Illegal Play

Climbing trees, skipping stones, and making daisy chains should not be banned in Northwest parks.
Photo by Jennifer Langston

Photo by Jennifer Langston

My kid is a rule follower. She would rather cut off her leg than be in trouble, wants stories told precisely the same way every time, lives to enforce playground rules, and for most of her toddler years wanted to grow up to be a crossing guard.

This bugs a person like me. I worry that I’m not providing opportunities to test boundaries, develop independence, be resourceful, strike out on adventures, make questionable choices, and have the run of our neighborhood. But as a parent raising a five-year-old in a fairly urban environment, I first really need her to stop forgetting to look for cars.

In the meantime, our default is to head to one of the Northwest’s great public parks, beaches, or playgrounds. Yet my worst fears about her stunted opportunities for play were recently reinforced in this stunning accounting of things that are technically illegal for kids to do there.

Like climbing trees, catching frogs, erecting a fort, turning sticks into light sabers, digging a hole, throwing rotten apples, or making a daisy chain. read more »


PR Firm WA2 Advocates Takes Coal Money

Tony Williams and Jeff Bjornstad paid to promote coal exports.

The time is ripe for divestment from the fossil fuel industry. Although we usually think about divestment as reallocating long-term financial holdings, it can take a much more direct form. If your business or organization objects to the outrageous harm caused by coal, you can vote with your pocketbook: you can choose not to do business with coal agents in the Northwest.

Among those agents is WA2 Advocates, a Northwest-focused public relations firm with offices in Bellevue, Portland,  …  read more »

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Weekend Reading 4/18/14

Inequalities, oligarchies, requiems, and more.
Original illustration by Nina Montenegro of


A better way to measure inequality: focus on the 1 percenters.

“It’s time to step up to the plate,” are the final words of this promising trailer for a documentary on people taking action against climate change.

RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of the best opening line of a novel ever.


A tax week reminder: by some estimates, 45 percent of federal outlays go to the military, past and present. That figure includes current spending  …  read more »

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Washington Board Upholds Stormwater Rules

Stringent regs withstand a challenge by Puget Sound cities and counties.
Seattle rain garden during a downpour.

Seattle rain garden during a downpour. Image by Lisa Stiffler (Used with permission)

The Pollution Control Hearings Board—the legal body presiding over state environmental regulations—has upheld the stormwater permits governing Western Washington cities and counties. The decision was issued this spring by the three-person board after permittees challenged the rules.

The state Department of Ecology in August last year approved the municipal stormwater permits, which aim to clean up and control polluted runoff that fouls Puget Sound and local lakes, rivers, and streams.

The permits require cities and counties to update their  …  read more »


Gov. Inslee Hires Coal Lobbyist to Direct Policy Office

Controversial hire raises questions about coal export plans in Washington.

Industry to Feds: “We Will Not Remove Any Unsafe Oil Rail Cars from Service”

What the oil industry's own numbers say about their commitment to safety.

New Video: The Pacific Rim Coal Bubble

Coal prices have collapsed...leaving Northwest export projects hanging by a thread.

Weekend Reading 4/11/14

Radioactive socks, the violence of climate change, and more.

Oil Trainspotting, Part 2

What we're learning by looking for oil trains.

Users’ Guide: Climate messaging

13 guiding principles from ecoAmerica.