Green Giant Steps
Your Green Giant article in the December issue of Columns reminded me of the times when my family and neighbors would load up the garbage cans and take them down to the Montlake landfill—what is now the parking lot north of Husky Stadium. This was in the early ’50s. Yes, we were filling in Lake Washington wetlands with our household garbage.
By 1963, when I started attending the UW, the landfill was a gravel parking lot marked by numerous vent pipes. On many days, the methane emissions were so prevalent people wouldn’t light up a cigarette until they were safely up the hill and away from the smell.
Today, you have a nice blacktop parking lot (is parking still 25 cents a day?), and no one would dream of placing a landfill on the shores of any waterway. That is progress but also a reminder that many past, present, and future activities can be remediated to our benefit.
Steve Shirey, B.A.,
Business Administration, ’70
Oops! Looks like you missed the Biodiesel Cooperative, developing out of the Chemical Engineering area. The idea: Using cooking oil for UW kitchens to process into biodiesel for use by UW autos and trucks.
It is coming, awaiting lab space to move from prototyping to actual development.
I applaud—loudly!—the UW’s efforts! As an alumnus of the UW who took a position at Oklahoma State University, I really miss the greenness (both senses of the word) of Seattle. In the past five years or so, Oklahoma State has improved a lot in its green use of energy and many other sustainable practices, but it can certainly learn a lot from the UW.
John Te Velde, Ph.D., Germanics, ’88
The Joy of Discovery
For the first time since I graduated, I actually read most of Columns. Usually, I just Google it—search for key words and images, but rarely read and digest anything. Not with the December issue. I read most of the articles.
But best of all, the time spent reminded me of the U Dub—deep insights, plenty of “Hey, I didn’t know that” moments, and the joy of discovery.
For too long, the magazine has been just another piece of print communication like the dozens that litter my world each day. This issue stood out and above the genre, and did what I’ve been waiting for it to do for decades—draw me into both my school and a world of compelling ideas, people, and places. I even read the insert [A Shared Vision at Risk] piece completely.
Well, to be balanced in my praise, I [as usual] skipped the alumni news/notes/ home sections because they’re so predictable and like any other alumni publication. Maybe you can’t do anything to breathe life into those sections, eh? Please continue the good work.
Steve Van Atta, B.A., Communications, ’87
Call Off the Wolves
Your glowing article about Rodger Schlickeisen [Saving Species, December 2011] made my blood boil.
America is getting prepped to buy a large percentage of her food from outside the United States. Wildlife will have taken over and forced all of us in production agriculture to give up on feeding America and a large percentage of the rest of the world. We will be at the mercy of other countries to produce enough food while animals like bears, buffalo and wolves will run wild and unchecked throughout our productive acres.
Yes, he has been effective in saving some endangered species; the issue is that groups like his have promoted the transfer of species like the grey wolf from Canada, where they weren’t endangered, to the Western U.S. without any regard that they may wreak havoc with livestock owners production capabilities. The 15 wolves transplanted into Yellowstone National Park rapidly reproduced themselves out of space and now are expanding into the northwestern states.
Our Montana and Idaho wolves are just now moving into Washington, so when the tax dollars start to drop off because of the loss of livestock numbers— which will mean less income from your Eastern Washington ranchers—you call up this Defenders of Wildlife group and maybe their organization will make up the financial difference to keep Washington bankrolled.
So tell Mr. Schlickeisen and his followers they need to start conditioning their digestive system to handle spotted owls (which killed the timber industry), wolves (right now having a huge negative impact on elk, moose and cattle / sheep ranchers) and grizzly bears (starting to eat people outside Yellowstone Park).
Carl W. Baldwin
P.S. You have a great magazine. Congrats on being so “green.” We ranchers are “green” also—or we wouldn’t survive.
More Poplar than Ever
Regarding your story Biofuels: A Poplar Idea in the December Columns, it might interest you that the word Alamo, in English, turns out to be a poplar tree! Go Huskies!
Dave Keen, B.A., Education, ’72
The Huskies were invited to play against Baylor in the 2011 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
Oops, Wrong Mountain
On page 25 of the December issue [Tall Order: Understanding Himalayan Glaciers], you have a picture of Ama Dablam.
I have been there and the mountain in the picture is not Ama Dablam.
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