‘This is Zero Hour’ youth march for the environment crosses the Central District

Saturday’s national wave of demonstrations and marches for climate action led by a Seattle teenager included a march through the Central District.

Zero Hour, founded last year by Seattle teen Jamie Margolin, organized Saturday’s rally and march from Garfield to Pratt Park:

Enough is enough. We, the youth, believe that #thisisZeroHour to act on climate change. We cannot afford to wait any longer for adults to protect our right to the clean and safe environment, the natural resources we need to not just survive, but flourish. We know that we are the leaders we have been waiting for!

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Plastic sucks: Seattle ban on non-compostable straws and utensils set to begin

Better stock up on compostable mermaids (Image: CHS)

Beginning Sunday, you had better not find plastic straws, utensils, or cocktail picks inside your favorite Capitol Hill bars, cafes, and restaurants.

July 1st marks the start of the city’s ban on the petroleum-based items that can’t be recycled and are adding to the bursting city’s garbage problem.

“Plastic pollution is surpassing crisis levels in the world’s oceans, and I’m proud Seattle is leading the way and setting an example for the nation by enacting a plastic straw ban,” Seattle Public Utilities general manager Mami Hara said in an announcement on the ban. “We are excited to continue our work looking for ways to reduce our plastic footprint and will continue to lead the way,” Hara said.

Seattle is believed to be the first large city in the country to enact such a ban. Continue reading

To make sure Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center does not stand alone, Seattle looks to boost Living Buildings

(Image: Bullitt Center)

Over the years since the Bullitt Center first rose on Capitol Hill, Seattle has tried to build a system to repeat the project’s success across the city. Seattle is, of course, facing an affordability crisis — but it also faces the risks of continued global warming and climate change. In an effort to make construction of super-duper environmentally friendly buildings more attractive, the Seattle City Council Monday is ready to approve new legislation giving developers more incentives, and a lighter punishment for a failed attempt to create “Living Buildings.”

The original Living Building program started as a pilot program in 2010, (amended in 2012, 2014 and 2016) to allow up to 20 buildings to be constructed. By meeting energy and water use reduction, property owners would be permitted a bit more density than the zoning would typically allow. Continue reading

Environmental nonprofit Nia Tero ready to put down roots with new Pike/Pine office

A nonprofit dedicated to helping indigenous people efficiently manage the environment is coming to Capitol Hill. The nonprofit Nia Tero looks to move into offices being renovated this summer at 501 E Pine.

The organization will work with indigenous people around the world to help them continue to act as stewards of their land.

“For millennia, indigenous peoples have thrived through connection with their territorial lands and waters. These connections between people and place have shaped societies that sustain some of the most vital natural systems on the planet. Nia Tero exists to support and amplify this guardianship through equitable partnerships with indigenous peoples to sustain and govern large-scale territories,” says the group’s website. Continue reading

Mayor’s office: Durkan ‘misspoke’ on development as #1 Seattle greenhouse polluter — UPDATE

The mayor’s office says its boss messed up Saturday when she told the crowd at a Capitol Hill town hall that new development was the number one cause of greenhouse gases in Seattle.

CHS reported on the town hall’s wide ranging conversation that included Mayor Jenny Durkan’s comments on homelessness, transit, and affordability.

The mayor started off alright when it came to the environment:

While the city seems to be struggling to make real changes to its streets to address the concerns, Durkan also said Saturday her city needs to move away from dependency on cars. Speaking to Seattle’s future, Durkan addressed an audience member’s concern over climate change and Seattle’s struggle to reduce greenhouse gasses as the city continues to grow. “We gotta get rid of the single occupancy vehicles and move to electricity, electric busses, cabs, Ubers and Lyfts,” she said. “But we don’t want electric vehicles to become another demarcation of inequity.”

But she stumbled on a surprising pivot looking at Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning through the prism of its environmental impact: Continue reading

Sunny days for Capitol Hill solar with plans for Miller ‘microgrid,’ five years of Bullitt Center

Happy 5th birthday, Bullitt Center

Sunday — Earth Day 2018 — Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center at 15th and Madison celebrated five years at “the greenest office building” in the world. At this point, Earth Day is probably the kind of thing we should think about all year round. A new project at Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center is set to make the Seattle Parks facility part of an important test case for the city with plans for a $3.3 million solar microgrid to be installed in early 2019.

“Seattle is a leader in climate change, and with this project, we are adding sustainable, emission-free energy to the community,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in the announcement of the project to be funded through City Light investing $1.8 million and a $1.5 million state Clean Energy Fund matching grant from the Washington Department of Commerce. “Protecting our environment and lowering operating costs of our facilities makes good economic sense and is an important step as we move towards becoming a green economy.”

The $3.3 million “demonstration project” microgrid is expected to reduce the amount of electricity Seattle Parks buys from Seattle City Light, while saving about $4,000 annually, and about $70,000 over the 14-year life of the project, the city says. Continue reading

Your ‘aspirational recycling’ is only part of Seattle’s trash problem — Happy Earth Day, Capitol Hill!

It should come as no surprise that Seattle’s recycling game is among the top 10 of major United States cities but it might be a good time for a refresher considering 15 tons of material put in the recycling bin is rejected each day from the sorting plant.

“The Pacific Northwest is pretty good at recycling overall but it’s important to note, just because you recycle something, doesn’t mean it will be recycled,” said general manager of the local Recology/CleanScapes sorting facility Kevin Kelly. Taking the time to learn and properly stow materials will decrease the risk of those carefully sorted items ending up in the trash.

The stakes for getting the sorting done in your home have risen. The demand for Seattle materials has dropped hugely since 2017, Kelly said, due to losing China’s business which accounted for 50% of sales. China withdrew from international mixed-paper and glass markets with no sign of return after deeming the level of contaminants in recycling exports too high. The ban went into effect January 2018 and has impacted markets all over the world. In a few cases, without a buyer, tons of ready to be recycled goods around King County are being sent to the landfill. Continue reading

Seattle’s bid to cut emissions and traffic includes downtown tolling by 2021, Pike and Pine protected bike lanes ‘ASAP’

City Hall is putting together a plan to toll downtown Seattle streets before the end of her first term in 2021, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Tuesday.

Meanwhile, City Council transportation committee head Mike O’Brien is pushing for a more immediate effort to complete new protected bike lanes on Pike and Pine with money from the Washington State Convention Center expansion.

Both efforts come as Seattle seeks to ease congestion in its core and cut the some 6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions created every year in the city. Continue reading

CHS Pics | At a Capitol Hill church, new green cisterns resurrect the rain


With the story of Christ’s resurrection and all that jazz, Easter, we suppose, is a story of recycling. Capitol Hill’s Prospect Congregational United Church of Christ is now ready for the Seattle rain it captures to rise again.

“The members of Prospect United Church of Christ are excited to have these two cisterns as tangible evidence of our willingness to walk the talk about caring for our environment,” church pastor, Meighan Pritchard said in the announcement of two new cisterns installed under the county and city’s joint RainWise rebate program at the 94-year-old church at the corner of 20th Ave E and E Prospect.
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Grants power new solar arrays atop Harborview, Seattle Central

(Image: Harborview Medical Center)

First Hill’s Harborview is installing the largest solar array of any hospital in the state with help from City of Seattle and federal grants.

“Harborview is committed to sustainability in our operations,” Pam Jorgensen, assistant the hospital’s administrator of facilities and engineering said in the announcement of the project. “This solar project will help us meet our carbon reduction goals, create redundant power for the West Hospital in case of an emergency, and demonstrate the feasibility of solar power on healthcare facilities.”

McKinstry is the design-build firm on the project.

Grants from City Light’s Green Up program and the Department of Commerce are helping to fund the project:

Seattle City Light’s Green Up program, which provides funding for local renewable energy programs and projects, awarded Harborview $50,000. The Department of Commerce’s Energy Efficiency Grant Program helps state and local agencies pay for energy efficiency upgrades and solar installations, and awarded Harborview an additional $47,000.

Other Green Up recipients include Capitol Hill Housing and Seattle Central: Continue reading