Editor’s Note: Recently, we invited board members to contribute to weekend reading when they like. Chris Troth took us up on the offer this week! And our fall communications intern, Keiko Budech, also added a couple pieces to this weeks picks—enjoy!


This article, which filled my heart with happy, is about librarians on cargo bikes in Portland who deliver customized reading piles to people who live outdoors. “Street Books has no return policy at all, except a kind of when-you-are-done-reading, next-time-we-meet handshake agreement.”

A fascinating discussion in Vancouver, BC, about the relative merits of mid-rise and high-rise housing.


Satellite data has found a methane emissions hotspot in the Southwest US—likely natural gas leaking from coal-bed methane projects. If the scientists are right, the emissions had the same global warming impact as all of the carbon dioxide produced yearly in Sweden.


Just how important is the connection between diversity in the workplace and the quality of the work that results? Objective research shows that when we collaborate with partners dissimilar from ourselves, we up our game, and slack off in the company of those who are more similar.

Successfully creating and maintaining a diverse and healthy workplace is a challenge. There is no perfect recipe, but new research is starting to illuminate how certain strategies work better than others.


Here on the wet side of the Northwest, I have a hard time imagining the lack of fresh water, even if I did just have to haul more than 10 pounds of it with me on a overnight backpacking trip in the near-desert. Disappearing Rio Grande, a blog about a journey on and along the length of the river, is a well-written and engaging reminder of the impacts of water—and the lack of water—on people.

How to end homelessness forever. (Psst, it has something to do with providing homes.) I was surprised to learn that there’s good news out there. “Since the beginning of Opening Doors [a federal program designed to prevent and end homelessness], veteran homelessness has fallen 33 percent and the number of veterans sleeping on the street has fallen by nearly 40 percent. Some cities that are participating in the program have made even more progress.”


Several people sent me this weirdly credulous pro-pipeline piece published at Bloomberg. Basically, it contends that Canadian tar sands oil producers can solve their Keystone problem—the problem that their planned pipeline to the Gulf Coast may fail to win approval—by building a different pipeline east to New Brunswick. There are a few partial truths in the piece, but to me it mainly smells like industry desperation, and it overlooks some key points. Such as:

  • An eastern pipeline would have to be really long, and therefore expensive both to construct and operate;
  • Moving heavy crude oil to St John is not exactly the same as reaching the continent’s biggest refining center on the Gulf Coast, where Keystone would terminate; and
  • An eastern pipeline would be putting oil into the arguably oversupplied North Atlantic markets.

But it gets weirder. The article’s premise is that the major obstacle facing Keystone is President Obama—a problem that could be solved by an all-Canada pipeline—yet the writers fail to explain that there are already two other big time all-Canada pipeline proposals. Both of them are shorter and both serve the voracious Pacific markets and yet much to the consternation of the industry, neither of them looks like a winning proposition.

The article does make an exceedingly brief mention of the fact that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline is looking unlikely, but utterly fails to mention that a second western pipeline, proposed as an expansion of an existing line by energy giant Kinder Morgan, is facing opposition so stiff that the CEO has called it “overwhelming.” So here’s a newsflash for would-be tar sands pipeline operators: no matter where you try to build, you’re going to reap the whirlwind.

This Greenpeace pressure campaign is one of the best I’ve seen. As a means of opposing Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic, they’re targeting Shell’s partners like LEGO. In this eerily beautiful riff on The Lego Movie theme song, Greenpeace plays straight to the heart. And it worked: LEGO announced it would end its contract with Shell.

Our friends at Oregon Environmental Council deserve props. They just announced that they’re cleaning up their investment portfolio: they’re divesting from oil, coal, gas and other environmentally damaging industries. OEC’s move got some well-deserved love at the Portland Tribune and the Portland Business Journal.

  • Our work is made possible by the generosity of people like you!

    Thanks to T. William & Beatrice Booth for supporting a sustainable Cascadia.

  • Vox has a pretty terrific send up of a genre that wearies me: the “Who are These Millennials Anyway and What Do They Want From Us?” story. This time featuring new market research from the US Potato Board:

    Millennials don’t think potatoes are exotic or indulgent. Millennials do think potatoes are cheap. Millennials, it seems, think the same things about potatoes that everyone else in this country does.

    The potato board thinks there are five types of millennials, each of which can be represented by a type of potato.

    In fact, the potato industry site is even more hilarious than the Vox piece it inspired. I can’t decide which I like more, the stock photos or the choice quotes like:

    Attitudes about potatoes among Millennials are very positive. Eighty-nine percent rate potatoes “excellent” or “good” for being a good value, and 88 percent rate potatoes “excellent” or “good” for being something everyone would enjoy. In fact, potatoes rate highest on what’s most important to Millennials. [emphasis added]


    This article looks at the shocking social injustices intensified by superstorms. After the one year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines, less than 1% of survivors have been relocated to permanent housing.


    For any Twitter users out there, this collection from Quartz of the 17 best bots on Twitter is very entertaining. Sightline staff might especially appreciate this accidental haiku bot. I’m tempted to create one that auto-tweets some of the entertaining spam comments Sightline receives on its site. A few recent (though too long) candidates:

    Hello. Allow me to introduce writer. His name is Romeo Tulsi.
    Illinois is his birth place and he doesn’t be selected
    consider changing the program. What he loves doing is croquet but he is struggling get time because of it.
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    been recently really gratifying. Go to my can i find out more: Miami
    Airport Parking

    This is an gorgeous produce from a top grade manufacturer.
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    more from :Cheap UGG Womens Roxy Short Chocolate Outlet

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a
    famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

    And more seriously, for Sightline staff and readers alike, Quartz also recommends the 22 best chart-heavy Twitter feeds to follow!

    Wherever you live, and for however familiar you feel with your town or city, it’s nice to be reminded that there are plenty of little lovely, tucked-away local corners you probably haven’t yet seen. That was the case for me when, as part of Sightline’s recent board/staff retreat, we enjoyed a tour of Seattle’s Yesler Swamp. Yesler is host to a restoration project led by University of Washington students in the Union Bay Natural Area (next door to the Center for Urban Horticulture), and the multi-year effort includes construction of a wooden walkway through the swamp. It’s an impressive undertaking in a gorgeous spot abutting the shore, and you can be part of it! The Yesler Swamp Project, in conjunction with Friends of Yesler Swamp, holds bi-monthly work parties. The next one is this Sunday, October 19th, from 10 AM – 2 PM (and another two weeks later on Sunday, November 2nd, same time!).