Energy Blog: World of Tomorrow-2055: World Economies Collapse, Island Escape

In a Climate Changed World: Chapter 5 –  by Andy Silber
Isla del Buitre
August 14th, 2055

islandNice to not have the ground moving. Just because I own a 54-meter fusion powered yacht and I lived on it for a year, doesn’t mean I like being on a boat. In prep school the jocks rowed crew or sailed, but that just wasn’t my thing. It cut into my drinking and partying time. Especially crew with their 5 am practices. Who does that without a court order?
I’ve always been able to time my exits well, whether it was a relationship that was getting too serious or an investment that had been wrung of all of its value. But my timing on leaving America a year ago today will go down in history (if there’s anyone around to write it) as the most perfect of all. I saw the writing on the wall and decided to pull a John Galt. Inflation was 25% in 2023 and when I left in August of 2054 it had already increased to 4% in just that month. The high rate of counterfeiting guaranteed that there was no way to keep inflation in check. It was only a matter of time, probably months, until the US dollar collapsed. That’s the thing about a fiat currency, it only has value because people believe it has value. Once confidence is lost, it’s just paper. So I decided it was time to dump the investment my family had in the US for 5 generations.

The tool company that my great-grandfather had founded and had been the foundation of our family’s wealth, had just signed a contract to supply a critical part for the latest fusion generator design. I let the board of directors know that I was going to retire and, rather than hand off the company to Jerry, my only son who’s worth a pile of wet spit, I wanted to sell it. My son was upset; he had worked at every job in the company, from mailroom to VP of Development. He had an engineering degree and an MBA and led the team that won the fusion contract. He felt he was entitled to inherit the company and was an honorable man, so I didn’t trust him with the truth. He’ll forgive me, I hope. I would have preferred to sell to some private equity firm, but they were all doing what I was, getting out of Dodge. So I sold it to the employees, who thought they were getting a good deal in light of their years of service. Suckers.
In addition to selling the company, I took out loans that were secured by assets of the company. I guess I should have disclosed that before the deal went through, but I’m now on an Island that I own and I’m not going to extradite myself. As I boarded the yacht, I liquidated all of my US assets, so they have nothing to go after through the US courts. Even if they find me, there’s not a damn thing they can do about it. Another nice trick I pulled is that I arranged pay my capital gains tax at the end of the year. Of course, I have no intention of doing that. All of my assets went into buying this yacht, the island and building a compound on the island that can house 250 people indefinitely. It’s stocked with food, medicine, weapons, gold, gems. We have solar, wind and fusion power. The water supply is more than enough and the wild boar and fresh fruit will be a nice supplement to our pantry.

island homeIn the time between when I left America and today, things have gotten much worse. Inflation grew to 8% a month after I left. Within 3 months the barter economy was bigger than the cash economy. Credit card companies started charging interest from the date of purchase and it’s not a fixed amount, but the rate of inflation + 2% per month.   Wages are renegotiated on a monthly basis and strikes are becoming common. Why work when the purchasing power of your pay isn’t enough to get you to the office? Retirees saw their life savings become worthless. The stock market was fluctuating wildly, because no one had any idea what a company is worth. Within 6 months the economy collapsed. I don’t mean Great Depression, I mean collapsed. It’s not that people didn’t have enough money: there was no money. It’s not that stocks dropped in value: the stock market closed. And it’s not just the US. Across Europe, Canada, Japan Korea and China the industrial world has ground to a halt.

Hiring staff has been tricky. They have to be loyal. My biggest concern is that some Gilligan will realize there’s no reason to continue to take orders from Thurston Howell III.  Everyone will be here with their families, so they have an impetus to keep things working and not rock the boat. All of the natives were removed when I bought the island, so everyone here owes their safety to me. Hopefully that’s enough.

Three months after I left, my children and their families all received a gift of an all expense paid trip to Venezuela. They thought it was a vacation, but when I met them there they learned that there’s no turning back. There’s nothing left for them back home. I even invited the mother of my children to join us. Her response was that she’d rather starve to death than be stuck on an island with me and my “trophy wife”. I suspect she may get that wish. All alimony payments have stopped and inflation has devalued whatever savings she might have had.

Time for us to start our life away from the chaos of a world falling apart. Maybe someday we’ll be able to rejoin the world. Maybe Jerry will help rebuild it when the time comes. Maybe it will be one of Jerry’s kids. I doubt I’ll ever leave this island, but there are worse places to live out your days. At the moment, it’s hard to imagine any better.

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

Energy Blog: World of Tomorrow-2047: Earth & Mars On Different Paths

In a Climate Changed World: Chapter 3 – By Andy Silber
August 24th, 2047
ICE3 Station, Greenland

Greenland harborToday the ship has come to pick us up. For over two decades I’ve been here keeping the glaciers from flowing into the ocean. The press release talked about the cost and better ways to spend our resources, but we know the real reason. Once the rains came, it was hopeless. At first we only had to deal with the melting ice and refreeze whatever made it to the ground. That we could do and keep the water from lubricating the glaciers and speeding their path to the ocean. Once a year or so, a pipe would break and need to be replaced. Once the rains came, we could only turn the water to slush, which lubricated the ice and there was nothing we could do to slow the inevitable march to the sea. Now our pipes are breaking every month. It’s just a matter of years, maybe a decade, until Greenland is ice free. It actually doesn’t matter whether the ice melts or not. Once it is floating, rather than resting on land, the seas go up.

It seems like it was a lifetime ago that I was in the NOAA Corp and I told one of the researchers I was interested in glaciers. He suggested I volunteer for the Greenland Ice Dam project. I was here when the power line came in from Iceland, when the drilling started, when the fusion reactor went online. I’m the only one left from those early days. I’ve spent half of the last 20 years on this rock, 10 days on, 10 days off.

[see author’s note at end][Read Chapter 2][read Chapter 4]

After growing up in Akron, who would have imagined I would have spent half my adult life in Greenland and the other half in Iceland. I’m not quite ready to retire, but I’ve been too busy to think about what’s next. Maybe I’ll make up for being away from my wife, Emelía, and stay home and putter in the garden. I could write a book about the history of the ice dams, in the spirit of “My Life in Kenya” by Lionel Hardcastle. Sara is in college in Rejevik and Aron is busy on his aqua farm, so it would be quiet, but not as quiet as Greenland.

When the fish stocks crashed, Iceland was one of the most impacted countries in the world. Only 1% of the country is arable, so much of the food has always come from the sea. Modern sea farming was born in Iceland, out of necessity. Aron loves tending his kelp and sea grass and harvesting the fish who live there. Fishing has become like raising cattle or sheep: tend the land; harvest the animal. One funny thing is Iceland is one of the few places where our accessible land is increasing. Rising sea levels have been compensated by melting glaciers. Of course, none of that land is suitable for farming: it’s just rock that’s scraped clean of anything resembling soil.aquaculture

Maybe the ice dams have bought us enough time. Dikes have been built, people have migrated uphill or inland. The glaciologists estimate that the ice dams bought us at least five years and maybe ten. That sounds like a good investment to me. Now that the glaciers are moving.

At least a boat came to pick us up. When the MEP closed up shop, we left the Martians on Mars. The terraforming is going well, so maybe that’s for the best. Once a week they broadcast a status report and it’s the highlight of my week. I guess I connect with them, since we’re both on a barren, isolated rock. The difference is I get to go home to the “lushness” of Iceland every month. On Mars the algae is doing well, the asteroids continue to bring them water and there’s even a patch of grass thriving in Ylla. You can’t walk around without a rebreather, but they have hope. The population was 8,500 when the Ark stopped coming, now it’s 9,200. Those children are the real Martians; the ones who have never lived on Earth. They’ve even started building things that they can no longer count on getting from Earth. Raw materials will be the easy part: they’ve already sampled the meteorites from the terraforming effort and they’ve got enough metals, including rare-earth metals, to keep them busy for generations.

I can’t help but feel that the closing of MEP is part of a bigger, scarier development. The progress of civilization has been about an expanding sense of Us as opposed to Them. First it was family, then clan, village, town, city, country. The Mars Exploration Program was the ultimate realization of that: every country in the world sent people to Mars, expanding Us to including not only everyone on Earth, but also everyone on Mars. I believe that this was the pinnacle of human civilization. Since then it’s been nothing but contraction. International trade has dropped, since many ports have shut down due to the rising sea level. Travel is less common, both because of cost and fear of spreading diseases. Our focus has turned inward and it seems to become more closed every year.

The harvesting of the northern bogs for fertilizer has reduced the fires and been used to halt the desertification that was happening as rain patterns shifted and the globe heated. It’s slow going, but it has already reduced the fires enough that atmospheric CO2 levels have started to drop for the first time in about 250 years. At this rate, in 30 years we’ll be back down to 400 ppm.

Irish bog farmingOur ship is in port. All of the critical materials have been loaded on board. Most everything is being left behind. The fusion reactors have been decommissioned and we’re running just on the HVDC line from Iceland. Given my veteran status, I’ve been given the dubious honor of throwing the switch that turns everything remaining off. It’s like pulling the plug on the life-support on a loved one: it’s painful, but you know that the time has come and it’s the right thing to do. Good-bye old friend.

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

Energy Blog: World of Tomorrow-2035: Terraforming and Colonizing Mars

In a Climate Changed World: Chapter 2 – By Andy Silber
September 11th, 2035
Space City, New Mexico

Orion_docked_to_Mars_Transfer_VehicleI take my last breath of REAL air. Sure, I’ll still be breathing nitrogen, oxygen and trace amounts of most everything else. Eventually it will be made by plants. Or we all die. But never again will I breathe “Earth air”. Never again to see an Earth sunrise or sunset or an ocean. I doubt I’ll even see a lake, but there is some hope for that.

I board the space plane to take us to our home for the next 6 months. The Martian Exploration Program (MEP) calls it the Orbital Transfer Vehicle, but everyone else calls it The Ark. But no animals, though later trips will be bringing eggs and maybe even live animals. Just humans for now, 2 by 2. Mating pairs. Chosen based on our skills, genetic makeup, diversity yada, yada, yada. Oh yeah, political connections and money don’t hurt. We’re supposed to be the best of the best, but many of the most impressive people in the training program just disappeared. One day they’re part of the program, the next they’re gone.

[see author’s note at end][read Chapter 1][Read Chapter 3]
It is amazing how quickly this all happened. When the northern bog fires started in 2027, we all realized how bad things were going to get. We cut CO2 emissions to near zero, but the atmospheric levels didn’t drop. If we put out the fires, then we’d get methane, which is worse, so we let them burn. But the more they burn, the warmer they get, the more the methane thaws and the more the world heats.

Then the jellyfish took over the oceans. Fish stocks collapsed. The GMO kelp and plankton has reversed the trend, so we’re not going to suffocate. The kelp is processed into something resembling chewy tofu called MariFu, which is only a slightly better name than what everyone calls it: Soylent Green. The pH levels in the ocean are slowly returning to normal and we are all hopeful that healthy oceans will return. But for now, the oceans have stopped absorbing CO2. That’s part of the reason atmospheric levels aren’t dropping.NA with ice melted

Ever since humans finished colonizing Earth we have dreamt of moving to Mars. Venus is too hot, the Moon too small, but Mars, there’s hope there. We just have to terraform it: create an atmosphere we can breathe, or at least walk around in short sleeves. The CO2 that has caused such wreckage on Earth would be perfect for the job. Too bad we can’t just carry half of our atmospheric CO2 and methane with us.

Then someone had a brilliant idea. We were already mining asteroids for precious metals; how about water, a powerful greenhouse gas, for Mars. We might get some methane as well. A robot fleet was sent out to the asteroid belt to nudge icy planetoids onto a collision course with the Red planet. Three have already struck and two more should hit before we land. The humidity in the air has increased from near zero to that of Antarctica in the winter, the lowest found on Earth. By the time we arrive, it should be close to Katmandu in the winter. Still no oxygen, but warmer nights and more comfortable “space suits”. From this point on, the meteors will all strike on the unpopulated side of the planet. Some day we might want to mine the minerals from them, but for now we’re just happy to have the water.

Our settlement is named Ylla, though some of the geekier among us call it Terminus. They’ll be 500 of us living in temporary structures while we dig a more permanent home. That’s what I’ll be working on. I think troglodytes might be a better name for us than astronauts. The Martian rock will protect us from the cold and radiation. Since Mars has no magnetic field and a thinner atmosphere than Earth, the surface gets much more particle radiation from the Sun than Earth.

There is lab equipment, shelter, food, water and fusion reactors there already. Solar power isn’t great on Mars since the solar irradiance is one-quarter of Earth’s. We’re bringing enough fuel for 30 years with us. By then we should figure out how to get more locally.

TerraformedMarsGlobeRealisticOur underground village will have greenhouses for air and food and to treat our sewage, research labs, bedrooms, communal kitchens, and a medical clinic. It will also have a nursery. No kids for now, but once our warren is complete, we’re expected to breed.

I’m not sure how I feel about raising kids in a cave, but I know I don’t want to do it here. Over the last 10 years people have been moving to higher ground. Refuges are everywhere. Some places are pretty horrible, like the mountains between Bangladesh and India or Egypt. The most interesting are the 2nd wave Afrikaans, refuges from The Netherlands welcomed to South Africa by the black government: one side gets capital and highly educated workers; the other a home above sea level. Since the US has large amounts of land above sea level, we’re doing OK, but the maps look funny with Florida missing. The food system is highly stressed. The North American breadbasket has moved north, the Sahara desert has expanded south. Scotland is an up and coming wine region, though the melt from Greenland is weakening the Gulf Stream and that is likely to reverse to warming trend in Europe.

Once our village is complete, we start working on the home for the next wave. The plan is 500 more colonists every year, until…who knows. An interesting thing we’re bringing is a constitution. For the first five years we’ll be run like a forward operating military base with command being MEP headquarters in Lima. For the following five years we transition to self-rule and a Parliamentary system with a preferential voting system. It’s assumed that at some point we’ll have to be totally self-sufficient, no one knows when.

A critical mission is figuring out something, probably a GMO algae, that can live on Mars and make oxygen. That’s where my wife, the biologist, comes in. She was part of the team that worked on the GMO plankton. I know she’s why we’re on this ship. The hope is they can create one that can spread across the globe and form the basis of an ecosystem. Then they’ll focus on something that can eat the algae plus other plants. I’m hoping we quickly get to a grass or something a cow can eat, because I’m not wild about the idea of being a vegetarian for the rest of my life.Blue-green_algae_cultured_in_specific_media
Dam safety briefing. You’d think after 18 months in the training program we could skip the safety briefing. Has anyone in a space plane every used their seat as a floatation device. We’re taking off from New Mexico and headed east. By the time we’ve over a body of water bigger than a pool, we’ll be10 miles up and moving at Mach 3. Time to buckle up and head to our new home.

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

1st Phase of Westwood, Sunrise Heights Roadside Rain Garden Nearly Complete

raingarden mapKing County Wastewater Division  announces that their 2014 Roadside Rain Garden construction program in Sunrise Heights and Westwood is nearly complete. Construction  will begin begin on two new streets in late June.

King County’s work to build roadside rain gardens on seven streets in Sunrise Heights and Westwood is will finish ahead of schedule. The deep wells on the 15 streets planned to have roadside rain gardens are also complete.

To finish the project more quickly, crews will start work on two blocks scheduled for construction in 2015 (see red circles on map) later this month. Working ahead of schedule will return 34th Avenue SW to traffic this fall and reduce what is left to be done next year.

King County will continue to work closely with neighbors affected by the project in advance of any new work.

What’s left to do this year?

  • Finish roadside rain gardens on 31st Ave. SW between SW Othello St. and SW Elmgrove St.
  • Construct roadside rain gardens on SW Kenyon St. between 34th Ave. SW and 32nd Ave SW.
  • Remove all the bright yellow bollards protecting the deep wells (to be completed by the end of June).
  • Relocate utilities and construct roadside rain gardens on 34th Ave. SW between SW Thistle St. and SW Trenton St. (begins in late June).
  • Protect all of this year’s roadside rain gardens with orange fencing while plants grow for two months.
  • Possibly move all the water and sewer lines on remaining 2015 streets later this summer.
  • After plants are established, crews will test the rain gardens to make sure they work. Then they will be open for business!
  • Monitor and maintain roadside rain gardens into the future

For more information, contact Kristine Cramer at King C0unty Wasterwater at 206-477-5415, or

cell 206-255-7089, or email at Kristine.Cramer@kingcounty.gov, or check out their website http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wtd.aspx

 

Help Map Polluted Surface Runoff Problems Using Instagram

Waterspotter tagThe Washington Environmental Council and Resource Media have created a new social media project around mapping polluted runoff problems: #WaterSpotter!

The goal is to solicit photo contributions from community members to document and map polluted runoff problems such as

  • Street flooding;
  • Pooling of water;
  • Sheeting of water;
  • Oil sheens on pavement; and
  • Clogged storm drains throughout Puget Sound.

It’s as easy as taking a picture and sharing it using InstagramHere’s how it works:

  1. Spot runoff (water in a puddle, overflowing drains, water with an oil sheen);
  2. Photograph it with Instagram;
  3. Hashtag your photo with #waterspotter and then drive folks to #waterspotter via Facebook and Twitter.

The website, (http://waterspotter.wordpress.com/) has more info including a Frequently Asked Questions page to learn how to use Instagram to locate and hashtag your photos

Take photos today and Instagram to #waterspotter, the photos can be of runoff or of any stormwater solutions you see in buildings. 

The goal is to solicit photo contributions from community members to document and map polluted runoff problems: street flooding, pooling, sheeting, oil sheens, and clogged storm drains throughout Puget Sound. Upload to Instagram with the hashtag #waterspotter and your photo will appear in the digital swamp of water behaving badly.

Their website, (http://waterspotter.wordpress.com/) has more info, sample photos and a section dedicated to Solutions to Pollution, notice the 12,000 rain garden challenge.  They are also developing a Google map program to start mapping the photos!

For more information, contact WEC Puget Sound Advocacy Manager Rein Attemann by phone at 206-631-2625, or cell 206-334-6472, or email rein@wecprotects.org.

KC Waste Division Produces Eco-Videos Featuring Seattle-area Icons

KC ecoconsumerKing County Solid Waste Division has a new program for eco-awareness.

What happens when you ask local celebrities to film their own videos about how to protect the environment? Tom Watson, the EcoConsumer, decided to find out.

The results – featuring well-known Puget Sound icons from award-winning chefs to sports stars to musicians – are a quirky, funny, heartwarming display of how small steps to care for the planet can have an impact on all of us.

See both videos, Why Do You Care About the Environment and Our Climate: One Goal, Many Solutions, at KCecoconsumer.com.

Here’s some quick links (twitter friendly)

  • We’ve only got one Earth, so take a couple minutes to think about why you care – http://youtu.be/hDwTeA-LUfw
  • King County asked a few well-known residents what they do in their everyday lives for the environment. Check it out, you’ll be surprised by how many different actions you can take – http://youtu.be/0823Fiw8XlU

Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition Hosting Special Sustainable Practice Walks

Rain2RiverExperience your neighborhood on foot while discovering how you can make it a better place. The event is called Rain2River and there are two dates when you can participate:

  • April 27, Sunday – Rain2River Walk South Park
    • 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm
    • Duwamish Waterway Park, 7900 10th Ave. S, South Park
    • RSVP by clicking here, participation is free
  • May 4, Sunday – Rain2River Walk West Seattle
    • 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm
    • Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, West Seattle
    • RSVP by clicking here, participation is free

The event consists of two different parts: a walk and a boat tour. The focus of the walk will be to learn about grey and green infrastructure, sustainable practices, polluted runoff (stormwater), easy solutions to keep contamination from reaching our rivers and Puget Sound, and what’s being currently being done by local neighbors/organizations to prevent this from happening. In addition to informing and educating, the program will also be providing tangible, realistic solutions to this problem.

Everyone who attends the walk also gets to go on a two-hour boat tour on the Duwamish River on a later date roughly two to three weeks afterwards.

For more information contact Anna Mines, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group, by email at anna@duwamishcleanup.org, or by phone at 206-427 1475.

Register Now for Your Spot on Alki Avenue – Summer Streets Returns May 18

AlkiSummerStreetsGet Ready.  Alki Summer Streets is back on Sunday, May 18 from 11:oo am to 5:00 pm!

This free event opens the city’s largest public space – the streets – so people can walk, bike, roll, run, skip and shop – without having to watch out for vehicles.

As in the past, Summer Streets is partnering with the West Seattle High School PTSA 5K Run/Walk.
Get Involved. Sign up to participate on the city’s website by April 4 to ensure a spot and get on our activity map. Alki always looks forward to the event. Host an activity, promote a special sale and expose your organization to thousands of neighbors!

Seattle Summer Streets fosters civic pride and represent investments in Seattle’s vitality, livability and diversity. Show you care about your neighborhood and engage thousands of fellow Seattleites during this fantastic Sunday party. If you have participated before, you know how fun and rewarding Summer Streets is, and you’re invited back to come and play.
Get Updates. Follow the program on Facebook to get the latest scoop and see videos and pictures of past events. Email questions to Summer.Streets@Seattle.gov.

Make sure you sign up to participate on the city’s website by April 4 so you can get a prime spot on Alki Avenue. 

Seattle Parks Month-Long Earth Day Celebration: Help Clean, Restore and Improve City Parks – Pick A Park, Sign Up

EarthDayEverydayCelebrate Earth Month with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, works toward improving the quality of life for Seattle residents every day. Because open spaces and greenspaces provide tremendous educational and recreational opportunities, it is vital to maintain them.

For example, our own Camp Long spent 2013 training the next generation of environmental stewards, helping 2,500 participants enhance their teamwork and leadership skills at the ropes challenge course, training 32 teens and 36 adults to teach outdoor experiential learning and hosting 22 immigrant families for a camping immersion weekend.

Parks and Recreation is choosing to celebrate not just April 22 as Earth Day, but all of April as Earth Month. Join Seattle Parks and Recreation in giving back to our parks and helping sustain and celebrate the City’s outdoor classrooms. Events kick off this Friday, April 4.

  • April 4: Remember the Earth at Ravenna Park, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
    • Celebrate Earth Month by removing invasive plants at Ravenna Park with EarthCorps. Tools, gloves, light refreshments and education about local ecology provided. Register by April 1 at http://www.earthcorps.org/volunteer.php
  • April 5 and April 19: Earth Month at Seward Park, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
    • Bring your family and friends to celebrate Earth Month at Seward Park and restore shoreline habitat with Friends of the Cedar River Watershed through the Green Seattle Partnership! For details, call Amy Kaeser at 206-297-8141.
  • April 5 and April 25: Earth Month at Camp Long, 10 am to 2:00 pm
  • April 6: Celebrate the Earth at Little Brook Natural Area, 10 am to 1:00 pm
  • April 12: Celebrate the Earth at Kingfisher Natural Area, 10 am to 1:00 pm
  • April 16: Specialized Programs Starlight Social at Miller Community Center, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
    • This is a fun weekly social program for special needs individuals 18 years and older at Miller Community Center. The theme for April 16 is Earth Day Cleanup and Craft. To register, call Specialized Programs at 206-684-4950.
  • April 17: Plant Exchange at Miller Community Center, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
    • Celebrate springtime in Seattle with fellow gardeners at Miller Community Center. Share plants, seeds, tools, supplies, yard art and knowledge. Everyone is welcome, especially new gardeners. You don’t need to bring anything, but recyclable containers will help carry away your treasures. For details, call the community center at 206-684-4753.
  • April 19: Earth Gay 2014 at Cheasty Greenspace, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm
  • April 19: Earth Day Celebration at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • April 19: Earth Day Service Project at Seward Park, 10:00 to 2:00 pm
  • April 19: Beach Cleanup at Discovery Park and Lincoln Park, 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
    • Celebrate the Earth by making a difference in the health of Puget Sound. Puget Sound beaches get trashed (literally) during the winter months and need cleaning. All needed supplies and safety instructions provided. All children must be accompanied by an adult. To register, call the Discovery Park Visitors Center at 206-386-4236.
  • April 19Are You Bloomin’ Mad? at Discovery Park,  1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
    • Celebrate the Earth by learning about Pacific Northwest forests at Discovery Park. Enjoy the beauty and wonder of spring wildflowers and learn some of the local plants that make our habitats healthy. This program designed for ages 5 and older. All children must be accompanied by an adult. To register, call the Discovery Park Visitors Center at 206-386-4236.
  • April 21 through 27: Earth Week with Friends of the Burke-Gilman, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
    • Celebrate Earth Week on the Burke-Gilman Trail digging out blackberries with your neighbors. For details, email Jim Corson at jim.corson@comcast.net.
  • April 22: Earth Day Service Project for Youth at Rainier Beach Community Center
    • Join Rainier Beach Community Center in giving back. All youth ages 12-17 are encouraged to attend. This project may qualify for school service learning hours. For details, call the community center at 206-386-1925.
  • April 26: Earth Month at Westcrest Park, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • April 26: 34th Annual Carkeek Park Earth Day, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
    • Looking for ways to get involved at your favorite park? Visit Carkeek Park to learn about short-term and long-term opportunities to keep the area thriving. For more information, call Bill Malatinsky at 206-684-5999 or email Bill.Malatinsky@seattle.gov.

For more work party events, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/calendar/volunteer.htm.

Seattle Audubon Creates Interactive City Tree Map; Help By Adding Trees

explore_tree_mapSeattle Tree Map Now Online and Interactive 

After years of hard work and dedication from volunteers and staff, the Seattle Tree Map officially launched on March 1, 2014. The Seattle Tree Map is an interactive website that allows users to contribute to urban forest monitoring and conservation through a shared inventory of Seattle’s trees.

Curious about how many Douglas Firs are in your neighborhood? Or the number of trees in the city with a trunk diameter greater than twenty-four inches? Search functions allow you to find the exact trees you’re looking for, or filter results based on tree height, date of planting, plot type, tree health, and more. Users can edit data to account for missing or outdated information, upload photos to tree profiles, “favorite” the trees they like, set alerts (this tree needs to be watered!), and add comments.

The Seattle Tree Map is part of Canopy Connections, a project by Seattle Audubon to document, map, and enhance Seattle’s urban forest habitat for birds and nature. Visit the Seattle Tree Map at www.SeattleTreeMap.org to get started today.

Some features of the new website let you:

  • Find a Tree
    • Want to know how many Douglas Firs are in your neighborhood? Or how about the number of trees with a diameter greater than 36″? Use the search function to find exactly the trees you’re looking for.
  • Add a Tree
    • The Seattle Tree Map relies on citizen scientists like you to report new additions to the urban forest community.
  • Update a Tree
    • Notice outdated, incomplete or inaccurate tree details? Update it! With your help, we can maintain an accuarate and complete online tree inventory.

About the Seattle Tree Map: The Seattle Tree Map is part of Canopy Connections, a project by the Seattle Audubon Society. Our urban forest is critically important to the health and well being of our entire region.

Our urban forest is critically important to the health and wellbeing of our entire region, especially to the birds that rely on our urban habitat for food and shelter. By creating and contributing to a dynamic and reliable city tree map to monitor the health, size, and diversity of the urban forest, we will gain a better understanding of Seattle’s urban habitat.

When you contribute to this online tree map of Seattle, you are

  • Creating and fostering a culture of urban tree stewardship;
  • Helping inform others about the importance of our urban forest habitat;
  • Contributing to the environmental health of the City of Seattle;
  • Supporting local efforts to better manage and care for Seattle’s trees and wildlife.

The City of Seattle has a goal of 30% canopy cover by the year 2036. By accurately tracking the urban forest through this interactive map, we can help ensure the City stays on track for its 30% goal and beyond. Interested in attending a training to learn best practices and techniques for surveying your neighborhood trees? Check out Seattle Audubon’s website for more information.