Sarah van Schagen

Visionary position

Portrait of an artist as a climate activist

This image of a polar bear on Barnard Harbor in Alaska was used in a Senate debate about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.Photo: Subhankar Banerjee   “Art has always reflected what is in our world and in our horizon and what our fears are — which is all tied in to climate change.” Coco Howard, Seattle artist In 2003, a Senate debate turned into an art show for a moment. In the heat of an argument over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) held up an image of a polar bear crossing a frozen harbor. …

Tour de fab

Would you trade your car for a bike?

Would you trade your car for a bike? That’s what the folks behind the Tour de Fat want to know. New Belgium Brewing’s now-annual cycle celebration is pedaling to Seattle this Saturday — and they’ll be taking a car off the hands of one (lucky?) local driver and handing him a cool commuter bike in return. (Patrick explains why he wants to reduce his wheelprint from four to two.) So what else does the Tour de Fat offer aside from the car/cycle swap-o-rama? A six-mile bike parade leaves Gas Works Park at 11 a.m. — think Solstice cyclers … but …

The Grist List: From Lob to Lorax

That smarts! Dutch pranksters go car-tipping, and more

Dutch treat Forget cow-tipping. Dutch pranksters are all about car-tipping these days, dumping dozens of lightweight Smart cars into Amsterdam’s canals. What tossers! Image created by The Sun

Taxicab Confessions

How should you talk to your cab driver about cap-and-trade?

Photo: Stephan Geyer via FlickrDuring my travels to the Rothbury Music Festival, I ended up in a cab in Grand Rapids, Mich., with a very cranky driver who wanted to talk … about cap-and-trade … at midnight, after I’d had a long day of traveling. He began with the standard, “Where to?” But then, skipping all manner of weather-related small talk, he said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “So what do you think about that whole cap-and-trade thing they’re debating?” “Oh, well, it just passed in the House!” I said cheerfully. “Yeah, I know. And I’m about to call up my …

Trip the light rail fantastic

Seattle light rail finally opens doors to passengers

Photo: wings777 via FlickrIt’s been a long time coming, but starting this Saturday, it’ll be “all aboard!” when Seattle’s light rail trains pull into the station. The Sound Transit trains will travel 14 miles from Westlake Center, in the center of downtown, south to Tukwila, two miles short of the Sea-Tac airport. By the end of the year, the trains will reach the airport. Thanks to generous Seattle voters, this $2.3 billion “starter line” will eventually reach north to the University of Washington campus (2016) and out to other suburbs like Federal Way, Overlake, and Lynnwood on a 53-mile track …

Sun city

Washington state may soon be home to world’s largest PV solar project

About four miles from the town of Cle Elum, Wash., there is a large, flat piece of land surrounded by a ring of 50-foot-tall Ponderosa Pines. The area has been repeatedly logged over the last few decades and is now relatively treeless. But it may soon be home to an entirely different sort of renewable resource. The land has been purchased by investors who want to build a 400-acre solar park that would generate 75 megawatts of renewable energy — enough to power 45,000 homes — making it the largest solar photovoltaic facility in the world. The world’s largest solar …