NEWS GLEAMS | COVID-19 Updates, National Climate Change Legislation Passes Senate, & More

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

After an especially scorching week and with more to come, today’s News Gleams center on health and the environment. Read on about unexpected but ambitious progress on national climate change legislation, Audubon Society’s anti-racist name change, and COVID-19 updates on a city, county, and national level.

—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Image depicting the temperature changes across the world in the last 50 years, with dark red representing an increase in temperature and blue representing a decrease in temperature.
Average surface air temperatures from 2011 to 2021 compared to a baseline average from 1956 to 1976, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Image is attributed to NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio; key and title by Eric Fisk.

Ambitious National Climate Change Legislation Makes Significant Progress

An unexpected legislative deal was made by Senate Democrats on July 27 — after negotiations between Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Democratic majority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York — which makes significant progress towards President Joe Biden’s goals of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. The deal still needs to be officially passed by the House to go into effect.

The $369 billion climate and tax package is called the Inflation Reduction Act. It aims to, according to The New York Times, “tackle global warming by using billions of dollars in tax incentives to ramp up wind, solar, geothermal, battery and other clean energy industries over the next decade. Companies would receive financial incentives to keep open nuclear plants that might have closed, or to capture emissions from industrial facilities and bury them underground before they can warm the planet. Car buyers with incomes below a certain level would receive a $7,500 tax credit to purchase a new electric vehicle and $4,000 for a used one. Americans would receive rebates to install heat pumps and make their homes more energy-efficient.”

Such legislation would put the U.S. much closer to global climate targets to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). The 1.5 degree threshold, adopted by a majority of countries around the world during the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, would significantly reduce the likelihood of catastrophic natural weather events around the world.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a global body of the United Nations, published a Special Report in 2022 “on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emissions pathways.” They also showcase a number of potential implications and associated risks on their website.

Image depicting a bright green illustration of a bird silhouette holding a paintbrush in its beak. "Seattle Audubon" is written next to the bird, but the word "Audubon" has been striked-out with black ink.
Image courtesy of the Seattle chapter of the National Audubon Society.

Seattle Chapter of Audubon Society Changes Name to Address History of White Supremacy

The Seattle chapter of the National Audubon Society — an environmental organization that protects birds and the places they need — has removed the word “Audubon” from their organization name.

“The relevance of John James Audubon (1785–1851) to a changing country has undergone scrutiny the past few years, coinciding with a national reckoning over race in U.S. history …” their website writes. “The societies named for Audubon were formed after his death. He was known for his paintings and descriptions of U.S. bird species in his seminal work, ‘The Birds of America.’ Less known are Audubon’s history of buying and selling Black people as slaves, his contributions to white-supremacist thought and policy, and opposition to abolition, as well as his appropriation of Black and Indigenous observations of bird species.”

The Seattle chapter is the first of 450 across the country to change their name, to their knowledge. More information can be found on their website.

Flyer advertising a COVID-19 vaccine event at ICHS's Holly Park Clinic. Text with information about the event is written on top of an image of a male-presenting individual holding a youth. Both are wearing surgical face masks.
Flyer courtesy of ICHS.

COVID-19 Updates, Local and National

Free COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine Clinic in New Holly

On Aug. 6, International Community Health Services (ICHS) will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at ICHS Holly Park Medical & Dental Clinic (3815 S Othello St.) for children 6 months to 4 years old. This event is free and open to everyone. Appointments by phone are recommended to secure a spot, but walk-ins are welcome during clinic hours 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Parents or guardians must be present. Language support in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese will be available. ICHS will be administering the pediatric Pfizer vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are free of charge, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. Patients should bring their identification and insurance cards if they have health insurance. More information is available on the ICHS website or their Facebook page.

King County Resources on COVID-19

King County continues to regularly monitor the status of COVID-19 cases via their robust online dashboard, which allows visitors to filter by demographics and geography. Daily cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are presently on a downwards trajectory.

No matter what age you are, you can visit the King County website for in-depth information about how to get vaccinated.

New COVID-19 Vaccines Expected for the Fall

The Biden administration plans to roll out 171 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this September, which vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna anticipate will contain formulations that are more effective against the highly contagious BA.5 omicron subvariant currently in circulation.

The vaccines which are presently in circulation were designed for the original strain of COVID-19 and are less effective on current strains. According to NPR, the fall campaign would replace a previous plan to allow young adults to get a second COVID-19 booster this summer, in order to protect more people against the BA.5 this winter.

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