Tag Archives: Climate Change

Art Exhibit Speaks to Extinction, in Animal Kingdom and Black America

by Amanda Ong

South Jackson Street’s King Street Station is an iconic landmark for Seattle history as an entry point for Chinese immigrants and Black migrants in the early 1900s. A bustling transit center today, the station is also a lively arts space and gallery hosted by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture — ARTS at King Street Station. The nickname rings true as a warm invitation to its public arts space and for showing some love to underrepresented artists.

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Seedcast: You Don’t Leave Anything Behind

by Michael Painter

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.

Content Warning: This piece includes references to the experience of attending Indigenous boarding schools in the United States and the aftermath of catastrophic weather events.

When I introduce myself, I start with the most important: I’m a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. I grew up in Indian Territory, often referred to as Oklahoma. I currently live on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish peoples, now known as West Seattle. Then, if there’s time, I share a little about my job and life experience. I’m a lawyer, a family physician, a father and grandfather, and I’m managing director, Programs at Nia Tero based in Coast Salish Territory.

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Weekend Reads: NOAA’s New, Narrower Sea Level Rise Predictions

by Kevin Schofield

This weekend’s read is an updated report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on their latest predictions for sea level rise through the rest of this century due to climate change. If that sounds, well, dry, I can assure you that it has very wet implications for the coastal United States, including here in Washington. But this new report is also interesting because, according to NOAA, both the current empirical measurements of actual sea level rise and the computer models of future rise have converged, resulting in a much narrower range of predictions than the last report five years ago.

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Seattle’s Heating Oil Tax: A Missed Opportunity for Environmental Justice

by Tushar Khurana

In September 2019, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed a law that would tax home heating oil sold within the city and could eventually require residents to upgrade or decommission their heating oil tanks by 2028. The legislation was introduced to meet the City’s climate goals by hastening the transition to cleaner electric home heating across the city. It was also lauded in a mayoral press release as a “bold and thoughtful approach” to environmental policy that “help[s] our most vulnerable residents move off heating oil.” Revenue from the tax is intended to fund rebates for homeowners and help provide 1,000 fully paid electric heat pump installations for low-income residents.

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Cascadia’s Climate Champions Learn They Can Win at the Local Level

by Peter Fairley

(This article was originally published on InvestigateWest and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

Acting on international calls to freeze fossil fuel infrastructure, citizen activists working with environmental justice groups and Indigenous nations are pushing local governments to rewrite the rules for building everything from airports and gas stations to industrial zones. 

“We were here before the airport was. They forget that,” says Rosario-Maria Medina, a community activist in the South Seattle neighborhood of Georgetown, just north of bustling Boeing Field. When Seattle’s first commercial airport opened in 1928, Georgetown had been a vibrant community for more than half a century.

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Youth Activists Demand Amazon Do More to Combat Climate Change

by Alex Garland

On Thursday, Nov. 11, more than 15 youth activists ranging in ages from 7 to 15 years old took their demands directly to Amazon as they held a “climate teach-in” and delivered a report card on Amazon’s pledge to reduce the pollution from shipping by 2040. The young activists from Climate Action Families Seattle (CAFS) gathered outside the Amazon Headquarters in the Day 1 building in front of the Amazon Spheres. As each activist came to the microphone, they took turns reporting on Amazon’s climate goals and current profits and how those conflict with the reality of climate change. 

These youth demanded that Amazon step up and show leadership around promises to end maritime shipping pollution. Their demands included that Amazon commit to the Ship It Zero plan, wherein Amazon would transition to 100% zero-emission ships by 2030. The cargo ships used by Amazon currently use bunker fuel, a high sulphur fuel that leads to increased CO2 emissions. The activists are asking Amazon to switch to marine fuel, which burns cleaner and costs more. 

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Shape Our Water: Pah-tu Pitt

by Ben Adlin

Shape Our Water is a community-centered project from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and KVRU 105.7 FM, a hyperlocal low-power FM station in South Seattle, to plan the next 50 years of Seattle’s drainage and wastewater systems. Funded by SPU, the project spotlights members of local community-based organizations and asks them to share how water shapes their lives. Our latest conversation is with Pah-tu Pitt, a small-business owner of Native Kut, course instructor at the University of Washington, and member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

When smoke from wildfires turned skies in the Pacific Northwest an otherworldly orange last summer, many of the region’s longest residents knew that more than climate change was to blame. Pah-tu Pitt, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, recognized that the fires also symbolized a rejection of Indigenous wisdom of how to care for the land.

“We really saw, on a large scale, what removing traditional fire practices from landscapes can lead to,” Pitt told the Shape Our Water project. Prevailing forest management practices [particularly in dry landscapes] relied on the idea that minor fires should be extinguished before they could spread and grow, while Pitt’s tribe had long understood that the smaller fires actually cleared underbrush — reducing the likelihood of larger blazes.

“My tribe has been a leader in using fires to reduce fuels within the system, to make it so fires tend to not be so catastrophic,” Pitt explained. Pitt, who currently lives in Seattle, expressed a sense of disconnect when she reflected on the many ways tribal lands benefit from traditional fire practices and how devastating wildfires have now become to their ecology and regional air quality.

The observation underscored Pitt’s belief in the need for Western institutions to better respect and incorporate the knowledge embodied in traditional place-based practices. As an educator and small business owner who has a background in environmental science, she now works to amplify the voices and perspectives of underrepresented groups. 

“Just because you don’t see yourself reflected in the field doesn’t mean that your people didn’t do science,” she said. “White supremacy just plays such a large role in excluding and dismissing our ideas. I don’t think that there are sustainable futures without us being able to reclaim those spaces.”

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OPINION: With the Right Transportation Policies, We Can Pivot to a New Climate Reality

by Ingrid Elliott, Rich Stolz, Anna Zivarts

Less than three months ago, a heatwave like we’ve never seen before gripped the Pacific Northwest killing over 1,200 people in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Black, Brown, and poor people were hit first and worst — low-income neighborhoods recorded by far the highest temperatures — but everyone suffered in one of our region’s worst natural disasters.

Scientists called the heat dome “virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.” An August Seattle Times piece noted that extreme heat events in the Northwest become 14 times more likely with climate change. We made this reality. How can we pivot to a different one?  

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King County Proposal Would Ban Natural Gas in New Multifamily and Commercial Buildings

by Ben Adlin

In an effort to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions, King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing rules that would sharply limit the use of natural gas in new multifamily homes and commercial developments as well as encourage wider adoption of solar power.

“These updates will save money, they’ll create jobs, and they’ll have an impact on climate change,” Constantine said at a media event Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Yesler Terrace Park. 

Constantine declined to provide a timeline for the proposal other than to call it “wildly urgent.” The changes would need approval from the King County Council to take effect.

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