Thursday, November 12, 2009

- C o l u m n s -

. Contributions from community
What is sustainability anyway?
By Christian Rusby, Special to the Polaris . . . Sustainability is commonly defined as the ability to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This broad definition has been interpreted to include all aspects of life—not just the environment but economic value, social responsibility and cultural vitality as well. A sustainable North Seattle Community College (North) is an extension of this idea where all aspects of college life are considered. At North this means considering how we can reduce negative impacts of energy to heat the buildings, transportation for students and staff to campus, and the waste we generate in food service among many, many others.
. How do we know what negative impacts we are making? We start with an assessment of where we are at and setting goals. That doesn’t sound very exciting, right? Don’t worry, that is my job as the Sustainability Coordinator. Your job as students, faculty and staff is to continue to ask questions about where we are and where we want to be as a college.
. Since I started this quarter I have been flooded with questions and ideas from people all over campus about how we are reducing and could reduce our negative impacts further. To support the organization of these ideas and questions, our President Ron LaFayette has enrolled the college into a program which provides a framework for sustainability at North called STARS. STARS is a voluntary, self-reporting framework for gauging relative progress toward sustainability for colleges and universities and aligns with the Presidents' Climate Commitment he signed last year. I will be incorporating your ideas and interests into this framework over the next year and planning for a campus-wide Sustainability Design workshop called a Charrette at the end of winter quarter to update our sustainability goals at North within the Campus Master Plan.
. What projects and ideas would you like to see on campus?
. Christian Rusby is the newly appointed Sustainability Coordinator at North Seattle Community College.
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By Adem Bozoglu
. On one sunny day Mr. Red Fox was strolling on the bank of the Thornton Creek, chatting with his neighbors and enjoying the beautiful weather. As he walked, he saw in the front yard of his neighbor Mr. Black Bear, a barrel of finest honey. He quickly hid the barrel in a Himalayan Blackberry bush.
. That night he put on his oldest hat and put on a beard that he had from an old costume party before he went out. As soon as he arrived to Thornton Creek, he went in the bushes and took out the honey barrel. He rolled it all the way home.
. Later that summer he received an invitation to Black Bear’s 18th solstice party. On the invitation was written, “Please bring a dish and bottle of wine”. The day of the party, he put dust all over his fur, he yellowed his teeth and did not clean his nails. Everyone at the party felt so bad for him. Mr. Black Bear said, “Oooo, my dear friend what happened to you!” Mr. Red Fox responded, “I have not eaten anything for days”. At the end of the party all the animals gave him a lot of foods to take home.

. That night there was a terrible storm. The wind was hurling trees in the forest, lightning flashing on his roof and Mr. Red Fox thought the sound of the rain were the voices crying that he stole the honey. Suddenly, a giant Western Cedar fell through his roof, and Mr. Red Fox was trapped. He started to scream for help and all the animals came running to save him. They all worked together to clear the disaster.
. They were all shocked when they finally found Mr. Red Fox hugging his barrel of honey underneath the remains of his house. Mr. Black Bear just stared at Fox and the Fox turned red from the shame. And he never received another invitation again.

A liar’s candle only burns until midnight.
Meaning – a lie is always found out
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Fall colors augur pleasant fall
By Tom Smeeth, Managing editor . . . The stormy weather has officially blown in, yes? But the resilience of a brilliant fall color pattern has kept on at an unusual pace with a palette alive with bright yellows, oranges, and reds. Seems Mother Nature has insisted on putting on quite a show, using the deciduous trees as her blank canvas. Even after the rains came, and the wind blew, dropping many of the leaves, other trees stepped in to offer their painted, fall blossoms.
. According to North science instructor, Mitch McGuinness, the early color is due to the abnormal light register rather than any inclement weather patterns. More light for us to enjoy a warmer, less grey September and October, triggering the trees to start the process to drop their leaves.
. “We haven’t had any early chill,” he said. “In fact, with El Nino our weather has been unusually warm. The extra light has signaled to the trees to prepare their leaves to fall – and that is why we see the color.” Until last week, which saw repeated bursts of heavy precipitation, often laden with hail pellets at the outset, as with the night of October 29 before midnight, then the blast the afternoon of the next day, even the rain has been in what can only be called balmy autumn conditions.
. The heavy precipitation down in our lowlands and foothills means snow in the mountains. With ski areas announcing up to two feet of snow, several are planning to open this coming weekend. Crystal Mountain expects partial service. So check your snow and ski reports through such sources as North graduate MJ McDermott, now in weather with KCPQ, Q/13 Fox. Online at
. This winter is expected to bring heavy wet and cold. So stay tuned in to the local weather, and bring out your overcoat and slush boots.

. Look to view more on the blog site. Photos and more colorful views of the season around campus to be posted.

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