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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Down To Earth

Another Green Monday

Oh Hoopfest. This year DTE regrettably decided to watch from the sidelines as Spokane hosted the preeminent three on three basketball tournament in the world. All we could do is talk trash and make sure players decided to shoot for the recycle bins. Yes, we were disappointed by the lack of recycling information considering the massive scale of the event. The Downtown Partnership touted its four recycling bins, hardly a cause for dancing in the streets considering the 200, 000 players and fans, most with bottles in hand. We even caught CH2M Hill as a court sponsor, thinking they could hide from us. DTE never forgets. Despite all the moaning, Hoopfest remains an extraordinary event where everybody comes to play the best game on Earth, in our humble hoop dream opinion. Maybe the early morning pessimism stems from a case of the Mondays---we just punched each other for saying that---on a day that should be best spent out on the river. Here are some interesting stories you might’ve missed during the madness.

Photo of The Plastiki. (Image courtesy of ecorazzi)

Message in a bottle (on a ship of bottles). With respect to Thor Heyerdahl’s famous voyage, a ship of plastic bottles called “The Plastiki” will sail the Pacific on an 11,000 mile journey to send a message. “Waste is fundamentally a design flaw. We wanted to design a vessel that would epitomize waste being used as a resource," said expedition leader David de Rothschild in the AP. Named after Heyerdahl’s 1947 “Kon-Tiki” raft, one of the team members is Josian Heyerdahl, an environmental scientist, the granddaughter of the explorer. The plan is for “The Plastiki” to be a 60-foot catamaran with the hulls made of 10,000 empty bottles stacked to make it float. No word on when they’ll set sail. Full story HERE. Also, check out their homepage, at 

Dear Science: Meet the new boss…same as the old boss? By now, we hope readers are aware of the overwhelming evidence that the White House of yesteryear censored reports on global warming to delay action. So we rejoiced when Obama said “the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.” However, new reports claimed the Obama administration went the other route by having the EPA suppressing science to fit its own ideology on climate action. Say it ain’t so. (Okay, spoiler alert: The agency rejected the report because the dude was an economist pretending to be a climatologist. What a mix-up!) Full coverage of this debacle in truthiness HERE.

University of Idaho ecosystem restoration project.  The University of Idaho announced last week that they would partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District to move forward with the Paradise Creek Ecosystem Restoration project - a project that includes, "new channel construction and development of access pathways for a portion of the creek that runs through the University of Idaho campus," according to the press release. Brian Johnson, assistant vice president of facilities at the University of Idaho said in a statement, "It not only includes environmental improvements, but also provides flood control and storm water management. Read more about this story HERE.

Two stories last week about National Parks and carbon emissions.  First, on Tuesday the Associated Press reported about the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency starting the Climate Friendly Parks network program to help parks address climate change.  With federal stimulus dollars rolling in (to the tune of $750 million for National Parks), officials are doing their part to address carbon emissions.  "We know we have to green our own house," said Sonya Capek, the Pacific West region's environmental program coordinator. "It's part of our mission to protect and preserve the resources."  Read more HERE. 

Then on Wednesday, a report in The Seattle Times talked about pollution from a coal-fired power plant in Centralia, WA, "causing haze and poor visibility in Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks."  Local environmental groups sent a petition to the U.S. Department of Interior asking them to explore and expand a 1995 certification for emissions from the power plant. "This petition will go a long way toward better preserving the environment of our parks, while protecting the way of life of Northwest citizens," said Sean Smith, National Parks Conservation Association policy director.  Read more about this story HERE. 

"Cities are becoming robotized and retro at the same time," - Timothy Egan.  In his latest column in The New York Times, Timothy Egan writes about how in our fast paced world, with technological advances and the ability to operate without humans, how cities are becoming less personable, while at the same time neighborhoods are becoming more personable.  It's a difficult theory to follow, and in our opinion, Egan may have been stretching to combine the ideas, but he brings up some interesting points.... and it's Egan so we read it.  One gem in this pieces is Egan's take on local horticulturists, and since we're in that boat of new urban gardeners, it was fun to read how he and his fellow Seattleites were getting along.  Read the column HERE. 

Down To Earth

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