Tag Archive | "Buy Nothing Bainbridge"

olympic terrace fire

Olympic Terrace House Fire Likely Caused by Spontaneous Combustion

Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) investigators say they have determined the cause of the fire that occurred Monday evening, September 15, in a two-story home at 11084 Olympic Terrace to be accidental.

After interviewing witnesses and the homeowners, BIFD identified spontaneous combustion to be the probable cause of the fire.

The homeowners had recently applied a linseed oil-based stain to a back deck of the home. They left rags used to apply the stain in a pile on top of a small storage shed. As linseed-based products are highly susceptible to spontaneous combustion, according to investigators, such conditions are likely to have caused the fire.

The three people in the home were alerted to the fire by neighbors, who helped them evacuate. According to the BIFD, when firefighters arrived at approximately 7 p.m., the left side of the structure and the attic were in heavy flames.

Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading into other areas of the house, containing fire damage to the roof and second floor. Other areas of the home sustained water and smoke damage.

There were no injuries.

A friend of the family and cofounder of Buy Nothing Bainbridge (BNB), Rebecca Rockefeller, has organized a donation effort to help supply the displaced older couple and their daughter with needed food, clothing, and other necessities. Madrona School has organized a food train for the family. Find out how you can help here.

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Photo courtesy of Ed Frymoyer.

Posted in Accidents, News, Popular 2Comments (0)

park district spraying pesticide at battle point park

Letter from the Editor: Pesticides in Our Parks—Do We Need ‘Em?

When it comes to plants, as with most things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One person’s pretty wildflower is another person’s weed. One person’s cultivated prize is another’s gaudy showpiece.

I love the wee white flowers that cover Battle Point Park in spring like a light snowfall, and I miss them after the mowers sheer them away. I also like—gasp—the spindly yellow dandelions that sprout up afterward. They splash welcome yellow on the oceans of monotonous green that in summer dies back to brown.

The monoculture of clipped green grass is an odd aesthetic that nature never would abide without strenuous interference by modern man. Our mowers, trimmers, whackers, blow torches, herbicides, and sweat keep nature’s riot at bay, along with its gifts. I have friends who recently “let their yard go.” Their ill teenage son insisted on it. Not killing one living thing, including a single insect, is his way of holding on. And, as a result, they now have something precious that I haven’t seen for years in my yard—quail—plus many more species who are now finding a home in their unkempt jungle.

Green Movement on Bainbridge

Mother and ducklings at Battle Point Park pond

Mother and ducklings at Battle Point Park pond

There is a powerful “green” movement on Bainbridge Island. Our Land Trust conserves wild land and shorelines; Friends of the Farms supports local growing; Weed Warriors and Student Conservation Corps remove invasive plant species; Positive Energy improves energy efficiency; the Zero-Waste Initiative and Buy Nothing Bainbridge reduce waste; West Sound Wildlife Shelter rehabilitates wildlife and educates the public about sustainable coexistence with other species; restaurants serve up organic and local food; citizens are going back to growing and raising their own natural food. Last year our city passed a plastic bag ordinance and installed solar panels in city hall.

Pesticides in Our Parks

So why is our Park District still using pesticides? According to Park Services Superintendent Dan Hamlin the Park District sprays every spring and fall in all of its parks, and it “spot sprays” throughout the year. Hamlin said they use glyphosate—the major component of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—on weeds in beds and other mulched areas. Earlier this month I watched a park worker with a tank of liquid herbicide strapped to her back spot spraying around the covered picnic area at Battle Point Park (on the Arrow Point Drive side). She sprayed on mulched beds and around trees throughout the area, a place that is regularly used by families with babies, kids, and dogs who play on the ground.

Hamlin explained that the Park District sprays on days when it is not windy or rainy. He said, “wind creates drift and rain weakens and spreads the formula.” Workers spray in the morning and post 8.5″ x 11″ signs at park entrances for the day informing people that spraying has occurred, with a phone number listed for people to call for further information. I asked if people call, and Hamlin said yes.

If you are chemically sensitive, the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) requires that your Park District inform you of the timing of its pesticide use. Click here to get your name added to the Pesticide Sensitive Registry.

The Dangers of Glyphosate



There is overwhelming data showing the harm of glyphosate. An April 2013 review of hundreds of scientific studies of glyphosate links it to debilitating human diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart problems, obesity, and Alzheimer’s. Glyphosate has been associated with increased risk for damaged DNA and abnormal chromosomes, cancer, miscarriage, and attention deficit disorder (ADD). Studies have shown that glyphosate is toxic to wildlife, particularly amphibians, for whom it is lethal.

But our Park District isn’t the only source of pesticides in our community—by a long shot. Our schools use them, businesses use them, and many citizens continue to use them, despite overwhelming evidence of their harm to all living things and the fact that they leach into our wells, watersheds, and Puget Sound.

Hamlin said the Park District uses only about five gallons of glyphosate annually in its parks, which comprise 1,500 acres.

But why use it at all?

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Featured photo of Bainbridge Island Park District worker spraying at Battle Point Park in early July, 2014. Photos by Julie Hall.

Posted in Don't Miss This 3, Environment, Letter from the Editor, Parks+TrailsComments (21)

buy nothing bothell oso collection

Buy Nothing Project Mobilizes Major Grassroots Response for Oso Landslide Survivors

Thousands of members and volunteers from Buy Nothing Project groups in the greater Seattle area are working around the clock to gather and deliver food and supplies to mudslide survivors in the Oso and Darrington communities an hour’s drive north of Seattle.

In just 8 months, the Buy Nothing Project has grown from one fledgling experiment on Bainbridge Island, Washington, into a 150-group network that now reaches around the globe, with no limit in sight. The Buy Nothing model is simple: community members freely giving and receiving within a hyperlocal gift economy. Members post things to give away, from a pair of sandals to garden produce to extra concert tickets, and others ask for things they need—a reel mower, eggs, a lamp. No money is exchanged, and there is no bartering or trading.

Many of the 50+ Buy Nothing groups in the Seattle area have rallied to assist devastated community members who have lost family, friends, neighbors, and homes in the deadly mudslide that occurred Saturday morning, March 22. Buy Nothing cofounder and director Liesl Clark, who lives on Bainbridge Island, estimated that the tragedy has affected some 2,000 people within the small, close-knit Oso/Darrington community, leaving many homeless and struggling with horrific loss.

buy nothing bothell oso collection

Buy Nothing Bothell collection. Chuck Vanbenschoten and Francis Dawn Ames.

Clark told me that volunteer administrators of Seattle-area Buy Nothing groups are working together in a network to coordinate member donations, pickups, and deliveries to the mudslide area. A Buy Nothing Darrington group, which formed just three weeks ago, is working to assist with getting supplies to those who need them. Shelley Schwinn of Buy Nothing Bainbridge has stepped up to lead the effort in coordinating with Buy Nothing Darrington.

However, according to Clark the Buy Nothing model has met with resistance from the Red Cross. Buy Nothing Bothell administrator Heather Heyer opened her porch to donations this week, collecting 1,380 pounds of food, as well as pet food, blankets, and other necessities, but, according to Clark, when volunteers attempted to deliver their trailer of goods to the besieged community yesterday, March 25, they were turned away by Red Cross workers and told to take their donation to a local thrift store.

“There is a government protocol that only asks for money. When you add money to the equation it slows the response, and it is unclear exactly how the money is used,” said Clark.

I asked Red Cross Western Washington Regional Communicator Colin Downey about the Red Cross policy. He said that indeed the Red Cross discourages donations of items such as food and clothing. “We have certain responses that we are practiced at and that our 200 volunteers at the scene are busy providing right now. . . . We appreciate the offers of that sort of help, but the truth is the Red Cross is not equipped to handle donated items like food and clothes, and we do ask people not to donate them. We buy bulk and have items stored and prepared in advance.”

Downey explained that although the Red Cross does not handle physical donations there are other emergency response agencies, some of which are at the Oso/Darrington site, that do, and he encourages people with such donations to work with those agencies. Inside Bainbridge put Downey in touch with Clark so he could help direct her to coordinate with those organizations.

As an example, Downey suggested that people who wish to make donations of supplies contact Helping Hands and the Point Church at 360-435-1616.

In the meantime, the Buy Nothing Project network is finding ways to connect person-to-person with those in need. Group administrators are establishing dropoff points through personal contacts. And they are looking ahead at what the survivors will need down the line, like bedding, mattresses, kitchen items, and things people don’t always think of, such as diapers and feminine products.

Clark said that within minutes Buy Nothing Bainbridge formed four dropoff locations for collecting donations for the mudslide response.

“We are just real people—real people who want to help,” said Clark.

Contact the Buy Nothing Project.

Read more about Buy Nothing Bainbridge.

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Photo courtesy of Heather Heyer. 

Posted in Community, Dont Miss This 4, Emergencies, NewsComments (1)

Holiday trash

This Compre- hensive Holiday Recycling Guide Makes a Nice Gift for Mother Earth

We’re not talking here about regifting the set of Santa butter knives that you received last year from Aunt Lenore. Instead, BI Zero Waste has recommendations for what to do with a host of items you can no longer use, including your used wrapping paper and ribbons, the things that are replaced by new gifts, the food left over from your holiday meals, and even that needle-dropping tree. The list is so comprehensive, you’ll find that you’ll only need to throw out a very small amount this season, which will save you money and is a good holiday gift for the planet.

But, as far as the butter knives go, BI Zero Waste encourages you to use Freecycle or Buy Nothing Bainbridge. That’s good advice to follow when it comes to anything still in good enough condition for reuse, which is preferable to recycling it.

Here’s the list:

Batteries, all types: Bainbridge Disposal transfer station

Bubble wrap (clear, not colored; no tape): Contact bizerowaste@sustainablebainbridge.org.

Cooking oil (no food particles): Olympic View Transfer Station (Bremerton)


  • TVs, computer monitors and CPUs, laptops, tablets: Bainbridge Disposal transfer station
  • Cell phones and small items (calculators, camcorders, iPods, MP3 players, printer cartridges, videogames, accessories): Island Center Hall (Girl Scout Troop 41241 fundraiser)

Food scraps, all: Compost in your own composter, at the curbside yard waste bin, or in the Bainbridge Disposal transfer station yard waste bin (small fee)

Light strings (nonworking): ACE Hardware


  • Cardboard boxes (flatten): Curbside recycling or cardboard Dumpster at Bainbridge Disposal transfer station
  • Compostable “peanuts”: Add water and watch disintegrate
  • Plastic bags (clean and dry, kind that stretch when pushed with thumb): Safeway and Town & Country Market
  • Styrofoam blocks (clean, remove tape and stickers): Bay Hay and Feed on January 11-12
  • Styrofoam “peanuts” (no compostable peanuts): UPS Store


  • Envelopes, all: Curbside recycling or comingled recycling at Bainbridge Disposal transfer station
  • Gift bags (remove nonpaper handles and nonpaper decorations): Curbside recycling or comingled recycling at Bainbridge Disposal transfer station
  • Holiday cards (remove nonpaper material): Curbside recycling or comingled recycling at Bainbridge Disposal transfer station
  • Tissue paper: Compost at home, in the curbside yard waste bin, or in Bainbridge Disposal transfer station yard waste (small fee)
  • Wrapping paper (no foil type, remove nonpaper decorations): Curbside recycling or comingled recycling at Bainbridge Disposal transfer station

Trees: Boy Scout Troop 1564 picks up curbside on January 11. Trees are chipped and used on Bainbridge. You must make a reservation for pick-up. Go here.

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Photo by Taber Andrew Bain.

Posted in Community, Green Living, Holidays, Popular 2, SliderComments (0)

Public TV Station to Film Bainbridge Teen Talking Circle

In 1993, Bainbridge photographer Linda Wolf came up with an innovative idea for getting teens to connect and work through the issues they face. She launched The Daughters Sisters Project for teen girls the next year. Twenty years later, what is now known as Teen Talking Circles and includes boys as well is still going strong and has just captured the attention of NHK, a Japanese Public Broadcast Station. An NHK crew of four will be on the Island Saturday, September 14, to film a talking circle with 12 teens.

Teen Talking CircleNHK is doing the filming for a series in production on the myelin sheath, the electrically insulating material that protects the axon of a neuron. Yes, we’re talking about brains. And you might reasonably wonder what the myelin sheath has to do with a Bainbridge talking circle. Research has shown that during the teenage years the myelin sheath begins to thicken, which increases the efficiency of neural connections. So one segment of the series will focus on the developing teen brain and the corresponding increase in certain hormones.

Wolf said the NHK series producers want to record the strong and changing feelings of teens: whether they’re depressed, how they feel about their parents and their friends, what they care about and worry about. Director Kaneko Masatoshi was sure he wouldn’t find a group of teens in Japan who were comfortable enough to talk openly on camera. So he looked east and decided to focus on Bainbridge, the birthplace of the modern Teen Talking Circle.

Teen Talking CircleThe TTC program developed out of the belief that a mature self-identity and healthy relationships develop naturally when kids feel free to speak their truth and hear the truth of others. On Bainbridge, a talking circle—usually about 11 or 12 teens and two adult facilitators—is scheduled one day a week after school for nine months of the year. The program has been recognized nationally and internationally by universities, diversion programs, community organizations, health educators, and youth-serving organizations, including the Office on Women’s Health in Washington, DC. In 2001, TTC was given the Athena Award for Excellence in Mentoring. TTC offers facilitator training and educational materials as well as running the circles.

NHK meanwhile has won scads of awards for its documentaries, including Peabody Awards, International Emmys, the Prix Jeunesse, Hugo Television Awards, U.S. International Film & Video Festival awards, and International Wildlife Film Festival awards. The series in production will air in Japan next year. The producers hope to release an English-language version after that.

Teen Talking CircleFor the event, Wolf recruited a group of volunteers, six boys and six girls in the age range of 13 to 18. She found them largely through Buy Nothing Bainbridge, and it was through BNB that she found the location for the filming, the home of Peter Athans and film director Liesl Clark.

The kids have all been briefed on what will be expected of them and on the topic of the series. The kids’ parents have all given permission for the filming. Wolf said she will work with the kids for an hour before filming starts. During that hour, Corbin Lester, a vocalist and spoken-word artist and the son of Councilmember Debbi Lester, will work with the kids to help them “open their voices.”

Teen Talking Circles will get a stipend from NHK. But the community is also supporting the event: A number of local businesses—Hitchcock, Safeway, Storyville Coffee, and A Woman Sconed—are donating food. Two of the parents are handling carpooling. Wolf said that David Franklin, the author of Radical Men, is co-facilitating the circle, and her daughter Genevieve Wolf Smith and pal Tracey Denlinger are helping coordinate the event. The Lynwood Theatre is donating movie tickets for the kids.

A new TTC for girls is starting here on Monday, and new members are welcome. With enough interest, a group for boys could also be launched. For more information about joining or getting your own teen involved in a talking circle, contact Wolf at info@teentalkingcircles.org. You can also visit the TTC website. 

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Photos courtesy of TTC.

Posted in Community, Kids, OrganizationsComments (0)

Will ‘Buy Nothing Bainbridge’ Change the World?

An increasing movement of people say that humans need to change our definition of “growth.” They say the capitalist economic model of build more/buy more/supersize it is unsustainable, leading to overpopulation, climate change, planetary ecological collapse, and the sixth mass extinction—something a multitude of evidence shows is happening right now, day by day.

On Bainbridge Island, there is a fast-growing group of people who appear to believe that an alternative economic model is not just sustainable but actually more fun. Sustainable and fun?

Just ask Buy Nothing Bainbridge (BNB) members. The online forum, launched just over two weeks ago and now commanding upwards of 700 members, has captured the imagination of a dedicated following—parents with outgrown toys, gardeners with an excess of veggies, Islanders with oddly specific thingies and/or the desire for oddly specific thingies. Then there are the people who just dig bartering, getting fresh-baked bread in exchange for shelving, beer in exchange for books—and the list goes on, and on. One thing they apparently all have in common is they’d rather find a home for their unneeded stuff than toss it.

bread loaves

Sourdough bread

Brainchild of BNB Rebecca Rockefeller admired Freecycle but saw the need for a more open bartering system. She wanted members to be able to communicate directly, without restrictions, about what and how things could be exchanged (Freecycle, for example, does not allow the exchange of food and has tight limits on the length of item descriptions). Here’s the BNB motto:

Buy Nothing: Give Freely. Share the bounty. Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or trade. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free, borrow, or share. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. 

With Liesl Clark, who works with Rockefeller on numerous branches of their waste-busting company Trash Backwards, Rockefeller put Buy Nothing Bainbridge on Facebook.

dish rack

Dish rack that “unfortunately doesn’t actually wash the dishes for you”

Clark and Rockefeller share an unusual combination of idealism and pragmatism. They are also both deeply concerned about the increasingly colossal amount of trash humans are dumping in our ecosystem, and rather than sit and worry about it they are taking innovative steps to try to change it. They hope their most recent innovation on Bainbridge Island will spread to communities worldwide. Rockefeller told me, “If this is a replicable model and reaches a critical mass we would love to see it all over the world to foster really localized gift economies.”

Already they have helped launch a Buy Nothing Kingston/Indianola in Washington and a Buy Nothing Loma Linda/Redmonds in California, with others likely forthcoming in Olympia, Washington; Chico, California; and Prince Edward Island, Canada.

When I asked Rockefeller if she and Clark are looking to make money from the venture, she replied, “We’re not sure how this could be monetized. How would you advertise on a forum that is not about buying?”


Hand-built 6-foot bench

A filmmaker for National Geographic and NOVA, Clark regularly visits Nepal and studies the trash of ancient villages. Trash is on her mind, especially the never-say-die plastics we are leaving behind today. She told me, “Our situation on the planet is not the scarcity model. We need to stop thinking of the store and start thinking more about our relationships to things [and one another]. We don’t all need to be generalists, each with the same things in our homes, but rather specialists who can share.”

metal tree stands

Metal tree stands

Both Clark and Rockefeller talked with amusement about the funny nature of our “stuff” and how that is sparking humor among members of BNB.

One BNB member offered up bare wire frames in the shape of trees, asking only this: “Will trade for a picture of what you do with them. Taken with a camera phone, polaroid, child’s sketch. I’m not choosy. Enjoy!”

Another member had 30 of his self-published books left unsold and wanted beer in exchange. Thus was born the BNB Books-N-Beer night at Bainbridge Island Brewing, where members gather to drink beer at the Brewery and exchange beer for books. The second monthly night will be August 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Here is how a member described the group: “BNB is like an intergalactically connected web of supernatural beings who can magically intuit the needs, wants, and desires of their peeps.”

Vase on the Giving Bench

Vase on the Giving Bench

Will Buy Nothing change the world? Who knows. But, as exchanges on the BNB FaceBook page reflect, it is genuinely bringing people together. They are finding creative ways to connect, meeting at one another’s homes for exchanges, and making new friends in the process. One active member, Melisa Lunt, came up with this idea:

“Here is a vase. Right now, it’s empty, but I’m going to put something fun in it and put it out on the Giving Bench. If you happen by and would like the vase, take it. Enjoy its contents for as long as you’d like. Then, please put something lovely of your own in the vase and place it on someone’s porch when you do a pick-up. And so on. If you’re thinking, ‘Well, I don’t have anything lovely to put in a vase like fresh flowers or garden herbs’ then grab a pen and paper and write ‘Have a wonderful day!’ like a message in a bottle.”


Featured photo of “colorful nesting omelet pans” courtesy of Liesl Clark. Photo of bread loaves courtesy of Rebecca Rockefeller. Photo of dish rack courtesy of Lisa Kastner. Photo of bench courtesy of Sarah Grafton Albee. Photos of tree frames and vase courtesy of Melisa Lunt.

Posted in Community, Economy, Green Living, OrganizationsComments (8)

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