Tour a Tiny Home at GreenLife July 8-10th!

tiny_home_alki

Have you heard the BIG news about tiny homes? These low-impact dwellings are all over the media and minds of people looking to live smaller. There is only so much room on this planet and the more space we give to nature, the cleaner our air, water, and soil will remain. With so much development going on around Seattle, it is a breath of fresh air to see companies like Seattle Tiny Homes bringing the reality of low-impact living to our community.

Seattle Tiny Homes is a featured sponsor of this year’s GreenLife area at Summer Fest. They will have a Tiny Home on display all three days of the event (July 8th, 9th, and 10th) and be giving a talk about what it’s like to Live Small:

Living Small Community Presentation:

About Seattle Tiny Homes:

The way you live in a tiny space is different from everyone else. So why settle for a home that’s not designed with you in mind? Since 2010, Seattle Tiny Homes has offered a full range of options to create the perfect tiny house for you. We completely customize your home to meet your specific goals and dreams, and build it to the the highest standards of quality to last a lifetime.

Seattle Tiny Homes specializes in tiny structures on wheels. We believe smaller abodes create serenity and simplicity, and are better for the environment.  Depending on location, you can use a tiny structure as a dwelling, a mother-in-law apartment, a retirement cottage, an extra bedroom for a college student, a home office, or a studio. All our completed structures are licensed as RV travel trailers. Learn more about us at www.seattletinyhomes.com.

Local Youth Activist, Aji Piper, Appears on DemocracyNow!

Aji Piper on DN!

Yes!

I watch DemocracyNow! every morning (and so should you 🙂 ) and was pleasantly surprised today when I heard a familiar name mentioned, Aji Piper (at the 32:22 mark). Aji is a West Seattle teenaged environmental activist involved with Our Childrens Trust, a non-profit org who had a recent win in court regarding their landmark Federal Climate Change Lawsuit. This unprecedented lawsuit brought by 21 youth basically states that by allowing fossil fuels to be exploited, the US government and the fossil fuel industry are threatening the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of future generations. This landmark suit drags the shadow cast by fossil fuels into the light as a constitutional issue (genius). Support this group if you can.

I met Aji last year when he performed his song “Danger” on the GreenLife stage. You have to take a few moments and listen to this young mans tune. It’s a very striking song.

SWS thanks you Aji for being a brave, outspoken, artistic activist.

COP21 Editorial

An important and amazing thing happened at the end of a year of tragically bad

news—and it was not even treated as a top news story. On December 13 it was

announced that 195 countries (out of 196 countries world-wide—near

unanimity!) agreed to limit the rise in the earth’s temperature to 1.5 degrees

Celsius.

Most of the environment groups that SWS uses for sounding boards have been

positive about the agreement. However, some groups think the agreement

lacked enough bite—there are no consequences if a nation fails to keep its

commitment. We have to trust that the 195 countries will honor their

commitment.

A number of countries are already imposing a carbon tax to help fund the

transition to a fossil fuel free economy. Where there is an absence of federal

action, a number of regional entities are imposing carbon taxes—for example,

British Columbia. Also, Seattle’s Initiative I-732 will be voted on in the next

election cycle.

The business sector increasingly recognizes the business potential in lower cost

energy and in ending subsidies for fossil fuel extraction, distribution, and

mitigation. This was a clear breakthrough at the Paris conference. There are now

more jobs in renewable energy, which is another reason for optimism among

this normally resistant group. An area of concern is how to achieve carbon

reduction in air transportation and the shipping and distribution of consumer

goods.

A bright spot is Boeing’s and Seattle airport’s announcement that they will

pursue the use of biofuel for their jet propellant. Meanwhile, protecting our farm

land from an onslaught of biofuel agriculture remains a concern. However, more

food is being grown locally and more people are eating seasonally, and this

could eventually help offset loss of food production due to the growing of

biofuels. It is becoming increasingly clear that relying on big agriculture as a

source of food is not in our best interest anyway. Algae-based biofuels may one

day meet some of our need for fuel.

Even though oil prices are low, electric powered vehicles (EVs) have never

been more popular. Electric transportation technology is growing fast. On

average, most cars are owned five-six years or less, so your next car may be an

electric vehicle! The Tesla Company has been improving battery storage

capacity and increasing recharge ability at a fast pace. Tesla claims it will be

able to produce a $35K car with a 1000 mile range by 2020. They are also

working on long-lasting home energy storage for Solar PV rooftop homes. I

think movement toward freedom from fossil fuels is gaining the momentum we

have been waiting for.

We all heard that hover boards and other electronic gadgets were a top holiday

gift. Happily, another top gift was LED light bulbs, which last twenty years and

are at least ten times more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

You can tell that I feel optimistic that we are moving in the right direction. I am

hopeful that the top down proposals that came out of the Paris meetings will

increase momentum toward a fossil-fuel-free world. At the same time we can all

become fossil-free consumers.

The transition to a fossil-fuel-free world is already happening. Sustainable West

Seattle can speed that along by setting annual goals and challenging the public

to participate. We have generally taken a bottom-up approach. We encourage

consumers to make decisions that will reduce both the cost of energy and the

cost to our planet. In 2016, with the ongoing subsidy from Seattle City Light,

we can work to bring affordable LED lighting to local homes and

businesses. We can challenge local industry to get on board and join in the

transition—we can consider a petition to local industries asking them to make a

commitment to the transition.

There is much to look forward to in 2016 following the Paris COP21. There is

also much to do. Please join us.

Hope Lives at The Grassroots

Hope lives at grassroots.  

By Stu Hennessey, VP, Sustainable West Seattle

I don’t know why things cannot get done when folks get elected and are paid well. A lot could be learned by our elected officials if they would come down to the grassroots level.

I have served on the board of Sustainable West Seattle for the last 3 years and have experienced a lot of reason to be hopeful. With an all volunteer staff and a small working membership I have seen many accomplishments in the past 3 years. Instead of complaining and retreating these folks that I have been associated with roll up their sleeves and get things done. Being a part of these local victories for the greater good fills me with hope for the future.

You too can be a part of the solution as openings are becoming available. If you are not at the table you might end up on the menu.

I am at the end of my 3 year term limit but I will not disappear.

To reflect on a few highlights, I am most impressed with the collaboration and facilitation of various projects such as Solarize Southwest  Seattle, The annual Greenlife Festival and the West Seattle Bike Connections.

In 2014 Solarize Southwest Seattle with help from SWS signed up 667 registrations and solarized 111 households creating 684 kilowatts of renewable power.  This helped to create a record year for rooftop solar installations in Seattle. Sustainable West Seattle hosted and advertised workshops in partnership with Seattle City Light, Northwest Seed and Sustainable Burien to get the word out and sign up customers.

This year we also saw a record attendance at our annual Greenlife Festival during the West Seattle street fair.  The information that was shared and the community coalescence that occurred were ravenously consumed by a diverse crowd.

The West Seattle Bike Connections group made great strides to enhance a healthy and happy alternative to the usual gridlock leaving West Seattle. Safer and improved routes to work centers and other neighborhoods are now being implemented due to the advice and experience of our local everyday cyclists.

More accomplishments with the West Seattle Tool Library and the Community Orchard of West Seattle or the community gatherings at West Seattle Meaningful Movies and the growth of the West Seattle Time Bank offer many opportunities to get involved. Bring your talents to any of our remaining board meetings for 2015 and begin to be a voice in your community for environmental, social, economic and soothing justice. See you there!

 

 

 

“This Changes Everything” Movie Screening 11/7

On Saturday, November 7
 
West Seattle Meaningful Movies presents
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
A new film directed by Avi Lewis and inspired by Naomi Klein’s bestseller
This Changes Everything—Capitalism vs. the Climate
90 minutes
What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?
By featuring seven communities on the front lines, this movie connects the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. It shows how we can seize the climate crisis to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.
6:30  doors open for snacks and social time
7:00 movie (come early to be sure to get a good seat)
6400 Sylvan Way SW, Seattle 98126
Bus numbers 21 and 128
NO CHARGE, but donations gratefully received.
Help us minimize waste—bring your own mug.

SWS Hosts Sustainable Documentary Filmmakers from UK

The secret of change….

This past week various board members of Sustainable West Seattle had the opportunity to meet with a couple from England who were in the process of filming a documentary, The Secret of Change.

Zoe Moyden and Chris Bettles are the young couple who are spending their own savings to tour the west coast from Canada to Mexico and visit groups like Sustainable West Seattle to document what they are doing. You see Chris and Zoe are from Bristol UK which is a transition town. The transition movement is a burgeoning act of community change that assumes we will not always be energized by fossil fuels. Chris and Zoe have come here to the West Coast to see what is going on from the bottom up, grassroots efforts to transition to a healthier and happier community of the future, post cheap oil.

The word transition has been kicked around within the sustainable communities as we look to other parts of the world for leadership and ideas. There is a great deal of thought already put into this effort and the methods on which we could transition. We have also been aware that by definition sustainable means a static, less dynamic condition of stabilization (even though we interpret it to mean much more). So it was very enlightening for all of us to have this interaction with two lovely and brilliant (their favorite word) young people from Bristol England.

I think anyone who spent time with them could see their enthusiasm and appreciation for the things we are doing at Sustainable West Seattle but I in particular was struck by the base departure from the way we describe ourselves. Recognizing a well branded word like sustainable has fueled our use of the word until it has also become the word of choice for large industrial businesses that have no intention at all to transition. The transition movement also appears to be more upwardly mobile as the transition town concept is a declaration that this town (city) is making a change to a cleaner form of energy as well as a happier community at municipal levels. There have also been declarations at county levels in transition strongholds. Why can’t we go big and declare a transition country or entire planet.

The secret of Change… I think perhaps the secret of change is the ability to change at all. The secret of change is you and me and all who are brave enough or energetic enough to propose a change and make it stick. Sustainable West Seattle is now in its 8th year of existence. They have been a good 8 years with much to celebrate and realize as the fruit of the seed that was planted. I think it might be time for a change as I was inspired so much by our visitors from the UK. Perhaps it is time for us to become America’s largest transition city or transition West Seattle.  Your thoughts:

The Secret of Change will be crowd sourcing their p[production this fall. Keep them in your thoughts. Good Luck Chris and Zoe!

 

The “Yes Men” Are Baaaaccck!

Whether you agree with their tactics or not, The Yes Men have been effective at bringing attention to some really important climate and humanitarian issues. I think they first made waves by perpetrating Dow’s fake apology for the Bhopal disaster but they’ve also managed to get the US Chamber of Commerce to….pay attention to Climate Change….which is a pretty big deal. And now, their latest movie, The Yes Men Revolt, will be playing at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) June 12th-18th at SIFF Cinema Uptown.