Well, glory be! another week totally got away from me. Such is life in the summer when being online gets demoted in favor of a zillion outdoor things.
Still, something came across the reader-board this week, before the bombs-bursting-in-air re-enactment took place in Lincoln Park and elsewhere: Green Seattle Partnership.
What they do is interesting, and involves a lot of our urban population that might not otherwise have an opportunity to interact with or basically give a second thought to our urban forests, such as Lincoln Park. Part of their purpose goes like this:
Now many of those big trees are nearing the end of their natural life, and the ivy – like a disease taking advantage of a frail, elderly individual – may speed the decline. The ivy is an invasive plant and over time it will kill the tree. It robs the tree of nutrients and creates the “sail” effect – high winds in the winter months can be caught by the ivy, helping to pull the tree over.
To accomplish this humongous task, Green Seattle counts on lots of our help. Alas, sometimes that help is a little clumsier than nesting birds and other creatures might want, but the end goal of replacing an aging canopy with new life is pretty awesome. In LP, they’ve planted what could amount to a new generation of someday-mighty-trees. Involving our very urban population in the endeavor has many benefits down the road. All in all, Green Seattle is something to crow about.
52 WoLP is a year long contemplation of one of the loveliest city parks in the world, Lincoln Park in beautiful West Seattle.
Posted in collaboration, community, connections, Environmental Cause
Tagged 52 Weeks of Lincoln Park, 52 WoLP, Lincoln Park, seattle green partnership, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Urban Forest, urban sanctuary, urban wildlife, West Seattle
I continue to be intrigued with the idea of a bus and transit rider’s union, which I touched on in a recent post. What would a transit rider’s union do and why might it be a good idea here in Seattle? In Los Angeles, the bus rider’s union has a voice in most if not all transportation plans and strategies, making sure that everybody has access to effective, useful, and affordable mass transit.
This means taking on large, well funded, contractor friendly boondoggles like light rail propositions that serve a tiny sliver of the population at the expense of the transit riders. It means making sure the routes serve all groups and that rates remain affordable. It means maintaining a holistic view of alternate transportation options to the single-occupant vehicle muddle that most urban areas struggle with now.
What might a bus and transit rider’s union do in Seattle? It would help the city hear the Voice of the Transit rider, as well as all the other voices that are shouting for traffic relief. That voice and presence at the table would maintain the perspective that effective routes and timetables, reasonable rates, safe buses and bus stop areas will help Metro Transit attract and keep new riders, thereby reducing SOV traffic and improving the environment to boot.
I’ve been so intrigued with this idea that I’ve started a wiki to begin tracking resources regarding transportation, and will add more categories to it as time goes along. Please feel free to add any resources or start new pages as you see fit–the them is personal action and the environment.
How can we start a Transit Rider’s Union in Seattle? I’m no organizer, for sure, but I’d be happy to help and to learn from others who have ideas about this.
Daily Stats (Mon, Tue, Wed)
Car: 20 miles and 3 tasks
As my mom used to say: “mad dogs and englishman go out in the noonday sun...” I was thinking of that the other day when I was running in the middle of the hottest July 12th on record in Seattle. Here’s the breaking news: it’s a lot harder to run in the hot weather than cool. Unless you’re one of those marathoners who do Death Valley every year…I’m clearly not.
Did you get the video I posted the other day–The Wind? It was very clever and took me twice thru before I realized the dude was the wind. Great ad for green energy in Germany.
So, I was running through Lincoln Park and came to the far beach trail only to find these three college kids, all roped up in climbing gear and harnesses–they looked so buff. I asked them what they were up to–taking advantage of the opportunity to stop–and they said they were going to climb down the cliffs and remove ivy from the trees. God love them, they’re from earthcorps and partnering with the Seattle Parks Dept to organize groups and volunteers to remove ivy. You can read more about it here.
What’s the big deal about english ivy? English ivy is a non-native, invasive plant that literally takes down large (and small) trees, overwhelms the native understory and generally wreaks havoc if left unchecked. Worse: it’s sold in lots and lots of nurseries and hardware stores. Why? Cuz it grows so easily! It would be nice if it could be outlawed but no such luck yet.
We’ve removed most of it from our lot, but not all. Our neighbors have done a great job of getting rid of theirs. People are starting to get a clue about it, so that’s good news. Here’s what it looks like, there are different kinds of ivy, but only English Ivy is the invasive:
It’s beefy, but easy to pull out, so if you have any, grab it by the roots before it takes over.
Anyway, kudos to the teams of volunteers out there (more global immune system in action?) and in other parks in the region for tackling the job and helping to save our urban forests.
Daily stats: (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
Car: 29 miles (2 tasks)
Bike: 0 miles
Ped: approx 7 miles
Other: not so much as you’d notice.
Posted in alternate transportation, collaboration, community, connections, environment, global climate change, global immune system, green, local environment, organization, seattle, shade in the summer, urban forest
John Doerr’s talk at this year’s Ted conference is heart-felt and intelligent. His 15 year old daughter challenged him and his friends to fix the problems his/our generation has created. His bottom line: there is a time when panic is appropriate and that time is now. He doesn’t believe we can do enough to change the course of climate global change we’re on.
For me, to hear Doerr touting WalMart’s recent green changes was a challenge in itself. And a refreshing challenge. His questions are excellent and the talk is worth listening to.
He calls out the stupid behaviors in our culture (such as bottling water in Fiji and shipping it to Sacramento, California, or traveling to a store in a two ton hunk of plastic in metal to buy a quart of ice cream).
His focus on the importance, the absolute necessity of governmental participation in policy–local and national and global.
I sort of agree: none of this is enough, but it’s encouraging to hear the long list of changes that groups of interested people are putting in place and the good its doing. Take the good where you can find it.
Daily stats (Friday)
Foot: 1.5 miles
Bus: approx. 15 miles
Posted in alternative energy, collaboration, corporate culture, corporate green initiatives, culture, environment, Environmental Cause, green, green investing, green tax credits, local environment, mass retailer goes green, pollution
Tom followed up yesterday’s piece on walking with a great entry of his own–with gorgeous snaps of his daily route through Lisbon–including time, transportation mode (mostly walking) and some thoughts about the added benefits of not driving. It reads at time like a poem, at other times like a mini-travelogue.
Jodene followed up this morning with a comment on her own walking method and a tangential thought about the long term (very nice nod to investment strategies!) benefits of walking–intellectual, physical, emotional, environmental.
So, I got to thinking: how cool would it be to get feedback from anyone/everyone who actually shakes it up in the transportation department. Those who are doing something other than the regular single-car/single-passenger-moving-through-urban space routine–and what you think about it. What does your transportation method allow you that you would not get from driving?
This would be more than a survey with radio buttons. This would be postcards from the urban-travel edge. We’ll see, maybe it could work.
Posted in alternative energy, bike, Bus, collaboration, culture, environment, Environmental Cause, experience, green, green investing, learning community, pollution, seattle, walking
Cornell Ornithology Labs–which sounds pretty daunting for us average folks–is really stellar at bringing bird watching to kids and communities all around the world. Their focus is the coolest: Citizen Science. They make awareness of birds fun for urban kids and country kids, for seasoned bird watchers and rank beginners, for scientists and regular folks as well. I’m a huge fan of this organization!
So then, I’m really psyched about their latest online endeavor: Urban Bird Watch. Mainly for kids, but for anyone who wants to participate, it’s an online, multi-month, easy-as-pie survey of the birds around us. Sign up and they’ll send you a packet of pretty cool stuff to get started. If you have kids, or have friends or family with kids–check it out. It’s a great way to spend 15 minutes with the birds…and your kids!
Here’s an interesting site with a discussion of Green vs. Gray Economy. Not sure “gray economy” conjures up what they hope it does–it really does feel more akin to Black Market than Green Economy. But the point is: there are companies that are taking steps toward sustainability or improved carbon footprint…and then there are the other companies. The ones that will live and die by fossil fuels.
Bike 19.5 miles (4+ tasks)
bus: 2 miles
Read an oldie the other day, The Victorian Internet, by Tom Standage. It was a quick, fun read but sort of silly in some ways.
His claim is that the singular invention of the Telegraph was the first Internet…and to take a phrase from Standage himself (out of context): “Well, sort of.” In fact, it seems the invention that is most strikingly a first step on the way to the modern internet is the use of electrical pulses as a means of conveying information and data from point A to point B. The rest—how humans wrestled with the new communication potential—may well be a repeat of previous “great leaps” in human history and a reflection of the human impulse or instinct to communicate and share information—whether it be in words, electrical impulses, art, oral tradition, trade, or teaching, we seem driven to communicate—and to leverage communication to our own ends.
Among the interesting tidbits that have stayed with me is the change in work culture (from a sun-up-to-sun-down schedule to a newly global 24/7 schedule)–we struggle with our 24/7/365 always-on, always-open global culture and it’s interesting to consider how 24/7 changed things way back in the Victorian age. But in the end, Standage lost me when he boldly asserted that the changes Victorian era society went through during the introduction of the Telegraph so thoroughly modernized them that “time traveling Victorians…would, no doubt, be unimpressed with the Internet.”
I mean, come on. In my own lifetime, I’ve marvelled at the new forms of technology that interconnect the world. I’ve even marvelled at the innovations with bicycles, ferchrissakes. To think that folks from the 1880’s would not be blown away by our technology and interconnectedness now is surely ridiculous. But, someone 100 years from now will be writing something similar to Victorian Internet and gather together a treasure trove of quotes about how the internet made our lives (choose one): easier/smarter/harder/better/faster/worse and will come to various conclusions about technological impacts based on that.
The world is on a trajectory of inter-relatedness (interesting related thought here). When the printing press was invented, it spawned the creation of entire new religions and the Holy Roman Empire took a huge hit. Suddenly the written word was available not just to those in the cathedral but to anyone who could get a hold of a manuscript. The rise of the first person narrative novel can be linked to MySpace; oral tradition can be linked to the blogosphere; tribal knowledge can trace a direct line to wikis; and certainly the old market and bazarre network can be linked to craigslist and ebay. But all those parallels speak more to human nature and the impulse to inter-connect than to any of the devices invented to achieve that goal.
Daily travel stats:
Internet: a million miles, give or take
car: 6 (4 tasks, 1 person)
bike: 10.5 miles
bus: 2.5 miles
passenger ferry to downtown Seattle: 3 miles
Posted in bike, collaboration, community, culture, environment, experience, learning community, psychology, seattle, web 2.0, Web Office and Collaboration, wiki