Seattle Environmental Activists’s May 2012 Meeting Highlights
It was a great meeting May 20th, with lots of great ideas and action items for us to move forward on! Anyone who presented on a topic or idea, who would would like to add , clarify or correct, please do so either by commenting, below, or by editing directly in the blog. Also, contact the presenters directly on any topic that you may wish to discuss further.
Some great ideas are near the bottom, so be sure to read all the way through!
- Earth Day at Carkeek event was a lot of fun and great community building for those who attended at Carkeek Park trail building and clearing event, as well as those who enjoyed Mike’s pizza afterwards at Ellen’s. All agreed that these type of “hands-on” group events are an important element of what we do, as they enable us to see the real “on the ground” difference we can make as well as to get to know each other and connect more broadly with our communities. [Ellen, Jack, Mark, Randy, Mary M, Bruce, Mary D, ]
- Greenwood Wetland An opportunity to have another SEA initiated activity was raised by Janet at a small wetland northwest of the intersection of N 85th and Greenwood Ave N. The recently created wetland is already attracting wildlife and needs some tending to ensure it remains a healthy ecosystem. Janet will pursue this opportunity and keep the SEA group informed. [Janet]
- SEA Business Cards with the logo, tag line, and blog address have been tentatively developed for SEA participants who may want to be able to hand it out to friends and contacts as a way to raise awareness to have a way to write down their contact information for outreach. [Mary M]
Tar Sands Update: [Mike D and Mary D]
- Meeting with Council Member Mike O’Brien: Mike D, and Mary D (along with Joey Gray from Tar Sands Action Seattle and Adam Guaya (sp?) of Forest Ethics on the phone) met with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, about the city passing a resolution against using oil from the Alberta Tar Sands, like the resolution passed by the City of Bellingham. As O’Brien was receptive to doing something, they offered to help with the resolution. O’Brien asked about background and technical aspects from Forest Ethics and.
- Salish Sea Coalition Idea: O’Brien suggested a path forward involving a coordinated effort on the climate and environment that would be guided by an informal working group, including representatives from SEA, Forest Ethics, People for Puget Sound, et al. This may be framed as a “Salish Sea Coalition” to protect the inland waters and the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the risks of shipping both coal and tar sands oil by tanker out to the ocean.
- Tar Sands Resolution: All Washington Refineries take some tar sands oil. The effort is to draft a resolution that is in opposition to tar sands oil being used by the City, but make the opposition be from the “well to tank” in it’s approach. They will continue to work with the group to develop a resolution for the City Council to promulgate.
Coal Exports and Coal Trains Updates:
- Coal Hard Facts Forum (Ballard): Mark and Mary M attended the April Coal Hard Facts Forum in Ballard which brought an really large crowd of concerned citizens. Mark provided a summary of the speakers panel and nature of the issues raised, which are also available on the SEA Blog. These Forums are being held around the state along the pathway of the rail lines that will be used by the coal trains. The next Forum will be in Magnolia and is worth attending. [Mark]
- SEA and Sierra Club Activities on Coal Ports: On the third Thursday of each month the Sierra Club hosts a roundtable planning meeting of volunteers and representatives of groups concerned about coal trains coming through the Northwest for export to Asia. Mark and Mary attended the meeting on May 17th with about 12 others many of whom had been involved in earlier coal opposition effort in regard to the Transalta coal-fired power plant at Centralia, which has led to its being decommissioned. Attached, following, are the notes from that meeting prepared by a Sierra Club staffer. Sierra Club 5.17.12 Meeting Notes
- EIS Scoping Hearings: There will be at least 3 and possibly more public hearings for EPA and WA Dept of Ecology to hear from stakeholders on what should be included in the scope of the EIS. Including the geographic scope (just Cherry Point, or all along the rail route) and these are expected to be scheduled beginning in June or there after. The goal is to get at least 2000 people at the Seattle hearing and 3000 for Bellingham. There has been a request made for hearings in many places, from Montana and Idaho, to Spokane and on west. The contractor for the hearings has been hired, as dates are established there will be a need for help in getting a good turn out. [Mary M]
- EIS Scoping – Letter Writing: Karen (and David) proposed that letter writing would be an effective avenue for SEA members to encourage the lead agencies for the scoping of the SEPA and NEPA required Environmental Impact Statement to include impacts on fisheries, region wide pollution impacts, economic impacts, etc. Karen will draft some possible letters to give others a start at writing their letters. More will be provided by Karen at a future meeting but having the letters sent during June or the beginning of the the scoping period will be important to their being considered. [Karen & David]
- Action Opportunities:
- Attend City Council Hearings on Coal Trains Resolution. Mike spoke at the Energy and Env Committee Hearing on May 22nd and on May 29th there will be a full City Council Hearing at 2:00 pm in the Council Chambers (Second Floor, 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA). Anyone who can possibly attend should try to do so. At 1:30 there will be a Press Conference by the Sierra Club on the first floor of City Hall. The more people who attend (whether the choose to take 2 minutes to speak at the hearing or not), the greater attention the public concern about coal trains coming through Seattle will get. [Mike or Mary]
- Come to 3rd Thursday Task Force meetings and weekly Tuesday Phone Banking sessions at the Sierra Club, 180 Nickerson St, #202, Seattle, WA 98109, 206.378-0114. There is a need for volunteers to “man” tables at community events and help at the upcoming Magnolia Coal Hard Facts Forum, as well as do outreach to businesses on the coal trains. [Mary M or Mark]
- Take Action: Volunteer! To volunteer and help out even for just a couple hours (or more) contact Robin Everett at Sierra Club at 206 3780114 ext 308. Talk to Mark or Mary M about the phone banking each Tuesday and 3rd Thursday task force meetings. They are great people to work with and there is always free pizza and beer! [Mary M or Mark]
Positive Futures Idea(s):
- Solar Project: Mike D raised the idea that if our group included more people we could consider a third project (in addition to the projects around Coal Trains and Tar Sands), which could make an effort to envision “Positive Futures” such as Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute has been promoting in his book Natural Capitalism relating to business innovation. Washington D.C. may be deadlocked but there needs to be thinking and moving toward positive alternatives, (i.e. not just opposition to negative alternatives). There was support for this by the group.
- Reality is Broken/World Without Oil “Game”: Mary D raised another approach that might prompt positive alternatives using gaming to come up with innovative solutions based upon the book Reality is Broken. Watch and hear the author Jane McGonigal of the Institute for the Future on TED [and also on Stephen Colbert.] explain why she believes we can save the world with more game playing. She advocates that problems like climate change can be resolved with more people playing the right games! Exciting idea! Watch the TED Talk to learn more and get inspired! [Mary D] There was enthusiastic response to the idea by some and Janet noted that Bruce as a teacher of game design, could really be a help in exploring this idea. [Janet] To be continued.
SEA Summer Outreach Picnic: The summary SEA Gathering will be held on Saturday, June 16th, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm with details to follow. The purpose is to both build community among the current members and to share what we are doing with others who may be interested. Put this on your calendar and start letting your friends know about this opportunity to hear about your work. Pray for sun!
Next Meeting: The next meeting with be on Sunday, June 10th, from 6:00 to 8:00pm at Ellen’s. Jack will facilitate and we need a volunteer for timekeeping and note taking.
Thanks to anyone who has read this far and for your prize contact me… asap!
Mary M (notetaker)