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Wednesday, July 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Down To Earth

Another Green Monday


This one is for the so-called uptight Seattleites. Crosscut has a sardonic list of “Six things you cannot say in Seattle,” something Spokane readers might find themselves agreeing with. “Newcomers to Seattle quickly find we’re a cultural minefield of prejudice and political correctness. So here’s a list of conversation stoppers--- things you just can’t say in polite company,” writes columnist Knute Berger. Example: 1. “Recycling is a hassle.” Oops. You mustn’t complain about sorting cantaloupe rinds from Kleenex. Anyone who yearns for the good old days when garbage was garbage is rooting for planetary death. Seattle is a city of dedicated recyclers — it’s one of the things that makes us morally superior to everyone else. Sort your trash into 50 different containers and do it with a smile, otherwise you’re as suspect as an SUV owner.” Another one is “I like driving better than biking.” So how about it Spokane? What are things we can’t say here? Would it sadly be an inverse of the previous quote---nobody says “biking is better than driving” or perhaps something like “the Valley is pretty cool?” Here are some stories you might’ve missed…

Talkin’ trash. In the June issue of one of DTE’s favorite publications, Mother Jones, you’ll find a special report on waste, which includes a brilliant feature from Bill McKibben, the myth of plastics, solutions, and more. On our hyperconsumption, McKibben offers we built an economy that depends on waste, and boundless waste is what it produced. Getting out of the fix we're in—if it's still possible—requires in part that we relearn some very old lessons. We were once famously thrifty: Yankee frugality, straightening bent nails, saving string,” writes McKibben.

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There’s also a section titled “Curb Your Enthusiasm” which has a rundown of cities lagging far behind when it comes to recycling. It makes Spokane look like green gurus. (Oklahoma City only recycles 3% of it’s trash.) But it’s a potent reminder that the first rule of recycling in the nation is that there are no rules since a 1976 federal law gives states and localities responsibility for how they handle their waste.

Environmentalism in Afghanistan.  It's rare that we take the opportunity to discuss issues in the middle east (not a big fan of that phrase), but this is one that we couldn't pass up.  Afghanistan, for many only assumed to be a desolate war-ravaged land of nothingness, is taking steps to protect its environment.  Afghanistan recently established its first national park, and just last week created a list of 33 protected species.  For more information, check out Andrew Revkin at Dot Earth and his recent post HERE. 

And speaking of rights of nature...  Hopefully by now you have been approached in Spokane by someone representing Envision Spokane.  And because we assume that most of our readers have, we'll also assume you are excited as us about the discussion of rights of nature and envioronmental rights... IN SPOKANE.  But do you know how rare recognized environmental rights are?  In September 2008, the citizens of Ecuador approved the world’s first constitution to extend inalienable rights to nature, and in a recent article on, the associate director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund Mari Margi said, "adopting Ecuador’s constitutional approach in many countries would require nothing short of “a fundamental change in both the legal and cultural atmosphere."  We dont' see any reason Spokane can't pull that off.  Read more of's fascinating article on the rights of nature HERE. 

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Down To Earth

The DTE blog is committed to reporting and sharing environmental news and sustainability information from across the Inland Northwest.