Cascadia Daily, Feb. 12, 2018

Vancouver continues to experiment with safe injection

The Washington Post has an in-depth feature article on Vancouver’s fifteen year experiment with safe injection sites–a tactic a few cities on the US side of the border (including Seattle) are considering in the face of skyrocketing overdose deaths. As fentanyl has sent BC’s drug overdose death rate over 1,400 last year, a variety of sites are offering synthetic morphine substitutes, clean injection sites, readily available nalaxone, and other strategies aimed at harm reduction. Meanwhile, paramedics in Tacoma are providing overdose survivors with free nasal inhalors of Narcan–a powerful opioid overdose antidote–in a pilot program expected to expand statewide.

Amazon’s dirty carbon secret

Northwest Public Broadcasting reports on how cloud computing is an increasingly potent addition to climate change. Cloud computing now accounts for 1.8 percent of US electricity use, and Seattle-area companies Amazon and Microsoft account for a big share of this consumption. Often, data centers are located in areas that use coal-based energy, and though Microsoft has been open about its climate impacts, Amazon has been less forthcoming, the article reports.

Trump proposes $230 million cuts to Hanford cleanup

OPB reports that the Trump administration budget proposal slashes $230 million from various Department of Energy and other government programs tasked with cleaning up the Hanford nuclear site. Coming not long after cleanup efforts hit several snags, Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said the cuts would be “downright dangerous for everyone who lives near the Columbia River.” You can view a visual and poetic essay on Hanford’s toxic legacy by Dan Hawkins and Kathleen Flenniken at Cascadia Magazine.

The hidden ecological value of driftwood

In a beautiful feature for Hakai magazine, Vancouver Island-based journalist Brian Payton writes about the little-known role of driftwood in the health of the Salish Sea. Profiling log-salvagers who hunt for stray logs in British Columbia, Payton goes on to chronicle the ways these huge logs contribute to the health of rivers and marine ecosystems.

Charles Johnson on mindfulness and black America

Award-winning novelist Charles Johnson, who’s based in Seattle, talks with City Arts about how the US needs to delve deeper into meditation and mindfulness as it confronts issues of racial injustice. “[Black youth] can’t just move through the world like someone who has white privilege. They have to be more mindful.”

Matthew Dickman’s poem “Rhododendron”

Portland-based poet Matthew Dickman, who’s the poetry editor at Tin House magazine, has a new poem, “Rhododendron,” online at the New Yorker…
“I’m walking my infant
son through a stand of rhododendron

trees. It feels like we are walking
through a cloud of jellyfish

made of pink and purple paper
petals falling…”
Read the entire poem here.

That’s all the news and arts from Cascadia, reporting this week from Vancouver, B.C. where apparently it’s brilliantly sunny all the time.  –Andrew Engelson

Photo credits: photo of InSite safe injection site in Vancouver by an anonymous user at Wikimedia Commons in the public domain