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Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

December 2013 Newsletter +  

DECEMBER 2013

The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 years

 

Support Us! You can become a member (Family - $20.00, Individual - $15.00, Basic - $5.00), attend our monthly meetings (the 4th Thursday usually), donate, and/or volunteer.  Mailing address: SENS, c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5.  Website:  www.sensociety.org  

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

SENS STUFF

1. For December: No SENS Events.  Safe driving/walking and may your ‘Santa’ work be fruitful!

2.  Dr Thierry Vrain and GM Foods: Over 200 people attended, Nov 28, for a powerful presentation on the massive harm from GE in sprays and our food. A u-tube taping should be available soon, otherwise google his name for TED talks and other interviews. 

LOCAL STUFF

1. Indoor Winter Farmers’ Markets: - great selection at both sites!

·       Mondays until April, 2014, 9 – 1 pm, Schubert Centre (3505 30th Ave, Vernon). 

·       Wednesdays until April, 2014, 11 – 3 pm, Kal Tire Place in Vernon. 

2. Vernon-North Okanagan Cycling Coalition (VNOCC): December 3, 6:30 pm, Alexander’s Pub in Coldstream. Everyone welcome to discuss ways to promote and advocate for cycling issues on a regional level. Randoneering events, a rail trail, and liaising are all possibilities!

 3. Okanagan Rail Trail: Show your support via their website or via e-mail.

 4. Okanagan Wetland Strategy: About 84% of our local low elevation wetlands have been lost due to building, draining, farm expansion and industry. These ventures seem to improve the economic performance, however, wetlands have a value of  over $22,000 per hectare per year as home for wildlife, flood protection, water purification, groundwater recharge, and erosion control. Doesn’t their value trump perceived “economic performance”? Mapping and data collection are starting. http://okcp.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=508:okanagan-wetland-strategy-phase-1&catid=3:news

 6. Permaculture Design: Should you wish to earn a certificate for this intensive course, Element Eco-design will be offering a 72 hour design certification workshop held over 6 weekends in the spring., March 29 & 30,
April 12 & 13, 26 & 27,
May 10 & 11, 24 & 25,
June 7 & 8. To learn more about this amazing workshop opportunity click here!  Sign up now!

 7. Environmental Causes/Projects: UVic Environmental Law Clinic will provide students for free work on worthy causes. Examples on their website www.elc.uvic.ca   Contact Calvin Sandborn, legal director at 250 472-5248 or csandbor@uvic.ca     Deadline is December 6.

 8. Year-Round Greenhouse: It would only cost about $300 and is mostly underground! Video included at the website; http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/build-underground-greenhouse-garden-year-round.html

 MATERIAL CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS AND READERS

1. Chemical Flame Retardants: These retardants, specifically their PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), are known to persist in people and the environment for many years. In addition, foetus exposed to this have a higher risk of development problems. http://www.healthline.com/health-news/children-flame-retardant-chemicals-linked-to-lower-iq-scores-050613

 2. Evidence for Democracy: Here are two articles that focus on how the Harper government is harming science in Canada. The first deals with the degree to which our government scientists are being muzzled. The second relates to how Canada needs a Science Watchdog.

 3. Delayed Gratification Hurts Climate Change Cooperation: A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals that groups cooperate less for climate change mitigation when the rewards of cooperation lie in the future, especially if they stretch into future generations. The authors suggest that international negotiations to mitigate climate change are unlikely to succeed if individual countries’ short-term gains are not taken into consideration. For the UBC story, go here.

 4. Petition to Conserve Water in Pakistan: Fresh off their loss in B.C. courts to keep draining our lakes fee-free, Nestlé is now (in truth they’ve been doing it for a long time) draining Pakistan’s local water supply, rendering entire areas uninhabitable in order to sell mineral-enriched water to the upper class. Wells are running dry and children are falling ill and dying. Please sign this petition to tell Nestlé to stop! With enough pressure, the company will scale back its water-draining facilities to avoid a damaging global backlash. Please share this campaign on Facebook too.

 5. Wild Salmon? – or Gold? Bristol Bay Alaska has the last wild salmon (40 million) run in the world but Northern Dynasty Minerals wishes to start up ‘Pebble Mine’. A non-profit, “SumOfUs”, wishes your support to preserve this ecosystem  and preserve the fishing livelihoods of  many locals. Tell Northern Dynasty Minerals to save the salmon and stop the Pebble Mine.6. Guilt Inhibits Consumption: A recent article in the Guardian noted that advertising and consumerism dull our capacity for empathy. If we don’t see or feel then we will buy, buy, buy! We cease to care when we become rich. What do YOU do to conserve the earth’s resources at this time of year? See article here: www.monbiot.com/2013/11/25/spend-dont-mend/

7. Action on Enbridge via ”Black Out Speak Out” (which was launched by CAPE and numerous well respected environmental groups): The gateway project would run through and impact the Great Bear region. Add your name here: www.askacanadian.ca

 8. Salmon In The City: Evergreen BC is delighted to announce that, for the first time in 80 years, there are salmon returning to Vancouver’s Still Creek. See video at http://info.evergreen.ca/en/

 9. 6th Great Species Extinction: It’s happening now and scientists believe the best action is to put the most effort into saving those species which have few close “relatives” so that diversity stays high. Their DNA contains the most unique and historically important genetic information. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/how-to-combat-another-great-extinction-event/article15572735/

 10.Loneliness and Our Environment: Suburbs, high-rises, lack of city parks and mini-park corners in town, self-absorption, and thus lack of community contribute. Loneliness is also bad for health. Tweets and ‘likes’ are meaningless compared to supportive relationships. The Vancouver Foundation is counteracting this problem by giving grants to individuals who will organize community events that bring strangers together!   Now, what about in Vernon?

http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1012/features/the-nature-of-loneliness.shtml

 FROM LIVING OCEANS 

Clear The Coast: Check out their site to see how the clean up for washed-ashore plastics on north western Vancouver Island is going!  Donations are also being sought to fund this work.

 FROM BC NATURE

1. Glass Sponge Reefs: Hidden at the bottom of the Strait of Georgia lie the ancient glass sponge reefs. These rare reefs act as homes for many marine species and their impressive filtering properties keep the ocean water clean and healthy. To learn more about this previously unknown Canadian treasure, click here. There’s video!

 2. Hometown Heroes Award: Do you know an individual, a volunteer group, or a business in your community who/that is taking heroic action to support a healthier environment? Nominate them or yourself for Earth Day Canada’s Hometown Heroes Award Program. The nomination deadline is March 31, 2014. For more information/to download the nomination packages, please visit here.

 3. Dam on the Similkameen: Identified as one of the top ten most endangered rivers in B.C., the Similkameen is the site of a proposed hydro dam by Fortis Generation Inc. The plan is drawing immediate environmental concerns. To read the entire article, visit this Vancouver Sun Link.

 4.Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project – public comments invited: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency invites the public to comment on which aspects of the environment may be affected by this project and what should be examined during the environmental assessment. The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines, are at www.robertsbankterminal2.com/.../draft-eis-guidelines... Written comments must be submitted by Dec. 8, 2013 to: Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency , 410-701 West Georgia Street , Vancouver, BC V7Y 1C6  Tel: 604-666-2431 Fax: 604-666-6990    RobertsBank@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

 FROM ECOJUSTICE

A B.C. Fracking Case: ECOJUSTICE is challenging a B.C. Oil and Gas Commission practice that allows the gas industry to exploit fresh water for fracking operations (among other things). This case is a crucial step forward in curtailing an industry whose practices increasingly threaten B.C.’s water resources and the ecosystems and people that depend on them. More on this case is here.

 FROM RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BC

1. Bi-weekly Food Scraps Program In Vancouver: The new “greenest city” program has reduced garbage collected by 40%, and increased collection of food scraps and organic materials by 50%. Sure, there’s been an expected rise in complaints, but according to the city, “they only represent less than 1% of customers served … In the long-term this will be more affordable and responsible.” For the article, go here.

 2. Recycling Old Shoes:  Scientists at Loughborough University in the U.K. have recently created and trialed "the world’s first comprehensive” recycling system for old footwear. The university is now working with "major footwear manufacturers" to develop methods of designing footwear that would make it as recycling-friendly (quicker and thus cheaper) as possible. For more, read the entire article here.

 3. Cocoa Waste = Chocolate Wrappers: British paper manufacturer James Cropper has pioneered a way to bio-recycle the 3.5 million tonnes of cocoa beans produced each year in chocolate production and turn them into paper. This paves the way for millions of chocolate bars to be wrapped and sold in the stuff of their creation. For the article, go here.

 NATURE CONSERVANCY OF CANADA

1.Land lines: Their new endeavour is to provide “Land Lines”, numerous facts and good reads on biodiversity, hiking in conservation lands, interviews and more. To contribute your research or discoveries e-mail them: landlines@natureconservancy.ca         Click here to visit Land Lines >

 2. Frog Bear Conservation Corridor Project:  It’s at the south end of Kootenay Lake - the only known breeding location in BC of the endangered northern leopard frog. The corridor project aims to protect essential habitat for many rare and important species such as the leopard frog in Creston Valley’s lowlands and to create a zone of safe passage for grizzlies and other wide-ranging animals moving between the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains.

 FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1.  Ghosts in our Genes: This 5 part BBC series starts with Part 1. Apparently inheritance isn’t as clear cut as we once thought…

 2. Alberta’s Failing Health: According to this report, emissions from the ‘Industrial Heartland’ of Alberta, made up by more than 40 major chemical, petrochemical, and oil and gas facilities, affect local air quality and human health. The air quality was particularly bad, with high levels of known carcinogens. This is most likely linked to the rise in the incidence of blood-related cancers as one gets nearer to the heartland. Not too surprisingly, the Alberta government and industry are attacking the study...

 3. Only One Chance: Here is book review for Only One Chance. In the book the author, Professor Philippe Grandjean, a renowned expert in the harm from trace heavy metal exposure and from organic pollutants, describes how the human brain drain is taking place because of scientific fallacies and a lack of caution in our current use of industrial chemicals.

 4. Holistic Cattle Farming Fairy Tale: According to one misinformed Allan Savory, simply switching to a specialized form (i.e.  "holistic management") of grazing by cattle will resolve the world's climate crisis. Thankfully two climate scientists debunked this dangerous theory of minimal effort. For more, check out the article here.

 5. Business Rules Us: Here is a detailed analysis of the role played by corporations (quite sickening), and is a challenge to the citizens of this planet to take action. The article is Britain-based, but holds many universal truths. A good read!

 6. 90 Companies Caused 2/3:  of man-made global warming emissions  which caused our climate crisis. Most were oil, gas or coal producers.  7 were cement manufacturers. Details here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/20/90-companies-man-made-global-warming-emissions-climate-change

 7. Glyphosate toxicity: It’s the main ingredient in Roundup. A recent paper showed that glyphosate suppresses Cytochrome enzymes and affects the human biome and suppresses tryptophan synthesis, which is a serotonin precursor. This links it to serotonin-deficiency-related pathologies. Result? - illnesses such as autism, alzheimer’s, infertility, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, and diabetes that have risen to the fore over the past decades. A direct link has been made between rise in use of roundup and rise in such disorders. Autism used to be 1 in 10,000 but now it is 1 in 50.   http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4     *** see pages 1416 – 1463.

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

November 2013 Newsletter +  

NOVEMBER 2013

The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 years!

Support Us! You can become a member (Family - $20.00, Individual - $15.00, Basic - $5.00), attend our monthly meetings (the 4th Thursday usually), donate, and/or volunteer. Mailing address: SENS, c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5. Website: www.sensociety.org

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

SENS STUFF

1. Handmade Holiday Event: November 23, 1 – 3 pm, Schubert Centre. A learn-to-make-it-yourself afternoon that will give you lots of neat, yet inexpensive ideas for gifting this Christmas with ‘no’ buying. Do you have a “make-it” idea you want to share? Contact Joanne immediately at joannesale.river@gmail.com Sponsors: SENS and Vernon In Transition.

2. Genetically Modified Foods and Human Health: November 28, 7 pm, Schubert Centre: Dr T. Vrain, (retired soil biologist and genetic engineer with Ag Canada for 30 years) speaks on history of genetic engineering, regulations, and recommended public actions. Questions and discussion welcome. Sponsors: SENS, Food Action Society, Greenpeace, GE Free BC.

3.. Repair Café a Success: This busy October 5th event was a rousing success as it provided maintenance advice, repair skills, and repurposing ideas to many people (preventing landfill fill-up in turn). There were all sorts of repairs (bikes, toasters, items that magnify, skateboards, and more), sewing using solar panels on a picnic table, library book sign-out, book repair demo, blade sharpening, knitting, and sock-darning. Crepes, coffee, and pop were flowing all day, as was the community spirit of sharing! To see photos, go to Vernon in Transition’s Facebook page.

LOCAL STUFF

1. North Okanagan Naturalists: Nov 6, 7:30 pm, Best Western Lodge. Andrea Gunner, Armstrong-Spallumcheen agrologist and local food producers speaks.

2. Farmers Market: Every Monday, 9 – 1pm, Schubert Centre (3505 30th Ave, Vernon) from November 18 until April, 2014.

3.Urban Agriculture with keynote speaker, Laura Kalina, Interior Health and Kamloops Food Policy Council, November 12, 7 pm, Vernon Library. Take part in discussion and films to hear how other communities successfully grow food and increase food security. Food Action Society of the North Okanagan (FASNO) holds their AGM after the talk. New members welcome. www.foodaction.ca

4. Secret Lives of parasites – We’re Not Alone! Rosemary Drisdelle, parasitology specialist, Nov. 19, 7:30pm, OK College lecture theatre in Vernon. Tickets for this Science In Society talk are $10 at the door or $7 in advance from the Okanagan Science Centre – 250 545-3644 or www.okscience.ca

5. Fresh Outlook Conference: November 25 to 28, Kelowna. Join the Fresh Outlook Foundation for their 6th annual Building Sustainable Communities conference! Learn about green economic development, “happiness by design”, and how to accelerate community actions and initiatives. For registration and more information, click here.

6. MMBC (Multi-Media BC) Coming To RDNO: This B.C. recycling program, a 100% fully financed, industry-run program, is on track to start next spring. The program aims to increase the amount of printed and paper packaging recycled in B.C. from 50% to 75% For the entire article, go here.

7. Putting Shuswap River To Bed For Winter: During October’s clean-up, low water exposed a lot of junk so 2 canoes and 7 enthusiasts were able to fill 3 XXL garbage bags with climbing harness, 5 inflatable rafts, men’s underwear, lawn chair, beach toys, tarp bits, beer/pop cans and much more. Lots of sun, kingfishers, beaver dens, polypore mushrooms, deer, and mergansers too!

Look for this event again next year and join them!

FROM B.E.E.SAFE NEWS

1. Berkeley Food Institute Launch: Read this story to learn how Berkeley University aims to transform the World's Food System!

2. Food Gardening Club: To join or get more info, email Joanne River or Jane Emlyn.

3. NON-GMO Cookbook: Go here for this great book!

4. Mexico Bans All GM Corn: After years of deliberation, a Mexico judge has placed an indefinite ban on genetically-engineered corn. Effective immediately, companies like Monsanto and DuPont/Pioneer will no longer be allowed to plant or sell their corn within the country’s borders!

MATERIAL CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS AND READERS

1. B.C. Flora: These PDF files can be downloaded from the Ministry of Forests website

2. Plastic to Oil Invention: Wow! Check out this amazing video! A very promising solution…

3. Speed Kills Your Pocketbook: Watch this and ask yourself, “Are our current posted speeds ‘’nuts’? It’s very informative and funny!

FROM OCCP (Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program)

1. Precious Frog Film: The primary cause for the decline of the 'Oregon Spotted Frog' has been the loss of wetlands to urban development and agriculture. In recent years, additional threats to the few remaining frogs also include pollution, mining, and invasive species. Check out this film by Isabelle Groc and her other conservation films!

2. Not Waiting for Noah: In this article the author describes what led to the flooding in Calgary this summer and the B.C. mudslides of last year. She also outlines the danger of relying on B.C.’s outdated flood plain data. According to her, “Planning is best done in advance, and now seems like a good time to get ready.” It’s a good read with links to other recommended readings.

FROM DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION

1. The Storied Mackerel: This highly sustainable fish is rich in flavour, Omega-3, and history. Check out the Foundation’s two new video recipes (Italian and Japanese) for preparing this fish. To learn more, read the entire article here.

2. Saving the Monarch: Biologists estimate the North American monarch butterfly population declined by about 80 per cent this year, the lowest numbers in 20 years. Why the decline? Scientists suspect it is habitat loss and a disappearing food source. Read the entire article for details. You’ll also learn how you can help this iconic and beautiful insect (e.g. plant milkweed and nectar-producing flowers) and more.

3. Video on How Climate Change relates to Extreme Weather: Please watch this short video in which David Suzuki explains the links between climate change and increased extreme weather. Share it with your family, friends and social networks. If more of us know the science, more of us will act. And for even more information, go here.

FROM PREVENT CANCER NOW (PCN)

1. Continued Use of 2,4-D in Canada: GM seeds that are resistant to 2,4-D (a component of the highly toxic herbicide ‘Agent Orange’), are soon to be sold here. PCN is calling for analyses and reviews of the seeds and the exposure risks. Please offer your support for a special review of the 29 pesticides already banned elsewhere; it can be emailed to Health Minister Ambrose (Minister_Ministre@hc-sc.gc.ca;Rona.Ambrose@parl.gc.ca). Read the entire article here.

2. Greenwashing: Here is a good piece on how some companies in the Cosmetics & Personal Care Products industry are “greenwashing” (making false green claims) their products. It’s got tips and helpful advice. “Natural”, “ecofriendly “, “ organic”, “unscented”, and display of a pink ribbon have no meaning – but sell well! Read labels carefully!

3. Canada to Review the Health Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation: Cellphones, towers, smart meters, wifi etc are possible type 2B human carcinogens and some even cause acoustic neuroma (tumors on the ear nerves that can grow and press on the brain). Health Canada is seeking the assistance of a committee of the Royal Society of Canada to review this. However, the committee is taking a very Harper-esque, non-scientific approach: it’s not making any of the research methods, questions and data public knowledge. As such, the onus is on you if you want your say to be heard! Check out the Citizens for Safe Technology webpage for convenient communication with the committee. Read the entire article here.

4. Endocrine Disruptors Regulation: Endocrine disruption from many common chemicals may play a role in many major developmental and chronic disorders, including cancer. Regulation of these chemicals is difficult…But the E.U. attempting just that. It is considering scientific criteria to identify endocrine disruptors of “high concern”. For the entire article, go here.

FROM RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BC

1. Ouch! Food Waste: A new initiative by FarmFolk CityFolk called Foodprint is a public awareness campaign to engage and educate household residents about reducing their food waste in the home because 51% of food wasted in Canada happens at home – that’s $27 billion annually or 172kg per person per year . What can YOU do to decrease such waste?

2. Anaerobic Digester = Electricity: The largest commercial-scale high solids anaerobic digester in North America is operating in Richmond. The system generates biogas from food and yard waste that would otherwise go to landfill. The biogas gets purified, is then turned into electricity and then is sold back to the grid. Go here for more

3. Emphasis on Recycling Clothes is Needed: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, textile recycling has a major impact on reducing greenhouse gasses. In 2011, 2 million tons of clothing were recycled in the U.S. That’s the equivalent impact of removing one million cars from the nation’s roads! Clothes recycling is better than recycling yard trimmings (5x), glass recycling (4x), and plastics recycling. How is this possible? You’ll have to read more to find out…

4. Accelerant To Decompose Plastic: PlasTek, a non-toxic, eco-friendly compound, claims to solve landfill space capacity problems by decomposing plastics over 12–36 months once it is sprayed onto garbage in a landfill (normally a thousands of years process). The methane gas captured after bacteria access the changed materials produces enough green energy to power about 4,000 homes per landfill each year, reducing CO2 emissions by 68 million pounds annually per landfill– the equivalent of CO2 emissions from 34 million gallons of gasoline every year. Read more

NOTE: One wonders if the PlasTek would be better employed directly on plastic at a different facility and not the landfill…

5. Electronics Recycling Analysis : Interested in program costs methodologies, best practises and even the amount of gold, silver, copper, nickel, and other valuable materials that can be recovered from waste electronics, and provide a rough estimate as to their economic value? For the full report, cilck here.

6. Recycling Bias Experiment: Interesting that people see a dented can as NOT useful and put it into the garbage but the same can, undented, is perceived as useful and put into recycling! – Same for bits of paper vs whole sheets…Hmmm. Read more.  For full experiment, click here.

7. NO Waste Bin At London Drugs, St Albert, Ab: Brenda Marsh, Manager of the London Drugs store received permission from Head Office last month to remove their dumpster bin completely.

They’re now down to disposing of 1-2 garbage bags a week. Read more

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Fossil Fuels Lose To Renewables: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Renewables_Ousting_Fossil_Fuel_Energy.php

2. Oil Sands Commentary: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/opinion/there-way-out-preventing-oilsands-health-tragedy-becoming-canadas-permanent-legacy?page=0,0

3.Improved photovoltaic Energy: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Sunny_Prospects_for_Solar_PV.php

4. Leaked Enbridge Info (intellectual content lacking): http://desmog.ca/2013/10/01/leaked-enbridge-s-new-northern-gateway-pipeline-ad-campaign-open-bette

5. Our Gorgeous Coast: - See wildlife and wild ecosystems via these 2 videos: a salmon stream and a tiny rocky island, then think of damage due to pipelines and tankers…. www.pacificwild.org/

FROM ECOJUSTICE

Nestles vs the Guelph Community: Ecojustice provided assistance that meant Nestles was not allowed to pump 1 million liters of groundwater even in a drought. The Ontario government noted the deal benefitted Nestles, not the community. Protecting water supply is a priority.

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck

 

October 2013 Newsletter +  

OCTOBER 2013
The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 years!

Support Us! You can become a member (Family - $20.00, Individual - $15.00, Basic - $5.00), attend our monthly meetings (the 4th Thursday usually), donate, and/or volunteer. Mailing address: SENS, c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5. Website: www.sensociety.org

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

SENS STUFF

1. Repair Café: Saturday, October 5, 11 am – 4 pm, Okanagan Science Centre and Xerindipity Gardens. If you have something that needs repair or repurposing, come down to find out how or have it done by local volunteers and small, local businesses. Doing so prevents landfill fill-up. Bring it in, from bikes, blades for sharpening, items to sew, furniture, darning… It’s an initiative supported by SENS. www.facebook.com/VernonTransition

2. Free Showing of “Fuel”: Thursday, October 10, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. This documentary shows how the oil industry controls, deceives and damages people and the environment. It also provides positive solutions - a must see! It has played at numerous film festivals and won 6 major awards.

3. Permaculture: October 24, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Gord Hiebert shows us how use of permaculture cares for the earth and its people through mimicking natural ecosystems. We’re already doing it here in Vernon at the Science Centre and the Food Forest at Okanagan College!

4. Feeding a Hungry Planet with Engaged Ecology: Monday, October 21, 7:30pm, Okanagan College, Kal Campus Lecture Theatre. Come and catch David Tracey, Vancouver-based environmental designer and community ecologist speak! Tickets are $7 in advance from the Okanagan Science Centre or $10 at the door. For more, call 250 545-3644 or go here. SENS and the Food Action Society are co-sponsoring this event with the OSC.

5. Who Speaks For Wolves: Over 150 attended the September 26 evening with Gary Allan and his 2 wolves, and heard how ecologically beneficial wolves are for all of us. There’s more on his website: www.whospeaksforwolf.com

LOCAL STUFF

1. Farmers’ Markets: Most will not function after October.

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

    • Fridays, October 4 and 11 only, 3 pm – 7 pm, Village Green Mall, North End.

  • Armstrong, Saturdays, 8 am – noon, IPE fairgrounds. 3371 Pleasant Valley Rd.

  • Lumby, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm, at the Oval.

  • Enderby, Fridays, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, corner of Cliff Ave. and Maud St.

  • Cherryville, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm.

2. Green Drinks: October 14, 5:30 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub. Call Matthew at 250 307-7364 for details.

3. Astronaut Chris Hadfield speaks in Kelowna: October 7, 7 pm, Kelowna Community Theatre, 1375 Water Street. Go here to register!

4. Fresh Outlook Conference: November 25 to 28, Kelowna. Join the Fresh Outlook Foundation for their 6th annual Building Sustainable Communities conference! Learn about green economic development, “happiness by design”, and how to accelerate community actions and initiatives. For registration and more information, click here.

5. Get Outside Challenge: The David Suzuki Foundation invites all of us to sign up for their 2013 Fall Family Challenge and make a commitment to explore nature in your own backyard and beyond. They’ll send weekly outdoor activities for you to do with your family. Join a growing community of Canadians determined to keep their outside shoes on! 

5. Bee Safe’s Grassroots activism; Thanks to all the committed and passionate GMO Free activists across the province, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), at their Annual General Meeting passed a resolution “that UBCM ask the British Columbia government to legislate the prohibition of importing, exporting and growing plants and seeds containing genetically engineered DNA, and raising GE animals within BC, and to declare, through legislation, that BC is a GE Free area in respect to all plant and animal species." Now, tell your MLA what you want! If the resolution is passed there’ll be no need to await a GMO decision from RDNO.

6. Free Styrofoam Round-up: Wednesday, October 16, 10 – 2 in Vernon at Wholesale Club ‘s parking lot and 10 – 2 in Enderby at the bottle depot. Thank-you RDNO!

7. Invasive Species: They’re one of the biggest threats to biodiversity and very costly to crops and food producers (and you!). The Invasive Species Council of BC (www.bcinvasives.ca) has information on alternatives to plants that nurseries provide (because they don’t know any better). Use the online “Grow Me Instead” booklet when you next shop for plants, then ask for cutleaf daisy, not oxeye daisy, pearly everlasting, not baby’s breath, showy daisy , not bachelor’s buttons, etc…. Complete the online survey at fluidsurveys.com/surveys/beyondattitude/plantwise

8. Carpool Month in the Okanagan: Details here :  http://www.carpool.ca/Week.aspx for costumes (!), stories, prizes and more! www.carpool.ca

9. Your Water: BC’s Minister of Environment has promised to provide a new Water Sustainability Act by 2014 since there are major shortcomings to the present fresh water act. Consider participating in the 2014 Budget Consultations. For help with presentation material, contact susi@freshwateralliance.ca or www.freshwateralliance.ca

10. Home Depot: Ask them NOT to sell pesticides that kill bees. More than half of the “bee-friendly” home garden plants they sell contain bee-killing pesticides called neonics – they’re not labelled!

MATERIAL CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS AND READERS

1. Fukushima Threatens the Pacific: According to these two reports (1, 2) and this long winded video rant, the situation at Fukushima is bad! 300-400 tons of irradiated ground water overflows into the ocean every day. Best to STOP EATING FISH, KELP, SUSHI, etc. caught there?

2. Vertical Forest In The City: Also google bosco verticale, Italy for more pictures than those here: http://www.jetsongreen.com/2013/01/milans-bosco-verticale-on-track-to-become-worlds-first-vertical-forest.html

3. Eco-City Challenge: Canada wastes more energy than almost every other country on the planet. So, the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance is challenging us to change our habits and use less energy.
Share your energy-saving actions for your chance to win an energy-efficient Whirlpool home appliance set at https://challenge.energyefficiency.org/

4. $100 Million of YOUR taxes: is being used to do research to support Enbridge’s tanker plans rather than Enbridge doing the research (Green Party report via Min. of Natural Resources).

FROM NATURE CONSERVANCY OF CANADA (NCC)

1. New Property Acquired: The NCC’s newly acquired and beautiful Tusket River Headwaters Nature Reserve has old growth trees, large mammals, endangered birds, various plants, and a host of reptiles and amphibians. Here’s a soothing 3-minute video clip! For more go here.

2. Green Wedding Tips: charitable donations to NCC as a wedding gift, no wedding favours, just a tribute gift to NCC in your guests’ honour, native flowers in bouquets and on tables, local, organic food, wine and beer for your wedding celebration, rent everything!, send e-vites or use sustainable paper, choose a central location to cut down guest travel.

FROM RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BC

1. Recycle My Cell Challenge for Waste Reduction Week: October 21 – 27. Register at Recycle My Cell Challenge!  Canadian students are challenged to recycle as many old wireless devices and accessories as possible. Do good for the environment and win some great prizes! Details at Recycle My Cell Page on RCBC’s website.  Businesses and individuals can also recycle phones through Recycle My Cell’s BC wide stewardship program. www.recyclemycell.ca  for details.

2. A House Fashioned From Garbage: This ‘Earthship’ uses both new and recycled materials, is a type of passive solar home, and is integrated into the environment. It can exist off the grid, 100% heat and cool itself, collect its won drinking water and manage its own waste water.  Read More.

3. Leader of the Pack: BC and Quebec fit the bill re: legislation that makes industry responsible for post-consumer products and end – of life packaging. We’re setting the bar high for others!.

4. Shipping Container Housing: It helps Downtown Eastside Vancouverites. Picture + Read more.  

5.Recycling Disposable Coffee Cups: 5% plastic content has made cups unsuitable for paper making but British James Cropper Co.’s technology removes the plastic to get high quality paper!

6. Household Composting: 61% of Canadians now compost kitchen and yard waste, up 38% from 1994. See this The July 10, 2013 survey, Composting by Households in Canada

7. Plastic Bank: This social enterprise project rewards people in developing countries with credits or micro-financing for collecting waste plastic, which is then recycled.  Read more.  

FROM LIVING OCEANS (www.livingoceans.org)

1.Value of a Healthy Environment? Over $230 billion for Canada in 2012. Internal Environment Canada briefing notes say more than thirteen percent of Canada’s $1.8 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) depends upon healthy ecosystems. Living Oceans is helping to build ecosystem-based management (EBM) into marine planning in BC to ensure nature’s ability to protect cities from storm damage, provide food security, and maintain resilience to climate change - all for free.

2. Tonnes of Plastic: were removed from our coastlines this summer by volunteers as part of their Clear The Coast Campaign. More at the Living oceans website.

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Governments Shouldn’t Adopt Business Models: Check out this three minute animation that hits at some hard truths, and is engaging and brisk at the same time.

2. List of the Muzzled: Here is a listing of anti-science actions that the federal government has taken over the last six or seven years. Shameful!

3. Japan's Nuclear Migraine: Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the company that once ran the Fukushima power plant and now responsible for cleaning up the site is in far over its head…. no long term plan, malfunctions rampant, and legendary bungling. Thankfully they’re finally asking for foreign help. But it will still take decades to fix. For the full article, go here. And here’s a similar one.

4. Big Pharma Study: Check out this study that shows that our medications do far more than Big Pharma tells us they do (specifically linking our meds to one type of autism)!

5. Chuckle Time…Government’s Answer to a Dead Horse: Common sense would be to dismount if you ever find yourself riding one. Well, not the government! Read this funny list of one-liners for how those in office deal with a dead horse.

6. Stop that Freeloader: Nestlé is taking 265 million litres of fresh B.C. water every year to bottle and sell off around the world -- and it does not pay a penny. It gets away with this due to a lack of proper regulation… Please sign this petition telling the B.C. government to enact laws so companies like Nestlé must pay to extract our precious water. For more information on this, read this Canada.com article and/or this Vancouver Sun opinion piece.

5. Surviving Global Warming: Heat waves much more common, fruiting plants will suffer as heat hits in summer, more water needed by food animals…yet more drought. Lots of time-tested solutions abound. Read more here: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Surviving_Global_Warming.php and here on

climate change: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/climateglobalwarming.php The ISIS’s Science In Society magazine is available here: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/subscribe

6. Nuclear White Elephant? In 1957 an explosion of stored liquid reprocessed uranium created a radioactive wasteland (Kyshtym disaster) and wiped out 30 villages…yet Japan is working on reprocessing at Rokkasho….Check this article: www.democraticunderground.com/112754769

7. World’s Cheapest Car: http://www.thismagazine.ca/issues/2009/03/online_only_tata_nano.php

FROM ECOJUSTICE

1. Sage Grouse Protection: It took nearly two years of legal wrangling, but it looks like the federal government is finally prepared to introduce emergency protections for Canada’s endangered Greater sage-grouse. Oil and gas development in its critical habitat is one of its biggest threats, so quick action that takes that into account is needed. Otherwise these iconic prairie birds will disappear from Canada within the next decade. We can’t let that happen! Your continued support will be needed more than ever. Go here for the original story.

2. Suing for Species Protection: “This July, the Ontario government gutted its own species at-risk legislation”, paving the way for major industries (e.g. forestry, mining, and energy) to jeopardize the survival of 155 vulnerable species. As such, Ecojustice is “challenging the province’s decision [in court] and fighting to ensure that Ontario’s at-risk species get justice … Legal action could force the government to do the right thing: protect at-risk species and their habitat! Learn more about what Ecojustice is doing to seek justice for Ontario’s species at risk and how you can help.

3. Impact: This new series into your inbox per month will highlight Ecojustice’s work to defend species, air, water, land and your health. Sign up here: Subscribe to Ecojustice communications

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck

 

September 2013 Newsletter +  

SEPTEMBER 2013

The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 years!

Support Us! You can become a member (Family - $20.00, Individual - $15.00, Basic - $5.00), attend our monthly meetings (the 4th Thursday usually), donate, and/or volunteer. Mailing address: SENS, c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5. Website: www.sensociety.org

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

SENS STUFF

1. The Wonder of Wolves: September 26, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. Meet Tundra and Gary Allan, wolf educator and advocate, and learn about pups, pack dynamics, and their valuable role in our ecosystems. Go here to learn more about them. SENS is co-sponsoring with North Okanagan Naturalists (www.nonc.ca)

2. Free Movie Showing of “Fuel”: Thursday, October 10, 7 pm, Schubert Centre. This documentary shows how the oil industry controls, deceives and damages people and the environment - a must see movie! It has played at numerous film festivals and won 6 major awards.

3. Repair Café: Saturday, October 5, 11 am – 4pm, Okanagan Science Centre and Xerindipity Gardens. If you have something that needs repair or repurposing, come down to find out how or have it done by local volunteers and small, local businesses. Doing so prevents landfill fill-up. Bring it in, from bikes, blade for sharpening, item to sew, furniture, to small appliances!

LOCAL STUFF

1. Farmers’ Markets:

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

    • Fridays, 3 – 7 pm, Village Green Mall, North End.

  • Armstrong, Saturdays, 8 – noon, IPE fairgrounds. 3371 Pleasant Valley Rd.

  • Lumby, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm at the Oval.

  • Enderby, Fridays, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, corner of Cliff Ave. and Maud St.

  • Cherryville, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm.

2. Green Drinks: September 9, 5:30pm, Sir Winston’s Pub. Call Matthew at 250 307-7364 for details.

3. Beyond Oil: Tuesday, September 10, 7 pm, Okanagan College, Kelowna, S 104 Lecture Theatre. (student services building next to KLO’s main entrance). Guy Dauncey, founder of BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) and well known author, speaks on the world wide energy revolution that will build a sustainable resilient community. Annual General Meeting for BCSEA will follow. Admission is by donation for non-members.

4. Allan Brooks Nature Centre Garage Sale: Sept. 14, 8am – 4pm and Sept 14, 9am – 3pm. Donations appreciated. Phone 250- 260-4227 for details.

5. Permablitz: On Saturday, September 7 in Kelowna. Come see the rapid transformation of an under-utilized space into organic food production. Suitable clothes, water etc required. RSVP immediately in case they’re already filled up to info@elementecodesign.com.

6. Patchwork Farms Needs Helpers: This demonstration garden and community farm, located at OK College campus, lower parking lot may need help with picking beans on Sept 2 and will for sure need help later in the month. Contact Wendy: 250 542-6920. www.patchworkfarms.ca

7. B.C. Rivers Day – Sept. 29, 2013: Look for events in your community - or plan one!

8. Aviva Community Fund: The 2013 competition starts Sept 23. If you have a green idea for your community and could use their funds, check ‘em out!

9. The City of Vernon is hosting community workshops to receive further input on the Pedestrian Cycling Master Plan and to help design best walking and cycling routes. This project is funded by the Healthy Communities Capacity Building Fund. Please get involved to help create a healthier community. For more information, please contact Wendy Majewski wmajewskI@vernon.ca

  • Seniors’ Input Wed. Sept. 25 11:00 a.m. -12 noon, Senior’s/Community Workshop 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Schubert Centre
  • East Hill Community Workshop; Wed. Sept. 25 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at East Hill Community Church
  • Stakeholder’s Workshop; Thurs. Sept. 26, 11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m. at Vernon City Hall
  • Seniors’ Input: Sat. Sept. 28, 8am – 11am, Halina Centre.

10. Astronaut Chris Hadfield speaks in Kelowna: October 7, 7 pm, Kelowna Community Theatre, 1375 Water Street. Go here to register!

11. Park and Trike in Vernon: Local resident and SENS member Daniel Stark envisions this service, using “reverse tricycles” to commute, being offered to the downtown core. If you’re interested in helping him out, please contact him at 250-503-0223 or starkd@telus.net. You can also ask to see his trike and see what it is like to park and ride one!

MATERIAL CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS AND READERS

1. Public Bike Sharing: The City of Vancouver has confirmed that public bike sharing will be launched in 2014. Public bike sharing will provide convenient, spontaneous, one-way trips in the busiest areas of the city and encourage others to switch to bikes. This is great news! Is Vernon next?

FROM NATURE CONSERVANCY OF CANADA (NCoC)

1. Tatlayoko Lake Bird Observatory's Blog: http://tatlayokobirds.wordpress.com/ Follow this blog to find out what’s happening along the Pacific flyway!

FROM NORTH OKANAGAN NATURALIST NEWSLETTER

1. Invasive Species Talk: Sept. 4th, 7:30 pm at the Best Western Vernon Lodge - Evan Rafuse of the Invasives Species Council will talk on the 'Plant Wise' program and cover the 26 worst invasives that can still be purchased in stores and nurseries for transplanting in your home garden!

FROM RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BC

1. Toning It Down to Win: “We’ve heard all the complaints: We green-minded people are annoying. We’re self-righteous. We nag. We judge. And we don’t always practice what we preach. … So what’s the best way to get other people on board with acting sustainably? Here’s a research-backed tip: Act nicely, and don’t make people feel like hypocrites.” Read more. 

2. Dumping on the Artists: Recology San Francisco, a waste management company, has an artist-in-residence program: The company picks artists who use recycled materials in their art, gives them a monthly stipend, a studio space, and recycling/scavenging related perks. Read More.

3. Nanaimo Says No to Vancouver’s Waste Incinerator: Good news! The Regional District of Nanaimo and other Island districts have said “no” to Metro Vancouver’s plans to build a waste-to-energy facility. Read more.  

4. China's Green Fence Strategy is Working: According to the UK Recycling Association Export Group the strategy has had a profound impact on the industry over the past few months, with most mill buyers and brokers reporting difficulties in supplying anything other than top grade materials into China. This has led to improved recycling standards in most cases. Read more

5. Recycling Disposable Coffee Cups: The British company James Cropper has developed the world's first technology to recycle disposable coffee cups into high quality paper products and will use a reclaimed fibre plant for production. Until now, the 5% plastic content of cups made them unsuitable for use in papermaking. In the UK alone, an estimated 2.5bn paper cups go to landfill every year. Read more.

6. Collecting Waste Plastics before They Hit the Pacific: David Katz, a Vancouver businessman who travels a lot and concerned scuba diver, recently founded Plastic Bank, a social enterprise project that will reward people in developing countries with credits or micro-financing for collecting waste plastics, which are then recycled using advanced sorting technology. Read more.  

FROM LIVING OCEANS (LO)

1. Ocean Exposures Photo Contest: Every summer LO runs their Oceans Exposure Photo Contest. Join LO this year and send them your favourite pictures taken on, in, or near any of Canada’s three oceans. You can see the contest prizes, submit a photo, and get more info on the categories, rules, and judging by visiting their new, tablet/phone capable, bilingual website. The contest closes on September 30, 2013. The winner will be announced on October 24, 2013.

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Earth Overshoot Day: “August 20 [was] Earth Overshoot Day, the approximate date humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can renew in a year. For the rest of the year, we are operating in overshoot. We will continue to add to our mounting ecological debt by depleting stocks of fish, trees and other resources, and accumulating waste. [As a result], forests will continue to shrink, more biodiversity will be lost, fisheries will collapse”, and the devastating climate change ­we’re seeing will worsen. For more, go here.

2. The Eco-denial of the Harper Government: Apparently there is a Norwegian salmon virus in B.C. waters. We’re learning more about it as it spreads (check out the paper and film on this blog), and it’s not good! And through it all, there has been zero response by the DFO. Worried? Then check out this newsletter to help you keep up to date with the blog author’s work and how you can help.

3. Unregulated Oil Fracking: The by-products of fracking are lethal and long-term (e.g. hydrocarbons, radioactive heavy metals, etc.) and the ease with which they leak or are dumped is of big concern. Read the article concerning this in North Dakota here.

4. Shale Gas Geopolitics: With the Shale Gas Revolution already here, the world's power arrangements are about to be rearranged. Here’s a short article that details this coming change.

5. Britain’s Nuclear Power Stance: According to this report, the U.K. government needs to abandon nuclear power, like the Germans ­and others, and invest in renewables. It was always hazardous, and now it’s not even better on short term economic grounds (see Death Camp Fukushima). If they don’t change course, the British children and grandchildren will be paying the cost for the next 40 or more years.

6. Fukushima Disaster Revelations: Here are a number of articles (1, 2, 3, and 4) that explain what led to the disaster (one word: incompetence) and what’s happening in its aftermath. Here too is a report (PDF) on Japan’s energy and economic recovery.

7. World Solar Power: Solar photovoltaics (PV) power production globally topped 100 Gigawatts in 2012! PV production is growing rapidly in many countries (e.g. China, Japan, the U.S., etc.) and with (1) solar power installations growing annually, (2) government incentives spurring huge investment in PV, and (3) falling PV prices and climbing grid power prices making solar power more affordable, this number is expected to triple by 2018. To read this encouraging story, go here.

8. Oil Spilled into Ecuador's Rivers: This spill was1.6 million litres and was caused by a mudslide that knocked out 300 feet of pipeline. And as this article attests, the response to it was horrible! Even worse, there’s been no word on how it was handled, no public inquiry, and no sanctions.

9. Climate Change Slideshow: Check out Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)’s newest slideshow, “Heat’s Deadly Effects”! It shows the ill effects of climatic temperature rises on human and ecosystem health. Feel free to use it if you need such info for a presentation. www.psr.org/resources/heats-deadly-effects.html

FROM ECOJUSTICE

1. Toxic Pesticides: They’re banned (over 26 of them) in Europe but still in use in Canada. Our government refuses to even review such chemicals so Ecojustice, on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation and you, the public, will now take the federal government to court…

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck

 

Summer 2013 Newsletter +  

SUMMER 2013

The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 years!

Support Us! You can become a member (Family - $20.00, Individual - $15.00, Basic - $5.00), attend our monthly meetings (the 4th Thursday usually), donate, and/or volunteer. Mailing address: SENS, c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5. Website: www.sensociety.org

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

SENS STUFF

1. No Evening SENS Events until the End of September. Enjoy a safe and happy summer! Also, the next newsletter will be out in September.

LOCAL STUFF

1. Farmers’ Markets:

  • Vernon, Mondays and Thursdays, 8 – noon, Westbilt Centre.

    • Fridays, 3 – 7 pm, Village Green Mall, North End.

  • Armstrong, Saturdays, 8 – noon, IPE fairgrounds. 3371 Pleasant Valley Rd.

  • Caravan Farms, August 4, 10 am – 2 pm, 4886 Salmon River Rd, Armstrong-Spallumch.

  • Lumby, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm at the Oval.

  • Enderby, Fridays, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, corner of Cliff Ave. and Maud St.

  • Cherryville, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm.

2.Transit Statistics: Recent North Okanagan ridership charts indicate that the growth in transit use in the past 5 years has been 59.6 %. For Vernon it is 19.7 %.

3. Permaculture: Check out this video! The technique is taught by a local company (Element Eco-Design) and used as part of a local business (In and Out Construction).

4. Local Railway Service Closure: Please write to Alan Pattison at OCP@District.Coldstream.bc.ca asking for this railway right-of-way to be returned to the community by making it into a transportation corridor for non-motorized (cycling and walking) use. Such a corridor would connect all our communities and attract tourism and also NOT be sold for development.

5. No Wake Flotilla: Lower Shuswap Stewardship Society is holding their 4th Annual celebration, Sunday, July 28, 10am, from Grindrod Park boat launch. All non-motorized craft (row boats, stand up paddle boards, canoes and kayaks) are welcome to join the fun. A shuttle bus will be available for those paddlers who want to leave their vehicle at Mara Provincial Park. The bus will depart Mara Park at 9:40 am to take participants back to Grindrod Park in time for the launch. There will be a lunch and bathroom stop at Mara Hall at noon. Paddlers must bring their own lunches and life jackets. We are asking paddlers to regroup at Mara Hall after lunch to paddle the final stretch to Mara Provincial Park together. No tubes, inflatable rafts and other floaties, please. Contact Raul 250 804 0960, or Jess 250 804 9260, or use this email: lowershuswap@gmail.com.

6. Back to Earth Community Harvest Fest - August 23rd & 24th: This festival takes place at the beautiful Lavington Park, Coldstream, BC. There’s going to be FREE Workshops, local and touring musicians, and the winners of the ‘Our Kids Have Talent’ competition. Sponsors for funding, local Artisans, and Volunteers are welcome to apply. Entrance is by donation and non-perishable food items. To apply, see event times, and much more, go here. Mark it on your calendar!

7. B.C. Rivers Day – Sept. 29, 2013: Look for events in your community - or plan one!

8. Aviva Community Fund: The 2013 competition starts Sept 23. If you have a green idea for your community and could use their funds check ‘em out! http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/

9. Student Volunteers Looking for Biodiversity Work: 24 students (16-17 years old) from the Students Without Borders Academy are looking for volunteer projects between September and December. If you’re a SENS member, or affiliated with the Okanagan Conservation Program, and have a Conservation project, and want them, email admin@okcp.ca

MATERIAL CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS AND READERS

1. Insecticides and Birds Report: Here‘s a detailed report (90+ pages with charts) on the "impact on the [U.S.'s] Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds". Check out the PDF !

2. GMO-free Ben & Jerry's: Ben & Jerry's will remove all genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) from its list of ingredients as soon as possible.  They’ve also done a complete 180 and are now fighting for mandatory GMO labelling. With this, the large ice cream brand will help push more brands to change! Support their decision and new stance and sign this thank-you card today.

FROM NATURE CONSERVANCY OF CANADA (NCoC)

1. Top of the Class: Nature Conservancy has been given top marks from MoneySense magazine for a 4th straight year - an overall grad of A - it's Canada's top environmental charity! Congratulations!

2. Conservation Area Expanded: Through fundraising ($4.4-million) efforts, the 1,836-acre Elkink South Block was successfully acquired. Located southwest of Osoyoos, this acquisition more than doubles the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area already there, and will create a world-class refuge for the many rare and endangered grassland species that make their home there.

FROM NORTH OKANAGAN NATURALIST NEWSLETTER

1. Natural Resource Monitoring Survey: Distributed by the Association of Professional Biology, this 10-minute survey is part of a B.C. Government initiative to integrate natural resource sector monitoring on Crown land. Your answers will help the Government better understand your natural resource value monitoring needs and communication preferences. Here is an example of a new monitoring report that is referenced in the survey questions. For more of the newsletter, go here.

FROM RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BC - lots of positive stuff here!

1. Turning Old TV's into Tiny Worlds: Read this CBC story to learn how Chinese artist Zhang Xiangxi is turning old CRT televisions into carefully constructed, incredibly detailed little rooms, modelled after scenes from his own life.

2. Recycling War Batteries: The vice president of Toxco Management in Trail recently returned from giving a presentation to NATO Command in Brussels. She proposed sending the the millions of used lithium ion batteries left over from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to be recycled. Read more

3. Sharing Project: “'The Sharing Project' wants to connect researchers of collaborative consumption and make Vancouver their laboratory. Backers of the project believe sharing can make the city greener and less lonely.” Go here for the story.

4. Architectural Upcycling: Read about 5 recycled buildings to 'blow your mind'!

5. Plastic Bag Ban Success: China’s plastic-bag ban turned five years old this June. According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), this has cut consumption by at least 67 billion bags, saving an equivalent of 6 million tonnes of oil. Wow! For the story, go here.

6. A Better H&M: In the wake of the Bangladesh fires and factory collapse, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the world’s second-biggest retailer in the fast-fashion business, which has most of its clothes made there, signed a legally binding agreement to improve building safety there.

7. School Recycling: Students of Royal Oak middle school of Saanich are diverting 80% of its waste from being tossed in the garbage. 50 makeshift recycling centres installed around the school recycle almost everything (e.g. cans, plastics, paper, etc.). They even compost kitchen waste! They’ve moved from having their garbage collected every week, to once every three weeks.

8.Cradle To Cradle Dumpster Diving: In this article, Cradle to Cradle designer William McDonough explains how a new partnership linking design to dumpster contents will help eradicate waste. Check it out!

FROM LIVING OCEANS

1. Action on Farmed Salmon: In October, 2012 Justice Bruce Cohen made 75 recommendations to government to protect Canada's wild salmon runs. The DFO has not responded to a single one of his recommendations. In fact, according to this article, the DFO did the exact opposite: approving salmon farm expansion! Send an e-mail to Prime Minister Harper urging him to act on them!

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Chemicals Advice for Pregnant Women: The UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently released a report advising pregnant women to avoid daily life chemical exposures. Good stuff in it, so check it out! Also, here’s one take on this controversial report…

2. Obesity in Men with Childhood ADHD: A 33-year controlled follow-up study on 207 boys with ADHD revealed that nearly twice as many men who had childhood ADHD were obese as in those without the disorder. The association held even after the researchers controlled for socioeconomic status, mood, and substance abuse disorders. For the Scientific American summary, go here.

3. The West's Toxic Lead Hypocrisy: Children exposed to lead can suffer from brain damage and have an increased likelihood of becoming criminals in adulthood. Lead exposure is also linked to heart disease and thousands deaths per year. Yet despite this knowledge, many rich countries export it to poorer countries. For the full story, go here. For even more, visit www.first6years.org.

4. Two Articles: (1) How To Change People (2) Birth Control & Climate Change: The first article explains what we can do to make people change behaviour and embrace sustainability. The second article is a thoughtful paper on the direct link between population and climate change.

5. Ontario Releases Agent Orange Report: Provincial agencies used it from 1947 until 1979, and chemical exposure left hundreds of Ontario workers prone to birth defects, various forms of cancer and skin disorders. For the full story, go here. Here’s a related CP Press article too…

6. Protest Barrick: With a blind media, this rogue Canadian mining industry continues poisoning people. In this case, by using a toxic tailing pond in Tanzania. Read the shocking article here.

7. Norway’s Unsafe Farm Salmon: Realization is finally settling in Norway, the salmon farming mother country! Many articles are now coming out of there warning that eating farm salmon comes with health risks, particularly for pregnant women. Major markets are even considering pulling farm salmon from their shelves until it is guaranteed safe. Hopefully B.C. is next to open its eyes… Please add your voice to the feedlot salmon boycott.   For the original article, go here.

8. Connecticut Passes GM Labelling Bill: In a decisive 134-4 legislature vote, Connecticut recently became the first U.S. state to sign into law the required labelling of genetically modified (GM) food. More states appear ready to follow suit. For the source article, go here.

9. First Bees, Now Shrimp: Neonicotinoid pesticides, linked to the mass colony collapses of bees we’re seeing today, are also responsible for killing almost all of the freshwater aquatic shrimp. For more, check out this article!

10. Monsanto's Poisonous Win: Horrible news! The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just raised the limits for glyphosate residue allowed on fruits and vegetables sold in the stores. Glyphosate, the key ingredient to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, is very damaging to human health. Many vegetable oils will now be allowed to contain the residues well above levels known to cause cancer. For more, go here. And here’s a cautionary essay worth reading!

11. Boycott GMO Anti-Labelling Contributors: When the money to fund the NO side on Prop 37 started rolling in, topping the list of donors was the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). Parent companies, like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, General Mills and other junk food manufacturers are members of GMA and helped kill the bill. It’s payback time! Spread the word and sign the boycott pledge.

Also, Check out The Gene Revolution and the Future of Agriculture!

12. Fracking Fluid Effect on an ER Doc: After reading this story, one has to wonder why fracking is allowed…

13. Essential Reading for the Week: Check out these stories: New Studies Confirm: Raw Milk is Safe, Where Corn Is King, a New Regard for Grass-Fed Beef, Bloomberg Wants Mandatory Food Composting in New York City, Six Horrifying Things About Pork Everyone Should Know, Chipotle Becomes First U.S. Restaurant Chain to Voluntarily Label GMOs, and Food Companies Work to Make It Look Natural!

14. The Renewable Energy Rollback that Wasn't: Read this, and you'll never take a public pronouncement of unsupported public statement seriously again.

15. GMO technology is NOT increasing yields; …but has made crops more vulnerable to weather etc… http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14735903.2013.806408

16. Nuclear Renaissance Fairy Tale: Find out this (reactors are proven to be uneconomic) and more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/11/nuclear-renaissance-power-myth-us

FROM PREVENT CANCER NOW

1. An Ounce Newsletter (July 2013): Check out this newsletter for a bunch of good articles!

FROM DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION

1. Save the Tuna: “For World Oceans Day, [the Foundation is] shining a light on tuna to ensure they’ll be with us for generations to come. Sign the Seafood Pledge.”

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck

June 2013 Newsletter +  

JUNE 2013

The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 years!

Support Us! You can become a member (Family - $20.00, Individual - $15.00, Basic - $5.00), attend our monthly meetings (the 4th Thursday usually), donate, and/or volunteer. Mailing address: SENS, c/o the Boys and Girls Club, 3300-37th Ave., Vernon, V1T 2Y5. Website: www.sensociety.org

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

SENS STUFF

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

LOCAL STUFF

1. Farmers’ Markets:

  • Vernon , Mondays and Thursdays, 8 – noon, Westbilt (soon to be Kal Tire) Centre.

    • Fridays, 3 – 7 pm, Village Green Mall, North End.

  • Armstrong, Saturdays, 8 – noon, IPE fairgrounds. 3371 Pleasant Valley Rd.

  • Caravan Farm, June 16 & 30, 10 am – 2 pm, 4886 Salmon River Rd, Armstrong-Spall.

  • Lumby, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm at the Oval.

  • Enderby, Fridays, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, corner of Cliff Ave. and Maud St.

  • Cherryville, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm.

2. Dry Land Water Harvesting Workshop: June 3 (Mon.) & June 5 (Wed.), 6 pm – 9 pm in Vernon. Learn to use water to the best of your ability! Further details and registration can be found here.

3. Environment Week - June 1 (Sat.) – 7 (Fri.): Celebrate this week by attending an event. There’s something for everyone! All events are free. For more information (e.g. times), go here.

  • June 1 - International Trails Day: Learn about local trails! For event details, go here.

  • June 2 - Gardening without pesticides, 1pm, Xerindipity Garden, Polson Park, Vernon.

  • June 3 - Awards presentation and film screening at the Powerhouse Theatre, 7pm.

  • June 4 - Installing a rain barrel drip irrigation system, 7 pm and 8 pm, Xerindipity garden.

  • June 5 - Free transit! + Free breakfast,6:30 – 9am, Vernon’s downtown transit exchange. 


  • June 6 - Free Styrofoam drop-off, 10 – 2, Lumby Super A & Vernon Wholesale Club. 


  • June 7 - Learn about tree planting and maintenance, noon-1pm, Xerindipity Garden.

4. Regional Quality of Life Survey: This survey launched by RDNO on May 10, 2013 is designed to track changes in public perception about the quality of life within the communities of the North Okanagan. The survey is confidential and will take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete. Residents who complete the survey BY JUNE 7 could win an iPod Nano, a $200.00 gift card, or a $25 gift cards for the store of their choice. Call 250 550-3750 for more information.

5. WonderCafe.live! will show Salmon Confidential (about the work of Dr Alexandra Morton to protect our wild salmon) June 1, Lumby United Church Hall, 7 – 9:30pm. Look for more information on upcoming documentaries/movies and throughout the summer.

6. Homemade Weed Killer: 1 gallon of white vinegar, 1/2 cup salt, any Liquid dish soap. Put salt in an empty spray bottle and fill it the rest of the way up with white vinegar. Add a squirt of liquid dish soap. This solution works best on a hot day. Spray it on the weeds in the morning, and as it heats up it will do its work. Make up a small batch to try first?

7.Recycling Your Mugs: The Gateway Shelter for Women and Men is in need of donated coffee mugs. Please drop them off at 2800 33 St, Vernon.

6. Green Drinks: Monday, June 10, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Sir Winston’s Pub (2705 32nd St., Vernon). Drop in to talk “green”. If your organization wishes to sponsor one of these get-togethers contact Matt at 250 307-7364 or matt@valhallaconsulting.ca.

MATERIAL CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS AND READERS

1. Volunteerism: 80% of Canada’s volunteer commitment is coming from only 20% of the population… but most of this 80% demographic is aging. Check out www.getvolunteering.ca and help boost this percentage! The site matches you to organizations based on your preferences and personal attitudes.

2. Take Action for Bees: The Green Party of Canada urges Harper’s Conservatives to ban the neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for destroying bee populations. Please sign this petition to protect bees and ban neonicotinoids in Canada!

AND: Good News For Bees: Avaaz reports that Europe has just banned pesticides that kill bees.

http://www.reuters.com/video/2013/04/29/eu-bans-pesticides-over-bee-fears?videoId=242537247&videoChannel=5

3. Down the Drain: Car washing that directs water to the storm drains, be it by non-professional service stations, individual driveway washers, or fundraising group events are a huge drain on our dwindling water supply and also pollute our waters. Thankfully there are alternatives and evidence suggests that the public water-saving message is finally getting through. Read the full article here.

4. TED Talk by an 11 year old: http://samuel-warde.com/2013/02/the-11-year-old-kid-that-monsanto-doesnt-want-you-to-see/

ALSO, Avaaz supports this petition by a 12 year old from Great Britain. She asks for your support:

Combat Global Warming: Soon our planet will become un-inhabitable, we need to re-think the relationship that we have with our planet. Every single person who joins strengthens our call for action. Send the email below to friends and family, and post this link on facebook!”

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Combat_Global_Warming/?tMUrJab

5.Ecosanitation: Sechelt is using an ‘Urban Systems’ design to construct a $21.3 million state-of-the- art reclaimed water system NOT hidden away but exposed as a community gathering place providing educational and aesthetic value to the community. http://www.urbansystems.ca/news/sechelt_raises_the_bar_for_water_facilities.htm

To find out the problems with discharging sewage into water or land, check this: http://garychandler.com/recycling-sewage-water-biosolids-a-bad-idea/

6. Extended Producer Responsibility: California hoped to ensure that 95% of plastic pollution would NOT get into waterways and then into the ocean. Assembly Bill 521 meant manufacturers either changed to non-plastic packaging, or paid for this packaging to be recycled. It was held back by one committee so did not come up for a vote.

FROM DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION

1. Right to a Healthy Environment: Read David’s answers to your excellent questions, learn about the Foundation’s goal, and more from this recent town hall meeting.

2. Taking Learning Outdoors: Connecting With Nature, a free curriculum guide for teachers, is filled with fun, interactive activities exploring important green issues – and every lesson gets kids outside! It’s currently for grades four through six but is expanding to cover other grades.

3. Protecting Grizzlies: Thanks to the work of spatial ecologist Lisa Rockwell, the B.C. government released historical grizzly data never made available for any other species. Her maps (PDF) help communicate urgent information about species-at-risk better than mere words ever could.

4. Using Healthier Renewables: Canada has enough renewable energy sources (e.g. hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) to achieve the deep GHG reductions we need to help stop global climate change. We just need to be more efficient in their use. Check out here and here for more.

5. Defending Our Oceans: Check out the ecological wonders of the Pacific North Coast profiled at 100 amazing Pacific Ocean Stories. They’re well worth your time! Also read about SeaChoice, the Foundation’s sustainable seafood program, and Ocean Keepers, their new campaign to protect our coastal waters. Healthy oceans are good for everyone!

FROM CAPE

1. Paint That Powers Homes: Check out this link to learn about solar absorbing paint!

2. Nuclear Hot spots In Eastern Canada: Here is the Great Lakes Nuclear Hot Spots Map (pdf), providing a detailed regional, bi-national view of nuclear facilities in the Great Lakes Region.

3. B.C.’s Shot Climate Action Plan: The natural gas industry has drastically underestimated and grossly distorted the numbers on natural gas. These two articles (1, 2) clearly show that claims about the relatively "clean" nature of natural gas production are flatly wrong and blows B.C.’s climate targets out of the water!

4. B.C.’s Position on Pipelines ‘n Tankers: For anyone who lives in B.C, the revelations in this short video are quite astonishing…and instructive.

5. GM Food and

a) Ag Canada: Read the unsettling account of a former pro-GMO scientist who worked as a regulatory operative working with Ag Canada.

b) Results of increased use of pesticides over 16 years: http://www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24

6. Election Outcome Opinion: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/opinion/it-really-time-change-%E2%80%93-no-matter-what-happened-election

7. Enbridge’s Dealings With First Nations: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/environment/gitga%E2%80%99-first-nation-asks-enbridge-leave-territory-following-botched-consultation

8. Cell Phone - Cress Seed Experiment Results: NO germination for the WiFi seeds…

http://www.c4st.org/news/item/what-s-happening-around-the-world/danish-students-attract-international-attention-with-cress-and-wifi-experiment.html

9. Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA): Should you wish to sign up for their e-bulletin, go here: http://www.cela.ca/signup

10. Fukushima Reactor Problems: They’re still having to cool the reactor, but the water they use is then radioactive and there are storage and safety issues. Details at: http://tinyurl.com/qyz6472

RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BC (RCBC)

1. Congratulations! RCBC has awarded the 2013 Non-Profit Achievement Award to Vernon and District Association for Community Living for excellence in environmental stewardship.

2. Push to Reach Zero Waste: With China’s “Green Fence” initiative enacted, undesirable materials, such as secondary plastics, are harder to import. The waste we once passed off to China is now starting to stockpile here. As such, domestic solutions that go beyond simple recycling are being pushed. For instance, one option, using the leftovers from post-production of consumer goods, is already bearing fruit (e.g. the Stomp Stone). We still need more solutions, but it’s a good first step! B.C. Recycler Whines over China’s “Green Fence”: Despite China’s wise move, there are critics. Read one critic’s story here.

3. Going Green Pays: For its overall environmental efforts, Staples Canada awarded Saanich’s Campus View Elementary $25,000 worth of computer equipment. The school’s “Green Team” also launched their second annual EarthFest and was granted $400 from Friends Uniting for Nature (FUN) for the initial 2012 event and another $500 this year. For the full story, go here.

4. Recycled B.C. Tires for Playgrounds: The Comox Valley Child Development Association (CVCDA) has installed a recycled rubber surface that provides a safe and stable surface for all kinds of therapeutic outdoor play from jumping to riding. Children will now experience better landings for the inevitable bumps and falls that are part of the learning process. Read more here.

5. True Cost of All Your Gadgets: From environmental destruction and contamination caused by extraction, exploitative working conditions during production, to the mountains of e-waste being shipped abroad, this report follows the birth, life and death of everyday gadgets and reveals their true cost to the planet and to future generations. Read more about the report here.

6. Pesticide Drop-Off: Delta's new Pesticide Use Control bylaw No. 6788 prohibits the use of chemical herbicides, insecticides and fungicides for cosmetic purposes. This means that pesticides may only be used for agricultural and commercial purposes and to manage pests that transmit human diseases. They held a free drop-off early in May to collect such chemicals. Vernon needs such a bylaw…

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck