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Wednesday, August 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Down To Earth

Another Green Monday

When it comes to events, could every month in Spokane be April? While we're bursting with energy from upcoming bike activities, Earth Day festivities, and, yes, DTE events, last Friday marked the kickoff of the 11th Annual GetLit! It’s hard to believe that five years ago Eastern Washington University Press drew in Sarah Vowell, Kurt Vonnegut (R.I.P), Garrison Keillor, and Harvey Pekar, but this year’s environmental writers, Paul Roberts and David Suzuki, respectively, are obviously enough to keep us thrilled, and it’s an opportunity to reach a new audience. The big NPR-friendly names might’ve skipped town this year. Oh well. GetLit! remains a remarkable and vital community event, a week of readings, workshops, and panels all over town. We hope you check it out. Full event listings HERE and visit for more information. Here are some noteworthy stories you might’ve missed…

“Treat us like cars.” So says local cycling guru John Speare. And he’s right. On Saturday morning at the quagmire intersection that is Riverside and Monroe, a car stopped for DTE to turn while they had the right away. This happens all the time. Even in this article from the S-R, you’ll find kindness can kill, as the piece explores an always fascinating dichotomy: The relationship between automobiles and cyclists. Full Story HERE.

Some cyclist requests in the article:

•Don’t pass and then make a right-turn just in front of them two seconds later.
•Don’t admonish them to ride on the sidewalks – it’s illegal in some places around here and inappropriate in many others.
•When parked on the street, please look behind you before opening a car door.



Thomas Friedman’s moustache tingles; climate change finds an unlikely
 We’ve beefed with Friedman before on his schizophrenic coal stance. However, David Roberts from Grist takes Friedman bashing to a new level with a rant about his recent NYT column that does incalculable damage as Congress begins hearings this week on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, what Roberts calls the “most important legislative effort of our generation.” You can read the post HERE and his follow-up HERE where Roberts spends too much time explaining himself. (Admin. note-- there’s a bit of cursing in the rant.)The point is Friedman inadvertently caused division. And we shudder at the idea of him pompously carrying the ball when he writes “[O]ur energy policy should be focused around ‘American renewal,’ not mitigating climate change,” curiously neglecting the jobs that come with new clean energy and energy efficient technologies.

Soap bootleggers dirtying Spokane’s clean attempt at river protection. This city has a serious problem – so you say it has many, and you may be right – but a stagnant attitude of unwillingness to change hovers above this city making it pretty damn hard to make a difference. And now that is on display in one of the nation’s largest newspapers with last Monday’s story in the Los Angeles Times about Spokane County’s phosphorous ban and how citizens are heading into Idaho for their soap fix. Luckily the writer, Kim Murphy, made it very clear that phosphorous is in the process of being phased out of dishwashing detergents entirely and that Spokane is just the first to put it into effect, showcasing our commitment to cleaning up our waterways in every way that we can. But hey, it’s cool, those soap bootleggers recycled so it’s all good. Read the story in the LA Times HERE.

Green National Parks – a no-brainer right? Combine the tens of thousands of vehicles, with the immense amount of trash generated by visitors, and the heavy loads of power necessary to sustain operation, and the results are National Parks with a serious carbon footprint issue. Not quite the reputation John Muir would have envisioned. But that’s all about to change as Washington’s National Parks (Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic) are working with the EPA to reduce greenhouse-gas emission according to the Tacoma News Tribune. While the Western region office is going as far as hoping to be carbon neutral by 2016 – which is the centennial year of the Park Service. So what exactly is in store at our local National Parks – read more 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.