architecture · community · environment · happiness · health

Seattle Neighbors Fight Stormwater Pollution by Building Rain Gardens · Oregon Public Broadcasting

This post is a total plug on my part of an activity meant to encourage people to go out and get their hands dirty, improve their environment, and help nature at the same time: Rain gardens!

Gardening season is coming to an end for most of us, but it’s not too late to plant a rain garden for this winter’s torrents.

Rain gardens are becoming more popular, especially in places like Seattle with significant rain and run-off, and I suspect also because they’re very low maintenance; you simply plant, water them until they’re established, and let nature to the rest. They also make the neighborhood look nicer than just having a strip of grass between your car and the sidewalk.

The West Seattle neighborhood is actively encouraging residents to plant rain gardens:

The gardens are part of a campaign by Washington State University and the non-profit Stewardship Partners. Their goal is to install 12,000 rain gardens in Puget Sound communities by 2016. So far, more than 700 gardens have been installed (see a map of them) and more are being added every week.

“Twelve thousand gardens will absorb approximately 160 million gallons of stormwater each year,” said Stacey Gianas, who is with Stewardship Partners.

That much water would fill 250 Olympic swimming pools. And its stormwater, which washes over roofs and streets, picking up all kinds of pollution. Usually that contaminant-filled water runs into storm drains that empty into waterways and rivers.

more via Neighbors Fight Stormwater Pollution by Building Rain Gardens · Oregon Public Broadcasting · EarthFix.

Rain gardens can be as small as a couple of feet, or take up the entire yard. They also promote wildlife (the good kind!) to stop and visit.

disease · environment · health

Noise pollution

A landing Qantas Boeing 747-400 passes close t...
Image via Wikipedia

Great editorial about the effects of noise pollution on people in populated areas, and from a source who would know; Burma, or Myanmar, a country with over 55 million people crammed into a relatively small space:

The Manipur Pollution Control Board has been making efforts to lessen pollution in this fast growing city of ours. However one dimension of pollution seems to be neglected comparatively speaking, and that is noise pollution. Most citizens are unaware that prolonged exposure to noise pollution can lead to deafness or hearing impairment.

To get a clearer picture of the menace of noise pollution let us get down to a few facts. Noise is measured by its loudness and the technical measuring unit is decibel (dB).

The quietness we get in a library is surprisingly measured at 30 dB. Perhaps the flipping of pages are responsible for that. The quietness in a garden, far from the madding crowd, is slightly higher.

It is not known how many decibles are registered by a nagging wife. But it is bound to make a few neighbours raise their eyebrows and plead for calm. However Rip Van Winkle left his wife and slept in quiet and solitude for twenty years.

On the other hand a pair of young lovers will of course, make sure that at least sound does not betray their presence.

City traffic, heard from inside a car is measured at 85 dB. A police whistle is measured above 90 dB. The level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss is between 90-95 dB.

What is of concern, particularly related to our children, is that even short term exposure to excessive loudness can cause permanent damage.

more at The Menace of Noise Pollution.

I have moved from a couple of different apartments because of the associated noise pollution from busy streets or freeway noises, and I can’t work with super loud music on (although a little white noise is actually useful for me).

What are some of the biggest noise polluters where you live?

anthropology · behavior · community · culture · environment · health · Nature

It’s Raining Rain Gardens | Sightline Daily

View of a bioretention cell, also called a rai...
Example of a rain garden. Image via Wikipedia

Oh, all right, but only because you asked soooo nicely; for Earth Day, an example of how communities in the Puget Sound are coming together to protect the Earth and improve their own personal environments as well.

Researchers have pointed the finger at stormwater runoff as the top source of pollution that’s getting into Puget Sound and other Northwest waterways. And because runoff comes from just about everywhere — roofs, roadways, parking lots, farms, and lawns — the solution has to be just as widespread.

Enter 12,000 Rain Gardens.

This week Washington State University and Stewardship Partners, a nonprofit working on land preservation, announced a campaign to promote the installing of 12,000 rain gardens around Puget Sound by 2016. The website even has a counter tracking the number of gardens and encourages folks to enter their rain garden into the database.

more via It’s Raining Rain Gardens — Sightline Daily – Northwest News that Matters.