Category Archives: organization

52 WoLP #16: Saturday in The Park (can you dig it?*)

This Saturday, in the Park, 10:30 – 2:30: first ever Celebrate Lincoln Park event! Here’s what you do: come to the park, at the entrance there will be an enticing menu of activities for everyone, kids to big kids and the biggest kids of all–adults.

click here for the deets.

It’ll be a low tide and the Aquarium will have a couple naturalists on hand to explore the tide flats; we’ll have resident experts leading walks through the park exploring the flora and fauna (that’s trees, flowers and birds to the rest of us:-); we’ll have sketching and writing in nature sessions, and down in the driftwood, sculpture making, and more. Go here for more, but be sure to get your beautiful nature-self to the park this Saturday!

*Saturday in the park (can you dig it?) by the Pleistocene era rock band Chicago.

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long exploration of the beautiful gem of West Seattle, it’s history, nature, essence and presence.

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Day 195-197: MLwC and more on Green Christians

tomato.jpg My neighbor Susan, from whom I learn so much and with whom I have a deadly serious tomato growing competition, recently dropped me a note regarding her evolving thoughts re the environment and Christianity. But first, let’s get back to that deadly serious tomato competition (Lower Cloverdale Tomato Wars). For those who are interested in such things, I believe Susan is the Big Winna this year, both in Quantity and Quality. We have a stunning selection of tomatoes–French salad, black Italian plums, an heirloom and a Japanese variety. All good but because of work earlier in the year, we neglected to properly prune our apple and pear trees and only too late did we notice that our tomato bed was in shade most the day. Anyway, right now, the Japanese variety–the Momotaro–is the run-away favorite, while the French salad are monster big and impressive, but not as snappy tart as the others.

But I digress. Susan mentioned to me that she’s noticing the presence of Earth Ministry at her college, SPU, and will be checking in with them to see what they’re up to. Earth Ministry is primarily Northwest based and is currently celebrating its 15th year anniversary–good for them! They have a quarterly publication called Earth Letter with contributions by such luminaries as Wendell Berry, Bill Moyers, Barry Lopez, Pattiann Rogers, and others. They’ve celebrated previous events such as the Celebration of St. Francis (even I know that St. Francis is the nature-guy in the constellation of saints) with talks by Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibbon, and others. It seems like an outstanding organization and a proud offering from this beautiful neck of the woods.

She also pointed to an article in the latest Sojourner magazine that includes three articles on the green movement and what it means (or should mean) to Christians and Christian leaders.

Here’s a funny thing: when I went to the Sojourner site, I found the articles and clicked through. The magazine is more than willing to let me read the article for free, but predictably asked that I give info on who I am, etc in order to get it. I could lie (Mary Brown/111 Brown St./Brownsville, OK) but I tend to not do that so often; giving them my real info wasn’t an option…because I don’t consider myself a christian (or anything else, to be honest).

See? That’s why I don’t like these artificial boundaries like religion and politics and what not. They lock people in ideologically and block others out. Well, I won’t get on that rant. It just struck me that I didn’t want to give my name to an organization with a strong religious identity to which I didn’t belong. I dream of an open source world.

Last but not least, I ran across a Blog for Green Christians, by Sander Chan out of the Netherlands. It’s interesting, you may want to check it out if this topic intrigues you.

Daily Stats: (Tue, Wed, Thur)
Car: 28 miles (trip to Eastside, 3 tasks)
Bike: 16 miles
Ped: 1 or 2 miles
Bus: 5 miles

Day 175: MLwC and the upside of Evangelical Environmentalism

Thanks goes out to Anne Shudy Palmer for directing me to an interesting article in The Grist regarding Christian Environmentalism about which I complained wrote a while back.

Anne directed me to an interview with Cal DeWitt, an evangelical environmentalist who has been working hard at building networks and communities that work to create a healthier, sustainable environment. He currently teaches environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin.

DeWitt has seen a major upsurge in evangelical participation in the environmental movement as the disconnect between individual rights and collective good comes under greater scrutiny. Regarding the potential rift between standard Republican industry bias and green sensibilities:

It is happening, and it’s going to increasingly happen. Maybe the best illustration of that, from a specific case, is Boise Vineyard Church — one of these megachurches in Boise, Idaho. The pastor there, Tri Robinson, is an interesting example of a present-day evangelical. He is, No. 1, strongly Republican. He has said, “The last election was the last in which I will be forced to chose between individual rights and the rights of creation. From now on, both of them have to be together, and the politicians should be listening.” His church’s recycling center is the only one in all of Boise. His people go up high in the mountains and restore trails.

And most encouraging is the growing lines of communication and mutual understanding between environmental groups and evangelicals:

There are meetings being held between Friends of the Earth and evangelical leaders. It’s a bit uneasy, but there’s a welcoming discussion. E.O. Wilson, for example, is interested in talking with evangelicals. There are a lot of these conversations starting now….

…40 percent of the Sierra Club is Christian. Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation, is an evangelical. A lot of environmental organizations have evangelicals in them, but they’ve been quiet about it. It’s all opening up now.

And what I like most of all in this interview is the clear appraisal of the standard agenda for most Christian groups: me and my family. As if we’re running out of humans. To paraphrase DeWitt, without a healthy planet, your family is going to be basical SOL:

The focus on the individual, the focus on the family, while it was initially attractive because it addressed regaining an evangelical voice in U.S. government and U.S. policy … if you’re only focusing on the family, to the neglect of your wider community, which is eventually the whole of the biosphere and the whole of creation, you can actually do yourself in by taking too narrow of a focus. We’re moving from a focus on ourselves, which was part of the individualistic lifestyle we had been developing in America, to incorporating the whole household of life, the whole biosphere, the whole creation, without which family and individuals really can’t function at all.

Thanks Anne, for sending this–you made my day. And thanks to connectors like Cal DeWitt who are looking for common ground across all kinds of organizations.

Daily Stats (Thur)
Car: 7 miles (2 tasks)
Bike: 0
Ped: 3 miles
Bus: 0

Day 140-142: MLwC, trees and ivy

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.

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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:

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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
Bus: 0
Other: not so much as you’d notice.

Day 138: MLwC and who’s afraid of Big Green?

In my other life, I work with companies on issues that usually involve change. Sometimes the change is big, such as introducing wikis and blogs as alternatives to KBs and KM systems. While these alternatives are of significant interest and use to frontline tech help agents and online customers, they are not viewed in a welcoming light by IT or, often, by the owners of the existing KM infrastructure. Why? Because the new stuff means the end of the old stuff and the old stuff has a million built-in benefits that those teams would like to hang onto.

Why do I bring this up? Because the same problem can be seen in the case of our current administration and e-pluribus-unum (that would be us, you and me).

So, for example, you’ve got a post out today on postcarboncities that discusses the amount of money–good old money!–that can be saved by instituting changes that also, at the same time, all together now, reduce pollution and the collective carbon footprint. He’s pretty detailed and specific about changes that could be made. And he has some good examples of changes that have been made that not only make systems more efficient but also are good for the planet:

  • In 2005 the city of Stamford (CT) earned a Climate Champion Award at CA-CP’s New York City conference following the release of their emissions inventory. The award celebrated actions that reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent — curbing global warming and saving the city more than $1.1 million in annual energy costs.
  • In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Local Law #86 of 2005, which sets green building standards for certain capital projects. The law affects approximately $12 billion in construction, including $5 billion in new schools, over the City’s 10-year capital plan. It requires most new and substantially renovated City buildings costing more than $2 million to be built according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standard or other equally stringent standard.
  • Keene (NH) is looking into hiring an Energy Service Company (ESCO) to retrofit city buildings using a performance contract in which the ESCO is paid solely through the resulting energy savings. Keene expects to save a minimum of $30,000 a year through the retrofits.
  • In 2006 the City of Pittsburgh (PA) was awarded $300,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to integrate biodiesel in its entire diesel fleet. The City’s plan, developed in partnership with Steel City Biofuels, will displace 30% of Pittsburgh’s petroleum diesel with locally-produced biodiesel .

The list could undoubtedly go on but here’s the thing: the people are now clearly leading the leaders and the leaders are not budging and will not budge because it is not in their interest to budge. Utilizing all these new systems and applications means less business for the old school, the boys in the back room, Big Oil, Big Industry and the like.

Protectionism runs deep. But here we are, the people leading the leaders, and we will continue to demand change because the change makes sense. And here’s the most important thing–it’s like some companies I know of that have thousands of active wiki internally but officially have none, yet–when we make changes in our own small circle of influence, that change ripples outward. It cannot help but be so. It is what Hawken’s is talking about when he talks about our global immune system. Interesting times, indeed.

Daily Stats for MLwC: (Monday)

Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: 3.5 miles
Bus: 0
other: 0

Day 119 thru 121: MLwC and WiserEarth.com

Traveling again this week, and really rushed for time. Time is a critical factor in selection of transportation modes. I elected to drive to the airport and park rather than risk not getting picked up by the shuttle again….Anyway, I was thinking about how much I travel over the course of the year and how much this impacts my carbon footprint. I’m a consultant and this travel issue won’t likely change a whole lot in the near future which makes my activities while at home even more important–walk, bike, bus, etc.

On Sunday, I hung out a while at Paul Hawken’s site WiserEarth, trying to figure out how it works. I heard back from Michael regarding the beta site re my sense that it wasn’t targeted well; I couldn’t figure out if it was for professional .org people or for regular people like me. He confirmed that they are still working out some aspects of the site (it’s beta) but:

“In a nutshell, it is definitely for people like you. I encourage you to check it out and make sure your favorite organizations are represented in there. And we are always looking for feedback on usability and for ideas on future enhancements to make the site more useful for your line of work. We can’t guarantee everything will be implemented (we have constraints on tech support and funding of course), but we do value community feedback.”

So , I went back to the site and created an account, and then went for a run.

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During the run I began to think about all the stuff rolling around in my head and realized (this may be a Doh! moment for some of you but it was sort of exciting for me): The Compact, my own MLwC project, Wildlife Alliance, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Critical Mass, the Backyard Wildlife movement here in Seattle and a hundred other things that I personally take an interest in, are all part of a much, much bigger movement that as Hawken puts, is as yet un-named and is potentially the biggest movement in the history of the planet. People like you and me–perhaps not doing big global projects, but doing things we care about, passionately, and that contribute to a larger common good.

And it’s the combination of all those things that is creating this massive global movement that Paul Hawken is writing about.

When I returned from my run, I went to the site and entered my first organization. I’ll follow up with others. I’m no expert on so many things out there, but I know about my own life and interests, and that’s what I can share. How the site will evolve, how it will utilize my interests, network us all, remains to be seen. How I will use it remains to be seen.

Participating is sort of a leap of faith. Take The Compact, for example. You use your big car to go shopping and buy things, much more than you really need, without thinking about alternate paths, and it’s all so easy, so fast, who really thinks about it. So the Compact has groups all over the planet finding different ways to live outside the planned path of consumerism. Once that habit is busted, these people like Rachel in SF, or myself here with my own habit-busting project, we find ourselves connecting to our city, our community, our planet in a whole new way. Rachel, just like me, just like you, is one little atom bouncing around out there amidst a gazillion atoms, changing the way atoms bounce here in Seattle, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and who knows where else.

And that, I believe, is what Paul Hawken is talking about. Bring what you have, share it, find your community, find energy, find a different path and share your map. And Hawken clearly understands the internet has made the path to sharing your map possible.

Daily stats: (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
Car: 25 miles
Bike: 0
Ped: 3.0
Bus: 0
Air: 2400

Day 92 & 93: MLWC, some green links and Measuring KM

A bunch of green specific websites are springing up. They sort of remind me of the early days in the gay&lesbian community when everything had to be really gay&lesbian and only gay&lesbian or it didn’t count. Things are much more mainstreamed now and that’s a good thing in many ways–hopefully the path to mainstreaming green living, green concerns, green investing will be faster, smoother, better.

So, without further ado:
Greener.com, a green search engine. If you want to find something, but want to narrow the field to green, here’s your engine.
Greenmaven, another search engine that also includes social awareness along with greeniness in its search results.
Hugg is like Digg but with a green angle. This one’s pretty interesting and since I have found myself having a hard time categorizing green stories adequately in Digg, I’m liking the alternative.
Inhabitat is a beautiful blog discussing sustainable design of all kinds. It’s gorgeous in a West Coast Zen kind of way.

And now for something completely different: measuring the effectiveness of KM. Suarez in his blog discusses the ongoing question of measuring KM–to prove its worth to everyone from end users to IT, to Veeps, etc. He despairs of finding an adequate answer to the ongoing question and I don’t blame him. KM usage, wikis, blogs, etc are all experiential and viral in their best cases; like I ranted in my post yesterday, KM of all stripes is a haven for command-and-control management and the insistence on measurement is a key indicator of command-and-control style.

That said, I don’t live in such a fantasy land that I think we’ll get rid of measurement any time soon. I introduced wikis to a very large, global computer maker and the biggest difficulty we had in the process was trying to get them to think differently about “measurement.” I don’t think we succeeded, and as a result, even though the wiki is successful in terms of adoption, the lack of meaningful (read: corporate) measurement has all but made the wiki invisible to upper echalons of management. They can’t talk about it in numbers, so they disregard it. Fortunately, the wiki itself, intended for front line users, can live quite happily without a lot of attention.

My ongoing philosophical question: has Excel made life better or worse or something in between? We now use it because we can–for anything and everything. It’s a fabulous tool…I just wish sometimes we could put it down and thinking differently about things.

Daily stats:
Car: 0
Bike: 10.2 miles
Foot: 0
Bus:0