Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Hot planet seeks CoolMoms!
Twitter Facebook RSS
You are here: Home News


Bag-Free for One Month

How are consumers behaving now that the plastic bag ban has been in effect for one month? King 5 investigated and found out that it's been a pretty easy transition. CoolMom wants to know how it's going for you!


Posted on July 31, 2012 at 6:53 PM

SEATTLE -- At the one month mark, Seattle's plastic shopping bag ban appears to be taking hold easier than people expected. At Bert's Red Apple Market in Madison Park, it looked like equal numbers of shoppers brought their reusable bags or paid a nickel for paper bags with handles. A hardy minority (mostly men) just carried their purchases in their hands.

The law prohibits retailers from passing out one-time use plastic bags. Shoppers must provide their own bag or pay a nickel for a paper bag. Thicker, reusable plastic bags like the ones used in department stores are okay. The nickel charge goes back to the retailer to cover costs.

"I think the transition has been a lot smoother than people thought it would be," said Terry Short, a manager at the market. "People are receptive to it. It's taken about a month to figure out how to do it. And if they don't want to pay for a paper bag for their groceries, they bundle them up (in their arms) and carry them home."

There are exceptions. Those using food stamps don't have to pay the nickel fee. Also, one-use plastic bags can still be used for produce, meats, dry cleaning, newspapers and take-out food. City officials say giving people a month to prepare for the change -- and passing out 40,000 reusable bags -- made it more acceptable.

"The stores, in particular, have done a great job promoting reusable bags," said Public Utilities spokesman Dick Lilly. "Both by giving some away, just keeping them on display. People can buy them for not a lot of money."

One young girl shopping with her mother supports reusable bags, even though she often has to trot back to the car to retrieve them when her mom leaves them behind. "I think it's really good for the environment (because) plastic bags are not biodegradable."

The city of Bellingham will start its plastic bag ban on August 1.








Acting Against Coal in the Northwest

Between the negotiated closure of the TransAlta coal plant in Centralia and the current movement to stop the proposed coal export terminal in Bellingham, Washingtonians have been hard at work trying to make their state coal free. Across the country, they are joined by other voices calling for an end to coal mining, burning and export.



The climate movement just had an inspiring weekend - and later this month, we'll be carrying that inspiration with us to Montana. Here's what happened last Saturday:

In Washington, DC thousands of people marched together to call for an end to the dangerous oil and gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking - the largest action against fracking in the US, and the first time anti-fracking activists met as a national movement.

As they marched through DC, a big group of Texans and Oklahomans were meeting to train and prepare for the Tar Sands Blockade, a planned action to stop construction of the Southern Leg of the Keystone XL pipeline when it begins later this summer. (Click here if you'd like to join the blockade, which will start soon)

And then in West Virginia, 50 people walked on to America's largest mountaintop removal coal mine, and shut it down - just like that.  The activists were risking not only arrest, but the backlash of the corrupt West Virginia government, which has let 20 of them languish in jail with bail set at a total of $500,000.

These are all sure signs of a growing, more powerful movement. As Bill McKibben explained in his Rolling Stone article, if we're going to beat the scary math of climate change, we will need an extra dose of courage and creativity. The climate math is grim, but this weekend was a bright spot. We might just be up to the challenge.

There's more to come soon, too.

In just a few weeks, our friends in Montana are preparing for a week of very civil disobedience to call for the Montana State Land Board to reject a permit for a city-sized coal mine in the Powder River Basin. The coal industry poisons everything and everyone it touches, from mine communities sickened by runoff, to rail lines that blow 5 pounds of toxic coal dust per mile, to everyone affected by smog, mercury and carbon when it's burned.

The Coal Export Action, which takes place from August 12th-20th in Helena, is trying to keep Montana coal in the ground where it can't hurt anyone. Montana is a trek for many of us, but it's a worthwhile journey -- few fights in North America are so important, when it comes to overall carbon footprint of the projects we're trying to fight. Can you be there in Helena to take a stand against King Coal's coal export plan?

Click here to join the Coal Export Action in Montana -

This is on pace to be one of the hottest (if not THE hottest) summer in American history. Let's keep up our pace as well, and make this a summer the fossil fuel industry won't forget.

A Ray of Hope

On Sunday, the New York Times printed this thoughtful article about why we have to have hope that we can still effect change.

From NYT: There's Still Hope for the Planet

By David Leonhardt

YOU don’t have to be a climate scientist these days to know that the climate has problems. You just have to step outside.

The United States is now enduring its warmest year on record, and the 13 warmest years for the entire planet have all occurred since 1998, according to data that stretches back to 1880. No one day’s weather can be tied to global warming, of course, but more than a decade’s worth of changing weather surely can be, scientists say. Meanwhile, the country often seems to be moving further away from doing something about climate change, with the issue having all but fallen out of the national debate.

Behind the scenes, however, a somewhat different story is starting to emerge — one that offers reason for optimism to anyone worried about the planet. The world’s largest economies may now be in the process of creating a climate-change response that does not depend on the politically painful process of raising the price of dirty energy. The response is not guaranteed to work, given the scale of the problem. But the early successes have been notable.

Read full article here.

Planet: Home Festival July 21st

Get your green on! July 21st is the date for Sustainable Northeast Seattle's 3rd annual Planet Home sustainable living festival, an urban country fair!

This year we'll be featuring some great local bands playing live music, tasty local food, fun games for kids and adults, and interactive learning opportunities.
Come meet more of your neighbors and play with your family and friends.

More information available here.

Some specific things you can look forward to experiencing and learning about:

DIY solar hot water systems

Produce and plant swap (Bring home-made or home-grown items to barter)

Leave-One-Take-One share table (bring items for gifting)

Tool sharpening (bring your dull tools)

"Stone soup" salad and fruit salad (bring potluck salad and/or fruit items to share. We'll keep adding ingredients as they show up!)

Tool donation station for the new NE Seattle Tool Library (bring electric or hand-powered tools you'd like to share)

Sustainable food prepared by Outside the Box / Cata Catering food company (Paleo beef chili, curry chicken/curry veg and coconut cardamom cauliflower rice)

Alternative currencies / Fourth Corner Exchange

Sun jam demonstration

Local watershed model


Materials salvaging and repurposing

Seed bombs

Healing salve for cuts, scrapes, and burns workshop

Cargo bikes

Emergency Preparedness

Cake Walk

Home-made goods

Tug-o-war and bag toss games, sack races

Cedar lotion bars workshop


DIY weatherization and insulation

Polyhedra building with magnets

Energy retrofit home tour

Slow motion pie-eating contest

Gardening Q&A booth

Electric cars

Art projects table for kids

Radical Mycology

Cascadian Edible Landscapes

Live local music from Klez Chaos, Podorythmie, and Leo Brodie!

and much more!


Scheduled activities (other events run all day or we're still deciding exact times):

11-12, 2-3 DIY Affordable and trouble free solar hot water systems

11-12 Rain Gardens with Loralee Wenger

12-1 Remodeling for Resilience: Learn from a case-study example by the homeowner how to remodel your home for efficiency, health and resilience. Tour included.

1-2 Cedar Lotion Bars workshop

3-4 Mushroom Symbiosis with Radical Mycology

4-5 Healing Salve from Common Plants workshop

1-2 Musical entertainment by Leo Brodie

2-3 Klezmer music by Klez Chaos

3-4 French Canadian steps and tunes by Podorythmie

Check back here closer to the date for more details. We will update this page as we finalize our schedule.

Insurance for Cyclists

The Better World Club, which offers perks like the AAA but without the constant lobbying for cars and highways, now has a plan for cyclists. Read their press release here!

PORTLAND, Ore., Jul 05, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The nation's bicycle community is growing rapidly, and as more cyclists share the road with cars, trucks and other cyclists, there is greater likelihood of an accident. As a result, the demand for bicycle insurance has never been higher. Today Better World Club (BWC), America's only environmentally friendly auto club, announces that it has partnered with Gales Creek Insurance Services (GCIS) of Portland, Oregon, a division of JD Fulwiler, so that its members can receive GCIS's BIKEon, the first nationwide, comprehensive, and affordable accident and liability insurance for bicyclists.

Offered exclusively to members enrolled in Better World Club's industry-leading bicycle roadside assistance program, BIKEon provides accident insurance for the cyclist providing up to $100,000 to reimburse him for his bills, and liability payment of up to $1 million for each occurrence in the event of an accident that is caused by the bicyclist and results in injuries to other people or damage to property. Cyclists who ride standard road bikes, mountain bikes or electric bikes will be covered under this new policy.

Because comprehensive BIKEon Accident and Liability Insurance policy is included in its $39.95 bicycle roadside assistance program at no additional charge for the primary member, it is available with or without Better World Club's auto club memberships. Bicycle Associates can be added for $17.00 each which includes both roadside assistance and the insurance.

"Because there's been such an increase in the number of cyclists on the roads, there's also a higher chance that they'll get into an accident and incur huge medical bills or be sued. As a result, we keep getting more and more calls asking for insurance coverage to cover cyclists comparable to the benefits drivers enjoy," said Mitch Rofsky, President of Better World Club. "GCIS's accident and liability insurance coverage gives riders peace of mind in knowing that their expenses will be taken care of in the event of an accident, and that they are not taking a financial risk by getting out of their cars and onto their bikes."

"Cyclists are an integral part of the larger American movement to wean our society off polluting fossil fuels, and deserve adequate protection while on the roadways," said Jeffrey M. Lang, head of research and New Product Development at Gales Creek Insurance Services. "BIKEon fills the crucial need for Accident and Liability Insurance protection, and is an aid to achieving our sustainability goals. We are proud to launch this highly affordable program with America's only eco-friendly roadside assistance organization, The Better World Club."

Over 10 years of research went into the new BIKEon product developed by Gales Creek Insurance Services who listened to individuals, leading organizations in the cycling community and public policy experts focused on the promotion of alternative transportation in America. Gales Creek also studied similar cycling programs available to consumer groups and clubs in other nations including Australia, Holland and Great Britain, so that American's who bike to work or for recreation could get affordably priced cycle insurance. BIKEon was designed to deliver on this promise of a low coast but comprehensive people's bike insurance program.

BIKEon insurance does not cover riders of BMX bikes or bikes used for commercial purposes.

About Better World Club

Better World Club, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the nation's only eco-friendly, socially-conscious roadside assistance, insurance, and travel club for cars and bicycles. Better World Club pioneered bicycle roadside assistance--and still offers the only nationwide bicycle roadside assistance. Membership includes eco-travel services, access to auto and bicycle insurance, free maps, auto maintenance discounts and much more. By donating one percent of annual revenues toward environmental cleanup and advocacy and being the first travel company to offer carbon offsets, Better World Club is changing more than just tires. For more information or to join the 30,000 socially-responsible members, visit , call 1.866.238.1137, or join Better World Club on Facebook at .

About Gales Creek Insurance Services (GCIS)

Founded in 1980 by Margaret Payton and Jeffrey Lang, Gales Creek Insurance Services is a division of JD Fulwiler & Company. GCIS is an innovator and developer of specialty Insurance and Risk Transfer products for associations, political subdivisions, non-profits and underserved-disenfranchised groups and communities nationally. Through careful analysis, GCIS delivers custom insurance products that solve problems for their unique, professional customers. JD Fulwiler is licensed in all states plus affiliate relationships in Europe and the Middle East. GCIS is a founding member of Co-Op America now called Green America and is committed to building a more just, equitable and sustainable economy through ethical business-to-business transactions. For more information, visit or call 1.800.755-1575.

SOURCE: Better World Club