The Office of Sustainability Moves to Sustainable Resources Division

Uncategorized
The Office of Sustainability is moving for the fifth time in eight-and-a-half years! While I have enjoyed each and every stop along the way I am hoping to find my home at Planning & Public Works in the Sustainable Resources division. Aligning the Office of Sustainability with programs focused on waste reduction, recycling and environmental education makes a lot of sense. We share interests in managing our resources and educating our coworkers and residents about sustainable living. The Office of Sustainability has been around for almost nine years now but as I join efforts with Sustainable Resources I am realizing it is just a child in the eyes of their 30-year-old environmental education program. A recent EnviroEd newsletter featured an overview of the program and its lasting educational efforts that…
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Why Electric Vehicles are Ideal in Pierce and Snohomish Counties

Electric Vehicles, Pierce County, Uncategorized
I recently tried to buy a Chevy Bolt in Pierce County. When I called around to local dealers no one had one in stock. One dealership offered to get a Bolt from their Olympia dealership.  The state sales tax incentive was running out (will be gone by May 31st) and I was finally ready to buy a Chevy Bolt with its improved battery (that goes over 230 miles on a charge) but they were almost all in King County. For many dealerships these electric cars are money losers and are only around as compliance cars that allow them to sell their less fuel-efficient trucks and SUV’s. These cars also don’t need much maintenance so they cannot expect to make money on oil changes and other maintenance that internal combustion engines…
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Do Something Good This Earth Month

Orca Whales, Pierce County, Uncategorized
April is earth month and that is a chance to reflect on how we value the air, water and land that we live on. Take a look through the below ideas of things you can do (or do something else) and send me an email (rdicks@co.pierce.wa.us) with the tag line #DoSomethingGood and a short description of your effort and you will be entered to win free lunch with the Sustainability Manager or other prizes. Go to the Sustainability Expo Tacoma offers a great resource to South Sound residents in the annual South Sound Sustainability Expo Saturday April 14th. I will be there talking sustainability and I always learn new things about areas that interest me in the sustainability field. Create a Rain Garden  Two months ago I made an impassioned plea that we…
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Do We Care Enough to Save the Last 76 Southern Resident Orca Whales?

Orca Whales, Salmon, Water Quality
I have spent a lot of time on Puget Sound but have never seen an orca whale, and yet I feel a close connection to these animals. My kids and I have enjoyed watching high definition BBC/PBS nature videos of transient orca whales hunting seals and even narwhals as the Arctic has melted. Orcas ability to communicate and hunt in packs like wolves make them "the most terrifying predator since the Tyrannosauruses Rex" according to one scientist. There are a lot of competing priorities for local governments including homelessness, the opioid epidemic, mental and behavioral health the list is long and solutions are expensive and very hard to achieve. Somewhere in the distant background of local news coverage is the fact that 8 Southern Resident Orca whales have died in…
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Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions

Pierce County, Sustainable New Year's Resolution
So what will your Sustainable New Year's Resolution be in 2018? A few ideas to consider... Whatever you choose to do, commit to it actively for the first month. Studies show people who make changes intensively for a month are more likely to hold onto the habit long-term. Save Money Buy less stuff (video for inspiration). Recent studies suggest that the stuff you buy has a major impact on your greenhouse gas footprint. By buying less stuff you can save money for things like retirement. Limit Waste Get rid of old stuff that brings you no joy. But don't throw it away. You should take it to Goodwill or other local organizations that can find a good home for your items. Almost everything can be reused even those old shoes or that…
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The 2017 Sustainable Gift Guide

Pierce County, Sustainable Gift Guide
Your LED holiday lights are up and your Amazon Smile account is setup to donate to your favorite Pierce County charity. You are ready to buy some stuff! Wait a minute...Isn't this the Sustainability Newsletter? Isn't buying stuff bad? Well not necessarily.... What if you could buy local stuff that people need and the gift reduced pollution throughout its lifetime. What if you could support local farmers from Orting and get delicious food throughout the year.  What if you could save money by getting off fossil fuels and breathe cleaner air while mowing your lawn. Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines Shop local when possible to support local businesses and help fund Pierce County Government operations through sales tax. Support local non-profits that make our community better (too many to list). Air Quality Remember…
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The 2017 Sustainability Survey By the Numbers

Uncategorized
The 2017 Sustainability Survey By the Numbers 100% of employees in the Executive's Office, Economic Development, Communications and the Family Justice Center consider Sustainability in their work. 95% of Pierce County employees receive and utilize free parking at work. 94% of employees know that we have dramatically cleaned up our Wood Smoke problem. 94% of employees know that most stormwater is untreated before it enters local streams, lakes or Puget Sound. 92% of Pierce County employees consider sustainability in their job. 92% know LED light bulbs are the best for long lasting energy efficiency 88% would like to have a water bottle filler available at their work location. 83% of employees are concerned about Climate Change and already have or will make changes to their lifestyle. 81% read the Sustainability…
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The 2017 Sustainability Survey is Coming…Are You Ready?

Uncategorized
Employees that consider sustainability in their work save the county money, limit waste and protect human and environmental health. Once a year we gather as departments to show what we know but also to allow employees to provide insight into how we can solve sustainability challenges. The Sustainability 2020 plan calls for important changes over the coming years and making sure employees are up to date in training is critical to meeting the goals of the plan. The Sustainability Survey will take place from October 16 - October 27th. If you have not received sustainability training and would like to before the survey here are some options. Sustainability Training consists of: An overview of the 2016 Annual Report  a review of Electric Vehicles and Green Driver Training Sustainability training is available at…
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Which Electric Vehicle is Right For You?

Electric Vehicles
Did you know there are 35 electric vehicles currently for sale in the United States. The days when it was a Leaf or an expensive Tesla are gone. In fact companies like Volvo are going exclusively with electric vehicles starting as soon as 2019. So given the fact that EV's save you real money and dramatically reduce your carbon footprint which one is right for you? Saturday September 9th from 11am-3pm is your chance to see over 20 different electric cars and motorcycles all in one place. Steilacoom is hosting the National Drive Electric Car Show with over 50 EV's signed up to attend. I asked former Pierce County Council member and current State Representative Dick Muri why he is hosting this event. 1) What can we expect at the…
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How Are Pierce County Salmon Really Doing in 2017?

Salmon, Water Quality
I come from a salmon fishing family. Dating back to my great grandparents on both sides of my family are people that enjoyed going salmon fishing in the northwest. Now that my kids are 8 and 10 it's time to get them out on Puget Sound salmon fishing this summer. While it may seem unsustainable to some, fishing is a strong part of our culture in Puget Sound. People who fish largely care about the well being of fish and tend to understand the need for improved habitat and better water quality. Simply put without Tribes and fishing interests there would be a lot less interest in the health and wellness of salmon in Puget Sound. But how are salmon doing in Pierce County? I asked 8 local experts from Tribes, local…
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