Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Opportunities

I have gathered different bits of information over the past few years about this plot of land.  Though I do not know for a fact that any of my conclusions are true, but my observations are.  We have walked by this place regularly for years and have seen its evolution.  All things change and we can help direct that change for good.

First, if you can imagine, there was a house here.  The house was torn down and soon after hand made signs were put up expressing anger, sadness, injustice, and grief over what took place.  Some of the signs were written as apologies to the person that lived there.  Her home was gone and now so was she.

Very soon after all the small hand-made signs were torn down and replaced by a large city council sign:

Land Use Action Site

Proposed Development Permit

Or something like that.  Anyway, the land had been bought and what they hoped to build was another set of tightly packed, 3 story town homes, each probably being budgeted to sell for at least $500,000.  This has become pretty standard here—probably not just here.  Well, it did not take long before the sign was covered in graffiti, some of it protesting the newly proposed construction.  Fences were put up and the lot set empty for at least a year.  The next thing to happen was that the land continued to sit empty, but one day the large sign was down.  Then again, nothing.  Just an empty lot.

From the beginning you could tell that something in the neighborhood was stirring about this piece of land.  Since, we were mere walk-by observers and remained to be (it wasn’t our fight, sometimes you just know) the signs were our only guide to what was happening.  We just kept hoping the good guys would win….to me that meant the community winning!

The next thing we know, we walk by and there is a notice that the City of Seattle now owns this property.  That still could mean anything.  They could sell or they could turn it into a community space.  But, it wasn’t long before we walked by and saw that it would be a future neighborhood park!  As of right now they are still planning out the space.  There are meetings and discussions, but the lot is not longer vacant.  They have opened it up for temporary use (before the official park construction actually takes place) and it is great.  The community has very respectfully taken advantage of this opportunity.  At first it was just a rocky patch of weeds, which Finn and I played in!  But it is growing.  Now, people are growing food. There is a picnic table.  A table and chairs.  Chalk and a big wall which people of all ages draw on.  Finn and I love going there and I actually like it better than most designed public parks.  It feels like a community backyard.  I kind of think this is the way a lot of things are supposed to work.  People being involved and caring.  It gives the community an opportunity to take ownership and pride in it.

I know I could have gotten involved in this or at least used my curiosity to do some research, but I didn’t.  One thing I think we all need to know are the battles we are and are not going to fight.  We can’t fight them all and sometimes it’s just nice to go for a walk, observe, and wonder.  Remember, this is important too.  Balance.

However, when something does stir in you and pull you toward it…go after it!  There are opportunities and sometimes it works out!

Thank you for all those who created this pleasant and peaceful space.  I already have many lovely memories of time spent here.

Links for more detailed (and accurate information):

Capitol Hill Seattle Blog (CHS): Post #1 Post #2

Seattle.gov: Federal/Republican Park Info

Yahoo Groups: Federal/Republican Park

Paper Antler and Fifty Nifty

A friend of ours told us about a project that his brother and sister-in-law are endeavoring on. They are Jonny and Michelle, boutique photographers, and the couple behind Paper Antler. Their work is beautiful and captivating. Looking through their photos I see hope, love, romance, passion, adventure, and an unquenchable joy for life. Their desire is to bring together their passions–their gift for capturing the beauty of the world around them and social justice– through the Fifty Nifty project. One of the things that I really love is that it will only work if others join them. We need each other and the success of this project is dependent on more than just this lovely couple. It isn’t safe. It is risky. They are putting themselves out there with faith that they will be joined and that is beautiful.

Fifty Nifty:

  • Beginning in January of 2012, Jonny and Michelle will begin an adventure that will span one year.
  • Their goal: photograph 50 weddings in 50 states in 50 weeks donating $1000 from each wedding to She Dances for a total donation of $50,000. While this is their ideal goal, their primary goal is to raise $50,000 for She Dances in 50 weeks.
  • She Dances is an anti-human trafficking organization that they have worked closely with over the years.
  • $50,000 would assist She Dances in sustaining their current safe home in Honduras for one year or allow them to open a new safe home in another place of need.
  • They have a route mapped out, so check it out to see if they will be in your area when you or someone you know is getting married. Download this PDF for information about their route.
  • Spread the word.

Paper Antler‘s blog will have updates on Fifty Nifty bookings and other Fifty Nifty related news.

A list with some information.

This is the slightly longer version of the “10 small changes you can make for the benefit of creation” list I made for my church back in April for Creation Sunday. It has some good and interesting information in it so I thought that I would go ahead and share it with you guys.

  1. Eat Local (Grow your own veggies, buy a share in Community Supported Agriculture, shop at farmers markets)
    Info: Supermarket food travels an average of 1,500 miles by the time it gets to your plate. Buying local strengthens the local economy. A dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. You get to celebrate the seasons by eating local in-season food.
  2. Buy fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee and fair trade, organic tea.
    Info: Sun coffee (grown with no shade canopy) destroys natural habitats and cannot be sustained for many years without intensive management (additions of chemical fertilizers and a range of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides). The few studies that have been conducted have found that the diversity of migratory birds plummets when coffee is converted from shade to sun (studies in Colombia and Mexico found 94-97% fewer bird species in sun grown coffee than in shade grown coffee) 1.
  3. Buy organic food when possible, especially organic chocolate.
    Info: Non-organic cocoa is 2nd only to cotton in terms of the most pesticides used on the crop. Exposure to pesticides is being increasingly linked to various kinds of cancer. Industrialized agriculture produces food that is deficient in minerals and nutrition because it has over-cultivated the land. Crops get their nutrients and minerals from the soil that it is grown on. If the soil is not taken care of and becomes unhealthy then the food grown on it will also lack nutrition and health.
  4. Buy products with minimal or reusable packaging or buy in bulk (like the bulk bins at Madison Market Co-op or Whole Foods) and use your own containers when shopping and bring your own shopping bags.
    Info: Around 33% of trash in the average American household comes from packaging.
  5. Start an indoor or outdoor compost bin.
    Info: “The landfill is not designed to help things biodegrade, which requires contact with air and water. Instead, landfills hermetically seal their contents away from the environment to protect it from the toxic things in the landfill that aren’t biodegradable. What this means, is that organic things like apple cores and yesterdays newspapers and cornstarch cups, when dumped in the landfill, either don’t break down at all and certainly don’t end up returning nutrients to the earth or they break down anaerobically, which means they produce methane, a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”2
  6. Buy recycled paper toilet paper to help protect endangered forests.
    Info: Every day, the amount of toilet paper used equals about 270,000 trees.
  7. Make your own household cleaners.
    Info: The EPA says indoor air pollution is often 2-5 times worse than outdoor air pollution, and harsh cleaning chemicals contribute.
  8. Switch to compact florescent light bulbs (CFL)
    Info: CFLs are some of the most efficient lights available – they can replace incandescent bulbs that are roughly 3 to 4 times their wattage, saving up to 75% of your lighting energy.
  9. Buy used products when possible (books, clothing, furniture) and make repairs when possible instead of buying new.
  10. Print only when necessary and on recycled paper.
    Info: Offices use 1.5 lbs of paper per person per day.
  11. Use a coffee mug or travel mug.
  12. Reduce your carbon footprint caused by travel (buy a TerraPass, use flexcar, carpool, public transit, bike, or walk)
    Info: Every gallon of gasoline burned creates about 20 lbs of climate change-causing CO2.
  13. Enjoy God’s creation by being part of a community garden (or start your own community garden in your own backyard), volunteering on a farm, or getting out and enjoying nature with loved ones.

1Smithsonian, National Zoological Park, Migratory Bird Center; 2 No Impact Man;

Cutting carbon by 80% by 2050

step it up

I just read about Step It Up in a TerraPass e-mail. Step It Up is a protest that is taking place all over the country on April 14th, The National Day of Climate Action. There are over 1200 actions all ready organized, making it the “largest day of citizen action focusing on global warming in our nation’s history”. The goal of the protest is to move Congress to make a commitment to cutting carbon emissions 80% by 2050.

The actions range from a rally of thousands in New York City, to a handful of scuba divers off the coast of Key West, to a community of senior citizens in Ohio holding a global warming awareness day.

Find/Join an Action.
If you are really ambitious you can Start an Action.

If you do participate in some way please let me know. I would love to hear about it and how you felt that it went.

Sierra Club Campaign to fight Global Warming

Similarly, The Sierra Club has started the Be Part of the 2% Solution campaign to fight Global Warming. The idea is that if we cut carbon emissions by 2% a year over the next 40 years we will have met the goal of 80% by 2050.

The world’s scientists agree: Global warming is real, here, and happening faster than anyone predicted. But scientists also say we can curb global warming and its consequences—if we take bold, comprehensive actions now that add up to an 80 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. That’s a do-able 2 percent cut a year for each of the next 40 years.
To reach our goal, to build a cleaner, smarter, and safer energy and economic future and rise to the most urgent challenge of our generation, we must all be part of the solution. You, me, businesses, and government—we all have a role to play. To cut carbon emissions 2 percent a year for each of the next 40 years means we must start right now to make different, better decisions about the energy we use at home, at work, and as a nation.

You can Be part of the 2% solution by:

Signing the letter written by the Sierra Club to President Bush asking him to take action to curb Global Warming. This is so easy and there is really no reason to not do this. You not bothering to click on the link I provided you with is not a good excuse. ;)

Checking out their great list of things YOU can do to help cut carbon emission by 2% per year for the next 40% years. I think I may post the list tomorrow if you don’t get a chance to look at it.

Creation Sunday

Earth Day, April 22nd, is coming up soon. This year my church is participating in Creation Sunday (which happens to take place on Sunday, April 22 this year, but is on whatever Sunday falls closest to Earth Day). Kendall and I are helping to organize it. This is the first time we or our church has done anything like this so we are definitely feeling our way through.

The idea behind it is that we believe that God created this Earth and that we are supposed to be good stewards of that creation. We have taken that to mean that we are responsible for the health and well being of that creation and that it is also something to be greatly celebrated and enjoyed.

This might be something that interests some of you and I wanted to let you know about it.

If any of you have ideas that you would like to share I would of course love to hear them.

One/Change is hosting…

the Carnival of Green on Monday, January 15th.

This post is basically to let you know a little bit about the Carnival of Green, so that the post on Monday isn’t just confusing. The idea behind the Carnival of Green is to create exposure to green links, sites, and articles. It is “managed by TreeHugger and is a roving digest of the green blogosphere with a sustainability focus as opposed to green politics in general. Just like a regular real carnival it roams around offering a sample of its world.” Every week people send in e-mails to carnivalofgreen@gmail.com with the post URL, post author and post summary. The host (this week it would be me) then compiles all the links and writes a short summary, if one has not already been provided, and publishes it on Monday morning.

There is already a great assortment of submissions. I hope you enjoy it!

Greenfibre’s January sale

Greenfibre is having their biggest ever January sale. For those of you who don’t know Greenfibre “sells ethical, natural and organic bedding, organic clothing, organic and biodynamic skin care products, organic fabrics and wool and eco-friendly household cleaning stuff”. Right now they are having a sale of everything from organic cotton flannel duvet covers to men’s organic cotton blue jeans. This is not a call for needless consumption, but if you were in need of making some purchases anyway check out their site and see if you can find it on sale.

the Challenge of Late Spring

Happy Earth Day to all! I have chosen this wonderful day to kick off the first annual Challenge of Late Spring. Sound interesting? Sound fun? Sound like something you would love to do? YES! YES! YES!

Well, let me first take a moment to tell you a little about this exciting Challenge. Spring is a wonderful time for new beginnings. Trees and plants that were once barren are covered in fresh new buds, leaves, and flowers. Everything is turning green and even the sun seems to want to shine more. Our days are getting longer. Sweet baby animals are being born to proud parents that are ready to teach them how to be cows, horses, birds, and sheep. Humans cannot help being effected by all that is taking place in the world around them and we become filled with a new sense of hope and life as everything is being given a fresh start.

This may be a little to cheery for some of you, but I am feelin’ it today.

The first annual Challenge of Late Spring is going to ask people to put that wonderful spring energy towards making changes their lifestyle that will have positive affects on the environment and social justice. The idea is for you to go and talk to as many family members and friends as you can and in a loving way ask them to make one change to their lifestyle that will help the environment and/or social justice.

While the Challenge is to get people to make changes to their lifestyle that will make a difference, it is important that we don’t approach people in a judgmental way. It may take some practice, but try and find a way to communicate with people about the environment in a way that they can hear it.

A few ideas to get your brains started:

The list could go on and on. However, I want you to be creative and I want to see pictures and hear all about it! If you take a day with a friend or a group of people and go pick up trash I want to see pictures and hear all about it. Please, please share. If it’s ok I want to share your pictures and stories in later posts.

On your mark…..get set…..GO!

Save Our Forests

Dan Stafford told me about an online rally that his group Environmental Action kicked off today to try and stop President Bush’s plan to sell 300,000 acres of National Forest in order to raise money for the Federal Budget. Environmental Action is trying to get 1000 pictures submitted of people in their tree lovin’ environment and they are then going to pass all of these pictures on to President Bush and every member of Congress.

Join the rally by submitting a picture AND you can also Take Action by sending a letter (I would suggest that you edit the letter they provide) to your senator.

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