Notes from SEA Meeting of September 16, 2012

Attendance: Mary M, Isa, Mike, Jack, Ellen, Mary D, Janet

Convened:  The meeting was held at Ellen’s house.  It began at 4:30 p.m. following 30 minutes of socializing.


  • Facilitator: Mary M
  • Note taker: Jack
  • Timekeeper: Mike


  • Carry-forward items from last meeting
  • Updates: climate change, coal trains, Tar Sands Oil
  • Election support
  • Energy Efficiency Day proposal
  • Big Picture Discussion

Carry-forward items from last meeting

  • Environmental Movie Night:  “The Last Mountain” is the film of choice.  We’ll pursue a get together sometime later in the fall.  It was suggested we invite others who are not currently part of SEA.
  • Bill McKibben Rolling Stone article:  Mike observed that if the oil companies were to leave the $20 trillion untapped in the ground, then the economic impact would be felt by all of us, and that we would need to be prepared for that.  The 2008 housing crisis would pale by comparison.


  • There is a two-hour training on how to talk others about climate change that will be happening on Tuesday, September 18, from 10:00-12:00 at the Seattle Municipal Tower.  Those who can are invited/encouraged to attend.
  • The scoping period for the EIS for coal trains has not yet been announced.  When it is announced, it is expected to be open for 120 days.  The Power Past Coal coalition meets the third Thursday of every month, with the next meeting on September 20 at 6:00 at the Sierra Club offices.  Mary M and Isa have staffed tables at PPC events and have found it rewarding and interesting.  They encourage other SEA members to try it.  Data entry is still needed as well.
  • Tar Sands Oil
    • City Council member Mike O’Brien and Forest Ethics have decided not to bring the issue to the full council this fall as they originally intended.  Instead, they want to take more time to better understand the broader issues about fuel sourcing before addressing the issue with the council next spring.  Mike feels certain that this delay is not a way to conveniently let the issue die, but that it represents a legitimate, committed approach to helping ensure that the issue is well researched before it is raised with the entire council.
    • Bill McKibben is coming to Town Hall on November 7th.  We would like to encourage SEA members (and others we might invite) to attend.  Mike will send an e-mail invitation and Mary D will see if it is possible to purchase a block of tickets for group seating.
  • Election Support Opportunities:  The Obama campaign has recently opened a Shoreline office at 1622 NE 179th Street in Shoreline.  Inslee campaign headquarters is on Rainier Avenue near the Goodwill store.  Janet has done some work for Inslee.  Mary D will find out about possibilities for working for Obama; Jack will investigate opportunities to support Cantwell.

Energy Efficiency Day:  Janet, Jack and Mark had met to flesh out ideas about this idea that was originally proposed by Janet.  From that meeting, Mark wrote this summary description of the idea:

This would be a designated day, once a year, on which everyone employed by the city (or county) government would be encouraged to contribute ideas on how changes in policy or practice might end up making significant energy savings and/or reducing carbon footprint at their workplace. All submitted ideas would be evaluated by a group or committee tasked for the purpose, and winning ideas would be not only recognized as such, but there would be a commitment/promise to put the ideas into effect where feasible.

Janet plans to contact the director of facilities for King County, the head of the Parks Department for the City, and Council Member Mike O’Brien’s office to make appointments to pitch the idea.  Anyone can join her, Jack and Mark in any meetings she’s able to arrange.  Other suggestions were made, including (1) posting something on the city’s “be heard” web site (, (2) because City Light has already been involved in energy conservation, contacting someone within that department, (3) seeing if the county has a comparable “green person,” and (4) identifying which organizations might be likely partners to help implement the idea.

Big Picture Discussion: Mike, Ellen and Mary D had met to plan a sharing time in which the group would be invited to “step back” and “take stock” about how each was feeling about the work we have been doing.  It was to be a “checking-in” time to find out where each of us was and what keeps us going.

Mike outlined the structure for the activity:

  • Two questions would be posed in two successive rounds.  During each round, each person would have the opportunity to respond to the question or to pass.  There would be no discussion, just respectful listening to what the speaker was saying.
  • After the questions had been posed, then discussion could occur.  If a member wanted to ask about something another had said in the opening rounds, s/he must first ask permission of the speaker.

These two questions were posed:

  1. When you look at the big picture regarding the state of the environment, what do you see?  What are you feeling?  What comes up for you personally?
  2. What keeps you going forward with this work, and how can this group help?

For approximately 45 minutes, the group shared their individual responses to these questions, voicing a range of feelings from anger to discouragement to hope.  The SEA group was cited as a source of support for many of us, and something that kept us engaged.

Review of “to do” items

  • Election Support Opportunities: Mary D will check on opportunities to work for Obama and Inslee; Jack will check on opportunities to work for Cantwell.
  • McKibben Town Hall talk: Mike will research options for a place to gather for a pre or post function; Mary D will check on the possibility of group seating
  • Janet will continue to identify people within county or city government with whom to meet to explore the Energy Efficiency Day idea.

Next meetings

  • Second Sunday in October (Oct 14)
    • Mary D’s house
    • 6:00 p.m. socializing;  6:30-8:00 p.m. meeting time
    • Roles: Facilitator = Jack; Notes = Mark; Time keeper = Mary M
  • Second Sunday in November (Nov 11)
    • Possibly a time to watch and discuss The Last Mountain

Adjournment at 6:07 p.m.


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