Energy Blog: What Does Earth Day Mean?

By Andy Silber

What does Earth Day mean?

Pardon my rambling; I just have some thoughts on the environmental movement on the 41st anniversary of Earth Day that I want to share with you. There’s a homework assignment at the end. Don’t worry, only the fate of our civilization depends on the answers. You will be graded.

In many ways the movement has come a long way: rivers don’t catch on fire; the manufacture of ozone depleting chemicals have been stopped; coal plants are often required to use the “Best available control technology” to reduce air pollution; CAFE standards were implemented to improve gas millage. Most companies at least pretend to be “Green” and some actually take it seriously. Google is investing in renewable energy and GM and Nissan are building electric powered cars. Teaching about the environment is now part of most schools’ curriculum and recycling is common in many places. So we have accomplished much. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

The early days were about collective action such as the Clean Water Act (passed in 1972) and the Clean Air Act (passed in 1970). The last major new law passed was ratification of the Montreal Protocol to deal with Ozone depleting gases, which was negotiated and signed by George Herbert Walker Bush. There have been updates to the Clean Air and Water Acts and tightening of CAFE standards and other tweaks, but no new major initiatives. This would be acceptable if there were no big environmental challenges remaining. Obviously that is not the case. So far Congress has taken no action to deal with climate change. To the contrary, the moderate first steps the Obama administration is taking under the authority of the Clean Air Act are under constant threat by Congress. Continue reading “Energy Blog: What Does Earth Day Mean?”

Second Use Will Recycle Used Aluminum Windows

Recycle your aluminum windows this weekend at Second Use.

Normally, Second Use does not accept aluminum windows, as they don’t typically sell well. However, for the weekend of May 14 and 15, in conjunction with the windows workshop, Second Use will accept salvaged aluminum windows for recycling. They must be aluminum, and they must be intact (no shattered glass).

Second Use, in turn, will pass them along to GC Recycle. The company says it’s able to recycle 100 percent of the glass, aluminum frames and space bars. The service is free, but Second Use will accept small donations to defer the cost of the collection.

In addition, on Sunday, May 15, Second Use will host a window workshop.

Installing windows can be a tricky task for beginners. However, a few dos and don’ts can make the job high-quality and efficient. Learn how to both remove a window and install a new one. In the workshop, you will also learn about the different parts of a window and how the parts function together. The West Seattle Tool Library will join to inform you about tool sharing—a unique way to be green and save money.

For more information contact  Elena Velkov,Outreach Coordinator, Second Use Building Materials, Inc., 206-763-6929, extension 13 and email

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7th Annual West Seattle Garage Sale Is Everywhere Saturday

This Saturday, May 14, is the annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day.

One day, 200-plus sales!

Wander the West Seattle peninsula during the one day each year when we go more yard-sale crazy than any other neighborhood in Seattle! This year is the 7th annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day, with sales big and small, all on a free map you will be able to download, for the BIG DAY – which is 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Saturday, May 14th. Look for the map at Presented by West Seattle Blog.

Tool Library Hosts Another ‘Ask The Expert’ Series Saturday

The Sustainable West Seattle Tool Library is once again hosting a Do-It-Yourself session this Saturday, May 14, from 10:00 am through 1:00 pm at the new location for the Tool Library – the rear of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center on Delridge Way across from Delridge Community Center.

These “Ask the Expert,” free and informal community meetups, offer an opportunity to bounce project ideas off fellow DIYers and even receive some free professional advice in the process. You can then grab whatever tools you need from The Tool Library to get your ideas off the ground (or in the ground, if that’s the case.)

The local experts that will be on-hand to direct your Do-It-Yourself nature include:

We’ll bring the coffee and pastries – You bring your creativity and ideas!

Urban Forestry Symposium @ UW Horticulture Center

Plant Amnesty and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens are reprising their highly successful Urban Forestry Symposium, an all day event at the Center for Urban Horticulture this Monday, May 9, from 9:00 am through 4:00 pm at the UWBG Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street.

The past two symposiums have focused on the value and preservation of trees. This year’s event will delve into the nitty gritty of how can trees and urban infrastructure co-exist. The event will bring together highly-regarded “tree people” from a variety of fields that affect urban trees, including ecologists, arborists, landscape architects, and utility planners.

The symposium promises to be highly informative, with sessions covering topics ranging from foundational values to technical solutions and political strategies. Inspirational keynote speaker Chris Maser has been called “Gandhi of the forest”. He is a research ecologist and courageous writer who rethinks the future beyond simple slogans – using hard science and the wisdom of the ages he can and will show us how the urban forest can be designed to effectively serve the citizens of the city. Additional presentations and panels promise to be lively.

The symposium cost is $55, and if you want lunch, that’s an additional $15. Bringing your own sack lunch is also an option. There will be a free lunch for the first 50 registrants.  Course credit is also available for  ISA, WALP, WSNLA, APLD WA and ASLA members.

To register online, go to  For more information contact Jean Robins at 206-685-8033 or email.

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Emergency Preparedness Group Hosts Earthquake Film

West Seattle Be Prepared 2011 Training & Education series continues on May 16th, as West Seattle Be Prepared joins forces with Mark Howard from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management to present the documentary, Cascadia -The Hidden Fire at the West Seattle Senior Center at 4217 SW Oregon St. just around the corner from California Avenue SW in the Alaska Junction.

This is a groundbreaking 60-minute film by Michael Leinau and Lisa Knorr that educates homeowners, business owners and educators on earthquake hazards unique to the Cascadia region and how to effectively prepare for and survive them. The film is an extraordinary presentation on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the same threat that Japan experienced.

The special guest Chris Jonientz-Trisler, who is featured in the film, will give a presentation after the film to update us on what has been learned since the film was made and how it might affect our area specifically. She will also cover what types of mitigation programs are in place and what more we can do.

Jonientz-Trisler’s background includes 11 years of seismology lab work (earthquake and volcano research, working with the public on what it means) and 19 years with FEMA — 15 of those running the regional Earthquake, Volcano and Tsunami Programs. The last 4 years, she has managed the Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs to mitigate flood and earthquake impacts in the Pacific Northwest.

Everyone is welcome to come learn more about the hazards in our region and what we can do to mitigate and prepare for the big one!

Event Detail

  • FREE screening of “Cascadia — The Hidden Fire”
  • Followed by discussion and Q&A.
  • Where: West Seattle Senior Center, 4217 SW Oregon Street, corner of California Ave SW & Oregon, 2nd floor; the entrance is on SW Oregon Street

For more information, contact Deborah Greer,, also check out their Facebook page, and subscribe to their Twitter feed

Orchard Street Ravine Work Party This Saturday

Join your neighbors in the Orchard Street Ravine natural area this Saturday, May 14, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm for a work party.  Meet at the end of Orchard Street in the ravine.

Well, it IS May and that should provide a spring weekend. Those blackberries and invasives are trying to creep back in. Come join your friends and neighbors at the Ravine this Saturday and see how the park is shaping up! For new folks, please don’t hesitate to contact Mark Schultz if you have any questions about the work party or procedures. Tools are provided, but remember to bring your gloves and make sure you have legs and arms covered with thick clothing (flannel or corduroy are good).

Please RSVP to

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Solar Washington Monthly Meeting @ REI

Solar Washington is holding their monthly meeting at REI’s downtown location on May 9, starting at 7 pm.  The presentation for this meeting is “Solar Washington, Past, Present & Future.”

Solar Washington needs you! Come to our May 9th meeting, and learn about the State’s leading association of solar professionals and advocates. Hear stories from past Solar Washington presidents, and from current officers and Board members what our goals and plans are. If you are ready to play a role in crafting a cleaner, brighter future for solar energy in Washington state , we want to see you on May 9th.

For more information go to Solar Washington’s website

City Fruit Offering Organic Pest Management Class

City Fruit is offering a class on Organic Pest Management Saturday, May 14, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon at  Bradner Gardens Park, 1733 Bradner Pl. S., this is in the Mt. Baker neighborhood.

This workshop takes an ecological approach to protecting apples, pears, Asian pears and stone fruits from common pests in the Pacific Northwest, including apple maggot fly, codling moth, scab and other fungal diseases.

The class will address strategies ranging from choosing more resistant cultivars, maintaining tree hygiene, using barriers, installing traps, promoting beneficial insects and using organic sprays.

The course instructor is Ingela Wanerstrand, owner of Green Darner Garden Design, specializing in edible landscapes, and has more than 20 years’ experience maintaining gardens and orchards.

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King County 2010 Environmental Report Available Online

The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks has published its 2010 annual report on Environmental Stewardship in King County.

Environmental Stewardship in King County, the 2010 Annual Report for King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, describes the department, what it was tasked to do and what it accomplished in 2010. The report provides maps, facts and figures to convey the breadth of department responsibilities and includes overviews of executive initiatives, performance measures and results, and awards won by the department in 2010.

The 2010 Annual Report describes accomplishments by the department’s four divisions:

  • Wastewater Treatment;
  • Water and Land Resources;
  • Solid Waste, and
  • Parks and Recreation.

The report also outlines the 2010 achievements of the King County GIS Center, and includes an overview of finances for the department and its divisions.

Environmental Stewardship in King County, the Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ 2010 Annual Report, is available in PDF format, and is available in sections for faster download. To request a paper copy of this report, please call 206-296-6500.

Click here to download he full document  – Environmental Stewardship in King County, 2010 (6.5 Mb).