“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
Thank you for voting for the Clean Fuels bill (HB 1091) and the Climate Commitment bill (SB 5126). The relentlessly rising parts per million CO2 in our atmosphere, with its accumulating consequences for people and other species, mandates that we markedly reduce our fossil fuel use. I’m proud that we in Washington State are taking these critically necessary climate actions.
“The critical issue is not what we know but what we do with what we know.” — Admiral Hyman Rickover (father of America’s nuclear Navy, quote seen on the wall at the Navy Exchange in Bangor, WA)
Greta Thunberg said that she doesn’t want our hope; she wants our action—for it is in action that hope is created. And as Emily Johnston, co-founder of 350 Seattle, astutely noted (in her essay “Loving a Vanishing Word,” in the book All We Can Save): “What we do this year or next is worth ten of the same thing ten years from now.
You’re doing it, Senator Rolfes and Senator Randall. In the great challenge of our time—climate change/mass extinction—you’re in the thick of the battle, creating, supporting, and navigating the critically needed environmental and climate legislation that’s needed for the coming generation to have a livable future. The actions by you and many of your Senator/Representative colleagues are “what we do this year or next” made real.
Thank you for your foresight, courage, and abilities, and thank you for leading from the front.
Michael Maddox Poulsbo
Ref: Joseph O’Sullivan and Hal Bernton, “Putting a price on polluting: Washington Senate OKs carbon-cap and clean-fuels bills,” Seattle Times, 9 Apr. 2021, Web, Putting a price on polluting
WEST SOUND CONSERVATION COUNCIL’S HISTORY:PEOPLE ENGAGED FOR THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE WEST SOUND OF THE SALISH SEA
5 April 2021
The environmental advocacy group West Sound Conservation Council (WSCC) is closing its metaphorical doors this year because many of its members have moved on to other projects or entered other phases of life. They are passing the torch of habitat preservation and environmental protection to a new generation of Kitsap Peninsula citizens.
West Sound Conservation Council (now disbanded as a formal organization) was one of the founders of the Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition, the group that brought the now-conserved Port Gamble Heritage Forest into being. The Coalition expanded far beyond WSCC’s early involvement to become the decade-long, multi-group, many-volunteers organization that—under Great Peninsula Conservancy’s leadership—advertised, recruited, negotiated, compromised, innovated, dedicated, and more, eventually raising millions of dollars to purchase thousands of acres of forever forest: the Heritage Forests in Port Gamble and North Kitsap.
The following is a 14 Mar. 2021 email notice from Don Willott, a member of the steering committee for the Master Plan of the Park. He asked that this information be shared with others who might like to participate:
“Help develop the excellent plan our community deserves. Please share with others who might like to participate.”
Pediatrician and Kitsap Sun columnist Niran-Al-Agba, MD, writes a clear and useful column about health issues. This 7 March article talks of the importance of local news and of how having local newspapers available to us, with their reporters out in the community, affects our health.
As her article states:
“the greatest value of local news is to inform and empower citizens”
“without local news, citizens don’t have access to the information to hold government officials accountable, to hold other institutions accountable, and to be active, engaged citizens”
“research shows people lacking local news coverage will be less likely to express opinions about Congressional candidates—and therefore, less likely to vote”
She adds: “As newsrooms shrink, fewer reporters are subject matter experts on things like the environment, government, or healthcare.”
Quality matters, and professional newsrooms–with their editors and standards–help separate the true from the false, and they dig into the details. Newspapers enable discussion of competing interests and their reporters interview experts about issues of consequence. As Niran-Al-Agba comments, “In my opinion, the information you glean from your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is no substitute for quality, professional reporting.
Subscribing to local newspapers—print, online, or both—is an investment in accurate information’s availability, democracy’s strength, our community’s vibrancy, and, as Niran Al-Agba states—our health.
At a 19 Feb. 2021 webinar, American climate leaders from many spheres of influence announced the launching of America Is All In. They talked of the climate actions that have occurred at the subnational level (cities, states, towns) during the last four years, and they projected the climate actions that will occur, now reinforced by federal engagement and with America having rejoined the Paris Climate Accord.
WSU Kitsap Extension publishes an outstanding newsletter with monthly notices of conservation-related education programs, citizen science, and volunteer opportunities. To get on that newsletter, please contact Amy Smalley at email@example.com.
Per my blog posting yesterday (21 Feb. 2021), Washington State Attorney General Bill Ferguson (who I respect very much), says that Clean Cars 2030 (the bill mandating that all new cars in Washington from 2030 onward be electric) would not survive a court challenge. A counter argument is that we now live in a new world where climate change and mass extinction are proceeding relentlessly and that we need to (and in fact scientists are screaming at us to do so) think boldly and dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. As the Kitsap Sun opinion piece by Charlie Michel (referenced below) says: now is the time for electric vehicles, and we now have the technology to covert from gas cars to electric cars.
Given the relentless climb of parts per million CO2, with all the terrible consequences that entails, we can’t afford not to switch.
— Charlie Michel, “Changing the status quo on what we drive,” Kitsap Sun, 19 Feb. 2021, Web, Changing the status quo on what we drive; “Transition time for electric vehicles,” Kitsap Sun, 21 Feb. 2021, Print, 2C.
Michel says that–despite what the naysayers say–the time to switch from gas vehicles to electric vehicles has come. As a retired petroleum engineer, he’s witnessed first-hand how dirty petroleum is, from getting it out of the ground to using it in our cars. He points out that we did not have electric cars to replace gas cars in the past, but technology has advanced, and now we do. For the climate, the environment, and for species, we must switch—and now we can. He observes that the two drags to us doing what needs to be done is the inertia of us choosing to do what’s always been done—which is to use gas cars–and secondly, the resistance by the fossil fuel industry, which wants to delay losing its very profitable business.
Just at the tobacco industry was able to delay by thirty years general acceptance by the public that smoking causes cancer (so as to prolong that industry’s profits), so too does the fossil-fuel industry strive to delay our conversion away from fossil fuels.
[22 Feb. 2021 addendum: Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (whom I respect very much) says that Clean Cars 2030 would not withstand a court challenge. As a counterargument, please see the blog posted 22 Feb. 2021 titled: electric cars—the time is now.]
Industrial aquaculture has been inexorably replacing shoreline habitat in Washington State, aided and abetted by an Army Corps of Engineers blanket approval (Nationwide Permit 48) of most shellfish aquaculture facilities, thereby adding to the death of the Salish Sea by a thousand cuts.
Abirami Subramanian, a 14-year-old sophomore at West Sound Academy in Poulsbo, teamed up with students Serena Griffin, Cambria Bartlett, and Mercy Gilniy to create an award-winning documentary about how our education system fails to adequately teach youth about the environment and the health of our planet. In the documentary, Abi and her colleagues (with guidance by teacher Nisa Frank) suggest that a solution to the lack of education about our planet’s health—and an antidote to misinformation—is project-based learning. Watch the documentary and feel inspired about the upcoming generation. To see the nine-minute documentary, Youth Misinformed, please go to https://myhero.com/youth-misinformed
[Note: I learned about the documentary from the article: Steven Powell, “Poulsbo student wins 3 awards for environmental film,” North Kitsap Herald, 5 Feb. 2021, Print, 5.]
— David Nelson (Editor of the Kitsap Sun), “What the Sun should be known for,” Kitsap Sun, 3 Jan. 2021, Print, 1C and 3C. As Nelson notes, “We are always encouraged by the evidence that when significant news happens this community turns to us.”
— Henry Fountain, Blacki Migliozzi and Nadja Popovich, “Where 2020’s Record Heat Was Felt the Most,” The New York Times, 14 Feb. 2021, Web, Where 2020’s Record Heat Was Felt the Most Spin the Earth around in this graphical-representation article and see, via the whites, pinks, and reds, where the planet did not warm, where it warmed, and where it warmed a lot.
— Story by Chris Mooney, Andrew Freedman and John Muyskens, design by Jake Crump, “2020 rivals hottest year on record,pushing Earth closer to a critical climate threshold,” The Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2021, Web, 2020 rivals hottest year
[Comments sent today to Washington State Senator Christine Rolfes, Representative Tarra Simmons, and Representative Drew Hansen in support of SB 5257 (companion bill HB 1024) via https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/5256.%5D
I first thought when I read that there was a bill that proposed banning new fossil-fuel cars in Washington from 2030 onward: “Well, that’ll never fly.” But then I read the details at https://www.coltura.org/washington-clean-cars, which explained the feasibility and the necessity of new cars being electric, and about the wisdom of us having an efficient electrical grid in Washington, and how going this course will cut greenhouse gases (transportation is the largest source of GHGs in Washington), lower costs for people (the new electric vehicles are on par with, or cheaper than, fossil-fuel cars—when all costs, such as maintenance, are accounted for), and add jobs (as we build the new renewable-fuels world). Under this bill, people can keep their old gas cars, but new cars from 2030 onward would be electric.
I now think it’s not only workable, but—given its benefits, and the huge climate strides we have to make—it’s necessary. The future is electric.
Greenhouse gas emissions and extinction of species are increasing, which threatens all of us. Fortunately, many people and groups (such as Audubon Washington) are working hard to move us and other creatures into a livable and flourishing future.
Audubon Washington recently released its 2021 legislative priorities.
In the current misinformation world that we live in, it’s essential to have journalism-standard local news and information, such as that provided by the Kitsap Sun. For those wishing to keep local news strong, there is now a means to support the Sun (besides the usual and desired methods of purchasing a subscription to the Sun or buying advertisement space from it).
I strongly support a local free press for at least three reasons: a local free press is essential to know what’s happening in my hometown, it’s essential to the survival of our democracy, and it’s essential to know what environmental threats are occurring or that are proposed. We need the local free press to shine the light to keep our towns, democracy, and environment healthy.
This letter to the editor (hyperlink: Kitsap Audubon meets with legislators) was published in the 22 Dec. 2020 web version of the Kitsap Sun newspaper as “State Can Act on Climate Goals.” The letter reports that members of the Kitsap Audubon Society met recently with Senator Christine Rolfes and Representative Drew Hansen to discuss climate change and wildlife habitat legislation for 2021. It also mentions some organizations that Washington State people can volunteer with to advance climate action and habitat protection.
Johnson, Ayana Elizabeth and Katharine K. Wilkinson. All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. New York: One World, 2020. Print.
I just began reading All We Can Save, a book that contains excellent essays by environmental big thinkers like Naomi Klein (author of On Fire), Abigail Dillen (president of Earthjustice), and Mary Anne Hitt (former director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign). All We Save, for me, is the 2020 update to the 2010 environmental ethics book Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, which was edited by Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson. All We Can Save not only updates the global warming/extinction discussion to 2020, using the experiences and realizations of the past decade, but also it is unique in that it’s entirely authored and edited by women.
Do you want to have a say in whether the Kitsap Shoreline is developed or kept natural? You can affect what direction it goes by participating in the Shoreline Master Program update, which starts 17 Dec. 2020 (and then occur on the 3rd Thursday of each month).
From the Kitsap County Kitsap County Department of Community Development/DCD:
“Kitsap County is conducting a required periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP) and we want to hear from you. To promote timely information sharing and transparency throughout the SMP periodic review process, the County will be hosting monthly project updates via Zoom Webinar now through Spring 2021.
“What will meetings cover? Monthly project updates are a chance for you and other community members to learn about the SMP periodic review as it progresses and ask questions of staff. At the December project update, the County will provide an overview of the SMP periodic review timeline and process, highlight public engagement opportunities, and introduce the online open house.
“Meeting participants will have the opportunity to ask questions during a moderated community Q&A.
“Please note, comments on the Department’s draft proposal need to be submitted through the formal public comment process anticipated in February 2021 to be included in the record for consideration by the Kitsap County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners.
“Meeting information: Thursday | December 17, 2020 | 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Meetings will take place the third Thursday of every month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The first meeting date is December 17, 2020.
“To join, use this Zoom Webinar Link and enter the following meeting credentials when prompted:
“If you would like to join the meeting by phone: Teleconferencing number: +1 253 215 8782iPhone one tap: +12532158782,,82199142754#,,,,,,0#,,200058# or +16699006833,,82199142754#,,,,,,0#,,200058#
“Having trouble accessing the meeting or have questions about this process? A downloadable PDF with tips for joining Zoom Webinar is available. You can also reach the County by phone at 360-337-5777 or by email at reviewSMP@co.kitsap.wa.us.
“To learn more about Kitsap County’s Shoreline Master Program and other opportunities to engage, check out the periodic review website.
“Contact Information We encourage you to reach out to the County throughout the process, for questions please contact:
The winter 2020 issue of the web-based Salish Magazine is now out, and the theme for the issue is Spectrum of Cycles [in Nature]. To see photos, videos, artwork, information, essays, and poetry about the cycles of nature, please go to https://salishmagazine.org/issue-10/
Several of us from Kitsap Audubon Society met today with our representatives. We had wonderful talks with Senator Christine Rolfes and Representative Drew Hansen of the 23rd Legislative District about Washington Audubon’s legislative priorities for 2021—which are to ensure the budget continues to protect habitat and species and that programs are instituted to fight the climate crisis.
The COVID crisis and the recession hit hard this year, and quite rightly, large expenditures are being made to help people. At the same time, the climate crisis is still advancing and species are going extinct, so sacrificing habitat and species, and not taking action on climate change, will just make the future more painful and more costly than we’re already committed to. We live in challenging times, so we must be creative at many levels. I’m glad our 23rd District representatives are the quality legislators they are.
Protecting habitat and species will be aided in 2021 through good funding of the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, the WA Wildlife and Recreation Program, the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, and the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program.
Climate change threatens to blow the door down on everyone—human and nonhuman, and we need to pursue climate action at many levels. Locally, we in Washington can join our Pacific coast neighbors (British Columbia, Oregon, and California) and pass a clean fuel standard, a move that will move our transportation toward electrification. Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington State. A clean fuel standard will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s something that Washington and all states must do.
Issuing green bonds (certified to ensure that investments go toward projects with measurable and environmental benefits) is one means to help protect the environment and fight climate change—while also raising money.
Finally, the Growth Management Act should be updated to include planning for climate change. In 2021, we live in a new reality—one where climate change is hitting us here in Washington with forest fires, ocean acidification, and species’ extinction. To ignore the reality that is here and the reality that is coming will make responding to that change more difficult. The GMAs should be updated to acknowledge the new world we live in.
During this COVID-19 time (actually, during all times) it’s good to get outside. Fortunately, in Kitsap County we have lots of outside available.
So much to be thankful for: forests to meander in, trails to bike on, places where we can gaze at the Sound or sit and read, and beaches where we can identify shells, crabs, ducks, and seaweed, or just amble along. Here, it’s easy to get to nature, for nature is just a walk or a short drive away from anywhere in the county.
People and Organizations
Our parks and preserves didn’t happen by accident—and that’s where the thank-you to people and organizations comes in. Delving into the histories of open spaces reveals that many exist because of the work, planning, letter writing, and legislating done by engaged folks. Additionally, these parks and preserves are now maintained (trail clearing, trash pickup, invasive weed removal) by park professionals and volunteers. Here’s a tiny sampling of the people and organizations conserving Kitsap’s nature:
Gene and Sandy Bullock, Don and Judy Willott, and many others at the Kitsap Audubon Society provide the forum where knowledgeable lecturers teach us—during photo-filled presentations at the society’s monthly meetings (now virtual)—about birds and their habits and habitats.
Kitsap Audubon is about birds, but it’s also about preserving habitat and the environment. Now in their eighties, Gene and Sandy lead Christmas bird counts where they point out buffleheads, mergansers, wigeons, and kingfishers. Don and Judy have worked for years to bring bike/walk trails to Kitsap and were heavily involved in the creation of the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park. Kitsap Audubon provides scholarships to college students who are pursuing environment-related majors, and it gives kits to classrooms so that children can explore the world of birds. Kitsap Audubon also promotes—via organizational participation and money donations—habitat conservation through groups like Great Peninsula Conservancy.
Led for years by Sandra Staples-Bortner, and now by Nathan Daniel, Great Peninsula Conservancy purchases and oversees habitat, receives donated lands, and arranges conservation easements. In its twenty years, GPC has conserved over 10,000 acres of open space. Being apolitical, GPC provides a place where people of diverse interests enjoy coming together to do good by adding to Kitsap’s nature.
Attending the annual fundraising dinner (virtual in 2020) at Kiana Lodge is to get a positive fix, seeing the cross-section of people there. Over the years, thousands of people—environmentalists, business owners, tribal members, advocates for parks and trails, fish/plant/wildlife experts, volunteers, and politicians—have supported GPC. We’re nature-rich because of it.
Parks and Preserves
Parks and preserves are our wonderful heritage. Have you seen chum scooting upstream at Chico Salmon Park or seals lounging at Manchester State Park? Have you watched swallows flit among trees at twilight as you walk on the Clear Creek Trail? Have you identified shell types at Point No Point or gazed across the Hood Canal at the Olympics from Kitsap Memorial State Park or the Guillemot Cove Preserve? And how about strolling among trees and bushes at Port Gamble Forest, North Kitsap Forest, Illahee Preserve, Newberry Hill, Tahuya, Banner Forest, Coulter Creek, and other parks. Here, it’s easy to do.
We have first-rate nature education. Washington State University–Extension’s powerhouse program has been enthusiastically led by talented women—Peg Tillery, Renee Johnson, Amy Linhart, and now Amy Smalley—all ably assisted by marine biologist Jeff Adams of Washington Sea Grant. WSU–Extension sponsors Beach Naturalists, Stream Stewards, Shore Stewards, Salmon Docents, Shore Friendly, and other education/conservation programs.
We’re fortunate in Kitsap to also have many individuals who are passionate and educated about nature and who share their knowledge of trees, berries, fish, and ferns.
That’s only a few of the those that conserve our nature and teach us about it; others are Stillwaters, Islandwood, Western Washington University (through its SEA Discovery Center), Olympic College’s Dept. of Environmental Studies, Salish Magazine (an online publication by John Williams of Suquamish), Suquamish and S’Klallam Tribes, many activist groups, and more.
Finally, thank you newspapers and reporters. Without reporting, nature can’t be conserved because advocates wouldn’t know of the threats and opportunities affecting it. Reporters do the gumshoe work of interviewing city officials, legislators, science experts, and residents. Reporters seek facts, outline pro and cons of issues, and give the history of a community. Christopher Dunagan is a gem: he reported for years for the Kitsap Sun about the science and issues of the Puget Sound. His mantle at the Sun has since been taken up by Nathan Pilling, Christian Vosler, and Jessie Darland.
We in Kitsap County treasure our nature, which we learn about, conserve, and enjoy. That engagement is paying huge dividends during this COVID-19 time, for we have many places to safely explore—and much for which to be thankful.