Tag Archives: pollution

Something in the air

The Sightline Institute has a new parenting series on its Daily Score blog. Rather than simply discussing personal parenting choices, the series, Sustainababy: Growing up Green, examines parenthood “through the lens of sustainability policy.” Not to discount the power of personal choices (“Be the change you want to see” is, after all, my personal motto), but I’m really glad to see this. Certainly, policy has a huge impact on children’s health–arguably much greater than the individual decisions parents make.

The first entry, “Breathing for Two,” discusses air quality and its effects on unborn babies.

Early in my pregnancy I developed a bloodhound’s sense of smell: even the faintest of odors overwhelmed me. It’s a common phenomenon during the first trimester of pregnancy, yet my new nasal superpower took me by surprise–and forced me into an unwelcome awareness of the pollution that surrounds all of us. Car and truck exhaust, to my unusually acute nose, was pure poison. It made me recoil, hold my breath, gag, choke. My new super-nose could detect the smell all over the place–waiting at the bus stop in my quiet Seattle neighborhood, wafting through 5th floor downtown office windows, even at the park and in my own backyard. I realized, perhaps for the first time, that the air I breathe really stinks.

It’s definitely worth it to read the entire post–and the others in the series. The folks at Sightline want feedback and ideas from parents (and interested nonparents) around the region, so check it out–and chime in.

What’s a little cell-phone talking compared to the future of Puget Sound?

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a sunny Saturday afternoon at Green My Ride, that alternative transportation fair in Phinney I told you about. It was a great event, and not just because there were two different booths selling cookies the size of my face. It was well-planned, informative, and fun, with tons of information and encouragement to help people change their transportation habits.

My favorite part of the fair was the Environmental Jeopardy (pun intended, I assume) game at the Seattle Parks booth. Bill from the Piper’s Creek Watershed Project played host, presiding diplomatically over my bitter (if not unexpected) loss to Bus Nerd. I swear, the man beats me at every contest we undertake, be it physical or mental. It seems that the only thing I can do better than him is speak French, and that’s just because I had a substantial head start. But I digress.

The board, mid-contest

The game was fun despite my loss, and I learned a lot (more) about the environmental impacts of driving. A statistic of particular note: Each year, through stormwater runoff from roads and parking lots, Puget Sound experiences an oil spill that is over half the size of the Exxon Valdez (roughly 7 million gallons). Talk about a good reason to ride!

I would have told you about this sooner, but I never got around to contacting Bill to get his source. Fortunately, he remembered to contact me–and to send me the Seattle Times article where he found the information. It’s worth taking the time to read.

It’s also worth taking the time to find out more about the Piper’s Creek Watershed Project, an effort largely responsible for restoring the salmon population in Carkeek Park.

The Piper’s Creek Watershed is a drainage basin in the northwest corner of the City of Seattle, including parts of the Greenwood, Crown Hill, Broadview, and Blue Ridge neighborhoods. Although some water comes from underground springs, most of the water in Piper’s Creek (in Carkeek Park) comes from stormwater … running off the roofs and pavement in these neighborhoods. In 1990, after three years of work, a dedicated committee … completed the Piper’s Creek Watershed Action Plan. Since then, the work directed by this plan has resulted in many improvements in the Piper’s Creek Watershed.

After you’ve read the rest of the project’s annual report (on the bus, of course), you can sign up to receive e-mail updates from Bill and his cohorts. Then, you can use your newfound knowledge to make more Watershed-friendly choices–or at least to give Bus Nerd a run for his Environmental Jeopardy money.