Board Meets to Elect New Officers For 2015

The 2015 Sustainable West Seattle Board of Directors has formed and Officers were determined at the February meeting of the board.
This year’s board consists of:

swskellie     swsbryan

EricSWS     swsanya

rsz_1tswsbrian_selfie_2     swsStu

From left to right
Kellie Phelan, Bryan Fiedorczyk, Eric Thomas, Anya Gedrath-Smith, Brian Fabella and Stu Hennessey.

The officers for 2015 are:
President: Bryan Fiedorczyk, Vice President: Stu Hennessey, Secretary: Kellie Phelan, Treasure: Brian Fabella.

Goals for this year include a revised website, more public engagement through our projects and partnerships and new membership benefits and involvement. If you wish to be more involved with this community organization there is still room on the board of directors and we are recruiting for new board members in 2016. Otherwise join one of our many projects and volunteer for our events. If you wish to find a volunteer position contact Stu Hennessey, alkistu@hotmail.com.

Love and Sustainability: Go Green this Valentine’s Day

Valentines day

With the hallmark of Hallmark holidays upon us, the pressure is building. This annual celebration of consumerism is the bane of sustainable and environmentally conscientious individuals everywhere. Americans spend about $3.4 billion on wasteful gifts like cards, candy, and stuffed bears, as reported by Investopedia.

Seattle residents are among the most eco-conscious folks in the nation, thus have a ton of options for avoiding this greedy grind. A haven of fair trade, organic retailers and charitable organizations, Seattle offers couples and singles ways to enjoy the tradition of Valentine’s Day without contributing to the wasteful customs associated with the holiday. Read on.

Eat local:

If you’re planning a romantic dinner for two, order organically. Instead of reserving a table at one of those big-business chain restaurants, support local business and head to a place like Tilth Restaurant on North 45th Street or Marjorie on East Union Street. Both are local favorites: Tilth offers seasonal American fare, all organic, while Marjorie is prime for fresh gourmet surf and turf.

Organic flowers:

Flowers are the staple of Valentine’s Day traditions. Naturally, these go-to gifts are biodegradable. However, you can go one step further this holiday and purchase your partner beautiful flowers from a company that is committed to supporting human rights and labor standards. Build a custom bouquet to reflect your loved one’s taste and represent the uniqueness of the relationship. Pre-designed Valentine’s Day flower bouquets are also a great idea for the lover of tulips, roses or Stargazer lilies. Then, when the bouquet starts to wilt, pressed flowers make beautiful memorabilia to immortalize a very special day.

Recycled Valentines:

Instead of buying a new gift, use recycled materials to craft one. Homemade vintage and old-fashioned valentines hold more meaning and allure for the eco-friendly Valentine. Construct a one-of-a-kind gift like homemade paper flowers, dried flower petals or scraps of fabric into heartfelt tokens of affection.

Fair Trade Chocolate:

Another Valentine’s Day tradition is chocolate. But no self-respecting conversationalist wants a box of carelessly crafted commercial candy. However, cocoa farming is tied to some very questionable environmental and ethical issues, so choose wisely. Theo Chocolate in Seattle roasts their own organic, fair trade certified cocoa beans, and create 70 percent cacao dark chocolate indulgences.

Date with a purpose:

The Friends of the Conservatory is hosting a romantic wine and cocktail tasting event on Valentine’s Day for couples to congregate under the starlit houses of the Volunteer Park Conservatory. The experience includes delightful cocktails concocted with spirits from The Hardware Distillery, a local craft distiller specializing in whiskies, bee’s knees, aquavit and fine gins in Hoodsport, Washington. Plus, the stellar wine selections will be presented by Grand Vin Win Merchants. Enjoy yourself knowing that the money you spend is going right back into the community.

Give kindness:

Instead of spending a lot of money on the one you love, try creating kindness together. Purchase a handful of King County Metro one-day bus passes and hand them out to passengers waiting to board to wish them a happy Valentine’s Day. It is a small gesture, but hey, who doesn’t love a free ride?

Seattle is a special kind of city, so don’t settle for normal this holiday. Break the cycle of ritual waste from thoughtless spending and make Valentine’s Day a distinct and delightful experience. Leave your carbon footprint at home and replace it with a gentle footprint on your love’s heart.

All Walk Encouragement Rally

All Walk Encouragement Rally follow up.

rsz_allwalk3 Sunday was a nice warm day in February reminding us all why we walk to encourage individual climate change action. Up to a dozen participants held signs of encouragement as we occupied the Alaska Junction intersection during the all walk crossing. We had a very favorable response from the public.

All Walk Encouragement rally to encourage personal action on climate pollution and climate change.

Join West Seattle Neighbors for Peace and Justicersz_allwalk2 along with West Seattle Meaningful Movies and Sustainable West Seattle to encourage our neighbors to take personal action to reduce the effects of Climate Change. We will march during the the All Walk right of way in the Alaska Junction intersection from noon to 1pm this Sunday February 8th.
Bring your own signs with messages or use the ones provided. Please help us create meaningful change.

Hole Finished Being Dug, Lowman Beach CSO Project Gets Concrete Lining Next

Lowman Hole in GroundKing County Wastewater Division announced that contractors have finished digging out the tank area at the Murray CSO Control Project site last Thursday, November 13. The resulting hole is 60 feet deep – big enough to house the facility’s one million gallon underground storage tank. The tank will help keep sewage and stormwater out of Puget Sound.

Before the tank can be built, crews must install a 17-foot thick concrete base below the tank. The base will keep the tank from being pushed out of the ground by groundwater. Rebar will be installed in the next 10 days. Then nearly 5,000 cubic yards of concrete will be poured into the hole over three days to build the base.

About 20 trucks an hour will deliver concrete to the site to pour the base. Two concrete pump trucks will be located on the east side of Beach Drive SW to pump the concrete into the hole. Trucks will enter the site from Lincoln Park Way SW and exit using 48th Ave SW. Trucks waiting to pour will park on Fauntleroy Way SW and Lincoln Park Way SW.

Flaggers will direct traffic around the site. To maintain local vehicle access, no parking will be available from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm on the 7000 block of Beach Dr. SW and on Lincoln Park Way from Murray Ave. to Beach Dr. on pour days.

The contractor plans to complete the pour before Thanksgiving. No work is scheduled over the Thanksgiving holiday. Updated information will be provided when the dates for the pour are confirmed.

What to expect during the base pour:

  • Concrete pours between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm for three days;
  • Crews working on the east side of Beach Drive SW near Lowman Beach Park;
  • Trucks parked on Fauntleroy Way SW near 47th Ave. SW and on Lincoln Park Way SW near the intersections of 47th Ave SW and Murray Ave. SW;
  • No parking on the 7000 block of Beach Dr. SW between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm;
  • No parking on Lincoln Park Way SW between Murray Ave SW and Beach Dr. SW from 7:00 am and 5:00 pm;
  • Increased truck traffic entering and leaving the site during work hours;
  • Traffic delays and congestion;
  • East sidewalk of Beach Dr. S.W. closed between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm.

New Group Is Looking for Teachers for Sustainable Lifestyle Classes at Youngstown

Seattle Farm SchoolA new series of classes for folks interested in sustainable living is starting up.  West Seattle resident Katie Stemp is looking for teachers to begin a series of sustainable classes (at affordable rates) at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.  Katie says she is the founder of Seattle Farm School and is dedicated to preserving the home arts and growing our community in sustainable practices through affordable classes.
Seattle Farm School is  going to be starting classes in mid November at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (same location as the Tool Library).  They are trying to gather teachers from our community who are skilled in a series of subjects and interested in teaching one or many classes.  Here are the subjects Seattle Farm School is interested in offering as classes for folks in our community to sign up for:
  1. Cooking:
    1. Canning and food preservation,
    2. cooking, baking bread,
    3. cheesemaking,
    4. desserts – pies, cookies, cakes,
    5. homebrew, fermenting;
  2. Gardening:
    1. Gardening techniques,
    2. garden planning,
    3. seed saving,
    4. growing from seed,
    5. backyard chickens,
    6. seasonal gardens,
    7. bartenders garden,
    8. green roofs,
    9. permaculture – growing the most organic food for the least effort,
    10. alternative energy sources for your home – solar, wind
  3. Sewing & Needle Work:
    1. Basic & advanced sewing,
    2. quilting,
    3. embroidery,
    4. costume making,
    5. crochet,
    6. knitting
  4. Arts & Crafts:
    1. Painting,
    2. jewelry making,
    3. drawing,
    4. wood carving,
    5. leather work,
    6. candlemaking,
    7. recyclable art and whatever else we can come up with!

Individuals interested in participating should contact Katie Stemp at 206-218-4948, or by email at dkstemp@live.com or Seattle Farm School at SeattleFarmSchool@gmail.com.  Or, check out their FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/SeattleFarmSchool

 

Energy Blog: World of Tomorrow-2073: Some Regions Thrive; Trade Disappears

In a Climate Changed World: Chapter 7 – by Andy Silber
Vancouver BC Cascadia
June 20th, 2073

I can’t believe my parents aren’t here. I know there was no way they could come, but it just doesn’t seem right. A girl, even a girl of 33, wants to be given away by her father at her wedding. She wants her mother to see how happy she is and to be impressed about how handsome the groom looks. A wedding is supposed to be the merger of two families. Ben’s family is all here, but the only person representing my side is the other Emissary, Christopher.

For someone who spent her first 15 years underground and never went more than 100 meters from her home until she was 22, I shouldn’t complain. Most of my friends from the base are still toiling away underground, hoping that someday they can rejoin humanity. I was lucky enough to be selected for the Emissary program, and even luckier to be assigned Cascadia. When it was decided that Christopher and I would stay in Vancouver while the Deuterium/Tritium (also known has heavy hydrogen) facility was being built, I was quietly over joyed. I think if they knew how happy I was, they’d have pulled me off the assignment. Arrangements were made for the two of us to share a two-bedroom apartment in North Vancouver, near the site of the facility. Back at the base I think they were hoping we’d become a couple. That might have even happened, if not for the fact that Christopher was gay. He was having a grand old time in Vancouver. We both agreed that in our reports and rare trips back to Yucca Mountain, we never said anything to dissuade them from their mistaken beliefs. We had a true affection for each other, so it was easy for our bosses to see what they wanted.SONY DSC

[see author’s note at end][read Chapter 6][read Chapter 8]

Once the fuel plant was complete, I was afraid that they would pull us out of Cascadia. By that time I had a serious boyfriend, Ben. He was wise enough not to ask about my past or our future and just enjoy the present. He was a scientist working on the heavy-hydrogen facility and was just my type. I didn’t know I had a type until we met, but once we had I was sure he was it. He was funny, cute and loved introducing me to the myriad of things I had never experienced, like walks in the woods, goat cheese, and sailing.

Luckily for Ben, Christopher and me, back at the base they had designed a new fusion reactor that would double the electricity output and improve the reliability of the generators. Christopher and I returned to be trained in 2070 on the new design so we could support the construction of the new manufacturing plant to build these generators.

One of the interesting things about being on the base was getting news from outside of Cascadia. For instance, as far as I know the Mars colony is all but forgotten everywhere on Earth other than the base. The Martians’ broadcasts slipped from weekly, to monthly, to annually. Not because of any problem, but because no one ever answered. We were listening, but did not respond because of fear of giving our existence and location away. The logic of that escaped me once the Emissaries became public, but I was in no position to raise a fuse.

The most recent broadcast was on December 31st, 2070. They said

martian mining“All is well on Mars. Population 21,436. Average atmospheric pressure is 254 millibar. Oxygenpartial pressure is 12 millibar. Average temperature 5 degrees Celsius. Planetesimal harvesting system at 73% of peak capacity. We will continue to monitor this frequency for broadcasts from Earth and will broadcast an update at this time in one Terran year.”

Other news was not so rosy. At the time of the Awaking the population of the US was about 375 million. Our best estimate is the current population is no more than half that, of which a quarter are refuges from Latin America. Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, LA and Denver are doing ok. Anchorage was doing quite well supporting the peat bog harvest and enjoying their mild winters, which has improved agriculture there. When the peat bog harvest was complete in 2068 things took a turn downward, but Alaskans are used to a boom and bust economy. The resurgence of the KKK and the fighting between well-armed rural Klansman and the urban population of Atlanta has destroyed that city even more completely than General Sherman. No city in the old Confederacy or Texas has escaped these conflicts. After losing several Emissaries in this region, we pulled everyone out and our only intelligence is from drone flights.

Cascadia is without a doubt the bright spot in North America. California from Redding north, Idaho and Montana west of Bozeman have joined. Greater San Francisco is in discussions to join as well. The fuel plant is a very attractive reason to join the country. Seattle script is starting to be accepted for trade outside of Cascadia the same way that US dollar used to be the closest we had to an international currency. Canada is doing fairly well, enjoying the mild winters.

Both of the original North American plants extracting heavy hydrogen from sea water are still functional, but at reduced capacity. The LA plant is producing enough to keep the local grid functional as well as powering San Francisco and Anchorage. Power demands have increased since originally built, due to ever increasing need to de-salinate water and power air conditioning in the ever increasing heat. The Boston plant is also doing OK and has been able to keep the lights on as far away as Chicago.

China Electric gridWe have very little view into what’s happening in the rest of the world. From the little we pick up on shortwave radio and satellite imaging, Europe is doing worse than North America because of the weakened Gulf Stream. Britain and Ireland are actually colder than before, while Eastern Europe is hotter.  There’s no sign of modern civilization in Africa except a few small pockets in South Africa. Western China still has a grid, but that’s about all we can tell. Intercontinental trade and travel has completely stopped.

I loved seeing my parents, but otherwise I loathed every minute at the base. I promised myself that I would never return. I didn’t say anything, but I think my parents sensed something was going on and hugged me extra tight when we said good-bye.

Christopher, Ben and I moved to Beaverton, outside of Portland, to build the factory. Ben and I moved in together and Christopher lived on his own. When I got pregnant we decided to get married. I was against it at first, but Ben is old fashioned. Traditionally you travel to the bride’s hometown, but I can’t imagine much of a party in the caverns of Yucca Mountain.  I haven’t told my family or anyone at base. The only person I invited is Christopher, who was my Dude of Honor. Ben still doesn’t know where I come from, and I don’t have any intention of telling him. But maybe someday the world will change enough that he can meet my parents.

I’m trying something different than my previous blog posts here. Rather than describing current technologies or policy questions or what I think we should do, here I’m delving into speculative fiction: what do I think might be in store for us if we continue on our current path. This is definitely not a best case scenario, but I don’t believe it’s the worst case either. On a scale of 1 (your grandchildren are going to live in a world that resembles “The Road” ) and 10 (Technology will save the day and it’s not too late), I’d probably give this a … now that would be a spoiler. 

I’m writing this in installments in the spirit of Dickens and Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles”. Unlike them, I’m not a great writer, so I don’t expect to win a Nobel, Pulitzer, Hugo or a Newbery. But maybe this will be made into a mini-series on SyFy. Also, for fans of classic science fiction, I’ve thrown in some references or out-right theft. 

I hope you enjoy the first piece of fiction that I’ve written that wasn’t assigned in school. – Andy Silber

King Conservation District’s Native Bareroot Plant Sale Now Underway Online

KCD plant saleThe King Conservation District announces its 2014 Native Bareroot Plant Sale, with online ordering underway!

Order bareroot native plants online for pick up on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Quantities are limited and some species may sell out, so please order early.

The King Conservation District offers a variety of native trees and shrubs for conservation purposes, including wildlife habitat, windbreaks, hedgerows, reforestation, and stream enhancement. The plants are bareroot stock, which means they do not come in pots or burlap bags, but are harvested from the field in winter when the plants are dormant and ready to be replanted. Bareroot plants are affordable, hardy, have well-developed roots, and are easy to handle, transport and plant.

Order online at http://www.kingcd.org/pro_native.htm.

Quantities are limited so if there’s a particular species you would like, survey the varieties on the website and order now.

HOW TO ORDER: Order and pay for your plants by credit card online at www.kingcd.org. Minimum order $30. All orders must be pre-paid. Purchase orders are acceptable for agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

ORDERING DEADLINE: All orders must be placed by February 9, 2014.

PICK-UP DATE: Saturday, March 1, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

PICK-UP LOCATION: King Conservation District, 1107 SW Grady Way, Renton, WA 98057. (No plant delivery available.)

AVAILABILITY: Quantities are limited. All plants are sold on a first-come, first served basis.

QUESTIONS: Call Jacobus Saperstein at 425-282-1912, or email: jacobus@kingcd.org.

Plants Available

  • CONIFEROUS TREES: Douglas Fir, Grand Fir, Noble Fir, Shore Pine, Sitka Spruce, Hemlock, Western Red Cedar;
  • DECIDUOUS TREES: Black Hawthorn, Cascara, Oregon Ash, Oregon White Oak, Pacific Crabapple, Vine Maple, Western Flowering Dogwood;
  • SHRUBS: Black Twinberry, Blackcap Raspberry, Blue Elderberry, Evergreen Huckleberry, Indian Plum, Mock Orange, Nootka Rose, Oceanspray, Pacific Ninebark, Pacific Rhododendron, Red Elderberry, Red Flowering Current, Red Osier Dogwood, Serviceberry, Snowberry, Tall Oregon Grape, Thimbleberry;
  • GROUNDCOVERS: Coastal Strawberry, Kinnikinnick, Low Oregon Grape, Salal, Sword Fern.

Link with King Conservation District on Facebook:www.facebook.com/KingConservationDistrict

Energy Blog: Land Use: Ethanol vs Solar

by Andy Silber

Corn field

On a recent trip to Minneapolis, I looked out the window of the plane and saw a vast expanse of land growing corn. It had me thinking about ethanol, since much of that corn is being grown to feed not man nor beast, but cars and trucks. I wondered if we wouldn’t be better off covering that land with solar panels. On my return, I looked up some numbers and my suspicions were confirmed: we could produce about 4 times the electricity consumed in the US by covering the land now used to grow corn for ethanol with solar panels.

Here’s the math:

Acres of corn under cultivation 9.74E+07
Fraction of corn used for ethanol production 0.28
Square meters per acre 4047
Solar irradiance [kW/m2) 1
Efficiency of solar panel 0.12
Duty cycle (e.g. factor in weather, night) 0.2
Transmission/storage efficiency 0.7
Average Solar Power capacity on land now growing corn for ethanol [kw] 1.85E+09
Total US electricity consumption in 2011 [GW.hr] 3,749,846
Average Power [kw] 4.28E+08
What % of US electricity consumption could be powered by solar panels on land now growing corn for ethanol? 433%

I’m not suggesting we take some of the best agricultural land in the world and cover it with solar panels. I’m suggesting we grow food on that land, and cover 10% of that much land in the desert or on roof tops with solar photovoltaic panels to generate some of the energy we need. My point is the idea that solar power takes up too much land is absurd.

So let’s do a little bit more math. Suppose we have a goal to produce 30% of our electricity with solar power. How much land is that? That is less space than parking lots consume. Much of that could be on rooftops of homes and business, or covering parking lots.

Average Power [kw] 4.28E+08
Average power generated on one 1m2 [kw] 0.0168
Area needed to generate 30% of our electricity [m2] 7.64E+09
Area needed to generate 30% of our electricity [square miles] 2,951
Area of parking spaces in the US 3,590
Fraction of the area of parking lots 82.2%
Area of the US 3.80E+06
Fraction of the US needed to generate 30% of our electricity from solar power 0.08%

With the cost of solar dropping quickly, it seems likely the solar will soon be playing an important part of meeting our energy needs. One things that won’t be stopping this growth is running out of room.

SWS Kicks Off and Will Provide Grant Funding for Green Project Incubator

SWSGreenLightbulbSustainable West Seattle is soliciting proposals for our new Green Project Incubator grants program. The grant for $1000 will fund small projects or provide seed money for larger endeavors.

Groups or individuals wishing to submit proposals should download the application form (see link below) and fill out the application and bring to our February 19 meeting at the Senior Center in Alaska Junction (4217 SW Oregon St. around the corner from California Ave. SW).

At our Sustainable West Seattle meeting tonight, groups or individuals with a proposal will be asked to present their idea and to interact with the audience describing their idea and the impact that project will have on the community.  We will have more detail on the February proposal presentations here so check back.

The Green Project Incubator builds sustainability and resilience in our West Seattle neighborhood. SWS will support the chosen project by providing funding, expertise and volunteer hours to make the project a success. Projects will be chosen by the SWS Project Committee and announced at our March general meeting.

SWS projects begin as ideas from the community, receiving both funding and volunteer support resulting in successful programs. Past examples of these groundbreaking and grass-roots originated ideas include:

  • West Seattle Tool Library, which now has more than 1,000 members.
  • Community Orchard of West Seattle (COWS) demonstrates and encourages urban gardening and began as a project of Community Harvest of Southwest Seattle.
  • Tox-Ick education program engages Puget Sound residents about the problem of polluted runoff and the simple actions individuals can take to prevent it.
  • West Seattle Spokespeople facilitates a transition from car to bike and is allied with Spokespeople U.S.

The CoHo Team of Windermere Agents  is providing SWS with a generous grant to allow SWS to move forward with this innovative project.

Download the Application Form

application for green innovation proposals

2013 Green Project Incubator Application – click on the image to open a new window with the Grant Application PDF file.  Save the file to your local drive, print,  fill out and bring to the February 19 meeting at the Senior Center.


What Kinds of Projects Are Possible

We offer the list below as a partial idea of the types of projects you might propose, but don’t let these ideas limit your creative thinking!

What type of projects could one start with 1000$?

  • Community or neighborhood dinner educating on food issues;
  • After-school hased class on sustainability or food related issues;
  • Neighborhood green-space, garden, composting, bee-keeping, or chicken coop;
  • Collective composting;
  • Neighborhood-level sharing library (Books? Tools? DVDs? Dishes & Plates? Other items…);
  • LED-bulb replacement neighborhood-wide;
  • Bike share on California Ave. SW;
  • Neighborhood-level Food preservation club;
  • Raingarden in a good educational spot;
  • Your IDEA!

What  could one get with 1000$?

  • A domain name;
  • A website;
  • Construction materials;
  • Seeds;
  • Materials for raised beds;
  • Bike parts & materials;
  • LED-lightbulbs;
  • Books;
  • Food;
  • Stationary and other outreach items such as folders, pamphlets;
  • Poster or brochure printing or banner creation.

Sustainable West Seattle will also provide 501(c)(3) services and additional management advice and services depending on the needs and capabilities of the grant winner.  SWS will also lend its expertise in grant writing to those who submit but are not selected.  The City has numerous grant programs and SWS has been a successful proposer for these grants in the past and will offer such assistance to projects which don’t win but have sufficient traction to go for other grant awards.


 

Our Mission:

Sustainable West Seattle educates and advocates for urban sustainability in our local community. SWS envisions a West Seattle community of empowered citizens who actively lead toward greater self-reliance, local democracy, social justice, and existence in harmony with life on earth. SWS meets the 3rd Monday each month at 7:00 pm. Because some meetings occur in different locations than the Senior Center, always check our website for location.

SWS projects – prior examples of the innovation we’re seeking, all these were initiated by SWS members with an idea and not much else.

  • West Seattle Tool Library is a community-led project to provide pay-what-you-can community access to a wide range of tools, training, and relevant advice. By providing this service, the West Seattle Tool Library aims to inspire its community to participate in community projects, such as park restorations, and pursue sustainability through fun projects like backyard gardens, home energy improvements, and water harvesting.
  • Tox-Ick is an outreach and education effort born out of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Sustainable West Seattle.  The objective of the program is to help educate a critical mass of Puget Sound residents about the problem of polluted runoff and the simple actions individuals can engage in to stop it.  Online resources are available in the fight against the Tox-Ick Monster.
  • Community Orchard of West Seattle (COWS) provides a home-scale model that demonstrates how much food can be grown on a city-sized lot. Our produce goes to our volunteers, neighbors and local food security programs while we provide a venue for public agricultural education and community gathering.
  • West Seattle Spokespeople facilitates a transition from car to bike and is allied with Spokespeople U.S. Our goal is to make West Seattle a more bike-able community through education, group rides and assisting riders in developing their skills.

About CoHo Realty:  

  • The CoHo Team of Windermere Agents believes that where we call home is important. We believe that home—a place of shelter, a vibrant neighborhood and community, a sense of safety and belonging—should be obtainable by all. CoHo Realtors donate a portion of their profits to projects that support housing and community. Community + Home = CoHo.