Puget Sound Energy to Present a Program on Buying Alternative Energy – September 18

We have written, on this blog, about Puget Sound Energy’s “Green Power” program and about carbon offsets. PSE is sponsoring a program, on September 18th, entitled “Buying Alternative Energy in WA State.” Included in the program will be topics on “Offsetting Your Carbon,” “PSE Demonstration Projects,” “Ways to Save Energy at Home,” and PSEs Vision for a Sustainable Energy Future.

September 18
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
5th & Water
Olympia, WA, 98501

A question and answer period will follow. The event is sponsored by Olympia Climate Action Group and is free. For more information, contact junzk@comcast.net

What’s Your Contribution to “The Great Plastic Bag Plague”?

Back in the 1980’s, we started hearing “paper or plastic?” when it came time to check out, at the supermarket. Bagging our purchases, in some sort of bag, had long before that become standard practice. Nowadays, it’s practically impossible to make even the smallest purchase without having it bagged, whether we want the bag or not.

One of the most disturbing things I’ve read, in recent weeks, has to do with the effect of plastic bags on the environment of the ocean. Living near the sea, as we do, I was particularly dismayed to learn this factoid:

The Algalita Marine Research Foundation learned that “broken, degraded plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. That means six pounds of plastic for every single pound of zooplankton.” Which means, when birds and sea animals or looking for food — more often, they are finding plastic.

This has a certain effect of bringing the “paper or plastic” question in to sharp focus. Indeed, it is no longer a question of “paper or plastic.” Instead, we should all be using reusable bags, and carefully securing our plastic bags, so they don’t get out into the environment, until we can responsibly recycle them.

Californians Against Waste estimate that Americans consume 84 billion plastic bags annually. How many of those plastic bags are you responsible for? Even worse, how many of your plastic bags are now to be found floating somewhere in Puget Sound?

To read the entire article, click here.

Imagine if this sort of thing were going on, at the Island Market:

Let the Trees Fall – County Lifts Building Moratorium

The sound of chainsaws, abated somewhat, over the last several months, because of the County’s development moratorium, ought to be heard more and more often, around these parts. According to The Olympian, “Thurston County planners are bracing for a flood of development applications in the coming months now that county commissioners have lifted the building moratorium in a rural portion of the county. More than 5,000 property owners are affected.”

“The new rules impose stricter limits on rural housing densities and force low-density zoning on environmentally sensitive areas.”

The newspaper is reporting that, under the new rules, “Most parcels zoned for one housing unit per 5 acres will keep the same zoning. However, wetlands or critical areas must be subtracted when calculating the number of lots in a subdivision.”

“The good news is the building moratorium is lifted, new zoning rules are in place and developers can submit construction applications to be weighed against those new rules.

The bad news is that this is not the end of the growth-versus-no-growth debate in this community.

Pity the poor property owners who are caught in the middle of the tug-of-war.”

Pity should be extended, too, to homeowners who are not developing their property. Irrespective of the County’s new regulations, we have no reason to expect better County oversight of its regulations, more accurate or more timely processing of development applications, or an improved appreciation for diminishing resources and quality of life. In the rising tide of applications expected with the lifting of the moratorium, corners will be cut.

Read the entire article from The Olympian here.

Click here for the County’s Rural Rezoning page.

Click here for the County’s Critical Areas Update page.

Steamboat Nursery Profiled in Seattle Times “Pacific Northwest” Sunday Magazine

The Steamboat Island Nursery has just received an extensive write-up in the September 2nd issue of The Seattle Times Sunday magazine, “Pacific Northwest.”

The author of the article interviewed Laine McLaughlin and Duane Heier “about the exotic yet drought-tolerant plants being produced and sold” at the nursery.

It’s a terrific article and nicely highlights a local enterprise about which we can be truly proud.

Click here to read the entire article online.

Steamboat Island Nursery
8424 Steamboat Island Road, Olympia
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through September, and by appointment.

For more information about the Steamboat Island Nursery, visit their web site at http://www.steamboatislandnursery.com/