Biodegradable – but deadly?

It’s well-known that granite is an eco-friendly product since it is biodegradable. I know some people who would argue that it is a non-renewable resource, also, which would negate the positive effect of its biodegradability. But according to the New York Times, some granite countertops may be emitting radon or other forms of radiation and may be dangerous for your health.

OK, I admit, after reading this little tidbit today I am glad only my bar has granite countertop, and not my entire kitchen. It’s hard not to drool on full-granite kitchens, they are so beautiful. Maybe it’s for my own good.

Now I have to decide if I want to spend the money on getting my counter top tested…

Read What’s lurking in your counter top?

Don’t miss this ~ How to make the most of your produce

I need to be reminded constantly about how to care for – and also remember to eat – my weekly produce haul from West Seattle Farmers Market. There are some great tips in this short article.

Shoot, I even have a bunch of rainbow chard in my fridge drawer. And not wrapped in paper towel the way it should be.

Read Making the most of your produce (Seattle Times)

Rainbow chard can be wrapped in paper towels for longer keeping.

Don’t miss this ~ “It takes a less-is-more attitude to embrace smaller houses”

Fantastic commentary/article by the EcoConsumer, Tom Watson, in the Times this weekend. We “downsized” from an older home on a 1/4 acre into an attached townhome “condo style”. Our geographic footprint is much smaller, altho our home size is about the same (1,700 sq ft approx) – by going from 2 stories to 3. We even gained a 2 car garage, which we never had and would never have been able to afford to build (and didn’t agree with adding nonpervious area to our property, so would have built in a green roof)).

I know I couldn’t live in 800 sq ft with MY husband, but we’re still pretty proud of the changes we have made so far. Here is a photo of the street-side presentation of our townhome – only 2 stories, so it is not as dominating of the landscape. The 3rd story is below ground and accessed from the back of the home, and has a garage, flex space and storage room.

Read It takes a less-is-more attitude to embrace smaller houses

The resident High Point Green Agent reports

Well, new listings keep popping up here in High Point in West Seattle. I guess I am always surprised when I see a new sign go up – I love it here so much, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to move! It also makes me realize it would be worth marketing myself in my neighborhood even tho people have lived here for such a short time period, they are still moving for various reasons. It’s time for me to go out and take a look at some of the new listings…

There is a Walking Tour of High Point scheduled for Sunday, August 24th. Mark your calendar and come on out and get some “green” education and see some green homes to boot! You can sign up here.

We also have an official neighborhood web site!

Click here to view current High Point homes for sale. Contact me if you would like to tour one of these beautiful homes. There’s something for everyone at High Point!

Commons Park Photo Tour

One of the best green spaces of the newly redeveloped High Point neighborhood in West Seattle is Commons Park (what we call it), or “The Commons” (as SHA refers to it on its web site). The park, an approx. 3 acre green jewel in what will be about the geographic center of the new neighborhood when it is complete, had its grand opening bash on the 4th of July complete with a massive community BBQ and potluck, face painting, musical entertainment, volley ball and other sports, with hundreds of people attending.

I prefer my green spaces in the company of my dog and some quiet, and that can be had as well, as you will see from the photo tour now loaded up on my associated Green Spaces meetup site. It is amazing how often you can be totally alone in a neighborhood full of hundreds of people. Put on your iPod and take the dog for a stroll with me…

Enjoy the Commons Park Photo Tour. If you would like to attend the next community walking tour, please EMAIL ME

REMEMBER: Clicking on the photo will load a larger version. From the top of the viewing mound you can see the top of the Seattle Space Needle, and also the top of the Columbia Tower at 5th and Columbia (where my husband and I were married in 1997).

Read The Commons is High Point’s newest park
Other High Point redevelopment news

“You can do it. We can help” Recycle your used CFLs for FREE

Ideal Bite picked up on this this morning, and I also saw mention of this in the email newsletter from Natural Home Magazine today – The Home Depot has announced it will provide compact-fluorescent-light recycling

We’ve been using CFLs for years, but they are a real hassle when they DO finally burn out since you can’t throw them in the trash (it is illegal to send a CFL to the dump). CFLs have trace amounts of mercury. But Home Depot’s announcement certainly is good news! I have been carrying around 2 burned out Aerogarden grow bulbs in my car since my husband went by Junction True Value to turn them in for recycling and found out it would cost 75 cents each to recycle. Aren’t you glad you waited, honey?

The Home Depot has agreed that if consumers bring their used CFLs to any of its 1,973 locations, they will recycle them for free.

“With more than 75 percent of households located within 10 miles of a Home Depot store, this program is the first national solution to providing Americans with a convenient way to recycle CFLs,” says Ron Jarvis, The Home Depot’s senior vice president of Environmental Innovation

Please be careful when transporting CFLs to the store for recycling; broken CFLs increases chances for mercury exposure. The bulbs I have in my car right now are in the original packaging of the replacement bubls, so they are cushioned and protected.

Also, don’t forget to grab your dead batteries because Home Depot recycles them, too.

Thanks, Home Depot. You truly ARE a big help.

What Type of Eco-Home Is Best for You?

Courtesy of an email from one of my favorite mags, Natural Home Magazine, they ask this question:

What Type of Eco-Home Is Best for You?

“If you dream of building with green materials but don’t know
where to begin, we can help. This extensive guide from green building pioneer and architect Carol Venolia helps you choose the best building options for your climate, budget and needs.”

Click here and start designing your green dream home.

Artwork gives developments a touch of humanity

There was a great article in the Seattle PI yesterday that makes mention of the award-winning West Seattle Built Green certified community of High Point. The article’s focus is on the Pomegranate Center, an Issaquah-based non-profit that engages communities in developing art projects in public spaces. Well, that’s my interpretation. I first met the executive director, Milenko Matanovic, 7 or 8 years ago when he helped the Westwood Neighborhood Council engage neighborhood residents in development of the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail (see photo – Grant M. Haller / P-I – which is of some “gateway” columns at Roxhill Park, the headwaters of Longfellow Creek, one of only 4 remaining salmon bearing streams in Seattle.) My husband and I lived in Westwood at the time and I was Communications Coordinator on the neighborhood council, which was led by some great environmentally-conscious community members (some of who also happened to work at the EPA). I won’t name names, but we have a beloved favorite neighborhood pub now owned by one of those great people.

The High Point neighborhood’s 4 acre Commons Park opened on the 4th of July and we had a huge neighborhood party and potluck. I spent a lot of my time face-painting the kids (if you know me well, try to picture that!!), and there was a concert that I missed seeing but I could hear quite well performed at the outdoor ampitheater mentioned in the PI article.

One of my neighbors and fellow High Point K9 Club member Roger Milnes missed a great canine field trip in May because he was helping with the ampitheater project. He is quoted at the end of the article.

“It’s a center of beauty — that’s kind of high-blown sounding, but it really is,” he said. “I’m delighted by it, and there’s a lot of little things like that around here.”

Be sure to read Artwork gives developments a touch of humanity

I will post some pictures later of our new great green spaces and the art we get to enjoy in them.

Tip of the week: How to afford organic food on a tight budget

Straight out of the eBox courtesy of the Organic Consumers Association via the Organic Bytes email newsletter…


With increasing food costs and the worst economy in 40 years, many shoppers are questioning whether they can afford to purchase organic foods. One of the quickest ways to reduce your organic grocery costs by as much as 15-20% is to buy in bulk. This doesn’t only mean being limited to buying food from bulk bins at your natural food store (although that is an equally effective way to reduce packaging and costs on foods like cereals). Many people don’t realize that most grocery and natural food stores welcome customers to special order cases of food in bulk. It’s the same premise as buying a 12-pack of soda or juice instead of just buying an individual can. When you think about it, most of the time you grocery shop, you are buying the same foods, so why not make a list of those foods, buy them by the case, save money and reduce your visits to the store? For example, a case of 12 cans of your family’s favorite soup typically costs 20% less than what it would cost you to buy those cans individually. Make a list of your favorite foods and go to the information desk next time you are at your grocery store to find out which ones you can buy in bulk.

Learn more organic money saving tips here.