News from our member organizations

NW Clean & Affordable Energy Conference draws largest-ever crowd; Coalition adds four new members

News from NW Energy Coalition - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 11:22am
Attendees learned about influencing behavior to fulfill energy efficiency potential; discussed opportunities and challenges to cleanly replacing aging, dirty power sources, considered consumer protection and utility revenue concerns surrounding expanded solar and other distributed generation; and got up to speed on how changing the Columbia River Treaty could affect power generation and other river uses in the basin.

Listening to the Forest Giants

News from Conservation International - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 6:18am
We can learn a lot from redwood trees. Once timber sources, they are now national treasures.

Buckley Dam: Stop Killing the Salmon

News from American Rivers - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 6:00am

This blog was originally published November 12, 2014 on CrossCut.com. Read the original article here

Buckley Dam fish kill | White Noise Productions

The annual return of salmon to the White River, which flows from the Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier to the Puyallup River, is a cause for celebration among Indian tribes, anglers and everyone who appreciates the unique place salmon hold in the culture of the Pacific Northwest. But that joy turns to dread when thousands of the fish are killed at the 100-year-old Buckley Diversion Dam. Buckley Dam’s fish passage system is terribly outdated, and thousands of salmon – often hundreds of thousands – die as they try to make their way upstream to spawn.

If you visited the Buckley Dam in August or September of 2013, you would have seen an appalling sight: thousands of pink salmon unable to reach their spawning grounds, battered and exhausted, dead and dying below the dam.

Now there is a sign of hope, with a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and operates the dam, must upgrade both the fish passage system and the dam itself by 2020 in order to protect salmon and comply with the Endangered Species Act.

This is good news. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of the Puyallup and Muckleshoot tribes and conservationists around the Sound, we finally have the attention of Army Corps and NOAA leadership. But the Army Corps has promised and failed to deliver fixes at the dam before, and the salmon of Puget Sound can’t afford further delay. The fish kills will continue until the upgrades are complete.

We all have a responsibility to hold the Army Corps accountable for the upgrades at Buckley Dam and ensuring the future of salmon on the White River for the communities that depend on them culturally and economically.

As the NOAA report makes clear, Band-Aid-style repairs and maintenance have proven woefully inadequate to solve the problems at Buckley Dam.

Each year, taxpayers spend more than $150 million on salmon restoration in the streams around Puget Sound. Buckley Dam undermines this significant investment, threatening the survival and recovery of Puget Sound Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout. American Rivers and other groups partners will seek the help of Washington’s congressional delegation to provide the Army Corps with the funding needed to fix Buckley Dam — estimated at $60 million — and we will also work to hold the Army Corps to the repair schedule.

Replacing the dam and fish passage system no later than 2020 is the right thing to do for these invaluable salmon runs – and for the many communities that depend on them.

Court Battle Begins on Maui, Hawaii GE Moratorium

News from Beyond Pesticides - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 10:07pm
(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2014) In anticipation of the lawsuit by agrichemical giants following a newly passed initiative to suspend the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops in Maui, five residents preemptively filed a lawsuit last Wednesday, November 12 beating their opponents by one day. The moratorium is only a temporary measure that bans GE […]

Coalition Releases Comprehensive Recommendations to Help California’s Cities, Farms and Environment Weather the Drought

News from NRDC - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 10:00pm
SAN FRANCISCO (November 17, 2014) — As dreams of a wet, El Niño winter fade and California heads into a possible fourth consecutive year of drought, a coalition of 15 environmental, fishing and public policy organizations released a set of recommended actions to modernize California’s water system and respond to the drought.

NRDC: Clean Water Proposal Will Help Families, Homeowners Get Safe Drinking Water

News from NRDC - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 10:00pm
WASHINGTON (November 17, 2014)—A proposed new clean water rule will help ensure Americans have safe drinking water by closing a critical gap in the country’s pollution laws, the Natural Resources Defense Council said.

Capturing Wilderness

News from Washington Wilderness Coalition - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 3:38pm
This year we hosted our third annual Summer Photo Contest.  We all know that pictures can’t do justice to being out in the wilderness, but they can be breathtaking all the same.  Each year we select from many competitive entries three photo contest winners.  The winning photos are professionally printed, framed, and then auctioned off as a key part of Wild Night Out, our annual dinner and auction.  Over the last three years this photo contest has raised almost $3,000 for conservation!Before we get to the good part, and show you the photos, we want to offer a special thank you to our Photo Contest Sponsor, Blick Art Materials, who generously donated the framing of all three winning photographs.  Additionally, we would like to thank Panda Lab, Moonphoto, and the Color Group for the donation of printing.  And of course, we want to thank not just our photo contest winners, but everyone that entered this great contest!First Place:Second Place:Third Place:The selection process was highly competitive this year with so many more additional breathtaking photographs, but we could not choose them all!  Be sure to check back next summer for another opportunity to submit more great photos of why we work so hard to keep Washington wild and green!

Meet Honey Bee, the Blind Hiking Cat

News from Washington Trails Association - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 2:55pm

When it comes to animals on trail, the last thing most people expect to see is a housecat—let alone a blind one. That’s until they meet Honey Bee, a Seattle-area kitty with a penchant for hiking. We recently chatted with Honey Bee’s owner, Sabrina Ursin, about everything from Honey Bee’s home country (hint: it’s not the U.S.) to her favorite Washington destination to the logistics of being a cat on trail.

How did Honey Bee come into your life?

I volunteered at Animals Fiji for 3 days at the beginning of a vacation. It’s a wonderfully run little shelter and low-cost clinic. I've volunteered with other animal groups internationally, but Honey Bee was the first cat I couldn't resist keeping. She was just so affectionate and adorable, and I couldn't say no. We imported Honey Bee in January; she's just over a year old.

"I love how confident Honey Bee is, even though she doesn't know where she's going. Humans are so hesitant and over-think things. She just trots along, as happy as can be, eager to make new friends and have adventures. She's a shining star of pure optimism." What made you decide to take Honey Bee hiking for the first time?

Honey Bee was accustomed to the outdoors at Animals Fiji. She was free to roam around the clinic property during the day. Living in a busy city, however, I wouldn't feel comfortable with a blind cat wandering around outside.

I started taking her on little walks in the yard, which turned into trips around the neighborhood, which turned into visiting Seattle city parks and then some hikes this summer.

What are the logistics like of hiking with Honey Bee?

To get Honey Bee ready for an adventure, my husband and I first offer her a clean litter box. If you have cats, you know that they love to get in there and make use of a fresh box—and that way you don’t need to worry about any accidents in the car.

We put her harness on and then pack a water bowl and kibble, the pet sling for when she gets tired, and of course, plastic bags for scooping any kitty waste.

We don't go farther than about an hour from Seattle, because the car ride isn't the fun part for Honey Bee. She's gotten better at not crying on car rides, though, and we're hoping that she'll eventually associate the car with the fun reward at the end.

Honey Bee pauses near the trail, ready to explore the ferns and beyond.

How do people react to Honey Bee on trail?

Honey Bee always draws amused surprise from people who see her on the trail. People are so struck by seeing a cat that they usually don't notice right away that she has no eyes.

Honey Bee is also a magnet for kids, and thankfully she doesn't mind being held by kids or being sniffed by dogs. She gets along with everyone and is a wonderful ambassador not just for cats but for special needs animals.

You might expect a blind cat to be less able than a cat with eyes, but Honey Bee's boundless curiosity leads her to explore and enjoy everything the world has to offer. She's quite good at sensing the presence of objects or drop-offs and doesn't often run into things or slip on edges.

Honey Bee likes resting on a soft backpack when she gets tired.

What does Honey Bee love about hiking?

Honey Bee can't see, but all of her other senses are fully engaged.

She walks around sniffing things, listening to the sounds of other people and small animals, digs little holes and explores textures on the forest floor. She even licks trees and rocks occasionally. Anything new is exciting, whether it's a package in the mail or a place she hasn't been before.

 

Honey Bee takes time for cuddles with one of her favorite hiking partners, owner Jonathan Ursin.

Does she have a favorite Washington trail?

I think our Mason Lake hike was her favorite. There was a range of plants and environments, and the rock boulders with pikas were especially interesting. She knew they were there but wasn't sure how to find them. The Mason Lake hike was her longest hike. Despite it being only 7 miles roundtrip, it took us about 6 hours.

What would you suggest for other people who want to take their cats hiking?

If you want to take your cat hiking, the first thing to accept is that most cats are not going to be interested. Cats generally don't like being walked on a leash.

Start small, like by taking your cat around your yard on a leash and then around parks near your home. Many cats will simply flop over in protest if you try to walk them, so it depends on the personality of the cat.

My husband and I have four other cats, and none of them would enjoy hiking. Honey Bee is a special girl with a fearless personality so everything new is interesting and exciting, rather than scary.

How does Honey Bee inspire you?

I love how confident Honey Bee is, even though she doesn't know where she's going. Humans are so hesitant and over-think things. She just trots along, as happy as can be, eager to make new friends and have adventures. She's a shining star of pure optimism.

Want to keep up with Honey Bee’s adventures? Follow her on Facebook.

________________________________________________________________

This story originally appeared in the Nov+Dec 2014 issue of Washington Trails magazine. Join WTA to get your one-year subscription.

Friends new and old support the Coalition at Founding the Future Gala

News from NW Energy Coalition - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 1:14pm
The NW Energy Coalition's Founding the Future Gala looked back on the Coalition’s 33-year history through the eyes of several founding members and forward through the eyes of more recent clean energy leaders. It was also the occasion for honoring Patton’s 20-year legacy as executive director and celebrating longtime policy director Hirsh, who will move up to executive director when Patton moves on in January.

Crosscut artice: Washington businesses unite on climate action

News from NW Energy Coalition - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 12:27pm
More than 100 businesses - from REI and Virginia Mason to Taylor Shellfish and Microsoft - launched a declaration calling for "climate action." The businesses recently endorsed the Washington Business Climate Declaration, a statement by businesses and individuals on the need for action against global warming, saying, that the Northwest firms "support using energy efficiently, investing in cleaner fuels, advancing renewable energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

Webinar on Sponsorship Programs – Nov 18

News from American Rivers - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:00am
Verde River Blue Trail, AZ | Jamie Mierau

Are you looking for new tools and a refresher course on developing a new or making more out of your corporate sponsorship program?

Join us on November 18th at 11am MT for an interactive webinar where you will learn the best practices for getting the most out of a corporate program and cultivating potential supporters.

Learn tips for building lasting relationships including:

  • Determining what you have to offer and what you are looking for
  • Researching and approaching companies, and
  • Measuring your success.

Who should participate?

Individuals and organizations that are interested in developing and making the most of a corporate partner. Sign up today!

NRDC: U.S. Investment in Green Climate Fund Displays Serious Commitment to Curbing Climate Change

News from NRDC - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 10:00pm
WASHINGTON (November 14, 2014) – The Obama Administration will soon formally pledge $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, which will help create clean energy jobs and help head off the worst impacts of climate change in America and around the world.

Craft Brewers Support EPA Bolstering Protections for American Waters—And Beer!

News from NRDC - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 10:00pm
CHICAGO (November 14, 2014) – Some of the nation’s most respected and beloved breweries weighed in on the national debate over clean water protections today. Thirty-two members of the “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign signed onto a comment letter in support of long-delayed safeguards under the Clean Water Act. The campaign is a partnership between the Natural Resources Defense Council and beermakers aimed at protecting America’s bedrock water law and helping to advance the Clean Water Protection Rule which would return protections to American streams, wetlands and headwaters which in turn impact larger water bodies.

House Demonstrates Support for a Presidential Veto of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

News from NRDC - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 10:00pm
WASHINGTON (November 14, 2014) – The House vote today forcing approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline came with a silver lining: There are more than enough lawmakers to sustain a well-deserved presidential veto of the ill-considered legislation.

Over 200 Groups, Businesses, and Leading Scientists Call for Monarch Protection

News from Beyond Pesticides - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 8:01pm
(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2014) In the face of staggering declines of monarch butterflies, more than 40 leading scientists and 200 organizations and businesses this week urged the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Sally Jewell, to protect these butterflies under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These groups and scientists are supporting the formal […]

A Little Kindness

If you try a little kindness then you’ll overlook the blindness Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets. – Glen Campbell – Try A Little Kindness (lyrics)

Turning from 35th Ave. NE onto NE 110th St. takes me past Nathan Hale High School on my preferred route from NE Seattle to downtown. I started using this route during the summer when the only activity was an occasional practice on the field, so the increased traffic volume that came with the start of school took some getting used to.

The other day as I rode past the school, a woman clutching a 16-ounce paper cup stood with her son at the corner of 30th NE waiting to cross. The oncoming driver didn’t hesitate, even for a second. I slowed to let her enter the street, saying, “We’re all supposed to stop for YOU.”

She hesitated, made a move as if to go, then stepped back and waved me on, saying, “Sorry!”

I had meant my remark as a commentary on the driver’s behavior, not hers, but my tone didn’t do a great job of conveying that. She looked as if she felt guilty for slowing me, so I called back over my shoulder, “No, I meant that’s a GOOD thing!”

I rode another couple of blocks, thinking that I had left her with an impression of someone who didn’t want to stop to let her cross the street when I’d meant the exact opposite.

Couldn’t stand it. Circled back to find her, still standing at that same corner with coffee and son.

As soon as she saw me she started talking, saying, “I’m so sorry! I couldn’t make up my mind and I know that was annoying.”

“No-no-no, I came back to make sure you didn’t misunderstand what I said. I meant we SHOULD all stop for you and that guy didn’t.”

She said, “I realized that a second after you said it.”

I replied, “I just wanted to make sure you didn’t think I was one of those jerks who don’t stop for people.”

We both laughed about it and ended up hugging each other. She wished me a safe ride as I headed away, very glad that I’d circled back and thinking about how much we’d all benefit from a few more one-on-one human moments like that: taking a moment to give the benefit of the doubt and respond with understanding and kindness, rather than reflexively going away angry or annoyed. Taking the time to connect, not to assume.

Kindness is an undervalued virtue, in my mind. It somehow has a reputation as a “wimpy” response, when it can take far more discipline, more mindfulness, more internal toughness to respond with kindness, most especially when that’s not what you’re receiving from someone else. My mother embodied kindness and I think of my kindness reflex as one of the greatest gifts she gave me.

How often, when you’re in a traffic interaction, do you put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment and cut him/her some slack? How quick we are to judge someone and then from there it’s a short step to generalizing that behavior. Tell me you’ve never constructed a sentence in this format right after a negative encounter:

    • “All drivers XYZ!”
    • “Those cyclists never DEFG!”
    • “Why don’t pedestrians JKLMN?”

In talking about kindness I know I run the risk of triggering a lot of comments about the people who “don’t deserve” that response. We want to push back, to stand up for our rights, when someone does something that endangers us on our two wheels. Part of our work at Washington Bikes is to stand up as advocates, working for laws that hold people responsible when they drive dangerously.

I’m not suggesting kindness in response to aggression or to harassment that targets you for one label or another. I’m not suggesting we don’t hold people accountable for distracted or inattentive driving — those penalties should be increased.

I’m thinking more of our personal responses to the thousands of daily acts of carelessness that surround us all.

Our work as advocates is intended to improve interactions on the street for everyone. When it’s safer and more pleasant, more people will ride. While we must change the laws, we won’t get kinder, safer, streets using only the law as a tool.

Our work as advocates is intended to improve interactions on the street for everyone. Kindness…Click To Tweet

Look at what MADD did about drunk driving and how they did it. They used a combination of tough penalties and a change in social norms. Austin rider Adam Butler is attempting to use a simple wave of the hand as a tool to change the tone of interactions between people on wheels and people behind wheels.

Most days if I’m paying attention I notice small acts of kindness on the streets — if I’m looking for kindness. If I’m looking for people to act like jerks and break the rules, guess what I’ll notice? Human nature being what it is, every single day offers me a dose of each. I figure it’s up to me to decide which taste lingers longest.

Try a little kindness: Thoughts on our human interactions on the street.Click To Tweet

A little Glen Campbell to take you out, with those appropriate lyrics I stumbled across looking for things on this topic:

Related Reading & Viewing
  • “On Kindness,” essay by Cord Jefferson: A beautiful piece that has nothing to do with bicycling
  • WeWave, on Adam Butler’s effort to start a friendly movement
  • Kindness, song by David Wilcox (turns out kindness is a theme in lots of songs — these are only a couple of those found along the way)
  • Kindness, song by AcoustiMandoBrony
 Your Turn
  • What do you remember most at the end of a ride — the positive interactions or the negative ones?
  • How do you think this would change if you consciously thought of kindness as one of the skills you bring to riding?

 

The post A Little Kindness appeared first on Washington Bikes.

Tell Them Washington Bikes: Take the Voice of Washington State Survey Today

News from the Bicycle Alliance of Washington - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 10:00am

Think Washington state doesn’t pay enough attention to biking and walking? Now’s your chance to let them know you want better and more investments in biking.

Make sure Washington state leaders know bicycling matters.

The Washington State Transportation Commission is out in the field with its Voice of Washington State survey panel. The purpose? To understand Washingtonians’ perspectives on transportation issues that impact their daily lives. The results of the survey are presented to transportation decision makers, including the legislature and Governor.

For perhaps the first time in the survey’s existence, the Washington State Transportation Commission asks a range of questions about biking and walking.

Washington Bikes has had concerns about the survey in the past, but with its noticeable focus on biking and walking this go-around, please take the estimated 12 minutes to provide your input about how much you bike, and why you want the state to make more investments in biking.

Join the Voice of Washington State panel today to let them know Washington Bikes!

Petition for Better Bicycling

While you’re at it, sign the Washington Bikes petition to ask the Governor and state legislature to make safer bicycling a top priority and to invest in more bike lanes and trails and improved road designs to create a complete network of bicycle connections.

Name * First Last * Last Email * Phone Address (Optional) Providing your street address lets us identify your legislative district and send you information about issues and votes in which your state legislators play a key role when they come up. Address Line 2 City * State * AL AK AR AZ CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MH MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY Postal Code *

Just signed petition to #WAleg asking for focus on safety, $$ for better bike connections.Click To Tweet

 

The post Tell Them Washington Bikes: Take the Voice of Washington State Survey Today appeared first on Washington Bikes.

In victory for clean energy development, court upholds transmission planning order

News from NW Energy Coalition - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 8:24am
In a major win for clean energy development, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel this summer unanimously upheld a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) directive aimed at modernizing transmission planning around the country. The decision gives strong support to the contention that utility-by-utility transmission planning is not enough, because energy resources and transmission lines are already widely shared across the power grid. Regional planning is needed to capture important benefits for clean energy, the environment and consumers.

Hope for Conservation and Peace in the Korean Demilitarized Zone

News from Conservation International - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 7:00am
Could a rebounding wilderness help build peace between the two Koreas?