Friday, 28 Feb 2003

SEATTLE, Wash.

Over the last couple of days, I have received several encouraging emails from Grist readers — thank you! It is nice to know that there are so many thoughtful people utilizing this online resource. Grist is clearly a great organization — well run and passionate about the world we all care so much for. Go Grist!

Eco Encore has built up a great group of Seattle-area environmental organizations that we support with proceeds from our sales of used media (CDs, videos, DVDs, and books), but we’d like to add a special guest to that list for the next month — Grist. During March, any donations of used items that we get from Grist readers will go to benefit their favorite online environmental magazine. Just mail them to Eco Encore headquarters with the word Grist clearly marked on or in the package — check out our shipping instructions to find out more. And please see our how-it-works webpage for details about the Eco Encore system and, in particular, what sorts of items are most likely to sell and thus be of most benefit. CDs, DVDs, and light books are the best items to include in a donation that’s being mailed in as they are the least expensive to ship yet often bring a good return. (For this special Grist benefit, we’ll be consolidating all contributed items into one big donation, so we won’t be able to send out individual tax receipts. But you’ll know that your items are going to a great cause!)

If you’re more in the market to buy than to donate, check out what Eco Encore has for sale at our Amazon.com store or Half.com store.

Yesterday, I took a batch of books that we were not able to sell online to the Friends of the Seattle Public Library. These books will be sold at a biannual sale that benefits the library. This component of our system is critical to ensure that these would-be landfill items have another life as useful products. It is an especially nice experience to go to the Friends warehouse because I get to talk with Joan, the director of their program — an energetic and welcoming woman who really gets the environmental part of their book sale and our program.

Today’s featured sale is another feel-good one: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, a CD for kids and their parents. It was purchased by a man in Rome, Maine (which I happen to know is on the lovely banks of Great Pond next to the beautiful town of North Belgrade). The proceeds will go to ONE/Northwest.

Because I have spent much of the past week journaling about what Eco Encore does (sales, budgeting, personnel, etc.), I thought it would be good now to talk about some of the organizations we support. While our work is absolutely about environmental protection and sustainability, we are not out in the community as much as those we help fund. So, without further ado, let me introduce a few of our recipient organizations:

The Center for Environmental Law and Policy (CELP) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to clean, flowing waters for Washington. CELP’s mission is to protect and restore the natural integrity and enjoyment of Washington’s precious rivers and streams. I simply love this organization — not only because it does such great work, but because the staff members (Jill, Aaron, and Karen) were such early and enthusiastic supporters of ours. CELP invited Eco Encore to its holiday party and asked board members and volunteers to bring in their old books and CDs, and did they ever! They raised over $400 from that collection of “old stuff” and provided us with a much-appreciated boost as we began our work.

Not to be outdone, 1000 Friends of Washington has been just as encouraging as the other recipients and the group does amazing work. It recently won a huge victory by successfully opposing a poorly designed state initiative (Referendum 51) that called for massive road building without integrating solid transportation alternatives. 1000 Friends’ work really makes a difference — stopping sprawl from encroaching on our dwindling farms, forests, and open space; making our towns and cities better places to live; and empowering local residents to be strong advocates for their own communities. It should be noted that their efforts to limit sprawl are much more thoughtful than some other anti-sprawl campaigns that have unfortunately targeted immigrants as they try to get at the problem.

Joining 1000 Friends in defeating Referendum 51 was Transportation Choices Coalition (TCC). TCC brings citizens’ groups, businesses, public agencies, and concerned individuals together to work to expand transportation choices and give people real opportunities to ride buses, take trains, walk, bicycle and carpool, as well as drive alone when needed. Like our other recipient groups, TCC is led by some really sharp and committed folks (Peter and Melissa are our contacts there). TCC and 1000 Friends also graciously host an Eco Encore collection bin in their office in Capital Hill, Seattle.

Speaking of sharp and committed, Washington Trails Association (WTA) has a team of staff, board members, and volunteers that are truly up to the task. I’m lucky to call Elizabeth (WTA’s director) a friend and a mentor (if you ever want to see difficult work done with sparkling attitude, see her). And if you’ve hiked in Washington, you’ve benefited from the work of Washington Trails Association. Its trail maintenance efforts are unparalleled, and it lobbies hard to protect natural areas from development and destruction.

Perhaps Eco Encore’s most loyal and involved recipient has been ONE/Northwest, a Seattle-based nonprofit with a seven-year track record of helping Pacific Northwest environmental groups make strategic and effective use of computing infrastructure, the Internet, databases, and other high-tech tools. ONE/Northwest may well have the most potent and effective staff of any nonprofit organization I have ever worked with. Their mission is right-on and their work is amazing, but when I think of ONE/Northwest the first thing I think of is Jon, Lisa, Sean, Gideon, and the rest of their dynamite staff.

Of all the groups we work with Washington Citizens for Resource Conservation (WCRC) is the most closely allied with our philosophy of reuse and recycling. WCRC works with citizens, government, and businesses to promote resource conservation through waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. WCRC is currently working on an aggressive producer responsibility campaign that pushes for policies that would require manufacturers to adopt effective recycling practices. Maureen and Sego at WCRC have been super cheerleaders for Eco Encore and just yesterday they delivered a bag of used books which will be transformed into cash for their work!

There’s not enough space to detail all of our recipients, but you get the picture — a great group of organizations led by some amazing folks!

Thanks for reading my journal entries this week. It has been a lot of fun for me (and Ripken) to be in communication with the Grist readership and we welcome any thoughts, feedback, or a simple hello. You can visit us online, or drop me an email at jesse@ecoencore.org.

Peace!