Stu’s News: You and Carbon Pollution!

carbon neutralby Stu Hennessey*

If you have had any concern over the changing climate and the extreme weather events that have been making headlines you have probably felt frustration over not being in a position to challenge the big corporate polluters. The good news is that we are more in control of carbon pollution and its effect on the climate than most people realize.

People like you and I actually emit nearly twice the carbon pollution than industrial America. We also pollute in a manner that is hard to capture. We are non point source polluters. NPSPs. That means the pollution we emit comes from a variety of source points like individual cars or lawn mowers or woodstoves. Our source points are so spread out and numerous that it would be impossible to capture or cap what we emit. Where as a corporate polluter will usually have a single stack or source point that could be capped and sequestered.

We know there are cleaner ways to run the world’s industries but until we can afford a corporate takeover and finance the industrial change-over to clean energy we can only work on our own solutions. I find it very empowering to know that individual education and efforts can reduce nearly two thirds of the world’s carbon pollution. Whether it is by using alternatives to fossil fuel transportation or reducing our home energy consumption or limiting the distance a product we consume travels to the cash register we can make a huge difference. Here are ten ideas you could employ:

  • Reduce your travel emissions by riding a bicycle. Using the transit system or trading in the gas guzzler for an electric vehicle.
  • Reduce your home energy costs by turning down the thermostat or buying a programmable thermostat. Choosing a smaller more efficient home. Switching to LED lighting. Turning off all electric devices when not in use.
  • Shopping Local, buying products that are being manufactured closer to home or have been offered for reuse. Shopping at local businesses near where you live. Smaller businesses with smaller carbon footprints.
  • Eat locally grown food. Join a Community Supported Agriculture subscription. Join a community garden group or P Patch. Turn your yard into your own food supply.
  • Plant trees! Trees eat carbon dioxide and in return release oxygen. Most trees have been removed to make room for our cities. Please replace them.
  • Support government and non government organizations that offer alternatives to the archaic fossil fuel era. We can fast track our independence from fossil fuels.
  • Reduce all forms of consumer waste. Buy bulk! Buy what you need. Buy what will make you less of a carbon non point source.
  • Recycle: This is where we show what gains we have already accomplished. Good Job NPSPs.
  • Compost: Another area where great strides have been made.
  • De-carbonize your image. Our image is important to us but is it a bigger is better image that we should strive for. Is the bigger car, bigger house, wealthy-enough-to-be-carbon-foolish image the one that matters?   Imagine yourself at one with a carbon neutral earth.

* Stu Hennessey is a board member of Sustainable West Seattle and is an active cyclist and member of Spokespeople.  Stu operates and owns Alki Bike and Board in West Seattle’s Admiral District.

EPA Releases ‘Record of Decision’ On Duwamish Cleanup Proposals

Duwamish Cleanup TimelineThe Environmental Protection Agency’s final “Record of Decision” regarding the clean-up of the Duwamish River is here!  Due to the advocacy work of Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Ggroup and input from the communities, the final plan includes a 25% increase in permanent toxic waste removal over the proposed plan.  Now is your opportunity to learn about this important decision, get your questions answered and learn about what is coming next!

There are three upcoming opportunities for you to choose from:

Thursday, January 15, 6:00 pm at South Park Neighborhood Association, 8201 10th Avenue S

DRCC/TAG will be hosting a meeting featuring Dr. Peter deFur.  At the meeting, Dr. deFur will discuss the ROD and be available for your questions.  Light dinner will be available!  Learn more.

Wednesday, January 21, 5:30 pm at Concord Elementary School, 723 S Concord Street

EPA is hosting a multi-lingual open house focused on the Record of Decision.  Community members from South Park will be share information on the Record of Decision in English, Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese.  EPA, Department of Ecology, and DRCC/TAG will be on hand to answer your questions.  Light dinner and childcare will be available! Learn more.

Wednesday, January 28, 6:00 pm at South Seattle College – Georgetown, 6737 Corson Avenue S

EPA will present the Record of Decision with simultaneous interpretation available in Spanish and Vietnamese.  After the presentation, EPA representatives and DRCC/TAG will be available to answer questions.  Light dinner will be available! Learn more.

You can learn more or have questions and comments noted or answered by contacting the DRCC/TAG at contact@duwamishcleanup.org or by calling 206-954-0218.

SWS Annual Membership Meeting: Learn About Us, Volunteer with Us, Join Us

Join Sustainable West Seattle on Martin Luther King Day at C&P Coffee from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.  We’ll be hosting our annual membership meeting and we’ll be providing treats as well as information.  We’re also be looking for new board members so if you’re interested in getting involved please drop in.

  • When:Monday, January 19, 2015, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Where: C&P Coffee, 5612 California Ave SW, just south of the RapidRide station

On the National Day of Service start the New Year off by donating some time to Sustainable West Seattle (SWS), the organization spearheading West Seattle’s effort to provide alternatives to globalization and planet exploitation. SWS is looking for new members and board members for 2015’s “projects of hope.” Here is your chance to influence the shape of your sustainable community and local projects.

The evening will include:

  • Review of Projects & Events in 2014
  • Look Forward & Idea Sharing for Focus of 2015
  • Prospective Board Candidates — Attendees for consideration by Incoming 2015 Board will share their ideas for, and what they can contribute to SWS
  • SWS Members at large and interested participants (not SWS member) share ideas for local West Seattle efforts and to help SWS as an organization
  • Dessert is provided by the current 2014 SWS Board

Hope you can join in the local effort with Sustainable West Seattle.

Train for Challenge Course Leadership, Parks Offering Courses @ Camp Long

CampLongHighRopesSeattle Parks and Recreation worked with Washington State University Extension 4-H to build a “challenge course” in the trees in West Seattle’s Camp Long. In 2015, interested members of the public are invited to join other educators and counselors in learning how to use adventure education to promote team building and personal development in their communities.

The introduction to facilitator training takes place Wednesday through Friday, January 28-30, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The cost is $240. The low-course facilitator training takes place Tuesday through Thursday, March 10 and 12, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The cost is $240. The high-course facilitator training 1 (hub and spoke course with dual ziplines, ropes rescue) takes place Tuesday through Thursday, April 21-23, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The cost is $240. The high-course facilitator training 2 (vertical playpen and trapeze jump, M-Belay systems) takes place Wednesday and Thursday, May 6 and 7, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The cost is $160.

The training location is 5200 35th Ave SW at Camp Long in West Seattle. Camping is available during the training. There are several cabins available for rent for overnight stays at Camp Long, see http://www.seattle.gov/parks/reservations/camplong.htm.

After successful completion of the training, participants will be able to facilitate events at the Camp Long challenge course. The course is designed to meet the 4-H certification requirements to host and facilitate group activities at Camp Long. Certified facilitators receive reduced rates when bringing their own groups. The trainings are designed to sequence together.

At the Camp Long course, several elements of the ropes course are integrated into the forested areas. WSU 4–H, through 30 years of adventure education experience, has developed curricula that strengthen critical life skills including decision making, self-confidence, positive risk taking, self-esteem, teamwork, and leadership.

For more information and to sign up for the challenge course training, please contact Challenge Course Manager Ken Turner at 206-684-7434 or keno.turner@seattle.gov.

Camp Long is one of Seattle’s best kept secrets. Located in West Seattle, this 68-acre oasis in the city offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy nature, hike in the forest, camp overnight in rustic cabins, rock climb, learn about natural history, and visit or rent the rustic Lodge. For more information, see http://www.seattle.gov/parks/environment/camplong.htm.

 

Washington Department of Ecology Publishes 2014 Tacoma Smelter Plume Annual Report

Tacoma SmelterWashington State Department of Ecology has published the Tacoma Smelter Plume 2014 Annual Report, which is available here.

What is in the annual report? This 20-page report describes how the Department of Ecology is using the $94.6 million Asarco settlement to clean up the Tacoma Smelter Plume. It provides an update on cleanup progress and efforts to manage human health risks. It also includes the accomplishments and 2014 performance measurements from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014.

What are the highlights from 2014?

  • Completed soil sampling on 1,495 homes in the most impacted areas of the plume.
  • Cleanup of 53 more residential yards with arsenic levels over 100 parts per million.
  • Replaced soil on eight acres of playfields at Vassault Park in Tacoma.

Printed copies of the report are also available. Contact the department if you would like a printed version.  For more information  contact Jill Jacobson Reitz, MPA, Tacoma Smelter Plume-Yard Cleanup Outreach Coordinator, Toxics Cleanup Program, Southwest Regional Office, Washington State Department of Ecology, phone 360-407-6245, or email at Jill.Jacobson@ecy.w
a.gov

Neighborhood Match Fund Grant Schedule Announced: Apply for $1,000 up to $20,000

MatchFundLogoSeattle’s Department of Neighborhoods has posted information about the 2015 grant programs.

Small and Simple Fund

The Small and Simple Fund provides awards from $1,001 up to $25,000 to support community members in building community relationships around a project. Deadline for the Small and Simple Fund for this round is February 2. Visit this website for more information regarding the fund http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/smallandsimple.htm or start your NMF Online application at http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/webapplication.htm.

Small Sparks Fund

The 2015 Small Sparks Project Fund provides awards up to $1,000 to support community members in building community relationships around a project. Small Sparks Fund applications are accepted year-round.  Visit this website for more information regarding the Small Sparks fund http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/smallsparks.htm or start your NMF Online application at http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/webapplication.htm

You can also call the Department of Neighborhoods’ Match Fund group at 206-233-0093 or email them at NMFund@seattle.gov.

 

Murray Basin Concrete Pouring Work Continues through December

MurrayActivityDec2014King County Wastewater Division sent a notice this week stating that county contractors are beginning to build the underground storage tank across from Lowman Beach for the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow project. The tank will sit on top of the concrete slab poured in the tank area last week. Crews will work Saturday Dec. 20 to install rebar and build forms. The rebar will attach the tank to the slab. The forms will help shape the tank bottom. Saturday work hours will be 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Smaller concrete pours are scheduled for December 23 and December 29. About 10 trucks an hour will deliver concrete to the site each day — less than half the amount delivered daily last week for the slab. Concrete will be delivered to the site between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. Crews may continue working in the tank area after 6:00 pm if necessary. Haul routes will remain the same. These pours may be rescheduled if temperatures go below 40 degrees. Schedules updates will be provided as necessary.

No work will occur on December 25 or January 1 (see calendar at bottom for more information).

What to expect on pour days:

  • Work from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm. Work will continue past 6:00 pm if necessary;
  • Crews working on the east side of Beach Dr. SW near Lowman Beach Park;
  • Trucks parked on the 7000 block of Beach Dr. SW and Lincoln Park Way SW near Murray Ave. SW;
  • No weekday parking in these areas:
    • 7000 block of Beach Dr. SW;
    • Lincoln Park Way SW between Murray Ave SW and Beach Dr. SW;
  • Local and emergency access maintained on Beach Dr. SW and Lincoln Park Way SW;
  • Considerable increased truck traffic entering and leaving the site during work hours;
  • Flaggers will direct traffic along Beach Dr. SW and at the intersection of Beach Dr. SW and Lincoln Park Way SW;
  • Traffic delays, heavy congestion near the site;
  • East sidewalk of Beach Dr. SW closed between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm.

For more information call the 24-hour project information hotline: 206-205-9186

Schedule of activity at Murray Combined Sewer Overflow project area for December.

Schedule of activity at Murray Combined Sewer Overflow project area for December.

Energy Blog Author Publishes ‘Dinosaurs Last Roar’ on Kindle, 1st Published Here

DinoLast-SilberKindleSustainable West Seattle member and Energy Blog author Andy Silber recently wrote a fiction story about the impact of climate change on Planet Earth and humanity’s attempts to colonize Mars.

Andy has taken the story much further and has published a longer, more involved version on Kindle.  Click here for the Amazon link to the longer story.  Andy is charging 99 cents ($.99) for this more polished version.

The story was first serialized here on the SWS website (see Energy Blog: World of Tomorrow-2025: Warmer, Higher Sea Level, Fusion Power for the beginning chapter or click Energy Blog in the What Are You Interested In? section to the left to find all 9 early chapters.

 

Help King County Prioritize Environmental Goals: Use Online Budget Planner

KCparks viewThe King County Department of Natural Resources would like to hear from you about how you would prioritize King County’s environmental goals to help the county continue to plan for a greener future.

How would you prioritize King County’s environmental goals?

Let’s pretend you have a budget of $100 for King County’s environmental work. How would you spend it on three or more of the County’s environmental goals? Find the environmental goals that you would like King County to prioritize, then allocate a portion of your imaginary $100. Total spending should add up to $100. Click here to give your ideas to make King County greener?  The question will be open for comment until December 24.

OneKingCounty.info is an online platform that provides opportunities for government and citizens to work together to improve our communities and environment through digital civic engagement.

Save the Date!! Tool Library Annual Fundraiser Party – FESTIVUS – Dec. 5

Tool Library Fundraiser Poster_2014_finalThe West Seattle Tool Library announces our second annual fundraiser gala.

Now in its 5th year of providing free tools, advice and workshop space to the community on a donation basis, the West Seattle Tool Library is holding its second annual fundraiser.

The fundraiser, which will also serve as Sustainable West Seattle’s annual winter holiday party, will be held Friday, December 5, from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at the SoDo MakerSpace, 1914 Occidental Ave SAll net proceeds will go to the maintenance of tool library operations, as well as potential enhancements such as extended hours and more classes. 

The fundraiser, continuing with last year’s theme of a “Festivus” party, will be a gala with a dinner buffet, beer, wine, soft drinks, music, an environmental poetry slam, a raffle, kid activities, and a tool sale. In addition, discounts will be offered on tool library lifetime memberships, and members who have tool library items they’ve been meaning to return will be offered amnesty for any returned tools. No fines and no questions asked!

Everyone is welcome. No cover charge except for a voluntary suggested donation for food. 

You Can Help Too!

Donations and volunteer help, including day-of setup help for the fundraiser, are still needed. If you are an individual or business with an item you’d like to donate for the raffle or are interested in volunteering, please contact us at library@wstoollibrary.org. Food and beverage donations are also welcome. Donors will be recognized at the event. 

Tool Library Facts

Since opening in the summer of 2010, the West Seattle Tool Library has built an inventory of more than 2,500 tools, signed up more than 2,000 members, facilitated over 13,000 loans,offered many classes and served as the home of the Fixer’s Collective and Ask an Expert night. It has been a model to many other tool libraries that have opened in the Puget Sound region and beyond, and received positive media attention as an example of the type of sharing economy projects needed to make the world more sustainable. It is a nonprofit project of Sustainable West Seattle. You can learn more and check out our inventory at wstoollibrary.org.