Environment 1661 results

The amazing invisible recycling study

Just a semi-amusing P.S. on our recycling post below, inspired by the city’s promise that a new recycling study would be available for perusal. First word came in a council press release mentioning the study would be published last Friday and available at the Seattle Public Utilities site. Now, there’s a new press release from the mayor, saying the study was to be published today and available at the SPU site. Tonight — STILL not there. Guess they technically have till midnight to fulfill the promise, though we’re not recycling holding our breath.

Not recycling enough?

As a city, we’re still not recycling enough, or so suggests a press release previewing a council briefing this week on a new study about how to move closer to “zero waste.” (Says the study itself would be posted on the Seattle Public Utilities site this past Friday; as of right now, it’s nowhere in sight.) Got us thinking about how recycling works, and doesn’t work. Do you recycle everything you possibly can? If not, why not? Here at WSB HQ, we consider ourselves pretty good recyclers, nowhere near perfect. Probably our biggest sin of omission: We don’t recycle food waste, even though we know we can just collect it and put it in the yard-waste bin for composting. Highest on our wish list for making other recycling easier: Collect it weekly. We usually exceed bin capacity (just found out you can get a second bin; we’ve been wasting big paper bags all these years! still, weekly pickup would be nicer). #2 on the wish list — some way to recycle more plastic bags, not just the grocery type. #3 — straighten out the electronics-recycling situation. Trying to wade through this list (the only option we know of) is daunting enough to make even a hardcore recycling devotee just throw old phones, computers, etc. in the basement till someone works it out someday. Oh well, excuse us now, time to drag the bin to the curb …

Early alert for weekend family fun

April 3, 2007 4:09 pm
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 |   Environment | West Seattle beaches | West Seattle parks

This isn’t happening till Saturday, but you need to pre-register, and organizers say space is limited, so here’s an early alert: People for Puget Sound is kicking off a kids’ art contest with a “beach treasure hunt” and low-tide walk at Lincoln Park this Saturday afternoon. Go here to find out more (including contact info for signing up).

A sight to see

April 1, 2007 4:09 pm
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 |   Environment | Fauntleroy | Gardening | Genesee Hill | Wildlife

Fauntleroy Creek (across from the ferry dock) is worth a visit sometime soon if it’s not someplace you regularly visit. Not only is salmon season revving up, it’s also the annual blooming time for the official favorite flower of WSB, Darwin’s barberry, which comprises an entire hedge at the creek overlook but still hasn’t caught on as a garden plant (aside from a spray on Genesee Hill, one along Beach Drive, and one along Fauntleroy; let us know if you’ve seen others).

Ebb and flow

Our usual visitor volume was down by several hundred last night, so we rolled over to Alki to see if you were all at the Celtic Swell. The outdoor space was stuffed and the sidewalk too, almost as much of a backup as we saw outside Fado downtown as we approached the Viaduct from Columbia yesterday afternoon. However, the more interesting sight at Alki last night was the minus tide (new moon approaching); made for a nice flashlight-enhanced beach walk. Tide tables say no more minus tides at night for a while, but looks like some good ones at midafternoon next Thursday and Friday.

Greener than we were an hour ago

Our endless online search for West Seattle-related people, places, and things just led us to 2People, thanks to a post at WorldChanging mentioning that 2People was founded by “West Seattle transplant Phil Mitchell.” So what makes it more than yet another enviro-info site? As far as we can tell from our first tour around 2People, it not only challenges you to take action — small steps will do — to help fight the climate crisis, it also points you to WHAT you can do — like something we weren’t previously aware of: Easily and cheaply buying “clean electric power” via City Light. You can sign up here right now, for just a few bucks a month. (And if you join 2People, please add us to your network — we’re signed up as, what else, West Seattle Blog.) P.S. Need motivation? Read this.

West Seattle waterfront, pre-dawn

Looking around YouTube to see what people have posted from WS lately, found this.

Plug in to a free movie tonight

February 22, 2007 7:05 am
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 |   Environment | Transportation | WS culture/arts

On the heels of yesterday’s biodiesel-mania, this seems to fit into a bit of a theme. Tonight at Camp Long, you can check out a free screening (donations welcome) of “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, with guests on hand from FlexCar, GreenCar, and the Seattle EV Association.

Priming the pump

February 21, 2007 1:56 pm
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 |   Environment | West Seattle news

The Times reports on this morning’s biodiesel-mania at Admiral Safeway. A member of the WSB posse managed to pop by for a photo. That’s Hizzoner on the right, amid the throng.)

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New place for WS drivers to veg out

Look for hubbub around the Admiral Safeway gas station sometime today. The P-I says a “news conference” is planned, with no less than Hizzoner on the guest list, to show off the station’s new biodiesel (fuel from veg oil) offering. We noticed it on the sign yesterday:

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Where the snow belongs

January 15, 2007 9:16 pm
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 |   Environment | West Seattle weather

Can’t resist sharing another beautiful photo, taken from Alki, sent to us by Bob Bollen. The Olympics’ most distinctive peaks, The Brothers, completely white … would rather see the rest of the season’s snow there than down here!

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Chop chop chop

After months of watching land-use applications, we’ve noticed they mostly fall in the categories of “build something new,” with the occasional “put antennas on building.” However, a couple hit the city site a few days ago (but dated 12/4, so it’s not windstorm backlash) for a plan to “remove vegetation,” including more than a dozen trees (center of the photo below, just to the left of the street light), on a lot over Beach Drive. The house on the property is on Atlas so one of the applications is for that address; the other application has a Beach address even though that part of the lot is steep slope, inhabited only by the birds. Seems too steep to safely get rid of the trees and brush without a major mudslide threat, but does the city ever say no to these things?

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Thumbs up for what’s down below

January 2, 2007 7:45 pm
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 |   Environment

The city decision is in for the 53rd Avenue wastewater pump station upgrade @ Alki. We’ll confess to not knowing enough about the project to be able to say how many more steps remain before the work will start … but we’ll be looking to find out. According to this handout from last summer’s public meeting, once the work starts, it’ll last (gulp) more than a year and a half.

This is sad

The Fauntleroy Community Council reports zero coho returning to their creek, for the first time in more than a decade. The watershed watchers cite possible reasons ranging from global warming to tribal fishing.

Fauntleroy’s fish

October 22, 2006 9:56 am
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 |   Environment | Fauntleroy | Wildlife

The annual salmon drumming at Fauntleroy Creek, 5 pm today, isn’t just another event. If you are relatively new to WS, you probably haven’t heard how this creek made a comeback. It’s easy to drive by or use the Fauntleroy ferry dock without ever knowing about the charming little creek overlook area (and its spectacular spring hedge of Darwin’s barberry) right across the street. It’s been six years now since the restoration, which brought inspiring success, but over subsequent years, heartache too. It’s a little beacon of hope that we haven’t lost (or destroyed) everything that’s pure and true and original about our beautiful home, so the salmon need every ounce of energetic encouragement you can give them by joining the welcome-home party tonight.

Yeah, but what can I do about it?

That question is answered at the end of this heartbreaking story from today’s P-I.

If you’ve been here more than a few years, even if you have never gone below the water’s surface, the idea of dwindling marine life won’t surprise you. Even around WS, we don’t see what we often saw in the ’90s — “rafting” California sea lions off Alki, diverse and numerous bird sightings south of Alki Point including surf scoters and buffleheads.

Not to say it’s all gone. But it’s going. Maybe not irreversibly, though — there are success stories out there, such as the brown pelican and the gray whale, when those in power dare to do something.

Safe from the saws

September 23, 2006 4:58 pm
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 |   Development | Environment

Maybe the city is a little bit serious about saving trees after all. Walking down a section of Cali Ave between junctions last night, we noticed two trees in the parking strip by a teardown-to-townhome project at Cali & Spokane — each with a plywood fence around its trunk, each with its trunk marked by a big bright green flyer with this admonition — PROTECT TREE! (I’d like to get a sheaf of those flyers and run around tacking them on just about every tree in sight.)

Cutting edge

September 16, 2006 4:06 pm
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 |   Environment | West Seattle politics

Second week of Hizzoner’s “We (Heart) Trees” campaign — seen any less cutting lately? Not me. I got spitting mad traveling the switchbacks over Lincoln Park on Friday, watching tree “service” crews kill two big beautiful trees that had been among the few surviving the onslaught of oversized houses suddenly “infilling” the formerly green area. All of which led me to laugh semi-ruefully at this odd little piece from the P-I today.

Sparkling sands

September 9, 2006 1:05 pm
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 |   Environment

Alki should look a bit cleaner after today — We went down for a walk this morning and bumped (west of the Bathhouse) into a volunteer cleanup sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation, part of a nationwide event today. Their tent grabbed my attention with big black lettering “OCEAN BEACH CLEANUP” — we love Ocean Beach in San Francisco, and Ocean Beach in San Diego, but hadn’t heard of an “Ocean Beach” around here. Ocean Shores, yes; Ocean Park, sure; not “Ocean Beach.” Guess they meant “saltwater.”

I think that I shall never see, a dichotomy as lovely as a …

(Apologies to Joyce Kilmer.) As someone absolutely passionate about being a truly green greenie — as mentioned before, if you looked at our house from Google Earth, you would barely see its roof amid all the trees and shrubs we’ve allowed to grow around and over it — I’m skeptical about Hizzoner‘s new “WE (HEART) TREES” campaign, lovingly (and mostly uncritically) previewed in the P-I and Times this morning. One even more fabulous way to slow tree loss would be to apply tougher standards to the rampant infill that’s under way in areas like ours. On the slopes over Lincoln Park, in the past few years, we’ve seen acres of greenery fall to developers’ backhoes (here’s just one example), replaced by oversized houses (do 2 or 3 people really need 3.5K sf?). How about we save a little more greenspace than just what’s left in our parks? Dare to look at an “undeveloped” lot and consider that maybe its highest and best use is to stay “undeveloped.” There’s more to “environmentally critical” than streams and wetlands.

All together now …

… let’s shout it together so it can be heard all the way across the water, from Vashon to Bainbridge to Magnolia … WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO? (Did you notice how early it’s getting dark? Sigh …)

Here are three things you might want to add to your to-do list, since within a few weeks you won’t be able to do them again till sometime next spring:

-Ride the Elliott Bay Water Taxi. It goes on hiatus at the end of this month.

-Go swimming (or sunbathing) at Colman Pool. A week from Sunday is its last day of operation this year. There are few sights sadder for us Lincoln Park walkers than the fall/winter plywood up over the CP plexiglass.

-Enjoy a demonstration at the West Seattle Farmers Market. The market itself is supposed to stay open every Sunday through mid-December, but the demos on its calendar only run through September (this Sunday, fresh tomatoes! yum!).

The sidewalk less taken

For all the times you’ve driven over The Bridge, have you ever taken a good look at the waterway it spans?

Over the weekend, we did. On a whim, after leaving the house with the intention of walking straight to Summer Fest, we redirected ourselves all the way to what’s most commonly called the “Low Bridge,” which has a well-protected sidewalk/bike path along its south side. Walking that path provides a fine view of the waterway and everything on it, including the Harbor Island Marina, where I would love to be able to keep a boat someday … From the Low Bridge, you also get a better appreciation of the sleek structure of the “high bridge” (which, according to this HistoryLink.org page, just passed its 22nd anniversary, a day before our walk!).
If you want to try this adventure, you don’t have to do what we did (trudge all the way from home) — there are places to park not too far from the access path.

Smooth as … not quite silk

Old news perhaps to those of you who spend a lot of time on Alki … we walked on the beach for a while at midday today while waiting for a table at Duke’s, and were shocked to see it groomed … flat, grooved, even. I’ve never seen the sand at Alki that way. Maybe some post-Fourth of July sprucing up?