Gulp the coffee, skip the cup
Karin de Weille has launched a campaign in the heart of caffeine country to get people to kick the paper habit. "I think Seattle can push the frontier," she said at Seattle Green Festival, a two-day celebration of ecofriendliness where the effort got its official start on May 21. The thin plastic coating that keeps most cups from turning to mush complicates recycling. Only a handful of cities try, including Seattle. But even if cups are recycled, it still requires enormous amounts of energy and resources to manufacture and ship them, de Weille told the Seattle Times. Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin endorsed the initiative, which urges participants to whip out their own reusable cups for mochas on the go or "for here." Americans go through 56 billion paper cups every year, according to statistics compiled by International Paper. Starbucks alone gulps up 3 billion.
After quake horror, it's spelling bee
The spelling contest in Tokyo to send a representative to the Scripps National Spelling Bee was scheduled for March 12. The devastating earthquake hit the day before. The accompanying tsunami created a national crisis that put spelling on hold. The bee was postponed twice before it was finally held May 14. The winner was seventh-grader Yuichi Yoshioka, 12, whose family then had to make quick preparations to fly to the United States. Yuichi gets his spelling prowess from his mother, who excelled in English spelling bees while growing up in the Philippines. He's one of 29 spellers among the 275 participants who don't speak English as a first language. "I don't even think I speak English," he said modestly. But he can spell it.