Sam Dancy has worked at the QFC in Westwood Village since the store opened in 1991. He is also a shop steward for UFCW 3000 and was involved in advocacy efforts on behalf of the union for grocery store worker hazard pay during the early part of the pandemic. Dancy, alongside other representatives of UFCW 3000 and other unions across various states, is currently protesting the possible merger between Kroger and Albertsons, which was announced last month.
Three years ago, a group of South Park residents and café regulars routinely met at Resistencia Coffee. Now, what started as those open mics and conversations about community building over coffee has become Cultivate South Park, an established nonprofit that is working to build spaces for connection and collaboration throughout the South Park community. The nonprofit’s robust programming provides South Park with innovative solutions in food, environmental, housing, and economic justice, and fortifies existing neighborhood strengths.
Just a few weeks ago we sweated through the hottest June temperature in Seattle’s recorded history. Heat in the triple digits can be dangerous, especially for vulnerable populations and the unhoused. The heat wave prompted the City to coordinate cooling stations — including libraries, spray parks, and beaches — as June 28 climbed to a record 108 degrees, capping a three-day stretch of triple-digit temperatures. The heatwave also affected plenty of non-human life. In Vancouver, B.C., June’s heatwave led to the deaths of 1 billion sea animals. Such staggering numbers could mean dire consequences for ocean life and interdependent ecosystems.
The main reason for Seattle’s increasingly warming temperatures (overall, Seattle has warmed by 2 degrees since 1900) is climate change. Climate change happens when greenhouse gasses trap heat and warm the planet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency: “Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere over the last 150 years. The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the United States is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation.”
A carbon footprint is a calculation of how much greenhouse gasses a person, or population, generates. You can calculate your own carbon footprint at The Nature Conservancy. (It’s super-interesting!) Scientists have been sounding the alarm on climate change for decades, and although there is much to be done on a global scale to change the course of the climate crisis, the decisions we make in our everyday lives are some things we do have control over.
The Emerald is exploring changes that South End residents can make to reduce our carbon footprint in a new series of articles. In this first installment, we’re looking at how eating low on the food chain is not only more sustainable for the planet, it also plays an important part in the health of our communities and food-justice movements.
A community garden planted at Jimi Hendrix Park by the activist group Black Star Farmers is still growing lettuce, pumpkins, cucumbers, and other produce despite recent demands from Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) that activists remove it. Planted about two months ago, the garden is part of a network of six food plots across the South End designed to draw attention to the need for equitable use of public space, environmental equity, and the lack of access to fresh food near Communities of Color.
On Thursday, July 8, staff from SPR arrived to remove the garden but left the site when several activists surrounded the shed and garden plots.
Marcus Henderson, the creator of Black Star Farmers, was behind the effort to plant a garden in Cal Anderson Park during the Capitol Hill Organize Protest (CHOP) in the summer of 2020. Since then, the group has now expanded its activist efforts throughout the South End.
“The privatization of public space is a huge issue,” Henderson said in an interview with the Emerald. “The system has evolved to prevent mistakes, but now it’s so cumbersome and huge that these spaces are not being utilized because the processes to access them are over-managed. We’ve also very much focused our public spaces on recreation and not actually sustaining our community.”