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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Down To Earth

Another Green Monday

We're excited. There's a bit more daylight each day. There’s news of the work being done to remake our nation. There's hope but not without a realization of sacrifice. Perhaps Obama best described it best last Tuesday when he said we cannot “consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.” Here are some noteworthy stories, local and national, you may have missed:

March Madness starting early on the campus of Eastern Washington University. Though Eastern’s basketball team is pretty good this year and has a shot at making the Big Dance (gloats two proud EWU alumnus) the sort of madness we are talking about here is RecycleMania, a 10-week competition that pits colleges and universities in a nationwide contest to see who can reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste.  Last years winner, Kalamazoo College in Michigan, recycled 59 percent of its trash - based on a per capita scale - and will defend its title against over 200 colleges and universities across the country.  Read more about RecycleMania in EWU's student newspaper, The Easterner, HERE.  

Who's protecting the Spokane River?  Defending and supporting the Spokane River often feels like trying to explain to people why you drive a dilapidated vehicle - though it likely has deeper meanings to you, they don't get it and to them it's a piece of junk.  And only when someone who can relate to your story hears it do you feel validated.  The Spokane River is a dirty river.  The Spokane River has been a dirty river for a long time.  And if it weren't for people like Rick Eichstaedt with the Center for Justice, the Spokane River would likely be doomed for a disastrous future.  In light of recent wastewater treatment issues surrounding the Spokane River, Spokane journalist extraordinaire and Center for Justice's Communications Director Tim Connor interviewed Rick about how we got here and where we are going.  It's a fascinating interview and if you're the driver of a dilapidated vehicle, a must read.  Check it out HERE.  And then read through some other Spokane River news in the Center for Justice's "Justice Calling Newsletter."

Change has come to the Sierra Club as well.  Carl Pope, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club since 1992, is stepping down from that title to take on a new role as a chairman for a Sierra Club organization with a focus on climate change.  A predecessor has not been found and Pope will stay on as Executive Director until so.  Under Pope, the Sierra Club enjoyed a nearly quarter-million increase in membership while increasing its visibility and role in protecting millions of acres of wilderness.  DTE became members under Pope and will always remember the increasing pressure applied on former President Bush's careless actions towards wilderness and the environment - all the way up to the day he left office.  Read more from The New York Times HERE. 

Cannon Hill park photo courtesy of Historic Spokane.

Big stormwater proposal eases Spokane River pollution. A story in the Spokesman-Review should definitely garner much attention today for South Hill residents. It’s about a stormwater runoff resolution that will change the landscape, diverting three blocks of excess into a subterranean trench on the west side of Cannon Hill Park near Lincoln Street, keeping pollution out of the river. The collection area model has worked well in other cities but hasn’t been tried in Spokane. Neighborhood council Chairman Dennis Anderson said the idea has won support because “it’s a win-win situation from an ecological point of view.” A resolution endorsing the proposal goes before the City Council during its 6 p.m. meeting tonight. More 

It’s Monday morning. So here we are and in no time we’re witness to a sharp break with the past. Today, President Obama is expected to direct federal regulators to enact stricter automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards in 13 states (including Washington) and, most pointedly California, where the Bush administration rejected their attempts at a similar proposal in late 2007.

According to the NYT, he will “order federal departments and agencies to find new ways to save energy and be more environmentally friendly...highlight the elements in his $825 billion economic stimulus plan intended to create jobs around renewable energy.” Other topics:

Double renewable energy generating capacity over three years, enough to power six million American homes.

Pay for 3,000 miles of transmission lines for a national electric grid and 40 million “smart meters,” to provide instant readouts of electricity use on homes in the country.

Refurbish two million homes and 75 percent of federal building space to better guard against the weather and conserve enough energy to save low-income families $350 a year and the federal government $2 billion a year. More.

“This is a complete reversal of President Bush’s policy of censoring or ignoring global warming science,” said Daniel J. Weiss , director of climate strategy at the Center for America Progress. “With the fuel economy measures and clean energy investments in the recovery package, President Obama has done more in one week to reduce oil dependence and global warming than George Bush did in eight years.”

Suddenly, it seems these viable solutions, not long ago dismissed as unrealistic and on the fringe, will go mainstream and renew the American way of life. So get ready.

Down To Earth

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