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Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Mid-May 2013 Newsletter +  

SENS Mid-May News

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

2. March Against Monsanto: Saturday May 25th, 11 AM until NOON. Start at MP Colin Mayes' office 3105 29 Street, Vernon, walk through downtown to MLA Eric Foster's office, and back to our MP's office.

We NEED your help:

To organize World Wide Opposition March against Monsanto:

  • First, JOIN the march! Bring your mother, your grandkids and your Bee SAFE sign or/and make your own signs against Monsanto's GMO

  • Let everyone know about the march. Facebook, Tweet, email, phone.... get people out!

  • Email me huguette.allen@gmail.com if you can spend a couple of hours writing and sending media releases, posting info on websites, and organizing the march.

3. Bee Safe GM Information:

  • David Suzuki's video "A silent forest" shows the threat posed by already existing Genetically Engineered Forests in southern USA and clearly highlights why Genetically Modified Crops are based on bad science.

  • Peer-reviewed journal Entropy points to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, and more specifically its active ingredient glyphosate, as devastating—possibly “the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.”

Russia warns Obama that continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto “will most certainly” lead to world war.

***A 6 minute excerpt of "GMO Myths and Truths" is available here

4. BIKE TO WORK WEEK (BTWW) -  May 27 – June 2, 2012

The BTWW website, should you wish details of 'goings on' elsewhere and even for our area: www.biketowork.ca/northokanagan

**Please send me an e-mail (jblissau@telus.net) if you'd like to cycle during Bike to Work Week - only 1 week to go! Even if you just cycle one day one way you can be part of the SENSational team!

All you have to do is keep track of the total number of Km you cycle or walk per day from May 27- June 2 and send distances per day to me by June 3.

Lots of prizes! Free bikes to win plus lots of other ‘goodies’ when you enter at one of the celebration stations Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Also, if the City contacts me during the week, I pick one of your names and YOU get a prize!


Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun

Kim  10km,bike 5 km,bike 10km,bike 5 km,walk 0 km 5 km, walk 25km, bike

***Hesitant? Check out the Bike Buddy Hotline Program supported by the Greater Vernon Cycling Advisory Committee. Call 250 542-3050 for support in finding a safe route to and from work. You’ll cycle WITH someone who has experience! Click on these two video’s and learn more: 

Video #1 http://www.youtube.com/watch

Video #2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkj9gcIxBWk&feature=youtu.be

Celebration Stations For the Week:

***media event, Monday, May 27, 7:45 Cenotaph Park…otherwise come for the pancake breakfast at Cenotaph park, 6:45am – 9:30am…and enter your name for prizes!

*** If you're cycling past Sun Country Cycle on Kal Road on Wednesday, May 29, 6:30am – 9:30am, drop by for coffee, snack and chat, enter your name for the bicycle draw, and have your bike checked over by an expert.

*** Cycle to meet the rest of the BTWW participants Friday, May 31, 4:30 – 6:30pm, Spirit Square by the Vernon Museum, for the Wrap-up BBQ and great music  and celebrate again…and enter your name for the bike draw….

5. Regional Quality of Life Survey: “The Regional District of North Okanagan is pleased to announce the launch of the 2013 Regional Quality of Life Survey on May 10 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 7/13 will be entered into a draw to win an iPod Nano or a $200.00 gift card, as well as a chance to win 1 of 10 $25 gift cards for the store of their choice.”

The survey is on line at www.rdno.ca/qols Call 250 550-3750 for more information.

May 2013 Newsletter +  

MAY 2013​

The Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) Newsletter

Environmentally active for over 40 years!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck


April 2013 Newsletter +  

APRIL 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 ***


1. Fracking and Climate Change (April 10, 7 pm, Schubert Centre): At this free public forum learn about oil extraction by fracking and how this extraction method affects all of us. Also find out the latest on climate change, the number one issue facing humanity, and how fracking relates to it, and bring your questions! Presenters are Joe Foy and Eoin Madden, Western Canada Wilderness Committee Directors.

2. Environmental All-Candidates Forum (April 25, 7 pm, Schubert Centre): Mark your calendars! Ask your “green” questions! Come early to read answers to environmental questions provided earlier and answered by candidates – they’ll be at the back, large print for ease of reading, and will be on the SENS website to read/pass on after the evening.


1. North Okanagan Naturalist Society (NONC): Monthly meeting is April 3, 7:30pm, and Dr. Michael Carlson speaks on “ The Big Tree Registry”.

2. Society For the Protection of Kalamalka Lake:

a) April 4, 7 – 9 pm, Susan Latimer speaks on the Kal Lake Aquatic Habitat Inventory, Coldstream Women’s Institute Hall, 9909 Kal Lake Rd. Music and refreshments provided.

b) April 18, 7:30 pm, Coldstream Women’s Institute hall, AGM, with a talk by Ted Osborn of the Coldstream Ranch on the History of Kal Lake Park.

3. Allan Brooks Nature Centre Fundraiser - Dinner and Auction (April 5, Best Western Lodge): Doors open 5:30 pm; dinner at 7 pm. There’s live entertainment and the MC is Mike Roberts! Tickets are $65 each from www.ticketseller.ca or 250 549-7469. Tax deductible receipt of $25 per ticket.

4. Ideas for Protecting Our Grasslands: Here’s a great video clip talk about this topic! Let’s conserve the remaining grasslands in the Okanagan.

5. Shoots ‘n Blooms Showcase (April 21, Fieldstone Organics, 4851 Schubert Road, Armstrong): From 1 – 4 pm come see the work of over 20 different local farmers. There’s local food, home-grown treats, demonstrations and much more to celebrate spring! Contact: info@foodaction.ca or events@fieldstoneorganics.ca

6. Cycling and the Election (May 14): Check out this site for ideas on how to make cycling an election issue. One suggestion is to encourage candidates to support the implementation of a comprehensive Cycling Strategy for BC that enables all residents and visitors to safely/conveniently cycle throughout the province. If London can do this, surely Vancouver can do even better!

7. Design and Build a Solar Greenhouse (April 13 – 14): Check out this local course here.

8. GM Crops Banned: Cherryville has become the 13th Municipality to ban GM Crops thanks to the efforts of Bee SAFE volunteers. How many more municipalities will surpass us before RDNO follows suit? Write them with your concerns.

9.Plant/Garden Sale, April 27: FLK Taoist Chi’s annual sale, 3105 28th St in Vernon, 8 am – 2 pm.

10. Cycling In Cities: April 23, 7 pm, Parkinson Rec Centre, 2nd Floor. Dr Teschke, UBC school of Population and Public health, presents research investigating factors that encourage cycling. Are preferred routes safe routes? How do you motivate cycling and reduce risk?.... just a few of the questions considered. Sponsor: Kelowna Area Cycling Coalition.

11. Upcoming 5 hour BTW Skills and Safety Courses: **sold out for past 2 years!

Sunday, April 28, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. OR Saturday, May 5, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

OR Tuesday and Thursday, May 7 and 9, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Place: Vernon City Hall Cost: $20 per person   Ages: 12 years & up

Pre-registration: 3 days prior to workshop date, dsbreception@vernon.ca or 250-550-3634

Bring: Snacks, lunch, bike, helmet, cycling attire (dress for weather), note pad and water bottle.

A 5 hour course to help cyclists learn about: * 3 common motorist errors * 4 types of falls * 5 traffic principles * Why and where collisions occur * The physical skills needed to negotiate with traffic safely. Taught by a certified CanBike2 Instructor Bruce Mol.

12. 2013 Environmental Sustainability Awards: Who (individual, group or organization) do you know that you might nominate by April 22? Details at: www.vernon.ca/sustainability for City of Vernon and www.rdno.ca/environmental_leadership for RDNO.


1. Is Sustainability Still Possible? Check out this booklet for more information… Not free sadly! 

2. Live Below The Line: CUSO International would like to challenge Canadians to do just that – live on $1.75 for food and drink per day for 5 days (April 29 – May 3). This represents the daily reality faced by the 1.4 billion people who live in extreme poverty who survive on this amount everyday for everything. Join the challenge now!

3. Dogwood Initiative Fundraising: This B.C. non-profit group is seeking financial support for their “No tankers in B.C. Waters” campaign. Please sell your unwanted items with “gift-it” and direct the proceeds to the Dogwood Initiative Society.

4. Volunteering is Good for You: According to a Canadian study, high school students who volunteered improved their own health, showing significantly lower markers for cardiovascular disease risk, including body mass index and cholesterol levels. They also reported to have better moods with increased empathy and altruistic behaviours. Read the full story here.

5. Nanoparticles Damage Plants: According to a study, man-made silver nanoparticles, used in consumer products to kill odour-causing bacteria, are escaping into the environment and are stressing out plants and beneficial microbes. Read the entire article here.

6. GM Glyphosate Threaten Crops: Ignoring the anti-Obama rant, here is an article on the dangers of the GM biocide glyphosate!

7. Autism and Fecal Transplants: Some work has been done recently to show that if a child with autism is “cleaned out” and bacteria from a different person provided, they no longer display autism symptoms. Also read this related article on fecal transplants.

8. BC’s Species-At-Risk Draft Plan: This draft, for protecting vulnerable species, is at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/sartaskforce/ Please provide your comments for revisions online and by mail until April 12, 2013 at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/atrisk/5_yr_plan/

Recommendations from the task force include:

* Improving species conservation through management at ecosystem and landscape scale.

* Providing information to support identification, management & recovery of species at risk.

* Encouraging BC ers to embrace stewardship of species at risk across all lands and waters.

* Applying protection for species at risk consistently across all sectors.

* Measuring and reporting on government's investments in species at risk.

One reader noted that there was no mention of legislation for protecting species at risk…

9. Mutations in Older Dads: These new mutations can lead to autism, schizophrenia, dyslexia and other brain function conditions. The child of a 36 year old father would have about twice (50) the mutations of a 20 year old father (with 25 mutations). Genetic counseling for men over 40? http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/02/15/the-dangers-of-older-dads-2/


1. Action to Protect Wild Salmon: In October, 2012, Justice Cohen made 75 recommendations to government to sustain Canada's wild salmon runs. To date, the government has not acted on any of these important recommendations. Send an e-mail to Prime Minister Harper urging him to do so.


1. Protecting Our Oceans: With only 1% of our oceans protected, Canada has a long way to go to reach its future commitment of 10%. Canada’s 243,000-kilometre coastline provides employment for over 315,000 and contributes more than $26 billion annually to Canada’s economy. It makes good fiscal sense to take care of an asset this big and productive. Unfortunately, the government of Canada isn’t doing that. Please tell the federal government to start funding established marine protected areas and ensure Canada’s oceans are healthy now and into the future!


1. Prostate Cancer and Deep-Fried Foods: Researchers recently found that eating deep-fried foods such as chicken, fish, French fries or doughnuts increases men’s risk of prostate cancer by about a third over the risk for men who eat less deep-fried foods. Read the entire article here. It also has some tips on how you can make a cancer-prevention diet. “Your best bet is a brightly-coloured selection of vegetables and fruit, with frequent choices of plant-based proteins, and gently cooked animal-based proteins. Organically grown, locally produced foods are ideal. Bon appétit!”

2. The Misleading War on Cancer: Here’s a great article on the history of the war on cancer. It then details one of the latest opponents: wireless radiation. This known carcinogen is believed to weaken cell membranes, making it easier for chemicals to cross into cancer cells. “With more than six billion cell phones and a growing numbers of microwave radiating devices in use around the world today, our exposures to microwave radiation may be increasing exposures to other toxic substances at the same time!” The author concludes that in order “to reduce the burden of cancer and other chronic diseases today, we must prevent them from arising in the first place, and we have to find new ways to keep the millions of cancer survivors from relapsing.”


1. Death of Evidence: The Federal government is trying to muzzle scientists. If you object and would like to support our scientists, go here to send a message to the government telling them that you want public scientists to speak freely! Also, here’s more on their latest restrictions.

2. Moratorium on Fracking: In New York State they got a 2-year reprieve. Now if only Canada and B.C. followed suit…

3. Cheerleading for the Tar Sands: Read this to find out how Stephen Harper is wasting taxpayer dollars… again.

4. More GM Problems: A Swiss study demonstrates inferior performance of GM wheat resistant to powdery mildew, alongside non-GM comparators.


5. Ocean Clean-up Array: A 17 year old has come up with this concept to remove 7 ¼ billion kg or OUR plastic from our oceans and asks for your support… http://www.boyanslat.com/plastic4/

6. TED Talk on Reversing Desertification: http://archive.org/details/AllanSavory_2013


1. Living Planet @ Work: More than 16 million people make up the Canadian workforce and they will collectively make over a billion decisions at work every day. Living Planet @ Work, an initiative started by the WWF, is aimed to make those decisions take the health of the planet into account. To sign your business up, visit the WWF website.

2. Beyond Recycling: Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program is teaching kids in Castlegar and Robson how to shrink their ecological footprints. They will get some good ideas on how to reduce the use of resources at their homes and schools. Read more. Let’s do this in the North Okanagan!

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck

Mid-March 2013 Newsletter +  

5 hour BTW Skills and safety Courses:
  • Sunday, April 28, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 5, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Thursday, May 7 and 9, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Place: Vernon City Hall    Cost: $20 per person       Ages: 12 years & up
Pre-registration required: 3 days prior to workshop date, limited space!  dsbreception@vernon.ca  or call: 250-550-3634.
What to bring? Snacks, lunch,  bike,  helmet, cycling attire (dress for the weather), note pad and a water bottle. 
A 5 hour course to help cyclists learn about:
   * 3 common motorist errors        * 4 types of falls         * 5 traffic principles
   * Why and where collisions occur         * The physical skills needed to negotiate with traffic safely

Taught by a certified CanBike2 Instructor: Bruce Mol.


2013 Environmental Sustainability Awards: Who ( individual, group or organization) do you know that you might nominate by April 22? Details at: www.vernon.ca/sustainability  for City of Vernon and www.rdno.ca/environmental_leadership  for RDNO.


Annual Seed ‘n Plant Swap/Sale: March 28, Schubert Centre – SENS seed and plant swap and sale (6:30pm), AGM (7:15) and (7:30 – 8:30) talks on frugal gardening with Jane Emlyn, seed/plant growing tips with Julia Lissau, and the latest on GMO with Huguette Allen.


March 2013 Newsletter +  

MARCH 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 ***


1. Annual Seed & Plant Swap /Sale (March 28, 6:30 – 9 pm, Schubert Centre):

6:30pm – seed and plant swap/sale; 7:15pm – AGM (short!); 7:30pm Jane Emlyn, master gardener, shares how to make the most out of your garden for almost free and shares tips on successful seed planting and germination. Everyone is welcome. Bring a carload!

2. Environmental All-Candidates Forum (April 25, 7 pm, Schubert Centre): Mark your calendars! If you have a “green” question you’d like considered, please send to jblissau@telus.net


1. Indoor Winter Markets:

  • Armstrong – Thursdays, noon – 5 pm, Odd Fellows Hall, Bridge Street. Call Art @ 250 546-3411

  • Enderby – 2nd and 4th Fridays (March 8 and 22), 11 am – 4 pm at the Seniors Citizen Complex.

  • Vernon – Wednesdays, noon – 5 pm, behind Westbilt Centre on 43rd Ave.

  • Vernon – Tuesdays, 10 am – 3 pm, 2913 29th Ave, behind Towne Theatre.

  • Coldstream – Wednesdays, 2:30 am – 6 pm, Coldstream Women’s Institute Hall

2. Seed Swaps: in Enderby Saturday March 2nd, in Cherryville at A.L. Fortune School from 10 am to 3 PM, and March 10th at the Cherryville hall, 10 AM to 3 PM.

3. New Technology To Control Disease Spread with Dr Jennifer Gardy, March 5, 7:30pm, OK College Lecture Theatre. Free but seating limited so book on line: www.genomebc.ca/okanagan.

4. “A Chemical Reaction” documentary: free screening March 5, 7 pm, UBCO lecture theatre #130. The film tells the story of Hudson Quebec’s initiative that resulted in Canada’s first by-law to ban the use of all chemical pesticides and herbicides. Producer Paul Tukey will be present.

5. “Lord of Nature”: March 9, noon, Our Lady of Peace Church, 3012 37th St Vernon. Admission by donation. Learn how top predators are a revitalizing force in nature.

6. Science Centre Volunteers/Water Works Exhibition: You’re needed, March 18 – 22 and March 25 – 28. Lots of fun and hands on involved! Phone 250 545 – 3644. Also, the hands on water exhibition will be leaving by the end of March if you’ve yet to check it out…

7. Local Students Active & Socially Engaged: Check out their Facebook page!

8. Science Centre/School Garden Outreach: This program aims to grow intergenerational relationships through science and health. Interested adults work with elementary students every second Wednesday morning for 3 months to grow food to eat . Email Linda for more information.

Needed also are: people who can help construct garden beds, provide cash donations, and provide construction/gardening materials (e.g. tools, wheelbarrows, large pots, etc.).

9. Avaaz Community Petitions Website: Should you wish to start a petition campaign, you can use this site: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?cl=2506136101&v=21863

10. Local Courses: Intro to Permaculture, Mar 23 & 24; Beyond Organic Farming with Joel Salatin (livestream) on ‘You Can Farm” (Mar 20),” Pastured Poultry Profits” (Mar 21) and “Salad Bar Beef” (Mar 22); Design and Build a Solar Greenhouse, April 13 -14. Details: www.elementecodesign.co

11. Pesticide-Free Zone Registry: For this registry RDNO identifies properties of owners who do not wish herbicides applied within 10 meters of their property. RDNO has heard that the Ministry of Forests is wishing to spray Tordon and Dicamba to handle noxious weeds such as tansy, in a few areas (Currie, Outlet, Kate Creeks, Dolman’s ditch by Highway 6) and will not give the go-ahead if there’s opposition. If you do not wish any spraying in your area please write saying you do not want this spraying and why to john.friesen@rdno.ca

12. Carpool.ca: This non-profit carpooling initiative, introduced into the Okanagan by SENS in 2005, is holding their prize-filled annual #MarchMadness campaign. Enter to win at www.carpool.ca as a new user or to track your trips and measure your savings, or to enter a carpool story or photo.

13. Artificial Turf at the College?: Artificial turf may be considered should the sports facility be approved for OK College. In the US there are concerns about all the chemicals in the turf that involve significant environmental and public health impacts. More at:

www.ehhi.org/turf/ for a scientific analysis of artificial turf issues, (Environment & Human Health, Inc.) www.synturf.org for a compendium of information on artificial turf,

and www.safehealthyplayingfields.org/#!environment/c16nf (Safe Healthy Playfields Coalition).


1. Petition to Ban Diacetyl from Popcorn: Diacetyl, a chemical used in popcorn flavouring, triggers a life-threatening and non-reversible lung disease. Every major brand maker has discontinued its use since 2008. However four international companies continue to ignore the known risks. Please sign this petition to pressure these greedy corporate holdouts to switch to safer chemicals.

2. Petition to have all Keystone Pipes Inspected: Recently, some protesters to this controversial tar sands U.S. pipeline discovered that, due to faulty welding, there are already holes in the pipeline! And with each day that passes, TransCanada is moving ahead with construction, potentially adding more damaged segments of pipes; we must act now! Sign this urgent petition to TransCanada demanding independent pipeline inspection.

3. Government Cuts and Charities: The government is considering eliminating or lowering the capital gains tax on charitable donations. Sounds nice, right? But, there is no guarantee that boosting tax credits will boost giving. And as pointed out by the NDP, this move might “drastically” reduce federal tax revenues, further reducing the services that the Conservatives already blindly slashed. Look for it in the 2013 budget… For the full article, go here.

4. Plastic Poisons: Today, discarded plastics are circling the globe at a significant human and environmental cost. It is suffocating our oceans and choking our wildlife. The plastic chemicals are also entering our bodies and are accumulating over time. The potential consequences are indeed dire. Read this wonderful article on our unhealthy addiction to plastic. Learn about the dangers to human health and the environment and how to reduce your own plastic footprint!

5. Positive Social Change from Disasters: This is the topic that Shelley Pacholok, a UBC Okanagan professor, is exploring in a new line of research, using interviews with those affected by Hurricane Sandy. “Quite a few people referenced how they positively connected with people they wouldn’t have normally connected with”, Pacholok says. For the full story, go here.

6. Wind Turbine: http://www.interestingengineering.com/index.php/zepelin-style-wind-turbine/

7. Why We Need Bike lanes: Bike lanes don’t cost too much money but they do allow cost savings for low income families who would have more discretionary income for food, medical treatments and shopping downtown if they could ride instead of drive. They’d pedal to Prosperity!

8. Coca-Cola Sues Recyclers: SumOfUs.org is asking for help w ith a petition to tell Coca-Cola to drop their lawsuit that would block a recycling program in Australia that would put a 10cent refund on recycling plastic bottles. To act, click on http://sumofus.org/


1. Healthy Environment Petition: Here's a petition from DSF, advocating in favour of Canadian citizens' right to a healthy environment. Please spread the word about the importance of enshrining a healthy environment in the Canadian constitution!



1. Starbucks’ Reusable Tumbler: As an ongoing commitment to turn their business a darker shade of green, the international coffee purveyors have unveiled a $1 reusable coffee tumbler aimed at cutting down on paper cup waste. Read more.

2. Canadians and Their Garbage: We produce more garbage per capita than any other country on earth. The Conference Board of Canada ranked Canada in 15th place among 17 developed nations studied across a host of environmental-efficiency metrics.  Read more.  

3. Zero Waste Canada (ZWC): This non-profit organization formed to promote strategies that could replace landfills and waste-to-energy facilities, to help provide local green jobs and opportunities, protect the environment and human health, and conserve resources.  Read more

4. The Recycled Paper Office: Wouldn’t it be cool if all that wasted office paper (on an average day, 12 of the 30 pages printed get dumped) could be used to build offices?  Read more.  

 FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Enough is Enough: By all accounts, this book, published last month, is a very informative starting point for understanding where we have to go as a global society. Check it out!

2. B.C. Forest Giveaway: The Liberal government plans to grant forest companies de facto private control over public forestlands without first having to notify or consult with the public. Instead of companies enjoying rights to log set volumes of trees on public forestlands, companies would gain dramatically expanded powers to log trees on defined areas. For the full article, go here. Also, be sure to check out www.bobsimpsonmla.ca for a similar take and the latest information about this.

2. Eat and Bear It: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has decided that ISA virus contaminated feedlot salmon can be grown-out in the ocean and sold to Canadians.  This follows on the heels of a U.S. decision to ban their sale there. Instead of wisely culling these infected fish, Canadians are now expected to eat them. Utter madness! And it gets even worse

3. Asbestos’ Last Ditch: With a new PQ government in Québec, comes promising new change! They refused to bail out the asbestos industry. Soon after, the federal government dropped its opposition to adding asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention list of Hazardous Substances. There is still opposition in Russia, as this article attests.

4. Mercury Victims Speak Out: Here’s a heartfelt letter from one victim from Grassy Narrows, Ontario describing the horrible conditions for him and his family. He writes of the delayed diagnosis for him and his family members, the pitiful compensation, and how it’s breaking to “watch your daughter and grandkid having seizures”. He prays change comes to the bureaucratic and Government policies that are slowly killing them. Additionally, here are links to a Mercury Study in Ontario, the Free Grassy Website, the Mercury Disability Board Website, and a CBC Documentary on the ongoing Mercury Poisoning in Ontario regions.

On a related note, the Pulp mill at Dryden, Ontario is allowed to continue releasing pollutants into air, land and water.

5. Lemonade from Lemons: When the town of Greensburg, Kansas rebuilt after a devastating tornado, it used a high level of energy savings technology and planning. It is now an international inspiration for green disaster recovery. Given the increased extreme weather events to come, it’s nice to know we can turn the climate change lemons into green living lemonade. See article here.

6. Open Release GMO's: A new study conducted in China finds that all 6 of the major rivers tested were positive for a wide ranging superbug – and it is rapidly spreading! The study also determined that the gene conferring the antibiotic resistances was made in a lab. Likely culprits are genetically modified (GM) crops, many of which carry antibiotic resistant genes. Free from labs, their genes are then transferred into unrelated species of bacteria. Read the rest of this report here.

7. Weaning from Fossil Fuels: Here’s an encouraging article on the emerging trend of universities now offering investors new divestment from fossil fuels funds. Projects like the Keystone and Gateway pipelines soon may be on their way out… Check it out!

8. Pesticides in French Vineyards: A recent study of vineyard employees and neighbouring residents in France found they were both exposed to dangerous pesticides. It also showed that living close (less than 250 meters away) to cultivated areas, which is probably the case for millions of French families, increases the exposure. Most troubling! For the full article, go here.

9. 71 % of Manitobans: support a ban on lawn pesticides. Lake Manitoba was named the world’s worst threatened lake for 2013 due to toxic run-off. There is already a cosmetic pesticide ban in 6 provinces.

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck


February 2013 Newsletter +  


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 ***


1. February 28, 7 pm, Schubert Centre: Our Water – How Available In Future? John Janmaat, Water Research Chair at UBC-O, discusses our future water supplies, groundwater and aquifer loss, and the impact of global warming.

2. Sewage Lake Discharge: Check the SENS website: www.sensociety.org for a synopsis provided by SENS director Huguette Allen. AND… then please write to Vernon Council about discharge of effluent into Okanagan Lake. There are less costly solutions that prevent pharmaceutical drugs, endocrine disrupters and viruses from entering the lake. Concentrations will only increase.


1. Indoor Winter Markets:

  • Armstrong – Thursdays, noon – 5 pm, Odd Fellows Hall, Bridge Street. Call Art @ 250 546-3411

  • Enderby – 2nd and 4th Fridays (Feb 8 and 22), 11 am – 4 pm at the E. Seniors Citizen Complex.

  • Vernon – Wednesdays, noon – 5 pm, behind Westbilt Centre on 43rd Ave.

  • Vernon – Tuesdays, 10 am – 3 pm, 2913 29th Ave, behind Towne Theatre.

  • Coldstream – Wednesdays, 2:30 am – 6 pm, Coldstream Women’s Institute Hall

2. 5 Gallon Pots: Laurel is still wishing more pots for a “Youth and Tomato Plants” project with teens (and seniors eventually) and needs lots of them.  Contact her at: 250 542-5478.

3. A Unique Presentation: Listen to this CBC radio clip where a local grade 5 student speaks to Vernon Council about combating climate change.

4. A Cherryville First? Area E residents will meet February 12, 7 pm, at Cherryville Hall to try to make a decision on banning GMO crops. Non-residents may wish to attend.

5. COABC (Certified Organic Association of BC): Their conference will be February 22 – 24 at the Prestige Hotel, Vernon. Speaker/workshop details at www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca/


1. Recycling Musical Instruments: Here’s a short video of a young people's orchestra with instruments made from recycled materials in Paraguay! 

2. Cold Remedies that Work: This site provides research study results on benefits of Echinacea and Zinc for tackling viruses. Check it out!

3. Tuberculosis Treatment: UBC microbiologists are finding that Avermectin drugs (used to treat parasitic diseases such as elephantiasis and river blindness) actually killed the bacteria that cause TB, including drug resistant forms. Researchers are now working to determine effective dosage levels and study whether avermectins could be combined with other drugs for even better effect.

4. Doubts about Global Warming? – Check out size of glacier calving with Manhattan superimposed…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC3VTgIPoGU

5. Endocrine Disruptors: Recent research via UBC notes low concentration of endocrine disruptors in our wastewater treatment effluent, however, amounts will only increase and research and monitoring must continue. These chemicals may soon break down however they are known to feminize fish and amphibians and cause fish population collapse in higher concentrations. See: https://people.ok.ubc.ca/publicaffairs/news/2010_endocrine/report_2009.pdf

6. Action To Help The Amazon: The non-profit Avaaz is asking for support for an indigenous people in the Amazon who may lose their forest and lives due to a change in forest laws being considered by Brazil’s congress. Details and sing-on at http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_amazon/


1. Protect Whales: Supertankers that would service Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, would cross "Whale Passage" in Douglas Channel, where humpback whales return year after year. It is a rich feeding ground for humpbacks that is unequalled on B.C.'s North Coast. Click on “take action” at www.livingoceans.org for information, then send an email to Prime Minister Harper urging him to follow DFO's recommendations and protect critical habitat for humpbacks.

 2. Sustainable Seafood: Canada Safeway is now labelling all seafood so that shoppers can easily identify which fresh and frozen seafood items are the best ocean-friendly choices.


1. GM – Recycling Wonder: General Motors, unlike many other wasteful Industrial facilities in the United States, recycles 90 percent of its worldwide manufacturing waste and has 102 landfill-free facilities toward a goal of 125 globally by 2020. Here is a downloadable blueprint that summarizes how they do it. For the entire story, go here

2. The True Cost of a Holiday Dinner: Apparently, hosting a holiday dinner can come at a high cost — for the host’s pocket and for the environment. Trucost analyzed the economics and environmental impacts of an average holiday dinner (turkey, potatoes, and corn) for a family of four and calculated that such a meal costs on average 22% more price-wise. Also the food choice of turkey (instead of going vegan) generates a good deal of greenhouse gas emissions. Neither is the choice of corn optimal for the environment. And then there are the leftovers… For the entire article, go here.

3. H&M Saving Clothes from Landfill: Working in global partnership with a European recycling group, the frugal fashionista chain H&M will collect their used clothes to keep them out of landfills.

Starting in February, H&M stores in Canada and other countries will give customers a $5 voucher for each bag of used clothes (any type, brand, or condition) they drop off. For the entire article, go here.

4. Electric Trucks Unveil in Chicago: The city of Chicago will deploy the heaviest electric trucks in the U. S. , as it deploys 20 Class 8 electric vehicle refuse trucks. These 52 ton behemoths are expected to reduce operating cost by 50% over an eight-year period for the city. These EV refuse trucks will provide the streets of Chicago with quiet, emissions-free garbage pick-up, without submitting residents to excessive diesel pollution or loud noise. Hopefully more cities will follow suit! For the entire article, go here.

5. Plastics in Asphalt: In its Push to be the World's Greenest City, Vancouver is experimenting with a new asphalt mix that includes recycled plastics - everything from old plastic milk jugs to yogurt containers to water bottles.  Read more here

6. Tired Toys: A Langley Recycling company is doing a Pilot Project at a Burnaby elementary school - A toy-recycling program that teaches kids to curb consumerism and waste. Read more.  

FROM CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

1. Mercury Pollution: According to a major UNEP report, communities globally are facing increasing health and environmental risks linked to exposure to mercury. For more, go here.

2. Unscientific America: Here is a book review of this book by Chris Mooney that explains how scientific illiteracy threatens our future! It discusses the causes and outlines solutions.

3. More on BPA: Go here to read a well-researched, unbiased article on BPA!

4. Salmon Feedlot Boycott: Read and sign the petition at www.salmonfeedlotboycott.com.

5. GMO Salmon: Are we ready to have these abnormally enlarged and hormone-laced fish run rampant in our lakes and rivers? Well, brace yourself because the U.S. FDA might soon allow it! Any U.S. citizen reading this is urged to read the entire article and make your disproval known to the FDA. Comments must be received no later than February 25, 2013.

 6. Value of Wetlands: “A new report by the David Suzuki Foundation and Earth Economics values the annual services provided by aquatic areas to Lower Mainland residents. . . The results are remarkable: our wetlands, beaches, coastal areas, lakes and rivers give us benefits of $30 billion to $60 billion every year. One benefit for example is [that our wetlands]… work to store vast amounts of carbon, something crucial to preventing runaway global warming. . . Protecting and restoring the Lower Mainland’s natural water ecosystems is a capital investment worth making . . . Our communities will be healthier and more sustainable if this thinking is at the core of business and land-planning decisions.” For the full article, go here.

7. No Leaded Gasoline Bliss: According to this article, gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century. As lead levels in gasoline decreased, the differences between big and small cities largely went away. Today, homicide rates are similar in cities of all sizes. Sceptical? After reading the article, you won’t be!

8. Ozone Pollution from Oil and Gas Wells: CIRES researchers have found that “… emissions from oil and natural gas activities have a unique ‘chemical signature’that is very different from emissions from other sources, and it definitively identifies oil and gas wells as the major source of the high levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) like ethane and propane… These VOCs can leak during extraction, like bubbles escaping from a soda can. VOCs can then react in the air to form lung-damaging ozone pollution, a chief component of smog.”

9. Dow Chemical’s Enlist GMO Corn: It is approved for use in Canada, despite much opposition. There are already weeds that are highly resistant to the weed killer that would be used to control weeds among this corn so Dow is delaying introduction for a while…  

Co-Edited by Egan Mandreck