Don’t miss this ~ Cool Planet: 7 simple ideas to help solve global warming

Read: Cool Planet: 7 simple ideas to help solve global warming

This excerpt from “Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet: Everyday Things to Help Solve Global Warming,” by Eric Sorensen and the staff of Sightline Institute, published by Sierra Club Books, is an ode to seven everyday devices that are friends of the climate (and your pocketbook, neighbors, health and children). More Subversively, Seven Wonders is a way to reimagine the global-warming problem, starting with a few mostly low-tech tools and notions.

Don’t miss this : Magnolia remodeler builds his dream house

Read: Solar-paneled roof above, guy den below: Magnolia remodeler builds his dream house

By Colleen McBrinn, Seattle Times staff reporter

A bachelor with “green fever” designs a home remodel on a Magnolia waterfront cove with green features, including a solar-paneled roof and recycled and locally purchased materials and services.

Photos accompanying the article are by Benjamin Benschneider / The Seattle Times

This Thursday morning, a walking tour of High Point

Boss let you off the hook for a long weekend? Take a couple hours (tops) and learn about something green. Meet other folks like yourself who are interested in green homes and green communities.

Join a Walking Tour of High Point, a Built Green Community
beginning at 10 AM on Thursday morning (July 3, 2008).

High Point, located in West Seattle, is a vast in-city redevelopment that has received many accolades and both national and international awards. The first phase is nearly complete and almost fully occupied.

Get an up-close and personal look at the environmental aspects of this Built Green certified community:

~ Bioswales

~ Porous streets and sidewalks

~ Community gardens

~ Pocket parks

~ Pond and waterfall features

There are 3 and 4 star Built Green Certified homes for sale in the neighborhood. Some are new construction, some are resales with just one owner. If you would like, you can tour available models and resale homes currently on the market on the day of the walk. You will need to consult with the Organizer prior to the meetup if you wish to tour homes.

The organizer and tour guide, Wendy Hughes-Jelen, is a licensed real estate agent and holds the designation of “Built Green Certified Professional: Real Estate”. She has lived in West Seattle since 1997, and moved to High Point in 2007.

Learn more here:

The real dirt on mineral sunscreens

I was happy to jump on the healthy living bandwagon long before it became trendy. The more popular the green lifestyle becomes, the more products that become available for every part of my life. I think it is truly amazing to walk into almost any store these days and find organic or alternative items on store shelves.

Now about sunscreen. There are chemical sunscreens and there are mineral sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens are said to be better for your skin because your epidermis is not absorbing chemicals in the cream to block UVA and UVB rays (read more about the dangers of chemical sunscreens and the possibility that they may cause cancer rather than prevent it, here). Instead a mineral such as titanium dioxide is in the cream and physically blocks the UVA and UVB rays from getting to your skin. And when reading a few things while writing this post, I also read that the jury is out on titanium dioxide and its long term safety on our skin, too. Great.

Last year I grabbed two bottles of Alba Botanica’s SUN mineral sunscreens, one for face and one for everywhere else. I liked that it was even scented – yummy aloe vanilla. I don’t consider myself too fixed on appearances, but I admit, I had trouble walking around with a white sheen all over. I am in and out of my car most days, touring property for sale or rent for my work, and being of Swedish descent from way back, I have already been sunburned this season. So I am back to trying to find a healthful solution for my skin that doesn’t make me look like a pasty freak (my skin naturally has two colors – white and red. Putting on a layer of titanium dioxide was just scary looking). Most products claim to not leave a white residue – I only tried one and it did – maybe I just need to try more.

body&soul; magazine just put out a review of different healthful sunscreens. Of course, I know from personal experience that I may have to look at some alternatives to physical sunscreens. But I am trying to avoid chemical ones, too. If I ever find something I like and can live with, I will let you know! I may just have to try the Sport SPF 45 Unscented by Coola mentioned in the review – altho I prefer something that smells yummy! If you have a suggestion for one that you love, post a comment!

Read more about it : Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens

From The World of Skin Care

Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens
Chemical Sunscreens are synthetic chemical substances with the following properties:
~ they are powerful absorbers of UV radiation
~ when they absorb radiation they remain relatively effective

These sun filters are formulated with other compounds in order to obtain highly effective products with protection factors varying from 4 to 30. Importantly, they often have to be reapplied quite frequently. For many people, however, the advantages of chemical sunscreens outweigh the disadvantages. With all products it is advisable to read the label, to check that the product blocks both UVB and UVA radiation.

Physical sunscreens contain inert mineral particles that reflect UV rays like a mirror. The most common type used is ultrafine titanium dioxide (TiO²), made up of minute particles only 20-30 mm³ in size.

These products have advantages over chemical sunscreens in that they are inert substances that do not break down over time. They are far less liable to cause skin irritation, since they are in the form of insoluble particles that are not absorbed through the skin. Because of the small size of the particles, modern physical sunscreens reflect radiation in the UVB and short UVA regions better than earlier products did. Also, whereas their predecessors left a slight residue on the skin that looked like a trace of make-up base, which some people found unattractive, today’s products have better transparency and avoid this problem.

There are formulations for use on the face and lips, and special preparations that can be used by small children. All should be reapplied after sweating or swimming, even if the product claims to be waterproof and rub-proof, or to offer ‘all-day protection’. Ideally, whichever sunscreen you choose, make sure that it blocks both UVB and UVA and has a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of at least 15.

Slip, slap, slop
In Australia the Government and
doctors led a public information program to reduce the effects of sun damage.
They used the slogan ‘Slip, slap, slop':

Slip on a tee-shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sun cream.

All this diversity, and no tai chi?

Two weeks ago, after days of working behind a computer and spending days in the car (which I do for my job as a housing/relocation consultant) I longed to get up on Saturday morning, stroll down to the pond, and partake in a tai chi session. I thought it a brilliant idea, wished I had thought of it sooner, and embarked upon what I thought would be an easy task of finding someone within my diverse neighborhood of High Point who practiced tai chi and would be willing to share it with others in the neighborhood who wanted to learn. I contacted the homeowners association, the neighborhood association, I posted to the neighborhood blog ( and even went to the Town Hall/Neighborhood Association meeting last week and with the help of a translator spoke to some of the Asian leaders in my community about my desire – and the desire of so many others who I had mentioned it to thinking it was also a super idea – to find someone within the community who could lead tai chi on nice Saturday mornings this summer down by the pond. It’s a perfect walk to the pond to warm up, and an hour of tai chi to greet the day would be great for my back and my state of mind.

According to the Vietnamese and Cambodian community leaders there are no Chinese living in High Point. I thought perhaps someone of another nationality might know tai chi, and they agreed to ask around, but it didn’t sound promising. The thought behind finding someone in the neighborhood to teach would that they would be willing to donate their time to create this great cross-cultural experience for all of the residents of High Point. I personally am happy to pay for something like this, but many of the people in our community can not afford to.

I remember a summer of weekend tai chi at Don Armeni Park not too many years ago. A local martial arts studio led a free class down there on Saturday mornings. That studio on California Avenue recently closed because their building is being torn down to make way for new development. It was this memory, my aching back, and the desire to have something within walking distance that has launched this search.

Since High Point doesn’t seem to have any tai chi practitioners amongst its rumored 27 languages and/or dialects, I am forced to cast my search into the larger West Seattle community. As you can see by the photo we have a beautiful park by the pond with a waterfall that would be the perfect place for a group of practitioners to greet the weekend. This is located at 31st and Juneau and there is plenty of street parking for folks who come from other neighborhoods to participate.

I am convinced summer is eventually coming and would love to try to launch a group practice of tai chi in High Point. If you would like to participate as a practitioner, or you or someone you know would be interested in teaching people from the surrounding communities about the soothing and healthful practice of tai chi, please email

Wendy Hughes-Jelen
High Point : West Seattle

56 e-cert homes for sale in Area 140

That’s code for WOW, there are 56 environmentally certified homes for sale in West Seattle! Certifications range from Built Green, to LEED (a more recent entrant in the residential field, already well respected in commercial development), and Energy Star certifications. I talk most about Built Green since that is my designation, but I will post soon more details about how LEED and Energy Star certifications work and their benefits.

Active listing home styles range from townhomes to carriage houses to ultra-modern and totally cool single family detached homes. Prices start at $289,000, a lot are under $450k, and tops out at a to-dream-of $4.8M. My favorite is 28041477 (pictured here). I should go tour it and drool even more.

Click here to see green homes for sale in West Seattle.

Green Condo Life

Realty Times today pointed out a “Site to See” that helps condo dwellers go green.

It is impossible to green your entire townhome or suite since you can not replace the windows, doors, and probably can’t add solar panels to the roof (unless you convince everyone else to go along with you). But there is a surprising number of things you CAN do on the inside to reduce your carbon footprint.

Read Site To See: Green Condo Life which includes a link to Community Green, Environmental Leadership for Homeowners Associations.