Visit the West Seattle Nursery Garden Stage!


You probably already know, but if you don’t, the West Seattle Nursery and Garden Center is a wonderful place to get plantings, supplies and advice. They employ great people that are very knowledgeable about what to plant, where to plant, and when to plant it. This cool garden shop is sponsoring (and decorating!) the GreenLife Garden Stage this year.

Picture: fragrant hanging baskets, nice lush saplings, a billion 4″ plantings…and BEAUTIFUL music bellowing about! That’s what we’re picturing too! Come on by and visit, both the Nursery and the stage.

Resilience During Times of Crisis

Believe it: Many of our WS neighbors are experiencing crisis- homelessness, hunger, gentrification, drug addiction, crime and more. How will we support our most vulnerable populations? What happens when we find ourselves in crisis? As more challenges come, what can West Seattle learn about resilience and strong communities from the economic crisis in Spain?

We’ll host a public discussion at the Admiral Bird on Saturday April 23rd 6-8PM to hear those living through real struggle and how they deal with crisis.

Join Sustainable West Seattle in listening to stories of coming together, and pooling resources to survive economic crisis.. Learn about the resource and time sharing projects West Seattle is using to build resilience in our community.


Please come by and join the discussion!

More info:

Since 2008, working people in Spain have been experiencing an impoverishment of the middle class. A slow elimination of safety nets and social services, lay-offs of public employees, wide-scale evictions, homelessness while homes stand empty, and a rising cost of living without a rise in wage. Despite media propaganda, armed forces at public protests and failed reforms, popular resistance movements in Spain have endured and adapted from the 15 Million people movement called Indignados to form a third party, Podemos, to challenge the Spanish two-party system.

Find Your Precinct Caucus Here

It’s very important that we all, as US citizens, participate in local democracy. After all, national democracy begins at the local level…believe it or not. We need the right people in all offices. If you follow climate change science, the urgency is obvious. We need top-down and simultaneously, bottom-up change to reverse our effects on the planet. We work locally, we vote nationally.

In order to vote for the presidential candidate you want to see lead the nation, you first need to get them on the ballot! Thats where the caucus comes in.

We, as thinking/mover/shakers/creators, have to spend time building a future. We are the participatory bunch, the able and willing. At 30+ years on earth, I’ve just come to realize this…I’m on the creative side. I strive to produce more than I consume. Part of this production is the act of voting..of producing results, literally, tallied results. I will produce a vote for the candidate I want to see nominated for president. I WILL CAUCUS ON SATURDAY MARCH 26th FROM 10am-2pm…and longer if necessary!

I hope you too stay positive, get out and caucus and most importantly…don’t get discouraged! We can do this! We are doing this! See below for how to find your precinct and caucus.

I’ll be honest, it’s not easy to find your precinct caucus. You first have to this website and enter your address to find your precinct number, then click and open the local precinct location list below to see where your Precinct Caucus will be held:

Caucus Locations by Precinct.pdf

More info on the caucus process


You better caucus!!


See you there… :)

What Its Like to Buy an Electric Vehicle

Local West Seattleite Andy Silber discusses his recent purchase of an EV:


I’ve joined the ranks of Electric Car drivers


For years I’ve been saying that when our Honda Civic died, we’d replace it with a Nissan Leaf.  Well, the Honda died and we just bought a Leaf. I thought I’d share our process.

Why a Leaf? There are lots of electric cars on the market. Several are just too expensive (e.g. the Tesla). Others are available only in states like California that have a mandate that require manufacturers sell a small number of electric cars. Those models are hard or impossible to find in states that don’t have a mandate (like Washington). That leaves basically the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt (which is a plug-in hybrid that burns gasoline when the batteries are empty). Though I like the Volt, it’s a bit more expensive and I liked the simplicity of a pure electric vehicle: no gas stations, oil changes, or tail pipe. The 85-mile range of the Leaf is sufficient for our daily driving and with charging stations becoming common, even longer trips are possible. For instance, Catherine wants to visit a farm in Sultan, over 50 miles away. Since there’s a level 3 charging station at the Sultan visitors center, it only takes 20 minutes of charging before heading home with a nearly full “tank”.

Why now? We considered being a one-car family, just our trusty 1996 Subaru wagon. I take the bus to work, we live 3 blocks from a rent-a-car office with great weekend rates, and there are Car2Go cars in our neighborhood. I’m sure we could have made it work. Heck, we know people who are car free, and they don’t live next to two bus routes like we do. When we went to test drive the Leaf, it was just to check it out, not buy one. After we drove the car and liked it, they shared the deal: $6,500 off of sticker from Nissan, an interest free loan worth over $2,000, $7,500 tax credit from the feds, and a sales tax exemption from Washington State worth over $2,000. They made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.

We could have waited a few months until the 2016 Leaf comes out, which will have a range of over 100 miles. We could have waited a few years until the Tesla 3 comes out, which I’m sure will be amazing and much cheaper than the current Tesla. If you think about it in the terms of disruptive technology, something new (e.g. electric cars) replaces what came before (e.g. internal combustion engines) not because it’s all around better, but because it’s good enough on most elements (e.g. range, safety, driving experience, purchases price) and better on a few elements that the previous solution hadn’t focused on (e.g. low greenhouse-gas emission, total cost of ownership). A small percentage of the population will start buying the new solution because they care about the previously ignored values, which will spur development until the new technology becomes the standard. For us, the Leaf is either good enough (e.g. on range) or better (e.g. greenness) across all fronts. So why wait? Also, Nissan’s generous rebates are designed to get the 2015 cars off the lot before the 2016 model shows up: I’d rather pay $6,500 less and not get next year’s model.

“The Secret of Change” Documentary Teaser

Just received a little note from our friends over at OWL Positive Broadcasting. SWS met with them as part of their journey down the west coast. Here is the teaser from their upcoming documentary “The Secret of Change”.

Hello Friends!

We have now finished filming, can you believe it!? Can’t believe how quickly the time has passed, seems like only yesterday we were staying with you guys in West Seattle. At the moment we’re in California staying with friends until we fly out to Mexico on Sunday, very exciting!
We’ve had an incredible journey filming with so many people and initiatives over the last few months and we have put together a very brief teaser (which you feature in) to give an idea of what is to come so I thought I’d share it with you.
I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to share with as many people, in as many ways as you please ;-).
We are beginning work on a crowd-funder as we speak and aim to have that completed by the end of the month so we’ll let you guys know when that launches.
With love and gratitude
Chris & Zoe

Guest Post: Andy Silber on Electric Cars

Electric Cars: Opportunity and Risk

Tesla Image

It’s been five years since I’ve written about electric cars. In those years the Leaf has replaced the Prius as the environmental car of choice and the Tesla Model S has won more automotive awards than Bryon Cranston has won Emmys. As I expected, electric cars are driving down the road towards the mainstream.

While the cost, range, and quality of electric cars has improved dramatically, the way those cars are charged has remained relatively unchanged.  Sure Tesla has installed a network of fast chargers that in twenty minutes can add sufficient charge that road trips are now possible and many businesses have installed charging stations in their parking lots, but most electric cars are still changed at home overnight.  The driver gets home, plugs in the car and in the morning the car is ready for another day of driving. Depending on your system and how far you’ve driven, charging may take from two to ten hours. Currently, the electric grid treats an electric car just like a blender.

As electric cars become mainstream, there will be a new rush hour on the grid right after the rush hour on the roads: millions of cars plugging in around 6 p.m., drawing power at the same time as stoves and heaters and TVs are firing up. This is a challenge not just to produce the electricity, but also to distribute it to all of those garages. If we don’t deal with this intelligently, then we might see a gridlock of electrons (i.e. brown-outs).

Light Pole

But this challenge is also an opportunity to make the grid better. The electric grid needs to be sized for peak demand. The rest of the day, those resources are underused. Creating  off-peak demand helps the utility.

Very few drivers need their car charged up as soon as possible, but just want it ready for their daily commute by the next morning. How do we build a system that does the bulk of the changing when the grid has underused capacity (i.e. the middle of the night)? There are several approaches, each with advantages and disadvantages:

  • Time-of-day metering, where the retail price of electricity drops during the time of day when the wholesale price of electricity is low and the grid is operating at much less than capacity (e.g. 11 pm to 8 am). This is fairly straightforward to implement, but is inflexible to events (e.g. a transformer goes down). This only requires advanced power meters and chargers that know what time it is and what time they should start charging.
  • Real time pricing, where the utility can set the price based on the current situation and sends a message that appliances (e.g. car chargers) can respond to (e.g. delaying charging). This requires a much smarter system (i.e. the Smart Grid), but allows the utility to manage challenges like a substation fire or high wind-production during a time of low demand.
  • Build a system that can handle increased peak loads; more generators, wires, transformers, poles… This is almost certainly the most expensive and dirtiest way to meet the challenge.

Currently in Seattle, we’re not doing any of these things. The cost of electricity is the same at 6p.m. as it is at 2 a.m. and the chargers that people are installing in their garages don’t know what time it is, much less the cost of electricity at that moment. I expect electric car growth to follow a hockey-stick pattern, which is common for new technology adoption (think smart phones): sales will grow linearly and moderately for a few years, then the next time that gasoline prices hit $5.00 a gallon, electric car sales will explode. Are we building the electric network that can handle this opportunity?

The Village Green Nursery Is COOL

RoseWhere else can you go learn about homemade rose tea or fragrant rose syrups in West Seattle on a Saturday and go for “A Wild Edible Walk and Talk” on Sunday? Well there might be a couple of other places, but this one looks fun too! An excerpt from their Rose Blog Blast reads:

“Do you remember being in your grandmothers gardens when the most fragrant roses were in bloom?

Fragrance takes us back to a time in the past, where scent has been locked into memory. We may not even realize the memory exists until we smell something to jog the memory. My aunt Edna used to grow the most amazing roses. Her house was always filled with amazing food and flower scents.

When I moved here, the roses were not at all something I was looking forward to working with. I’ve since come to truly LOVE roses!

The term ‘Old roses’ does not refer to roses that were in the garden when you moved into your house….’old roses’ actually refers to antique varieties that came over with early settlers from China, Europe and the Far East. We’re talking old. These are cutting from the original plants, also called ‘own root roses’ meaning they are grown from cuttings from the parent plant, here on the property.”

Sounds fuN! Check out the Rose Events each Saturday in June from 1-3pm and the Wild Edible Walk and Talk on Sunday June 7th 11-12pm.


WS Land Use Committee Meeting

West Seattle Land Use Committee -WSLuc
At this meeting as the Person of Interest we will have Paul Haury of the NERDS – Paul and his group have many notches under their belt from experiences with DPD along the Avalon Way Corridor.

Agenda for WSLUC – Wednesday April 29 Meeting
 – 6pm Southwest Library on 35th Ave SW:

  • 6pm – Introductions and follow up on our Land Use 101 mini-seminar by Deb Barker and Cindi Barker
  • 6:30pm – Person of Interest – Paul Haury
  • 7:00 – Looking Forward – Discussion and Planning for helping to leverage the various West Seattle Land Use Action Groups efforts – MISSION STATEMENT!
Hot topics right now are
  • the CVS Pharmacy at the Fauntleroy Triangle
  • the NERDS ongoing battle with DPD about Avalon
  • —- we need to gather hot button projects from all of West Seattle
Tod Rodman

West Seattle Land Use Committee -WSLuc