 % of their usual snow pack and the governor is already taking action. Should we be following suit? What are you doing to conserve water now?

8. Cool Roofs: It’s mandatory in California to have a white roof to reduce energy costs and protect roofs better from weather. If you’d like to find out about this ‘LEED certified acrylic ceramic top coat technology, ‘check www.alltops.ca or phone local servicer, John Laporte at 250 503-4745.

9. www.elementecodesign.com/ Check out their website for upcoming courses…how to S#it in a buck, designing a permaculture homestead, edible forest gardens and more!

10. Monashee  Community Coop, Lumby: A grocery store stocked by local vendors plus bulk ordering depot. Daily, 10 am – 5 pm, Arbour Mall, Hwy 6.  Organic produce, GMO/pesticide free. Contact: 250-547-7808.     New website: www.mccoop.ca

11. Long Term Farming Opportunity: Cooper Creek north of Kaslo, 5 acres of cleared, good soil. Phone Linda at 250 366-4450.

12. Green Croft Farm, Enderby: Workshops throughout the season at the farm (eg felting, gardening, seed saving, cooking, food preserving). They produce a super newsletter of recipes and info on farm animals and crops (U-pick Raspberries coming soon). Sign up for the mailing list by emailing to greencroftgardens@mybcdc.ca, check our website www.greencroftgardens.com or check updates on our facebook page www.facebook.com/green.c.gardens

13. RDNO’s Xerindipity Workshops: They’re at the back of the Okanagan Science Centre. Check their website for details. Saturday May 23, 1 – 2 pm it is on Composting. Composter rebate program information is available at www.rdno.ca/recycle


1. The Costs of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs): According to this paper (PDF), EDCs cause intellectual disabilities, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, childhood and adult obesity, adult diabetes, male infertility, and reduced testosterone. Treatment? - $209+ billion annually.

2. Artificial Den Boxes for Fishers: Check out this video on using artificial den boxes for fishers.

3. Songbird SOS: This BC Nature E-News episode tells story of the mass depletion of songbirds in the Americas. Watch it!

4. Farming Salmon on Land: The Kuterra land-based Closed Containment Salmon Farm near Port McNeill is raising salmon that Sea Choice gives a “best choice” rating. Their recirculating aquaculture system uses NO pesticides or other chemicals, keeps fish waste out of the ocean and uses 30% less feed compared to ocean penned stock. Salmon are not stressed. Feed comes from larvae of black soldier flies raised on waste food from restaurants.  www.kuterra.com.

5. Latest Musings By Guy Dauncey:  https://www.bcsea.org/premiers-green-dreams  Also, his latest slideshare presentation:-  http://www.slideshare.net/GuyDauncey/a-new-green-economy

Top 10 reasons why people LOVE the electric car:  https://www.bcsea.org/electric-car-ten-reasons-why-people-love-you

6. International Institute Of Sustainable Development: If you’re wishing some detailed reading, this is their latest on trade, environment and more… third edition of the Handbook.

7. Retreating Glaciers in Iceland and Greenland: https://www.knowledge.ca/program/chasing-ice


1. Save The Amazon: It could be the largest environmental reserve in the world but deforestation is threatening it. Laws and enforcement aren't enough to stop this! But by signing this petition, we might push the leaders of Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil to form a necessary reserve...

2.Phillip-Morris Suing Uruguay: This country has the best anti-smoking laws in the world so the Cig company will challenge and try to overturn their laws. Sign here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/uruguay_vs_big_tobacco_loc_2/?bQynJab&v=56805


1. Drinking Water Standards – Bill C-664: Canadian standards lag behind international standards. Sign this letter asking all parties to take a stand for stronger drinking water standards!

2. Microbead Dangers: These tiny plastic beads, commonly used in personal care products, are a major concern to human and environmental health! When they get loosed into our rivers and lakes  (by going down the drain), they are ingested by organisms low on the food chain, and wind up contaminating the fish and wildlife we eat. Microbeads also easily pick up other dangerous particles, like PCBs. As such, Ecojustice has submitted a request to our Minister of the Environment asking that they be considered a toxic substance. Hopefully this request will put into motion the necessary steps to initiate a Canada-wide ban on microbeads. For more, go here.


1. Floating Solar on Okanagan Lake?: In Japan, a 13.5 MW floating solar PV plant is being built on a reservoir. When completed in March 2016, it will power nearly 5,000 Japanese households! The platform is 100% recyclable, can withstand UV rays and corrosion, and will be built as un-intrusively as possible for the local flora and fauna. Could B.C. do the same here? The answer- yes! It would generate even more summer power, create many installation and maintenance jobs, discourage algae growth, and reduce water evaporation. Check out www.ciel-et-terre.net for photos and videos of such a platform. And for even more, go here.


1. Vote for a Sustainable Canada: It’s a federal election year… time to address Canada's sustainability deficit and climate change? 13 key questions to ask  politicians wanting your vote…

2. Canada's Map to Sustainability:  Throughout this Map, leading Canadian scholars identify sustainable solutions in each of their specialized fields. They provide recommendations on climate change action, protecting biodiversity, urban planning, transportation, environmental policy and more. Read and share it!

3. Your Voice on GHG Emissions: Over 60 scholars have identified policy recommendations to help Canada reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Read their position paper online, add your thoughts, and your comments will be considered for a white paper that will be shared with politicians.

4. A Crash Course on Vegetable Gardening: Spring has sprung, and now is the time to plan this year's vegetable garden. Check out AJ  tips to get you started, the three essentials for successful seedlings, and how to fix common problems.


1. 30 Minutes for 30 Days: The Foundation encourages everyone to get out and enjoy nature during the month of May to keep healthier and happier.  Sign up at 30x30.davidsuzuki.org

2.Background on Climate Change Denial Funding: www.davidsuzuki.org › Blogs › Science Matters

3. Microbeads: They’re used in your personal care products to scrub you, where oatmeal, salt or even baking sofa could be used harmlessly instead. They plug up digestive systems of fish and coral and kill them. The federal NDP has introduced a motion to ban them here.  Sign the 5 Gyres Institute petition here: 5gyres.org/how_to_get_involved/action/

4. Knitting For Butterflies: www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you.../love-monarch-butterflies-get-knitting/


1.Stock market Findings:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/fossil-fuel-free-fund...

2.Monsanto’s Discredit Bureau: http://gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2015-articles/16046-monsanto-s...

3. Carbon Emission Decrease and Coal: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/us-carbon-emissions-s...

4. Hmm – Glyphosate: Today Health Canada launched a public consultation process on its proposed re-evaluation decision of products containing glyphosate (known as Roundup™).

Please visit: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2015/52865a...

Adding to this, Avaaz asks you to sign a petition… World Health Org is warning that Glyphosate’s connected to cancer and Monsanto wants to muzzle them and other researching countries. https://secure.avaaz.org/en/monsanto_dont_silence_science_loc_cn/?bQynJa...

5. AQ in Edmonton vs Toronto: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/edmonton/Edmonton+dirtier+than+Toron...

6. GM Eggplant Disaster for Farmers in Bangladesh: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Bt_Brinjal_Fails_Two_Years_Running.php

7. Fracking’s Death Knell: Shale gas is only clean and beneficial if it displaces coal powered electricity generation world wide.  http://www.medact.org/climate-ecology/fracking/

8.SumOfUs.org: They wish support to tackle cruise ships that dump human sewage directly into the ocean, sometimes completely untreated….3.8 billion liters yearly, estimated.  I'll chip in $1 to demand that cruise ships clean up their act.

Co-edited with Egan Mandreck

April 2015 Newsletter +  

APRIL 2015


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.

This newsletter is being sent out for your interest. Information contained within does not imply approval by SENS directors.

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


1. Potpourri For Our Future: April 23rd, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Hear a panel of local entrepreneurs offering great ideas on alternative energy homes, tiny houses, aquaponics, and much more. 

2. Monashee Community Co-op in Lumby: It feature organics – their new website: www.mccoop.ca


1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Coldstream: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 6 pm. Note the date change!

·       Vernon, Kal Tire Place, Mondays and Thursdays, 8am – 1 pm starting April 16.

2a. Allan Brooks Nature Centre (ABNC) Family Fun Day: April 18th, 11 am – 3 pm. There will be new displays, a scavenger hunt, turtle circle drummers, live music, face painting, and much more!

2b. ABNC's Flights of Fancy Dinner and Auction Gala: April 10th, 5 – 11 pm, Best Western Lodge. $65 per ticket or $500 per table of 8. For tickets, phone 250-549-SHOW. For more, visit www.abn6c.ca.

2c. ABNC's Valued Volunteers Days: From 1 to 4 pm on April 7th (Tuesday), April 8th (Wednesday), April 11th (Saturday), and April 15th (Wednesday). Come, meet the volunteers, and help them to clean, paint, re-organize, etc. To join, please call 250-260-4227 or email them.

2d. ABNC's Milkweed for Monarchs Stewardship Initiative: ABNC hopes to have many milkweed seedlings ready for their Spring Mega Garage & Plant Sale in May (23rd/24th & 30th)! They've also applied for an Evergreen Foundation grant to help facilitate a number of milkweed planting events this year.  Stay tuned and email Eleanor for more info. 

3a. Visioning Vernon - Water: April 12th, 2 pm, Vernon Library. Come out and discuss the future of water in our community with like-minded individuals. Children’s programs and child minding will be available.

3b. Fit for Children: Also, the Vernon Library will be holding concurrent programming (Saturday afternoons?) for a wide selection of the population. These themed presentations will feed into the Cities Fit for Children conference that Vernon will be hosting in November. There will be free child minding and snacks. For more, contact Kristy, Vernon Librarian, at 250-542-7610 ext. 6822 

4a. Bike To School and Work Week Workshop: April 29th, 4:30 – 6;30 pm, Vernon City Hall. BTSWW is not until the end of May but, if you’re interested in taking part as a Team Leader, please attend this pizza dinner workshop. Contact Wendy at 250 550-7831.

4b. The Bike Buddy Program is Back: This program that helps cyclists find the best/safest routes for getting around for work, school, etc. is in operation again for 2015. More details to follow.

 5a. Regional District’s Trunk Sale: April 18 th, 8 am – noon, Kal Tire Place. Wish to participate in a large garage sale event to sell or give away items as part of your spring cleaning efforts? If interested, register online at www.vernon.ca.

5b. Textile Recycling Event: In combination with this reuse event is an opportunity for residents to bring unwanted textiles for reuse or recycling. For more information about the Trunk Sale and Textile Recycling event, contact the RDNO at recycle@rdno.ca or by calling 250-550-3700. 

6. Okanagan Directory: This neighbourhood knowledge base connects you to all of the great things that are happening here in the Valley. With a focus on arts and activism, this is a place to find live music, community gardens, co-ops, galleries, workshops, and more. Check it out!  

7. North Okanagan Naturalists Society Meeting: Wednesday, April 1st, 7:00 pm. Village Green Hotel, Sierra Room II, 27th Street at 48th Avenue.  Lia McKinnon of the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society will be the speaker. 

8. Repair Café: May 2nd, Okanagan Science Centre. Mark your calendars for another wildly successful session of glueing, clothing repair, darning socks and sweaters, sharpening tools, music instrument repairs, library book sign-outs, food, bike and skateboard repair, and much more! 

9. Tick Season: Check out this article! Also note this recipe that works as a deterrent: 1 part tea tree oil to 2 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray on sock, shoes, pant cuffs. 


1. Flathead Watershed Protection:  In 2010, the Canadian government legislated a ban on mining, oil, and gas exploration in the transnational Flathead Valley. The U.S. portion of the Flathead River watershed followed suit this year. This huge accomplishment is a significant step forward in CPAWS' campaign to protect and connect the Flathead River Valley. For the complete story, go here

2. Batteries and Solar in 2030: Encouraging news! According to this article, solar energy will dominate over all other forms of man-made energy by 2030 (or earlier). And, a similar article... 

3. Go Sun Stove: Check out this video!

4. Water Webinar: April 9, 10 – 11:30PT with U Vic’s Deborah Curran on “An update on the Water sustainability Act and what BC’s Freshwater community can do”. .  Free! Register here.

5.Living Oceans has ‘won’ $10,000 to do shore clean-up on the Scott Island off BC’s coast. If  interested in sleeping on a boat and helping with clean-up please contact:  kwristen@living oceans.org   They removed 2.67 tonnes of debris from a 7 km stretch last year.   They still need more funds for clean-up... 

6. Invasive Species: Google ISCBC Enews to find out the latest news – girl guides are helping out this season. 

7.  Victory With BC’s New Society Act: There was such a backlash to the BC liberals’ provision that a society or non-profit could be taken to court for “not acting in the public interest” that the government has dropped it.

http://westcoastenvironmentallaw.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/i/BF7495098A4016D7/06C80A4A78730679C67FD2F38AC4859C  Resistance was coordinated by the West Coast Environmental Law Association. 


1. Site Updated: Take a tour of their re-designed site.

 2. Ontario's Anti-Pesticide Victory: Ontario is first in North America to restrict bee-killing pesticides! Read the full story here.


1. Cutting Electricity Costs: How much energy can one family save? Is there a family in Kamloops, Kelowna, or Vernon that can compete with this family in Kaslo? The chase is on… 


1. Victory for Bees and Freedom of Speech: Recently, a German judge ruled that the environmental association BUND has a right to voice concerns over potential harms to bees from Thiacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide. This is a significant win for bees and free speech. BUND is now asking the EU to ban all uses of Thiacloprid. For the complete story, go here

2. Fossil Fuel Industry‘s Year of Influence: This revealing Guardian article documents how the fossil fuel industry has quietly influenced public policy around energy towards fossil fuels, especially natural gas, and away from a focus on renewables. 

3. Nuclear Industry Woes: According to this report, Areva, France's largest nuclear energy company lost $5.3 billion last year. This is just the latest setback for Areva, who "has lost money for years, in part linked to delays on projects and to a global pullback from nuclear energy since the 2011 Fukushima accident." 

4. Uranium Safety? Here's a recent and frightening event! Armed intruders stormed their way into a South African nuclear plant.  

 5. Nuclear Myth: The idea that nuclear power is a solution to GHG is a myth. There's still GHG emissions from constructing the stations and deep nuclear waste dumps. The cleaner methods to generate power (solar, wind, wave, etc.) are better, quicker, less expensive, and less dangerous. 


1. Water For Oil Petition: The Alberta government just released lax new rules that basically allow tar sands companies to take as much water from the Athabasca River whenever they want -- regardless of the environmental dangers…an environmental disaster waiting to happen. A massive public outcry could force the government back to the negotiating table.Please sign this petition!

2. Save the Krill: Krill are the main food source for whales, penguins, and seals and a critical link in the global oceanic ecosystem. Currently, over 80% of the Antarctic krill population has been wiped out by industrial fishing! SUMOFUS is creating a compelling animated video to spread this message far and wide -- but they need your help. To pledge some money, go here


1. What's up with Watersheds? Did you know Canada is home to 20% of the world’s surface freshwater—a huge global responsibility for our country. Go here to learn what NCC is doing to help protect this resource. 


Canada’s Endangered Blue Whales: Authorities have given the go-ahead for seismic drilling and drilling by oil companies without doing a critical habit study in this Gulf of St Lawrence , a unique and highly productive marine ecosystem. Sierra is concerned over the supposedly protected and endangered Blue Whale which uses the Gulf. Please send your letter and be heard today! The Federal Minister of Fisheries & Oceans and Federal Minister of Environment need to hear from us! 


1. 100 In 1 Day, 2015: On June 6th, join hundreds of others each taking one small action to improve their city. Visit 100in1day.ca or twitter #100In1Day to start improving your city! 

2. We Are Cities: 80% of Canadians live in urban areas, so whether you live downtown, in a suburb or in a rural area nearby, we all benefit when our cities work. We Are Cities is a campaign to engage Canadians across the country to shape an action plan for building liveable, healthy cities! Visit wearecities.ca to submit an idea or host a roundtable.

Co-edited by Egan Mandreck

March 2015 Newsletter +  

 Sustainable Environment Network Society Newsletter MARCH 2015

 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.

This newsletter is being sent out for your interest. Information contained within does not imply approval by SENS directors.

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


1. Annual Seed & Plant Swap/Sale and Annual General Meeting (AGM): March 26, Schubert Centre. The free seed and plant swap/sale starts at 6:30 pm, a short AGM at 7:30 pm, followed by Brian McIsaac and Rebecca Kneen presenting: "Capping Growth in a Finite World – when is enough, enough?" Afterwards, there’ll be time for discussion and more seed and plant swap/sales.

Interested in contributing to SENS as a Director? Please contact our Chair, Sigrid-Ann Thors, at 250- 503-3150 prior to our AGM.

 2. Symphony of the Soils: March 19, 7 – 9:15 pm, Schubert Centre. $5 assists with room costs. To celebrate the UN International Year of Soils, SENS, Allan Brooks Nature Centre, and Food Action Society are hosting a screening of this new documentary. It explores the relationships between soil and its surroundings and users, and explains how having healthy soil leads to a healthy planet (humans too!). Breakout sessions with well known local soil experts and facilitators will assist all of us in planning for the next steps in an Okanagan Soil Resilience Project. Details on this website: http://www.abnc.ca/ai1ec_event/symphony-of-the-soils-film-screening/?instance_id=306

3. Vernon Seedy Saturday, March 21st 10 am -3 pm, Vernon Rec Centre, 3301 37 Ave.

Join SENS and Vernon in Transition on the first day of spring to celebrate seeds, gardening, bees, local food and community. You’ll find locally grown heirloom seeds, starts, plants, garden products, locally produced food, honey and more. Experience the community (free) seed exchange, educational displays, children's activities, inspiring speakers and films (eg Voices of Transition) throughout the event. 

A special feature, 12:30 – 3 pm, is Sierra Club Canada Foundation's Protect The Pollinators Tour with special guest speakers John Bennett, National Program Director, Sierra Club Canada,  and Paul McKay, author, The Kepler Code

Admission by donation ($2 suggested) to assist with rent. 

For updates check  https://www.facebook.com/events/434822590005938/



1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Coldstream: Fridays, 2:30 – 6 pm.

·       Vernon: Kal Tire Place, 12 – 4 pm, March 6, 13, 20, 27

·       Lumby: Daily, 10 am – 5 pm, Arbour Mall on Highway 6.

      -    Organic produce, both GMO and pesticide free. Contact: 250 547-7808.

 2. Sustainability, Greening Cities: March 9, 9:30 – 11:30 am, People Place basementKeli Westgate, SENS director, is the speaker. Admission is $20 (Cost of yearly membership).

 3. Transit Options: March 11, 10 am -2pm, Schubert Centre. Please note this rescheduled change!  RSVP to 250-545-0585.

 4. Organic Vegetable Farm Job Opportunity: Nevin and Shauna Gavigan of the Farmacy Organic Farm (email) are expanding their Lumby operations, and are interested in hiring a seasonal Full time staff member from within the local
community. Visit their website to learn more.


 5. Environmental Art Bursary: Okanagan College is organizing an environmentally-focused event, Earth Matters, that blends an art competition with an academic symposium.  The symposium will take place April 9, 2015. 2D art submissions are needed! If you know of any art or environmental groups that you think might be interested in this event, please email Kathleen Jagger.

 6. World Water Day: March 19, 2 – 3:30 pm, UBC Okanagan Ballroom, 3333 University Way, Kelowna. Eileen D Pearkes, author of “A River Captured”, is keynote speaker.  http://worldwaterday.ok.ubc.ca/  

 7. Vernon Village Co-Housing: March 28, 2:30 pm, Okanagan Library, Vernon Branch. If you are interested in helping to create an economic, social, and environmentally friendly community in this area, please attend this informational session. For more, email Barbara or Mel or call 778 475-3453.

 8. B.C. Organics: Here's a quick survey on organics. Feedback is asked for until March 31…

 9. Okanagan Science Centre: Wishes 2 liter pop bottles dropped off for spring break camps…

 10. Water Sustainability: By now you've heard that B.C. has a new Water Sustainability Act. But sadly the bill has no bite! The Canadian Freshwater Alliance is leading a media & community organizing initiative that will shape a stronger Act. Should you wish to take part, contact Susi Porter-Bopp. 

 11. Element Ecodesign: If you’re interested in their program of courses for 2015, check out their website. Topics include, designing an edible landscape, storm water management, permaculture earthworks, edible forest gardens, and much more.

 12. Allan Brooks Nature Centre Fundraiser: Flights of Fancy Dinner and Auction Gala, April 10, 5 – 11 pm Best Western Lodge, $65 per ticket or $500 per table of 8 at 250 549 SHOW. Early bird deadline is March 15. www.abnc.ca

 13.  Eco-Friendly Home Tour: May 2nd, Vernon / May 3rd, Kelowna –  a CFUW Scholarship fundraiser

Tour 7 homes in Vernon & Kelowna with leading edge energy and water saving features, meet the owners, and learn how LEED Gold standard, Living Building Challenge & Net Zero Energy Certification are involved with generating energy to sell back to the grid,  incorporating passive solar design principles, utilizing various geothermal systems, capturing rainwater, recycling greywater, retrofitting a 70 yr. old home,  and xeriscape gardening . Tickets for the 2 day tour are $20.  Only 48 tickets are available through Bean Scene.  At Sunday’s last stop refreshments are ‘on’. Contact franceswarner@shaw.ca    or call 778 475 2255.  


1. Roundup in “Froot Loops": Apparently, "DNA lab testing verified that 100% of the corn in Kellogg’s Froot Loops is genetically modified corn, containing DNA sequences known to be present in the insecticide Roundup Ready" Ugh! For the article, go here.

 2. Air-Powered Car: Check out this cool video!

 3. Norway’s Wild Salmon Threatened: A month ago, a huge number of farmed, sexually mature trout escaped from their pens in Norway. Most were caught, but the true damage won't be known for some time... What is known though is that this latest incident is rocking the salmon farming industry. There are renewed calls for the industry to get out of the ocean!  B.C. should echo those calls. For the entire article, go here. And for even more, go here.

 4. B.C.’s Wolf Cull: According to this CBC article, B.C.'s controversial wolf cull will likely be necessary for the next five years. The Alberta government conducted a similar cull of wolves starting in 2006 that resulted in almost 1,000 animals being killed. Caribou numbers there showed no sign of improvement afterward...

 5. Ah, Weeds: http://www.portcoquitlam.ca/Assets/Pesticide+Alternatives+$!26+Natural+Solutions.pdf

 6. Bnnetton’s Reversal: They will now pay compensation to victims of the Rana Plaza Factory collapse in Bangladesh. https://secure.avaaz.org/en/benetton_thank_you/?bQynJab&v=54275

 7. Mount Polley was our biggest ever mining disaster but our BC government has now given Imperial Metals a temporary permit to open Red Chris mine, a new copper and gold mine with a a large tailing pond in the Stikine watershed. Tell BC Premier Christy Clark to remove Imperial Metals' permit to build the Red Chris Mine!  Thank-you to SumOfUs.org for this.


1. Help Stop New Fish Farms: Seafood BC wants to convert two of its shellfish aquaculture tenures to salmon farms. As we all know, fish farms can be harmful to our wild salmon via its wastes, chemicals, and potential to spread sea lice. If approved, it could open the floodgates to other shellfish tenures being converted to salmon farms. Help stop this by writing an action letter ((1 & 2) and submitting on the B.C. government's website. Here's the full story.


1. Okanagan Grizzlies are At-Risk: The Okanagan territory was once home to thriving populations of grizzly bears, but today few remain. As such, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) has declared Grizzly Bears as "at-risk" and in need of protection. The ONA has received some funding from Environment Canada to support the protection of this species and to assist in recovery efforts. For more info, go here.

2. Okanagan Stewardship: Over the next year, the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society (OSS) will be focusing on land owner contact, habitat enhancement and community stewardship initiatives in the North and Central Okanagan. These projects will largely focus on Species at Risk and their habitats. If you would like to help on any of these projects, please email the OSS.

 FROM ECOJUSTICE     Take a tour of their re-designed site.

1. We Need to Slow Down: Staff lawyer Karen Campbell was in the room when U.S. tribes shared deep knowledge and grave warnings in the Kinder Morgan testimonies. Hear what they had to say in her blog.

 2. A Day in Court to Defend Species: Ecojustice lawyers took the Ontario government to court for a regulation that guts our Endangered Species Act. Get a firsthand account of the court proceedings here.

 3. Pesticide Fight Update: Ecojustice is currently fighting to improve the federal Pest Control Products Act. Of specific concern are the bee-killing  neonicotinoids. Recently, Ecojustice won an important legal victory, with Canada now planning to ban hundreds of pesticide products containing harmful ingredients. For the entire story with some great links, go here


The 2040 Imperative: Interested in a great read on phase-out of fossil fuels in Canada? Read this story...


1.Why the Wolf Kill Will Fail:  http://www.vancouverobserver.com/opinion/bc-s-caribou-recovery-plan-do-we-want-caribou-species-exist


1. Climate Change and Carbon: 2014 is confirmed as the hottest year on record, and 13 of the hottest 15 years have occurred since 2000. Decisive action is needed!  Hmmm… how about a global carbon tax to take some of the volatility out of the prices? Removing fossil fuel subsidies? 

2. Right To A Healthy Environment: Duncan, Ladysmith, and Sannich have joined nine other communities passing declarations recognizing their citizens’ right to live in a healthy environment!  We're one step closer towards the final goal: amending the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to recognize every Canadian’s right to a healthy environment! Show your support for this initiative by signing the pledge and/or bringing this initiative to your community

3. Nominate A Youth: for The Starfish Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 if you know of a young leader who deserves national recognition. Others who inspire:

Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a 13-year-old from B.C.’s Tla'Amin First Nation, spoke at the UN Rio +20 conference in 2012 when she was just 11.

Engineer Stephen Thomas, co-founded If You Build It. He’s a driving force for our nation’s clean energy future, getting community owned wind projects in Nova Scotia.

Vanessa Gray, of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, mobilized other young people to campaign against Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline proposal to transport oilsands bitumen through Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal for export.  

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck

February 2015 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.

This newsletter is being sent out for your interest. Information contained within does not imply approval by SENS directors.

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


1.Waterway Stewardship: Thursday, February 26, 7 pm Schubert Centre. Learn about our local waterways and join experts to find out what equipment and monthly tests you can use on a waterway near you to monitor continued safety and cleanliness for all of us.

2. First Vernon Earthship Meeting: February 4, 7 pm, People Place, Room 101 downstairs. Bring your skills for building an off-grid, recycled, closed-loop home/educational space for sustainably-minded folk. Space is limited, so please contact SENS director Keli at 250 307-6595.

3. Annual Seed & Plant Swap/Sale and Annual General Meeting (AGM): March 26, Schubert Centre. Free seed and plant swap/sale (6:30 pm), a short AGM (7:30 pm), followed by Brian and Rebecca Brewster’s talk  - Capping Growth in a Finite World – when is enough, enough? There’s time after their talk for more seed and plant swap/sales.

Interested in contributing to SENS as a Director? Please contact our Chair, Sigrid-Ann Thors, at 250- 503-3150 prior to our AGM.

4.Winter Carnival: Want to cycle/walk in the parade? Contact Terry: terrydyck80@hotmail.com.


1. Used ‘Stuff’: Bee SAFE is working with the Monashee Co-Op and in need of office and store furniture, desk, cash register, filing cabinets, older iPad, etc…. if you have any to donate, please contact  monasheecommunitycoop@gmail.com or 250-547-0272

2. Roundup and GMOs:: According to a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, Roundup herbicide (aka glyphosate) and its still-toxic degradation by-product AMPA were found in over 75% of the air and rain samples tested from Mississippi in 2007.      Nassim Taleb, the distinguished professor of risk engineering who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, has concluded that GMOs could cause “an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet". Here's hoping we listen to him this time....


1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Coldstream: Fridays, 2:30 pm – 6 pm.

·       Vernon: Kal Tire Place, 12 – 4 pm, Jan 30, Feb 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27

·       Armstrong: Saturdays, 10 am – 1 pm, Odd Fellows Hall, Bridge Street.

·       Lumby: Daily, 10 am – 5 pm, Arbour Mall on Highway 6.

      -    Organic produce, both GMO and pesticide free. Contact: 250 547-7808.

2. Local CommUnity Innovation Lab: February 3 - 5, Fresh Outlook Foundation and Thompson Rivers University will be hosting a CommUnity Innovation Lab in Kamloops to tackle issues such as healthy environment, people, and economy. Find out more about this great event here.

3. North Okanagan Naturalist Society Meeting: February 4, 7 pm, Sierra Room of the Village Green Hotel. The speaker will be fish biologist, Jason Webster. For more, go here.

4. Learn to Fish Program: February 7, 10 am to 3 pm, Swan Lake in Vernon. This event is open to the public. Youth and their families will learn how to ice fish as well as the safety precautions needed to enjoy the sport. Fishing Gear, tackle, and a BBQ lunch will be provided for all participants. For more information, contact danny@bcfishn.com.

5. Green Drinks: February 9, 5- 7 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub in Vernon.

6. Local Transit Options: Feb 10, 10 – noon, People Place, Room 003. Seating limited so please RSVP to 250 545-0585. Topics: accessibility, handyDART pilot project and registration for handyDART.

7. Last Unfair Election: February 17, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Come see this non-partisan presentation from Fair Vote Canada with federal candidates. Admission by donation. It asks how can we renew democracy? How is our environment impacted?

8. Map our Marshes: In November, 50 students from the Vernon Community School participated in a Map our Marshes Workshop, which taught them how to track changes in wetland landscapes. The students then visited and assessed the Clarence Fulton Wetlands. The wetland will be added to the BC Wetland Atlas. Read more about this workshop on the BCWF Bog Blog.

9. The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society (OSS) Moves North: The OSSS provides information on native habitat restoration and protection, wildlife conflicts, managing invasive weeds, media recognition, funding options, etc., and is currently assisting more than forty landowners sustain eleven hundred acres of wildlife habitat.  It is moving North. For more information, check out their website or contact Alyson Skinner at 250-809-1980.

10. B.C. Swallow Conservation Project: This project is a volunteer based initiative working to obtain knowledge about swallow species and encourage shared stewardship. Please submit sightings of nests and important habitats to the website. For specifics, check it out!


1. Farmageddon: Check out this great book review! Some really sobering stuff...

2. Public Interest Science Attacked: 2014 hasn’t been a great year for public interest science in Canada. Here is a Toronto Star editorial summarizing how federal policies have continued to do serious damage to Canadian science last year. Here's hoping the upcoming federal election brings change! Also, here's the “Evidence for Democracy” article that prompted the editorial.

3. SumOfUs.org Mock Ad: Doritos has a massive ad budget and will pay millions of dollars to get its winning ad on air during the Super Bowl. But our community is massive too, and together we  made a video to drive home our message that Doritos needs to adopt a deforestation-free palm oil policy. Click here to watch this little video and feel free to share it -- and respond to the petition that accompanies it too!

4. Beauty From Wind Power: Italy has transformed an old viaduct into a wind turbine bridge with a bridge deck lined with solar cells. The entire structure is like a green Utopia, producing a combined 40 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year (that is enough to power 15,000 homes), while offering panoramic ocean views and an ultra-fresh farmer’s market (thanks to installed solar powered greenhouses)! For the entire article, go here.

5. Destroying Soil: Activities such as logging and removing native forests for ‘agriculture’, causes damage that would normally occur over thousands of years in just a matter of decades. Check out the full article on how humans erode soil 100 times faster than nature.

6. The Indicator: This recent iisd (International Institute for Sustainable Development) newsletter listed accomplishments of 2014. A few of the many items: youTube videos via  Social media, Partnerships for holistic multi-sector solutions to freshwater management, climate adaptation in Uganda ,  creating an award-winning Peg community indicator system  for knowledge, research on effects of Fossil Fuel Subsidies  which triggered reform in East Asia, launching a guide to help countries avoid farmland and water Land-grabs.

7. Our Energy Future: At the end of 2014 Clean Energy Canada released a pair or reports titled Tracking the Energy Revolution Global and Tracking the Energy Revolution Canada. The reports are full of maps, charts and graphics that tell the story of how plunging equipment costs, strong investor interest and government and business leadership are driving a global shift to renewable energy sources such as wind, sun and water. (Via Guy Dauncey)


1.Moose and… A few Canadian species employ unique adaptation strategies to survive throughout the winter. Read here.

2.Partnership: NCC, First Nations, and the BC Government coordinated so that Grace Islet is now protected.  Learn more.


1. Alberta’s Wolf Slaughter: Over the past 7 years more than 800 wolves have been killed as a crude, ineffective means of caribou recovery. Worse, the killing is planned to continue in 2015. Please read the following CBC article and visit www.wolfawarenessinc.org to learn how you can help stop this senseless slaughter of wolves!

Scapegoat (Wolf) Update: Sadly, British Columbia has joined the senseless slaughter!

As such, the Sierra Club is re-launching its #SaveTheWolves campaign with a letter writing action to B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice.

FROM CHANGE.ORG   This non-profit allows anyone with a cause/concern to use the Change.org website freely and safely regardless of who you are or what you believe.  One example is Sarah Kavanagh, a teenager from Mississippi who persuaded Pepsi and Coke to eliminate a controversial chemical from all of their soft drinks and beverages. Read update summary here.


Three Powerful Principles: Excerpt: "Our community has chosen 3 simple but powerful values to support each other to follow in 2015. When 500,000 of us pledge, we'll invite world leaders to join us, and we'll check in 3 times this coming year to see how we're all doing -- click here and sign a new year's pledge to ourselves."


1. Site C Alternative: Despite getting provincial approval, this fight is far from over. Case in point, a recent report out claims "geothermal (GT) plants could generate similar amounts of power at a much lower cost", effectively dismantling the government's rationale for building this monstrous dam!  Also going GT would generate many more permanent jobs (2000 vs. 150 for the Site C dam). This is a very appealing alternative! For the entire DESMOG article, go here.

2. Liquefied Fracking Gas: Here's David biting critique on the failings of our federal and provincial leaderships and the hardly "natural" LNG. A good read!

3. Canadian Mining Companies; They aim at maximizing profit with little regard for people or the environment – especially in Latin America. There has been some improvement but much more is needed.  Read the full article here.

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Inflammatory Chemicals in Red Meat: Not only are cattle an ecological conundrum -- generating the GHG gas methane, taking up precious resources to grow (e.g. feed, water, space, time, etc.), and being grossly inefficient -- now we learn that their meat contains a substance that isn't helpful for our metabolism. Bugs are looking tastier even more now!

2. Anti-SLAPP Bill for B.C.: The B.C. government has moved to change the rules governing non-profit societies to allow anyone at all to take the non-profit to court for doing something they deem to be "not in the best interests of society". Can't have those evil non--profits spreading lies about LNG, right? For this story, go here.

3. Connectivity: Water systems (streams, wetlands, bogs, swamps) are of great value and must be protected. Check the US Environmental Protection Agency’s recent research: Connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters ...


1. Toxicity ‘Ducked”: Living Oceans sued the Ministers of Health and Environment for approving the manufacture of the world’s first genetically modified (GM) food animal with no public debate. Now the federal government has finally produced the risk assessment on which the November, 2013 decision was purportedly based. Read more.

2. Enbridge Commitments: They said the Great Bear Sea and its communities would be protected from oil tankers making upwards of 800 trips per year to and from Kitimat. Many of the most important promises—like speed restrictions to protect whales from being struck and killed—aren’t required by law and won’t be enforced by the National Energy Board. Read more.


1.Cancer is Not Just Random: According to this Johns Hopkins media release, 2/3 of cancers are mostly just due to random bad luck. Well they're wrong! "In fact, the actual study [that prompted the media release] does nothing to disprove lists of carcinogens, and clusters of cancers in groups such as workers, around toxic sites, or in various regions around the world ... This study is NOT a reason to embrace the downsides of an industrial-promoted status quo." For entire article, go here.

EDITOR CORRECTION: Seawater to Oil is Not a Game Changer: Last month, I massively overhyped this! But this article grounded me in reality, sadly...  

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck

January 2015 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

This newsletter is being sent out for your interest. Information contained within does not imply approval by SENS directors.

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


1. Do It Yourself (DIY) Solar Energy Projects: January 22, 7 pm. SENS Director John Barling will provide helpful information on the ease of DIY and the costs for swimming pool and water heating, cabin photo-voltaics, solar greenhouses, cooking in the sun, and food drying. Planning for specific workshops to follow. Everyone welcome! Bring your questions and ideas!


1. Farmers’ Markets:

·       Coldstream: Fridays, 2:30 pm – 6 pm.

·       Armstrong: Saturdays, 10 am – 1 pm, Odd Fellows Hall, Bridge Street.

·       Lumby: Daily, 10am – 5pm (except Sundays noon-5), Arbour Park Mall on Hwy 6

Organic produce, both GMO and pesticide free. Contact: 250 547-7808.

2. Green Drinks:  Monday, January 12, 5 – 7 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub. Everyone's welcome! Contact Matt (250 275-1471 ext 3) if you’d like to sponsor and speak in a future month. 

3. Liveable Communities Details:  City staff last year asked the public for input on alternative transportation for Vernon's Pedestrian-Bike Master Plan. When asked which bike infrastructure they'd like to see built first: 54% favoured separated multi-use paths; 20% favoured pedestrian & bike corridors; and only 13% favoured on road bike lanes.   

4. Cycling In Cities: In general, cycling increases employee productivity (by 52%), lowers employee health care costs (again by 52%), and its health benefits far outweigh the risk (9:1). Employees take 32 % fewer sick days. At the same time, bike lanes are boosting retail sales, tourism, and property values. More research results:  Cyclists spend 40% more than drivers at local retailers. Protected bike lanes in Memphis generated 15 new businesses, plus a 50% increase in business and 30 renovations. A new bike lane in Calgary caused a 430% increase in cyclists in 2 months. One bike lane in New York increased cyclists 177% and decreased commercial vacancies 47%. It was also noted that people on foot and bicycles visit stores more often and spend more per month than drivers. As well, more young people in cities are choosing to cycle, not own and drive cars. Given all this, Vernon and area really ought to do more to support cycling! Thank-you to Mia Kohout CEO and Editor- in-chief of Momentum magazine, for these valuable facts.

 5. Youth on Farms: According to a new UBC report, "young British Columbia farmers who don’t own land and don’t have enough money to buy a farm are finding creative ways to get their hands on the acreage they need." The report documents options like incubator farms (community-based land leasing), land linking (mentoring), and co-operative farming (land sharing), and identifies the needs and challenges for new farmers. "Helping new or prospective farmers is vital to maintain and improve B.C.’s local food system." Otherwise, we import or starve!

6. Community Kitchens: Mark those calendars!  Dish themes: Jan 22 & 23 – Mexico, Feb 12 & 13 – Stews, Mar 12 & 13 – Ukrainian, Apr 23 & 24 – Get kids in the kitchen, May 21& 22 – Japan, June 18 & 19 – Summer Salad.  Register 1 week ahead at vernoncommunitycooking@gmail.com  $1 per portion to take home. The program still needs  9 x 9” and 9 x 13” glass casserole dishes, measuring cups and spoons, large, heavy bottomed soup pots, large mixing bowls, immersion blenders… 


1. Weather Trends: This slick site takes time snapshots and shows the estimated wind trails, at 3 hour periods based on the public weather data. You can also see temperatures trending too. Neat!

2. B.C. Caribou Videos: Here's three informative videos on these animals! 

3. Nature Fun for Kids: As this Globe & Mail article notes, playing in nature is very beneficial for kids.

 4. Insect Farming Industry: With limited land for the unsustainable beef industry, it's time to consider insect farming to secure food for all. It's inexpensive to raise protein-rich bugs in a small space, sustainable, and offers a healthily alternative to beef. It even helps combat global warming! It may take a few decades, but it’s the way of the future. For more, go here.

 5. Not Shopping: Check out this great anti-consumer book! It contains some very positive thoughts (e.g. ‘You are what you choose NOT to buy’) and the author's did-not-buy-it paintings. 

6. Alive Magazine Research Findings: Here are some research findings: (1) Productivity jumped 15% when green plants were added to a non-green plant office work space; (2) Eating baked or broiled fish 1x/week increases memory function and cognition; and (3)  Eating vegetable protein is not a factor in bringing on diabetes; eating animal protein is...  For the rest of the findings, go here

7. Action on Chevron’s Mess: Chevron (Texaco) has, for over 28 years, knowingly dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon. This has devastated thousands of lives and poisoned the rainforest. These are crimes against humanity! As such, indigenous and farmer communities are taking their fight to the International Criminal Court (ICC). While the case is before the ICC, help put Chevron's bosses under massive pressure to comply and pay damages to those affected (estimated at $9.5 billion). Sign the SumOfUs petition

8. Help Stop Doritos: "That sound you [hear] when you bite down on a Doritos? That’s the sound of rainforests being 'crunched' to make way for massive, [slavery-run] palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia." This is fuelling the extinction of many endangered species (e.g. orangutans, etc.) and global warming! Tell Doritos-maker PepsiCo to change their ways. If brands like PepsiCo show producers that they're interested in conflict-free, responsible palm oil, we're likely to get a permanent halt to deforestation...Thanks to SumOfUs for this information.

 9. B.C.’s Carbon Tax: Since 2008, we in B.C. have been nudged into making small decisions that lower our C-tax burden. And it's working! Fuel use and per person GHG emissions have both dropped 17%. Meanwhile, B.C.’s economic performance (GDP) did not change from that of the rest of Canada. In fact, because of the C tax, B.C. has the lowest income tax burden in Canada! And now we're being asked to support a transportation tax... Well, given the success of the C-tax, sign me up! For a related article on C-tax effectiveness, go here

10. Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC):  Money Sense magazine has ranked NCC the top environmental charity in Canada for the 5th consecutive year.  www.natureconservancy.ca

11. BC Nature Info: a) Geothermal offers cheaper, cleaner alternative to Site C Dam: Read Here

b) Scientist research indicates that Canada's laws fail to protect endangered species - 86% of our country's at risk species stay at the same risk level or have deteriorated over time. "Extinction is forever ... If something goes extinct, this is millions of years of evolution that we're losing."  (Quirks & Quarks interview with research scientist, Dr B Favaro).

c) "Chinook salmon could be wiped out by 2100, new study claims" - Read Here

12. Book Review: “Think Like A Commoner” (David Bollier): The Commons are “things that are owned by no-one but shared by all with social protocols for sharing”.  This 2014 book explains how present day ignorance of the commons enables private plunder of common wealth all over the world.  Some examples of this common wealth: air, parks, water, coastal fisheries, internet, seeds, farm gate sales(!), information, knowledge, traditions, creativity, songs…The author details current day examples where ordinary people, by using the commons (but not for profit) benefit everyone  (eg GNU/Linux). He shows how false information (“Tragedy of the Commons”) has made people think that the commons don’t work because people are self-interested (not cooperative and don’t share well) despite many hundreds of years of the commons still working well in such countries as Switzerland (since 1200!). He gives the historical background for how enclosures of the commons in medieval times by kings and nobles took away independence and self-sufficiency as people lost use of shared lands, forests and waters. They became ‘wage slaves’ in industrialized cities or beggars. This land grab is happening today in Africa, India and Latin America. Government works with corporations to allow theft of the commons using such terms as “progress, development and efficiency” – but we all end up the poorer for it. We become individual consumers, not communities with shared long term non-market interests. Corporatization of food means, for example, that we’ve lost the 650,000 different local varieties of apples of 100 years ago as companies support only a few for export – it’s all about profit for them! Local food tradition cuisine is lost to homogenous fast food chains. Privatization of roads, water, bridges. means monopoly prices can be charged. Public-private deals mean politicians avoid having to raise taxes to pay for infrastructure, however, if turned over to private interests, the billions that the public has put into this over many years is lost, quality of service is lost, good local wages are lost, and locals pay more via, toll roads, meters, etc.  Government subsidies can guarantee a company gets profits, without legal liability or operating risks. Everything must have a monetary value so that some group can make money from it. There’s lots more, short read, loads of intriguing examples. It’s in our library system… 

FROM INTERPARES (www.interpares.ca)

1.Open For Justice: Interpares has joined with the Canadian Network of Corporate Accountability to demand the establishment of an Ombudsman and legislated access to Canadian courts for people who have been harmed by Canadian mining operations overseas. 

2. Gold Mines: 4 of 10 in eastern Burma were ordered to close, compensate farmers, and restore destroyed streams & fields. They were drying out water supplies and releasing untreated cyanide. 

3. No More Hunger/Poverty: Deccan Development Society (DDS) in India has, for 30 years, helped one region become a model of self-sufficiency and food security through cooperative farming. Interpares is now helping these women farmers to show west African farmers how they did it. 


1. Right to Clean Drinking Water is Needed: Excerpt: "Many[Canadian] communities, particularly northern and Aboriginal, suffer from poor access to healthy and affordable food, clean water, proper housing. and other necessary infrastructure ... The right to a healthy environment needs to be recognized by all levels of government in Canada — and ultimately, in our Constitution." To read the entire article and David's ironic example of this suffering, go here.

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Ontario Vows to Reduce Use of Neonic Pesticides: The Ontario government says it intends to reduce the use of bee-killing "neonic" pesticides by 80%. This is a major victory! But CAPE's fight is not over yet... It will continue to keep pressure on the government to ensure they follow-through on their commitments and, ultimately, work towards a total (100%) ban! Go here for the CBC story. 

2. How Much Water is There? This startling image from the U.S. Geological Service shows the relative amount of Earth's water in comparison to the size of the Earth. There's not very much! Can we really afford to lose even more of this to fossil fuel and other industrial development? 

3. Seawater into Fuel: Here's a game changer! The U.S. Navy, wanting cheap and easy to obtain fuel, has successfully managed to turn seawater Into fuel. This could save planetary civilization!

4. Robotic Bees??? Here's an interesting, if worrisome idea. Apparently, the pesticide industry's solution to that pesky neonic bee-killing issue, are... robotic bees! But as this balanced article   points out, "Let's work on saving the real bees before we enlist swarms of robot pollinators." 

5. Germany on the Move: According to this article, the biggest utility company in Germany is leaving fossil fuels behind and switching over to renewables. 

6. Water Shortages: Here's an optimistic piece that suggests that, despite some government indifference to the drawing down of the planet's resources (e.g. water, trees, fish, etc.) and despite their stonewalling of any opposition, "sanity will [eventually] prevail, and when it does, ... we'll pull back from the yawning abyss." Fingers crossed! 

7. Health + Hope: Here's a nice story relating how doctors are seeing health and hope in the Burnaby Mountain protests. 

8. Fracking Harm: Physicians, Scientists, & Engineers for Healthy Energy released a working paper analysis, of approximately 400 peer-reviewed studies to date on the impacts of shale gas development. Key highlights: 96% of all papers on health indicate risks/adverse health outcomes; 95% of all original research studies on air quality indicate elevated concentrations of air pollutants; 72% of original research studies on water quality indicate contamination or risk thereof. A second Physicians group released similar information. View this great story from Albany Times Union, NY. 


1. Protecting Our Arctic: Canada’s Arctic is under threat! Right now, four well known oil companies are asking the National Energy Board for permission to drill deep water oil wells in the Arctic, with an exemption from the Same Season Relief Well (SSRW) policy. SSRW basically states that Energy companies need to prove that they can stop a ruptured well by drilling a relief well in the same season. If this exemption is granted, it would be a fatal blow to environmental protection and set a reckless precedent. Please help Ecojustice fight to stop this exemption. The entire article is here.


Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck