A LIVABLE WORLD: IT’S UP TO US

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ADU EIS

The City of Seattle is currently formulating an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for changes to Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) regulations.  The EIS will study two alternatives.   Alternative 1 requires off-street parking for ADUs and Alternative 2 doesn’t.

This is an important climate issue, because requiring parking spaces for all new housing makes it harder to build, and therefore suppresses new housing: it essentially privileges cars over people. We believe strongly that no one’s parking is more important than someone else’s housing. And if we privilege cars and parking over housing, we push people out of the city, where they need to drive more. Here’s more information about the current proposals and process.

We have until November 1st to submit comments.  There are also two open houses where people can give live public comment. October 17, 6-7:30 pm, and October 26, 6-7:30 pm (more details at right here). When you comment, you might want to point out that more Seattle residents are deciding against car ownership, and that the City could implement zoned (fee) parking to cap the number of automobiles on the streets and increase revenue for investment in bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The actual comment form is here.

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Intersectionality and Trade Agreements

by Selden Prentice

At 350 Seattle, we often use the term “intersectionality.” By that we mean that issues of climate are closely intertwined with issues of race, equality, poverty, worker rights, and immigrant rights, to name a few. The idea is that we can’t fully solve one issue without addressing the others.

When I came to 350 Seattle and began focusing on the relationship between trade and climate in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), I noticed that trade agreements themselves are intersectional; they involve not just climate, but also worker rights, immigrant rights, food sovereignty, and, of course, the abuse of corporate power. For example, as to issues of immigration, it’s no coincidence that in the case of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the flood of corn by US agribusiness into Mexico led to a massive loss of Mexican jobs, and a corresponding flood of traffic across our southern border.

Admittedly, though, in the TPP it was the climate-killing ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) that initially drew me in. ISDS is a corporate power grab that allows corporations to sue governments before a panel of three corporate lawyers, to demand unlimited compensation from taxpayers if the company’s executives think a law or government action violates the trade agreement. Over the last 20 years, several trade agreements, including NAFTA, have allowed corporations to challenge a myriad of environmental and climate related laws, including a ban on a toxic fuel additive in Canada, a court order to pay for pollution in Ecuador’s rainforest, and a government order to clean up a toxic metal smelting operation in Peru. Even now, a pending ISDS case under NAFTA involves a challenge to a fracking moratorium in Quebec.

But because the TPP threatened not just our climate, but jobs, wages, our food supply, endangered species, and the rights of indigenous groups —- at 350 we were able to work with a wide array of activists to stop this deal. Our great friend in this battle was the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, of which we are a member. Members of this coalition include several labor unions, the Washington State Labor Council, Backbone Campaign, El Comité, and the Sierra Club, to name a few. Leveraging the power of this cross-section of organizations, we convinced the Seattle City Council to pass a resolution opposing the TPP. Similarly, due to our compelling street theater, presentations, office visits, and protests, Congressional representatives Adam Smith and Denny Heck eventually publicly announced their opposition to the TPP. By the time the 2016 election came around, the TPP was on life support.[1]

Now the fight begins anew as Trump works to re-negotiate NAFTA.[2] And as we move into this new battle, the intersectionality of trade, climate and immigration once again becomes glaringly apparent. While NAFTA’s ISDS still threatens our climate, weak labor standards and other pro-corporate policies in NAFTA have allowed large, fossil fuel-consuming agribusinesses to consolidate power across all three countries, often at the expense of family farmers and Mexican workers. In fact, the NAFTA-enabled flood of cheap corn into Mexico contributed to a 66 percent drop in the price that Mexico’s corn farmers received, helping to drive one million farmers out of corn production. In fact, Mexico lost over 900,000 farming jobs in the first decade of NAFTA, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture. And ironically, although it was the pro-corporate US policies within NAFTA that forced these agricultural workers to lose their jobs and travel to the US, they now find themselves and their children, unwelcome here.

Now that I’ve become fully cognizant of the ways that trade agreements negatively affect all of us, I’m excited to delve into the work of creating a new trade policy, based not on corporate rights, but rather on the needs of workers, immigrants, and the planet.

_______

[1]Some ask us, isn’t it Trump who stopped the TPP? No! Because of exhaustive work by activists like us around the country, the TPP was in a death spiral by the time Donald Trump came into office. His action in pulling out of the deal was only the final nail in its coffin.

[2] Although Trump campaigned in opposition to NAFTA, it appears that most of his negotiating objectives mirror the terms of the TPP.

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The Storms of our….

We don’t know what to say.

When Harvey first formed in the Caribbean, we tried to stay abreast of every development–knowing how badly frontline communities were being hit, and how long and difficult the recovery would likely be.

Those things are still true: Harvey broke the U.S. record for rain in a single storm, and that rain mixed with a toxic soup because of damage to all the refineries and other chemical facilities in the city. Many people who were already struggling will suffer additional vulnerability for years to come–vulnerability to homelessness, poverty, and sickness.

So will those in Florida, as a result of Hurricane Irma–especially migrant farmworkers.

And now, the crisis in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria is beginning to come into focus, and it’s devastating (key lines: “Daily life will soon grow almost intolerable for all and dangerous for some, like the older and frail. Many parts of the hot and humid island are expected to go months without electricity, the governor said. Cooking will be onerous. Hot showers will be a memory. In some regions, clean water will be hard to access.”) One especially pressing concern is what happened to the uncovered 5-story pile of coal ash that was near to much of the flooding.

And that’s just the US–there’s also what happened to Barbuda in Irma, and the imagination-defying monsoon season in South Asia; a third of Bangladesh was under water a few weeks ago.

We here at 350 Seattle are in the business of doing all we can to stop catastrophic climate change, because we know that no matter what we do, these tragedies will continue–hurricane seasons like this one are a chilling peek into our shared future. But though it’s understandable to have less focus for the third or fourth devastating hurricane in a season, we cannot forget that each one of these affects lives–right now!–more profoundly than we can even really imagine, and for longer than we’d like to imagine. Our work is utterly essential, and so is that of the groups trying to respond to these tragedies in direct service and rebuilding.

In that spirit, we enjoin you to not only help us do all that we can to shake the system out of its torpor so that we move as rapidly as possible to clean renewable energy, but also keep an eye on our Things to Do Right Now page for the sake of its new “Respond” section, where we will try to keep current with each tragedy so that we can suggest effective on-the-ground, climate-justice-focused groups to donate to.

It’s a difficult–maybe impossible–balance: if we watch our social media feeds obsessively with each terrible storm, we won’t be able to do this essential work. But neither can we avert our eyes from what real people are dealing with right now–caused by what our fossil-fuel-soaked system is still doing to the world every day. So watch with love and give what you can–and most of all, metabolize your understanding and horror at what’s happening to fuel not despair but determination: to change that system to one that’s healthy and just for all of us.

Together, there’s so much we can save.

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September newsletter!

Local wildfires, a monster hurricane season — the impacts of a warmer climate are obvious. So there’s your motivation. And here’s, oh, just a few ways to take action:

PSE HAS A GAS PROBLEM

Puget Sound Energy, owned by an Australian for-profit corporation, wants to expand “natural” fracked gas infrastructure in Washington state, increasing our dependence on this dangerous fossil fuel for decades to come. They’re moving swiftly to build a huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Tacoma, despite Puyallup tribal and local community opposition. But they do not have all their permits yet, so we still have the power to stop them.

The Keep it in the Ground workgroup, in collaboration with Puyallup tribal members from the Water Warriors Movement, and Protectors of the Salish Sea, is coordinating a PSE Regional Day of Action on September 21st. People around the state will visit their local Puget Sound Energy offices and send a loud and clear message:

  • We oppose “natural” fracked gas expansion and the LNG plant in Tacoma;
  • We Stand with Puyallup;
  • We demand PSE shut down its dirty Colstrip coal power plant in Montana, bypass its conversion to “natural” gas, and move to 100% renewables.

Look for an alert in the next few days linking to all the locations across western Washington where actions at PSE offices will take place. Until then, stay in the loop with this event page.

PULLING TOGETHER AGAINST TRANSMOUNTAIN

The court hearings for the First Nations’ appeal of the TransMountain pipeline permits will be held in Vancouver, B.C., October 2 – 12. Folks there are calling for 10 days of solidarity actions. Here are two events on our side of the border:

Two Day Solidarity Walk
Saturday, September 30 – Sunday, October 1
Organized by Protectors of the Salish Sea, this 2-day solidarity walk goes from Cherry Point to the Peace Arch. There we’ll be joined by First Nations and Canadians, drawing attention to the TransMountain pipeline expansion and fossil fuel projects on both sides of the border. Those who can continue to Vancouver, B.C. will attend a rally outside the courthouse for the first day of the hearings.

 

March and Rally at March Point
Saturday, October 7
Organized by Swinomish tribal members, this march and rally at March Point, where the two refineries in Anacortes are located, draws attention to the potential expansion of the Puget Sound pipeline spur that currently carries tar sands oil from the TransMountain pipeline to the refineries in Ferndale and Anacortes.

350 Seattle and other local groups will be supporting both these efforts; we encourage as many as possible to participate.

Here are two ways to contribute to Pull Together, the First Nations legal fund fighting Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline:

Support the water protectors building Kwantlen healing lodges along the pipeline route at this fundraiser on September 24 and enjoy an afternoon of music, food, and gifts. Musicians include Queenside Castle, Marina Christopher Trio, Paul Cheokten and more!

People Over Pipelines t-shirts and totes are available on online. $30 plus shipping and all proceeds go to Pull Together. Beautiful design by Heather Elder.

METHANOL AND OIL

Kalama methanol comment opportunity
To build the world’s largest methanol refinery, project developer NWIW needs a new deep-water dock at the port of Kalama. They want to fund it with over one million dollars of taxpayer money. No way! Comments accepted until September 18, more details here.

Bomb trains in Ballard
Concerned about the trains carrying highly flammable substances through Seattle, along Shilshole Bay and beyond? Join Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Seattle Fire Department Assistant Chief A.D Vickery and External Affairs Manager for King County Emergency Management Barnaby Dow to learn about…

Oil Trains… & More
Wednesday, September 20, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Sunset Hill Community Association, 3003 NW 66th St., Seattle 98117

WE’RE CROWDSOURCING THIS

Bring us your bold ideas
The City of Seattle is falling far short of its carbon reduction goals. What to do? Ask 350 Seattle for help! The Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment has asked us for bold new ideas to get the city where it needs to be. Let’s crowdsource a 350 Seattle proposal to amp up a bold climate action agenda for our city! Submit your ideas using this form, or if you have a fully-baked multi-page plan, send it to Patrick.

Port commission races voters’ guide
The Port of Seattle is one of the area’s largest carbon emitters. Want to help voters make informed choices about Port Commission candidates? Help us write great questions for the candidates, so we can educate voters. Email Alice with your ideas.

TAKE IT TO THE BANKS

#ShutDownChase goes global
On May 8th, we partnered with Mazaska Talks to simultaneously shut down 13 branches of pipeline funder JPMorgan Chase. Immediately afterwards, some key 350 Seattle peeps started calling for a global day of action targeting the banks… and now… it’s happening! Between October 23rd and 25th, 350 Seattle is proud to support the Mazaska Talks-led Global Day of Action targeting the banks funding climate disaster. You can learn more about it at Mazaska Talks website here — and stay tuned for much, much more!

Bank boycott
Over 30 national non-profits, churches and businesses have now committed to boycotting the banks funding climate disaster. If you are part of a business, church or organizations that is ready to join the boycott, please fill out this form. If you have questions about joining the boycott, email Alec.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL ACTION

Seattle & the Green Climate Fund
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, floods in South Asia, and mudslides in Sierra Leone, it’s clear that across the world we need to ramp up preparation for the impacts of climate change, and rapidly transition to a clean energy future to avoid even more devastating effects.

That’s why we are calling for Seattle to help lead efforts to make up for Donald Trump’s immoral decision to break the United States’ promise to provide $2 billion to the Green Climate Fund – a key channel for international climate finance, which helps vulnerable, developing countries pursue low-carbon and climate resilient development. Sign on here, and to get involved with this effort, email Alex.

Amazon & renewable energy
The Amazon workgroup is building a campaign to pressure Amazon to transition to 100% clean energy! Want to be involved from the beginning of a new campaign? Join us to help with research, campaign strategy, and base-building in the tech community!

In September and early October, we’ll be hosting workshops on organizing, outreach, and base-building to skill-up our team. Contact Becca to be a part of these trainings!

Transportation Group
In our area about half of our carbon emissions come from transportation. But as Seattle gets denser, transit gets better, and new technology evolves our transportation options, there are tremendous opportunities to reduce those emissions.

City leadership is starting to get it — our legacy road system was designed for the ease and speed of automobiles, with little regard for the comfort or safety of pedestrians and bikers. To help make our transportation system fossil fuel free and turn Seattle into a truly bikable and walkable city, contact Andrew.

Beyond Capitalism
We’ll discuss future projects and the tie between climate change and capitalism. Join us Thursday, September 14, 6:30pm, at Cafe Allegro, 4214 University Way NE, Seattle.

TRADE AND POLICY

NAFTA news
The recent news about the end of DACA reminds us of the connection between trade, climate and immigration. When NAFTA allowed corporate attacks on climate policy, Mexican farmers and working families were hit exceptionally hard, fueling displacement and forced migration. To now send those families packing is the ultimate injustice. Learn more about the connection between trade and immigration in this webinar.

Now the Trump administration is working to renegotiate NAFTA. So be sure to call or write your Congressional offices, including our two senators, to ask whether the representative agrees that ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) should be excluded from any new NAFTA deal.

Also, please note: The NAFTA town hall event with Congressman Adam Smith has been cancelled. It was scheduled for September 19th.

Upcoming fundraiser
Because of the connection between food and climate we urge you to attend the Community Alliance for Global Justice’s 11th annual Strengthening Local Economies Everywhere (SLEE) Dinner!

Strengthening Local Economies Everywhere (SLEE) Dinner
Saturday, October 21
Happy Hour 5:00 – 6:30; Dinner 6:30 – 9:30pm
University Christian Church, 4731 15th Ave NE, Seattle 98105

The keynote, “Farming for Cultural and Ecological Resilience” by Ari de Leña, will share how she works to build cultural and ecological resilience by healing the trauma and displacement embedded in the U.S. agricultural system.  More about the event, accessibility information, and sliding scale tickets available here.

Then come hear Randy Mandell on Modern Monetary Theory and Selden Prentice on trade:

Love at the Crossroads: Climate and Social Justice
Saturday, October 28, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave, Seattle 98122

ARTFUL ACTIVISM

Please RSVP to Ellen to join the work group or the leads team, and let us know of any interests or skills you have in arts or leadership. All levels and time commitments, as well as continuing to welcome the full gamut of skill levels, from completely unskilled to visual artists, dancers, theater people, poets, and musicians of all ages. Connect and have fun, and contribute to our imagery through brainstorming, art builds, music, theater, dance, spoken word, working with kids, teens, and families, organizational support, deployment at events, and maybe coming up with a bigger permanent installation project and other art forms! It’s a fun and satisfying way to contribute to the movement.

Art Leaders team still in development for all the arts! Work with other fun and awesome people to develop our sub-teams to move people’s minds and hearts with our messages. We are still in need of leads for art builds, silk-screening, dance, family art, data/computer/librarian/photo, visual arts, and theater.

RSVP to Shemona for the first training pARTay tentatively scheduled for October 13th, 6:00 – 9:00pm for those who want to be part of a team to help run project stations at art builds, and/or get trained for the deployment team who gently and warmly guide volunteers at actions and events to effectively set up, maintain, and take down our imagery. No experience needed and no specific time commitment is required.

FRONTLINE ALLIES AND UNDOING RACISM

Join our workgroup as we examine the ways that white privilege and subtle forms of racism are unintentionally embedded in our climate work, and how we can become allies who effectively work across traditional divides to build the unified and powerful movement we need to stop climate chaos. Many roles available, and lots of ways to contribute. Please RSVP to Kara to be part of this work group.

We attend informational gatherings, share educational information on our list and Facebook pages; we do emotional work with each other as we grow our understanding and face these issues; and we attend actions led by and/or in support of groups primarily led by people of color which intersect with climate justice work, including for many social justice issues. In the upcoming months, we’ll support immigration work on saving the DACA program, Black Lives Matter work, and Indigenous work stopping fossil fuel infrastructure, as well as many other things as they arise.

Undoing Racism Series
This anti-oppression training series with the knowledgeable and compassionate Tara Villalba and the Mangrove Collective, and our own 350 Seattle activists, aims move us forward together faster. “Our People Gonna Rise” covers three topics: Allies to Immigrants, Black Liberation, Solidarity with Natives.

Thanks to your support, the current series is full. Sign up on the waitlist for information about a Winter/Spring series.

Frontline communities in Houston
350 national has published a great Hurricane Harvey Response Toolkit that has some excellent articles about the impact of Harvey and other extreme weather events on Frontline Communities. The section on Organizing Through Conversations is something we can do everywhere, every day.

EVENTS

Online course: Climate Change Science, Communication, and Action
Learn about basic climate change science, impacts, communication strategies, and actions in this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the climate crisis being offered for free by Cornell University. September 11 – October 1. Registration and details here.

Liberating Structures
Learn a set of simple but powerful group facilitation strategies to energize and foster lively participation in meetings, outreach and trainings.

Liberating Structures Training
Saturday, September 16, 1:00 – 4:30pm
2100 Building, 2100 24th Ave S, Seattle 98144
This training is free; donations are welcome. We’ll have coffee, tea, and snacks to share.

Our own Vivien Sharples will be joined by other local trainers to provide a free introduction to Liberating Structures. Recommended for anyone currently leading a team or workgroup, or doing outreach. Send questions to Meg and register here.

FUN workgroup, Families Uniting Now
Connect with families who are supporting each other during this unprecedented time in history. Community and Action is the Solution!

Plant-for-the-Planet Free Academy Workshop
Saturday, October 7, 8:30am – 3:30pm
Puget Ridge Co-Housing Common House, 7020 18th Ave. SW, Seattle 98106
The parent workshop from 9:00 – 11:00am is optional but encouraged.
Workshop topics include causes & effects of climate change, actions you can take, and communication skills.
Workshop Tree Planting Event
Sam Smith Park, 1400 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, 98144
Saturday, October 14, 8:30am – 12:00pm
Free snack & lunch, Plant-for-the Planet t-shirt, and a copy of the book “Tree by Tree.”

Learn more about Plant for the Planet and Our Children’s Trust and then join us for monthly meetings, planting events, nature outings, activism, music, and art. Participation is free, but registration required to reserve a spot at www.climatechangeforfamilies.com. Questions? Contact Sue Lenander.

Preparing People for Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest
Interested in resilience and maintaining our mental and social health as we face the increasing catastrophes that climate change is foisting upon us, and particularly on the most vulnerable among us? This conference is for you:

Preparing People for Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest
Wednesday and Thursday, November 15 – 16
Portland, OR

Conference agenda and more information here. Group discounts are available. 350 Seattle member Margie Bone will be attending, traveling on Tuesday, November 14th. Contact Margie if you’re interested.

VALVE TURNERS UPDATE

As ever hotter and larger wildfires burn across the west, valve turner Ken Ward is still waiting to see whether his home a mile from the Eagle Creek fire will burn. Michael is headed to North Dakota where he faces trial on October 2nd in what is ironically the only western state currently NOT aflame.  Leonard’s trial is scheduled for Thanksgiving week. Emily and Annette had a hearing in Minnesota in August and the court is considering the necessity defense.

We hold every hope that one or more of these trials will see the first successful necessity defense for climate action — gosh knows, the case is becoming more obvious every day. But the legal fees are mounting — please give to the legal fund here. And we hope you’ll come out to support the valve turners at the…

Action Anniversary Party
Wednesday, October 11, 6:00pm
Sole Repair, 1001 E Pike St, Seattle, 98122

Artists from the “Protect What You Love Album” will perform. Event page here.

GROW THE MOVEMENT

Outreach Team
Help us get new folks talking about climate change. We’ll be tabling at farmers’ markets and regional events. No experience necessary! Contact Eli for more information.

Deep Canvass Team
How do you shift the way people feel about climate change? It starts with a real two-way conversation in which people learn about one another’s experiences and stories. The Deep Canvassing project goes door to door organizing friendly neighborhoods around fossil fuel divestment. Join us for canvasses Sunday afternoons all autumn. Contact Eli to get involved.

A BIT MORE ABOUT US

Learn about 350 Seattle’s new structure
It’s here. It’s real. Now you can better understand how we get so much done, how to plug in and take on leadership, and how we make decisions. Check out an overview of our new structure here.

Welcome to Renee!
Thanks to the United Church of Christ’s Justice Leadership Program we have a 32 hour/week intern for the next 10 months! Welcome Renee Lumia to 350 Seattle. A recent grad from PLU with a double major in Biology and Environmental Studies, Renee is excited to learn more organizing with us. Check out her bio here.

Hey, you look good in yellow
Who doesn’t want one of those cute Break Free t-shirts with the wrinkles that say, “I slept on the tracks”? Find our t-shirts, the album, and more at www.350seattle.org/merchandise.

And since you made it this far in the newsletter, let’s talk about socializing!

Brewing Resistance: A Happy Hour Benefit for 350 Seattle
Tuesday, September 19, 7:00 – 10:00pm
Floating Bridge Brewing, 722 NE 45th St, Seattle, 98105

This month’s theme is Arts and Social Change, with a short presentation by Artful Activism leader Ale Blakely. Floating Bridge Brewing is donating $1 per pour sold (beer or cider) to 350 Seattle! Cider, non-alcoholic beverages, snacks and sandwiches are available. Kids and dogs are welcome. More on the event page.

And once again, thank you, so much, for everything you do.

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Head, Heart, and Hurricanes

by Valerie Costa

Six years ago, I lived in rural Vermont — a good 150+ miles from the ocean. When the weather forecast said to prepare for Hurricane Irene, I ran out and bought a bottle of wine (in case the power went out!) and thought little of it. How bad could a hurricane be in Vermont?

I knew something was wrong when I could smell the ocean. And every step I took on “dry” ground made crickets jump out of the way. As the river waters rose rapidly, overtaking the nearby hay field and destroying all the bridges into the town, I started to get nervous. I’d never seen waters rise so fast.

                   
We were among the lucky ones. Many people in the valley lost their homes and businesses. Our place was just high enough and far enough from the river to be spared.

I’ve never looked at rivers the same way since.

***

Little did I know that on that same day in 2011, some of the people I now hold dearest in my life were in Washington, DC risking arrest outside the White House. 350.org put out a call for people to gather and protest the Keystone XL pipeline, resulting in the largest climate-related civil disobedience in the United States at the time. These early founders of 350 Seattle responded to the call, not know what would come of it, but knowing they had to do more than work within the current system.

I’m glad this early act of civil disobedience informed the culture of 350 Seattle.

***

Fast forward to 2017. As  Harvey wreaks its slow and steady havoc on Texas, I’m watching like so many, hoping it doesn’t get worse but fearful it will. Irene dropped 11” of rain on Vermont — parts of Houston expect over 50”.  I deeply believe in the resilience of people, especially when disaster strikes. Acts of heroism abound; people take care of each other; and communities self-organize without “professionals” to direct them (check out what Occupy Sandy did after that Hurricane hit–and some of those same people are talking to folks on the front lines in Houston right now). We are mighty when we unite.

Yes, we can and should do all we can to help with relief efforts. Donate. Volunteer. Learn crisis response skills.

But that doesn’t feel like enough. With the climate changing, and some people losing everything, (including their lives), what is an appropriate response?

***

This is what we grapple with as climate organizers. The clock is ticking, and disasters underline  the need for a rapid shift to 100% renewables. Yet we’re playing whack-a-mole trying to stop new fossil fuel development, while Trump and friends roll back environmental protections, social services, civil liberties, and any semblance of a free society we’re living in. Our corporate overlords are taking over and our dystopian future is becoming a reality (1984 and Idiocracy are a little too real right now).

I’m feel like I’m stuck in two worlds and two selves right now. The “head” – practical me, needing to survive in Seattle, with all my programming to be successful and stable, managing the operations of a legal 501c3 (uh, 350 Seattle!). Then there’s the “heart”– realistic me, filled with a deep sense that if I live a “normal” life, I haven’t used my privilege, that if I do what’s comfortable and predictable, I’m complicit. I’ve seen the waters rise. I’ve witnessed suffering firsthand. I do what I can to organize and resist and it still doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I’m filled with yearning.

We can’t overcome the most powerful forces in the world by playing their game.

***

Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I pick one word to reflect on throughout the year. In 2016 it was “resolve.” This year it’s “heart.” Strong, warm, steady heart.

I hold these words close when I think about what it will take for me (and you) to resist the fossil fuel empire. To do seemingly unreasonable things out of love and care for each other, and for everything living.

For me, an appropriate response now necessitates following my heart (essentially everything I was cautioned against growing up!). This isn’t comfortable or easy. For some of us, this looks like civil disobedience,  risking arrest and even physical harm. Going to jail. How else can I embody this yearning to stop the harm in some real, direct way?

Yet getting arrested isn’t the goal. The goal is to collectively change the way we live, and render the current system of oppression–built on extraction and sacrificing people’s lives for the sake of profits–obsolete. That’s where the heart comes in. Living from the heart is nothing new; look to the strong care work (held mostly by women) that makes sure we’re supported physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The community of resistance at 350 Seattle is filled with people following their hearts — they are the dearest people I know: resisting by questioning, listening, championing climate action all the time, caring for kids or aging parents. The risk-takers, and the countless others who have their backs.

***

The waters will continue to rise, even if the world takes a turn for the better tomorrow. I know that for sure.

What I don’t know is if anything we are doing will be enough. If the acts of disobedience will ripple out far enough, fast enough, to inspire enough people to refuse to comply. I am not driven by the hope this will happen, but by the journey itself. My life is so much richer as a result.

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News

From giving testimony at hearings to blockading oil trains, we work on all levels to fight for climate justice. We’re building a movement here in the region, and we need you!

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Videos

Watch videos of our actions, events, members and community as we work together at all levels to safeguard our planet. 

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The Science

Why 350 is the most important number in history: To protect our world from devastating climate disruption, science tells us we must stop global warming in its tracks, and justice demands it. This means holding total warming to the peak seen since the last ice age, just a little over 1°C

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- Naomi Klein

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