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November newsletter!

There’s a chill in the air, and here’s the cure: Come dance at our party! More on that below, but first…

GAS IS THE WRONG BRIDGE

Let’s be clear: We should not be building any new “natural” gas infrastructure that locks us into decades of expanded usage in our state, and the notion that “natural” gas is a cleaner bridge fuel is just plain wrong. That means saying NO to PSE’s LNG plant in Tacoma, NO to the methanol plant in Kalama, NO to the new proposed ammonia plant in Longview, and NO to new gas appliances or fixtures in residential and commercial buildings. And a BIG YES to 100% Renewable Energy now!!!

That message was sent out loud and clear directly to Governor Inslee at his two town-halls on climate in Bellevue and Seattle recently, in collaboration with Protectors of the Salish Sea. And directly to PSE representatives and other participants of the NW Clean and Affordable Energy conference on November 2nd, where we attended with a Puyallup Water Warrior, asked some tough questions during the panel on the role of “natural” gas in our clean energy future, and deployed an impressive light projection on the building in direct view of conference participants.

Stay tuned for more work on this issue and stopping PSE’s Tacoma LNG project. And if you can, attend the Keep it in the Ground general meeting this coming Tuesday, November 7th at 6:00pm.

Please make sure to sign and share this petition asking Governor Inslee to stop PSE’s Tacoma LNG and enjoy this 3 minute wrap up video of our PSE regional Day of  Action.

LONGVIEW, OH LONGVIEW

Can you believe it? Just as a humongous coal export terminal goes down to almost certain defeat, a huge ammonia plant is proposed. This new project would use as much fracked gas as the Tacoma LNG project, and require a pipeline extension alongside residential areas, and over the Cowlitz river. Longview, we cry for you.

Your comments are needed:
Submit via the city website: www.mylongview.com/PacificCoastFertilizerSEPA
Comments are due by November 15th

TRANSMOUNTAIN EVENT

As First Nations and Canadians across the border continue to resist Kinder Morgan’s attempts to start building the TransMountain pipeline expansion, make sure to attend a powerful upcoming panel on this issue in Seattle:

Wednesday November 15, 6:30 – 8:30pm
University Friends Meeting, 4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle
Panelists:
  • Chief Rueben George, a Tsleil-Waututh leader in the coalition challenging the pipeline in the B.C. courts
  • Dave Anderson, author of Spill: A Story of Oil and Orcas in the Salish Sea
  • Judy Twedt, founding member of King County Labor Council’s Climate Caucus
  • Chiara Rose D’Angelo-Patricio, co-founder of Students for the Salish Sea

NECESSITY DEFENSE GRANTED!

The Hon. Robert Tiffany, a district court judge in Clearwater County, Minnesota, ruled that valve turners Emily and Annette, supporter Ben, and filmmaker Steve can present a necessity defense, with expert witnesses allowed to testify on just how necessary the action was. History and legal precedent in the making: This is the first time ever that a US judge has issued a written opinion allowing the presentation of the climate necessity defense at a jury trial. Of course, the prosecution has filed an appeal to this ruling. Once that’s ruled on, we expect a trial sometime in the new year.

Meanwhile, in Montana
Leonard’s judge is going the other direction, pushing for a very fast trial, and unlikely to allow much of a defense. But Leonard will not be silenced.

Leonard Higgins Mock Trial
Saturday, November 18, 6:00–8:00pm Pacific, 7:00–9:00pm Mountain

Tune in to see courtroom drama the likes of which Montana will see only here. Don’t miss Michael Foster playing an oil executive! Cast also includes Arnold Schroder as Defense Attorney, Lauren Regan (in real life a climate defense attorney with CLDC) as Prosecutor, valve turner Ken Ward as a pipeline safety expert, and Leonard Higgins as our favorite Defendant. Broadcast live from Missoula! Register here in advance to join from the comfort of your own home. See this Facebook event page for more details.

Want to keep up with valve turner trial news? See the Montana trial Live Blog here, and sign up for email updates about the Montana trial here, and Minnesota trial here.

WE’RE HAVING A PARTY AND YOU’RE INVITED!

Help us celebrate 350 Seattle’s roots and resolve, and a year of incredible climate action! There will be great company and dancing!

Intertwined: A Fundraising Party for 350 Seattle
Friday, November 17, doors open at 7:45pm; program begins at 8:30pm
Centilia Cultural Center at El Centro de La Raza, 2524 16th Ave S, Seattle 98144
(Close to the Beacon Hill light rail station)
Program Highlights:
•    Dance performance by JASE – “Resilient Together”
•    Music by members of our Artful Activism music team
•    Spoken word
•    Dance party starts with the Rise Up Action Band
•    DJ Ale Blakely, because no party is complete without dancing
•    Bid on silent auction items to help raise money for 350 Seattle

All this for only $10 – get your tickets today!

(And here’s something to tip your scales: If you sign up as a monthly donor by November 10th you’ll receive a free ticket and free drinks all night.)

ARTFUL ACTIVISM

Join us to help make beautiful batiked cloth in time for the Intertwined Fall Party, and many events beyond!

Art Build: Learn to BATIK
Friday, November 10, 6:00–10:00pm
Powerhouse, 3940 Fremont Ave N, Seattle 98103
No skills needed! RSVP to Shemona.

Meanwhile the Art Leaders team is 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 still need leads for art builds, silk-screening, dance, family art, data/computer/librarian/photo, visual arts and theater.

Or join a team to help run project stations at art builds, or join the deployment team at actions guiding volunteers to effectively set up, maintain, and take down our imagery. We’ll train you!

All skill levels and time commitments welcome, from completely unskilled to visual artists, dancers, theater people, poets, and musicians of all ages. Connect and have fun, 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 possibly a bigger permanent installation project! Join us!

Please RSVP to Ellen to join the work group or the leads team, and let us know of any particular interests or skills you have in arts or leadership. More Art Builds will be scheduled soon, so sign up for the artful list or watch the calendar!

FRONTLINE ALLIES AND UNDOING RACISM

Join our work group 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. Please RSVP to Kara to be part of this work group.

Frontline Allies meeting
Monday, November 20, 6:30 pm if it’s your first meeting, 7 pm if you’ve been before.

As we do emotional work together to grow our understanding and face these issues, we share our learning and attend actions led by people of color that intersect with climate justice work. In upcoming months we’ll support immigration work to save the DACA program, Black Lives Matter events, and indigenous efforts to stop fossil fuel infrastructure.

We need food-serving volunteers who are not already signed up for this month’s anti-oppression training to help at Allies to NativesSunday, November 12, 12:00 – 6:00 pm, at the Duwamish Longhouse, 4705 W Marginal Way SW, Seattle. Please contact Paul to volunteer to help with food.

And we’re collecting names for a second Winter/Spring series of Undoing Racism WorkshopsOur People Gonna Rise, led by Tara Villalba and the Mangrove Collective with our own 350 Seattle activists. Put your name on the wait list to find out more.

IN LOCAL NEWS…

Housing
350 Seattle recently joined the Housing For All Coalition—and this past Wednesday, many of us camped at City Hall to draw attention to the urgent need to address the city’s housing crisis.

And now there’s an opportunity to do exactly that. The HOMES Tax (Housing, Outreach, and Mass-Entry Shelter), as proposed by Council members Kirsten Harris-Talley and Mike O’Brien, would place a tax of only about $100 per employee on businesses grossing over $5 million annually, which is only the largest 10% of businesses in the city. The tax would raise an estimated $24 million — vital funds which would help us pay for more affordable housing. Yet several Council members are still on the fence. Can you take five minutes to call the City Council and tell them to support the HOMES tax? Then take a few seconds and send the Council an email.

We’ve known for a long time that housing justice is a climate issue—as people are forced out of the city, they are forced into cars to commute to work. But even without climate change, passing this tax is the right thing to do.

A Fossil-free, Livable Seattle
What can we do to move Seattle to 100% renewables in all sectors? Towards a low-carbon and livable city where people can get around without cars, and live close to work and play? From traffic to skyrocketing rents, the carbon economy simply isn’t working for Seattle.

100% and Beyond – A Fossil-free, Livable Seattle
Tuesday November 14, 7:00 pm
UCC Prospect Church, 1919 E. Prospect St., Seattle 98112

Connect with 350 Seattle’s work to move our city and region beyond fossil fuels. Learn about efforts to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure in King County, move Puget Sound Energy from gas to renewables, and build sustainable transportation and housing options in Seattle.

So what about Amazon?
Both Amazon and the City of Seattle are falling behind the levels of emissions reductions we need now… and both the city and the company are inextricably linked on climate action! To learn more, check out our new blog post here.

Do you want to see Amazon take the lead and pilot electric vehicle freight deliverystarting here and now? Do you want City of Seattle to make real progress on emissions reductions with transit and affordable housing?

Do you work in the tech industry and want tech companies to prioritize climate actionin their core business?

If so, let’s talk! Join us in the Amazon workgroup—lots of volunteer roles from research to writing to community organizing. Contact Rebecca to get involved.

TRADE UPDATE

Hard to believe, but…
Bedfellows in DC are getting stranger and stranger. Talks to re-negotiate NAFTA now include removing the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). That’s exactly what we want, since ISDS is the pro-corporate system in trade agreements that allows corporations to attack environmental and climate-related laws and demand damages for lost profits. What we didn’t expect is that the Trump administration is asking that ISDS be removed from NAFTA. As a result, Congress is now being mobbed by corporate lobbyists demanding that ISDS stay in place. Those pests! Time to contact Senator Cantwell (206 220 6400) and Senator Murray (206 553 5545) as well as your Congressional Representative, and remind them to smack down those lobbyists and oppose ISDS in any new NAFTA deal.

Tell your rep to sign on
And when you contact your Congressional Rep, ask them to sign on to Pramila Jayapal’s “Dear Colleague” letter to the US Trade Representative. It asks other representatives to join her push for a new trade policy that supports workers and the environment. If your rep already is Pramila Jayapal (206 674 0040), please thank her for the good work.

Washington Fair Trade Coalition
Speaking of Pramila Jayapal, she will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming breakfast benefiting the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, of which 350 Seattle is a member. Please join us at the breakfast on November 15, 7:30–9:00am, to support their great work in fighting trade deals that harm workers and the environment. Please let Selden know if you’d like to attend. Sierra Club is sponsoring some seats so you might be able to attend for free!

Calling all 36th District voters
Selden Prentice has organized meetings with the State Reps from the 36th District to discuss climate issues and possible climate legislation. The meeting with Rep. Frame will be on either Monday, December 4th at 6:00 pm or Tuesday the 5th at 6:30 pm in Seattle—date TBD. The meeting with Rep. Tarleton will be on Monday, December 11th at 4:30 pm in Seattle. Please contact Selden to attend one or both meetings.

AND HERE’S SOME GOOD NEWS

Last month, we supported our friends at Mazaska Talks as they organized the largest ever protest of banks’ investments in fossil fuels. Between Oct 23rd and 25th, there were actions in 60 cities, 10 countries and 4 continents around the world, with perhaps the largest of them all happening in Seattle!

Then, just a few days later, the Equator Principles, a guiding framework for how major banks invest their money, announced that it is re-writing its guidelines to take a firmer stance on climate and Indigenous rights!

This is a huge victory — and it’s not the only one! US Bank just announced it is going to stop funding the tar sands corporation Enbridge, and BNP Paribas, the 8th largest bank in the world, recently promised to stop funding all tar sands, Arctic oil, shale oil and shale gas. If ever we needed another sign to keep going, this is it! Help us continue to shine a light on the financial sector’s crucial role in the climate crisis by watching and sharing the #DivestTheGlobe wrap-up video. (And hey, feel free to like our page while you are there.)

DID WE MENTION THE PARTY?

As you probably guessed, volunteers are needed before, during, and after our Intertwined fundraising event, November 17, 6:00pm–1:00am. Shifts are about two hours each. Can you help? Email Meg Wade with your name, phone number, and what times you’re available to help that day. Shifts include decoration, setup, ticket-taking, helping with food and drink, and cleanup. Become an insider!

CLOSING PITCH

And if you like what we’re doing—bank disruptions, holding PSE accountable, housing solidarity, that sort of thing—please make a donation today so we can keep up the good work.

See you on the dance floor!

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Intertwined! Celebrate our roots and resolve.

We are all connected — Intertwined! 

Friday, November 17th.
Centilia Cultural Center at El Centro de la Raza (View)
2524 16th Avenue South
Doors at 7:45pm
Program begins at 8:30pm
Dancing from 10pm – midnight

  • Dance performance by JASE – “Resilient Together”. Inspired by the power we generate when we rise up in solidarity to global climate issues, “Resilient Together” is a new piece created by JASE and crafted specifically for Intertwined that aims to communicate gratitude, excitement, and hope moving forward.
  • Music by members of our Artful Activism music team.
  • And the dance party starts with the Rise Up Action Band.
  • With DJ’ing Ale Blakely because no party is complete without dancing.

Bid on silent auction items and help raise money for 350 Seattle.

Tickets are $10, or donate $25/ticket and get two drink tickets. Buy ’em here!

Monthly donors signed up by 11/10 get free admission & drinks. Sign up here.

All proceeds go to 350 Seattle’s climate action campaigns.

Thank you to Open Road WineRooftop Brewing CompanyOptimism BrewingPeddler BrewingStandClimate SolutionsSierra ClubSocial(k) Retirement PlansTwo Sisters Ecotextiles and Washington Environmental Council for sponsoring Intertwined.

 

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Amazon, Seattle, & the Planet*

Amazon, and Seattle, Are Falling Behind on Climate Action

In 2013, Seattle adopted a Climate Action Plan with a target of carbon neutrality by 2050. A year later, Amazon committed to reaching 100% renewable energy at an unspecified future date. In 2017, shortly after President Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, both the city and the company renewed their commitments by signing the “We’re Still In” pledge–as did most, if not all, of the cities that will submit a bid for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2).

The reality is that Seattle is failing to meet its targets–even though there is now consensus that those targets were inadequately bold. For Amazon, the reality is even worse: it has fallen far behind its peers, and completely lacks transparency; as a result of these facts, and its disproportionate footprint in the city, the company actively hinders the city’s climate progress.

The need for carbon pollution reductions is urgent. This summer, we experienced some of modern history’s most destructive hurricanes, which devastated islands and flooded cities. As of today (October 30), it’s been 40 days since Hurricane Maria, and 70% of Puerto Rico is still without power. Additionally, wildfires have consumed the West Coast in one of the worst fire seasons on record. And around the world, 400,000 people are already dying every year from increased disease, famine, and severe weather due to climate change. All of this is occurring at about 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels; we know that it will get far worse as we reach 1.5° or beyond.

Yet Seattle’s latest climate assessment report found that Seattle has only reduced emissions by 6% from 2008 levels. According to former NASA scientist Jim Hansen, we’ve delayed so long that worldwide, we now need to reduce by at least 10% every year to return to a stable climate. As the Seattle’s largest employer and one of its prime drivers of emissions, shouldn’t Amazon be part of the solution?

Amazon has taken small steps in the right direction, such as eliminating excess packaging, investing in wind energy farms for its data centers, and building green offices (with about a sixth of their buildings being LEED Gold). These practices are highlighted in its HQ2 Request For Proposals (RFP), but the efforts fall far short of the company’s peers, and far short of what science indicates is necessary.

Other tech giants have been aggressively transitioning data centers to clean, renewable energy. Amazon? We don’t know. The company is notoriously secretive, and that extends to its carbon footprint data. The CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) has given Amazon an F every year for lack of participation in the carbon tracking and reporting standard.

Amazon disavows responsibility for the dirty fuel polluting Seattle (and other regions) from its delivery operations, because most delivery is subcontracted with USPS, Fedex, and UPS–but this is a specious argument, given the company’s potential leverage over these contractors. Additionally, it has started building an Amazon-owned delivery fleet, yet to date it has made no public commitment to eliminate delivery-related pollution. With freight contributing 25% of our city’s transportation emissions (and 16% of its total emissions), we know that if Amazon were aggressively implementing clean-energy vehicles, it would represent meaningful progress towards our climate goals.

At 66% of Seattle’s emissions, transportation is also the area we’ve made the least progress on, with reductions of only 2%–and that progress is solely in passenger transport. Freight transport, which includes all those packages from Amazon, has had a 0% reduction in pollution.

To be clear, this intransigence is not rooted in genuine difficulties in transitioning to zero-emission vehicles–Europe has leapfrogged far ahead of us. In the UK, 100 companies have committed to fully electric fleets by 2020. Germany has made moves to ban internal combustion engines by 2030; Norway, by 2025. Even Los Angeles has moved past Seattle, with its plan to have 100% zero-emission buses by 2030; by contrast, Seattle has promised to only buy emissions-free buses starting in 2025 (without promising to retire the others), and has indicated that it will make some sections of the city emissions-free by 2030.

Amazon has made no commitment to switch to electric vehicles (EVs)–a fact which seems particularly notable because the company has always invested in big, even risky, bets for the future, and EVs are clearly where the market is headed. It has recently become clear that EVs have substantially lower running costs, and are far more durable. The only reason a company with a transportation footprint like Amazon’s could conceivably be postponing its transition, then, is to ensure that other companies are paying the early-adopter premium that it intends to benefit from–a choice that hardly squares with the “we’re still in” rhetoric of a climate-concerned, reality-based company.

Far from leading, then, they’re hampering progress. The bottom line is that Amazon should be piloting EV transport now, starting with Seattle.

HQ1: Putting the Squeeze on Seattle

The city also needs to greatly reduce pollution from passenger transportation, which accounts for a full 50% of Seattle’s carbon pollution. Seattle has been the fastest growing city in the US for the second time this decade. Our traffic has worsened accordingly; we currently have the fourth-worst congestion in the country. Given this traffic, growth, and the urgent need to address the climate crisis, it’s clear that serious investments in mass transit are essential.

Amazon moved into its downtown Seattle headquarters in 2010 and began expanding rapidly. In the seven years since, the price of a Seattle home has increased by 83 percent and rents have increased by 47 percent. While Amazon has created thousands of jobs in Seattle, especially high-wage tech jobs, not all communities share the prosperity.

As the cost of living has risen, public and affordable housing have not been able to keep pace. This is causing a homelessness crisis in Seattle, as well as displacement; people have to move further from the city to find affordable housing. When they do so, their access to transit worsens, and cars and longer commutes become necessary.

It’s no coincidence that between 2010 and 2015, the number of Seattle workers who spend more than 3 hours a day commuting has increased by 72%. Longer commute distances contribute substantially to carbon emissions; they’re also linked to lower quality of life and pollution-related health impacts.

Only investments in city-center and close-in affordable housing and mass transit can dramatically reduce pollution and improve quality of life: imagine a city with safe, clean, and ubiquitous transit around the clock, a city where cars are minimized and the streets are returned to transit, pedestrians, and cyclists. We aim to be a world-class city; this is what world class cities do, particularly as the climate clock ticks. But without a state income tax, Seattle struggles to fund these and other much-needed investments. We have the most regressive tax system in the country, relying on sales tax, car fees, and property taxes, which put a much higher burden on cash-poor communities.

And Amazon? Amazon skirts taxes and claims $61 million in tax breaks from Washington state, while CEO Jeff Bezos donates 100K to fight a state income tax on high earners (a tax championed by Bill Gates, Sr.). The impacts of this miserly and regressive landscape are hard to overstate; Amazon executives clearly seem to feel that because they are employing people, their impacts on housing, transit, and local health are irrelevant, never mind the urgent threats all of these pose to climate stability.

We disagree.

 

 

A Note to Cities Competing for HQ2:

While well-paying jobs are certainly desirable, by themselves, they do not make a company a good neighbor. What does? At what point does a company’s size require it to understand and mitigate its impacts? Shouldn’t any company that’s committed to a city act as a partner in addressing the most serious threat facing humanity right now? Shouldn’t it care about local impacts as well, whether pollution-induced asthma from diesel fumes, galloping housing prices, or under-funded schools?

With Amazon HQ1 in our city, we’ve learned that we can’t count on Amazon to be a partner in fighting climate change, despite its rhetoric about being “still in” the Paris agreement. We sincerely hope to work with the HQ2 city to change this, and urge the company to be a real leader.

(For a humorous take on HQ2 risks, check out Love, Little Rock below.)

*This planet, Jeff.

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The largest-ever protest of bank investment in fossil fuels!

What a week it was! With actions in over 60 cities, 10 countries and 4 continents, it was the largest-ever protest of bank investment in fossil fuels. Here in Seattle — where our friends at Mazaska Talks dreamed up the whole crazy idea! — we shut down 3 banks and disrupted business at over 100 more, as Bill McKibben and LaDonna Brave Bull Allard joined us to inform them that hundreds of thousands are now boycotting their business until they stop financing all tar sands projects.

As part of the action, 6 brave activists were arrested — helping us deliver the messageloud and clear that we will no longer tolerate the financing of climate disaster. Can you please support those arrested by donating to our legal fund here?

Check out and share the #DivestTheGlobe wrap-up video! (Or on FB here.)

Since Standing Rock, the banks have lost billions of dollars due to their investment in fossil fuels. It’s no surprise that in the last 6 months we’ve seen US Bank, ING Bank, Desjardins, and BNP (the second largest bank in Europe) begin to move away from the financing of fossil fuels. Yet with time running out, there’s still so much work left to be done.

To get involved in our ongoing #DeFundDisaster campaign, please email AlecAnd to stay tuned to our future civil disobedience actions, sign the Pacific Northwest Pledge of Resistance.  

 

 

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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 16 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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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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