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Cap & Trade Fails Communities

Cap & trade has failed communities in California ― why would it be any different here?

In 2013, California adopted the country’s largest cap and trade scheme. Since then, the state’s overall greenhouse gas pollution have dropped from the 2001 peak…but there’s a catch. Many of the most polluting corporations have actually increased their pollution since the program came into effect. Oil refineries, gas corporations, fossil fuel-hooked utilities: all have increased their greenhouse gas emissions and related pollution since 2013.

That’s because cap and trade is a policy that “caps” the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the state (which is, undoubtedly, a good thing) but allows individual companies to actually increase their emissions by “trading” purchasing pollution “allowances” from companies that pollute less.

So, while overall emissions may have dropped, the first serious study examining the social impacts of California’s cap-and-trade program, found that 52% of companies regulated by the program saw an increase in annual average greenhouse gas emissions. Cement plants, for example, saw an increase in emissions by almost 75%….cement plants like, say, the Ash Grove plant in south Seattle that accounts for 10% of our city’s overall emissions and massively contributes to the fact that south Seattle residents are three times more likely to have asthma than those who live in the north of our city.

That’s the biggest problem with cap and trade. The corporations that are permitted to increase their pollution rates are overwhelmingly situated in disadvantaged communities; black, brown, and low-income communities that have historically been hit hardest by environmental pollution.

That’s why a number of Washington-based people-of-color-led environmental justice groups, including our friends at Got Green and Community2Community, are deeply concerned that state Senator Carlyle has introduced Senate Bill 5981, proposing a cap and trade system for Washington state.

In a policy paper released by Got Green last week, they argue that cap-and-trade is a “scheme introduced for and by major climate-polluting corporations.”

And they have a point. In Washington state, Senate Bill 5981 originated with British Petroleum ― a corporation which continues to spend ungodly sums of money on opposing climate action. So why is BP, a company that spent $13 million opposing I-1631 last year, supporting cap and trade? Is it because they’ve seen the light and suddenly support meaningful climate action? Yeah, right. In the last five years, BP has spent more money than any other company on earth fighting climate policy.

BP supports cap and trade because it’s figured out how to coexist with California’s cap and trade system. But here’s the thing: BP’s basic business model is incompatible with curtailing catastrophic climate change. So, anything that’s good for BP isn’t good for the rest of us who live on this planet — especially not frontline communities.

In its policy paper, Got Green also argues that cap-and-trade “increases harm to those communities living next to oil refineries, fossil fuel power plants and other carbon-intensive industries.” The evidence from California backs them up.

We cannot have climate justice without environmental justice ― and it’s clear that cap and trade only deepens environmental injustice. For anyone who professes to care about climate justice, cap and trade is a “solution” that we must push back against. Hard.

We hope you’ll join our friends at Got Green and Community2Community as they do exactly that with a No Cap and Trade Rally in Olympia next week. RSVP & more details here.

 

 

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Two Years of Giving Chase…Hell

Climate Justice activist with megaphone in front of Chase Bank

Taking on the Nation’s Largest Bank: JPMorgan Chase

by Alec Connon

For two years now, we’ve been campaigning to force JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, to stop funding climate disaster. Here’s the story behind the campaign ― an overview of the problem we’re trying to solve, a history of what’s happened so far, and a preview of what’s coming next. We hope you’ll join us.

First: The Problem

Despite the fact that 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground to avoid climate catastrophe, fossil fuel companies continue to spend hundreds of billions every year building new coal terminals, new oil pipelines, and new LNG facilities. Every one of these projects locks in decades of climate pollution ― and commits us to a future of ever more wildfires, hurricanes, sea-level rise, and species extinction.

But there’s a key fact missing from this story: Fossil fuel companies are wholly dependent on major bank loans to build new fossil fuel projects. Without major bank loans, fossil fuel companies just don’t have enough money to build massive, multi-billion-dollar pipelines such as Trans-Mountain or Keystone XL.

This means that if we can stop the flow of dollars from banks to fossil fuel companies, we can stop the buildout of devastating new fossil fuel projects.

That’s the basic premise of our Chase campaign. Now, here’s what happened so far.

The Campaign Begins

In January 2017, Trump signed an executive order to force through the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. Within months, oil was flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline ― and soon, it was being reported that TransCanada was moving pipeline to South Dakota to start construction on the Keystone XL. With the White House in the hands of a dangerous climate denier, there seemed to be little that we here in Seattle could do to stop this monstrosity.

But, there was one option left open to us: follow the money.

The Keystone XL would cost TransCanada $8 billion. Even super-wealthy fossil fuel companies like TransCanada don’t have enough money stashed away to pay for a pipeline that expensive without relying on major bank loans. And so, after talking with our friends at Mazaska Talks, we decided to launch a campaign targeting the TransCanada’s largest funder: JPMorgan Chase.

Our First Actions

We started by going to City Council. Thinking that a potential $3 billion customer would have some sway with Chase, we pitched the idea of Seattle City Council passing a resolution committing the City to avoid banking with any bank that funds the Keystone XL pipeline. Councilmember Sawant agreed to sponsor the resolution. Two weeks later, it passed the Council unanimously. It was a good start, but we knew that it was only a start.

A few weeks later, we hosted a press conference at a downtown JPMorgan Chase branch. At the press conference, we issued a simple demand: release a public statement that you will not fund the Keystone XL or we will shut down at least ten of your branches all across the City.

Two weeks passed and ― surprise, surprise ― Chase did not release a public statement. So we did what we had promised to do: In a major act of civil disobedience, we shut down 13 branches of JPMorgan Chase.

Not long after, Mazaska Talks called for a global day of action to hold the banks accountable for their role in the climate crisis and for their role in funding projects that violate Indigenous Nations and Tribes right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Three months later, the largest ever protest against banks’ investments in fossil fuels occurred in 60 cities, 12 countries, and 4 continents. In Seattle, we disrupted business at all 106 branches of the tar-sands-funding banks in the city and seven people were arrested as we shut down central branches of JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

Entering the Bank

We knew that protesting outside (and, um, inside) Chase wasn’t going to be enough, either. And so in November 2017, we sent a letter to Chase PNW Chairwoman Phyllis Campbell requesting a meeting to discuss Chase’s role in the climate crisis. To our surprise, a few weeks later, we joined with Matt Remle and Rachel Heaton, the founders of Mazaska Talks, to meet with Phyllis Campbell, Maris Buchanan (Chase’s Vice-President of Sustainability), and Thomas Perrick (Chase’s PNW Head of Government Relations).

At that meeting, we explained why we are engaging in this campaign: Chase is funding new fossil fuel projects at a time when new fossil fuel projects mean locking in climate pollution that will cause the extinction of species and vast levels of human suffering. Matt and Rachel explained how the fossil fuel industry routinely violates Indigenous communities’ rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent. In each instance, we provided numerous examples of Chase clients ― namely, TransCanada and Enbridge Energy ― building projects that both violate the rights of Indigenous communities and lock in climate chaos.

After the meeting, Ms. Campbell referred us to Matt Arnold, Chase’s Global Head of Sustainability. Since then, we have been in regular dialogue with Mr. Arnold and others at Chase ― and we have continued to push them hard in every one of these conversations.

Recognizing that people aren’t corporations, but that people are responsible for the decisions of corporations, we will continue to engage with, and hold accountable, Chase’s leadership at every stage of this campaign.

And the Coalition Grows

In September 2017, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), a national organization with 30+ years’ experience with corporate campaigns, joined the campaign against Chase. Their opening salvo was an impressive banner drop, rally, and disruption at an event that Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, was speaking at in Denver, CO.

Since then, we have worked closely with RAN, and the coalition of groups participating in the campaign has only grown: Honor the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Greenpeace USA, 350.org, 350 Colorado, 350 Madison, and Chicago Rising Tide are a few of the organizations that have thrown down for the campaign in the last year. On a local level, we have planned all of our Seattle actions with our friends at Mazaska Talks, Protectors of the Salish Sea, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, as well as with organizers from 350 Eastside and 350 Tacoma.

As we look ahead, we know that this campaign will have to grow even more. That’s why we’re excited that organizers from 350 Mass, 350 Bay Area, and 350 Denver are all participating in the upcoming April 10th action.


And the Actions Continue

Despite the fact that Chase decision makers are now engaging with us, the campaign coalition has continued to use public protest as a key strategy. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • In November 2017, RAN dropped a huge banner outside Chase’s US HQ on Wall Street
  • In May 2018, we had our first national day of action targeting Chase and there were actions in 19 cities, including a major action in Seattle that shut down 2nd Ave outside of Chase’s PNW HQ.

 

 

  • A week before that action, we dropped this rather beautiful banner advertising the fact that in one week’s time we were going to do what we had done before: #ShutDownChase
  • Also, in May of 2018 a delegation of activists gatecrashed Chase’s AGM in Texas and caused a disruption calling for Chase to divest from fossil fuels.
  • In Sept 2018, RAN dropped a banner at the US Open final. Why? Because Jamie Dimon loves tennis and was in the crowd!
  • In October 2018, we dropped this 24x24 foot banner from Highway 99 that articulated Chase’s role in the proposed, massive tar sands pipeline, Line 3. We followed up the banner drop with sending Chase’s executive leadership 1,000 emails with an image of the banner.
  • In December 2018, there were simultaneous actions in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. In Seattle, we put a 50-foot pipeline through Chase PNW HQ in Seattle and simulated an oil spill, and dropped a massive banner calling on Phyllis Campbell to use her power in the company to move it away from fossil fuels.

These are just a few of the actions that have happened as part of this campaign: RAN has also been following Jamie Dimon all over the country and regularly bird dogging him; 350 Madison and 350 CO have had actions we haven’t mentioned here, as have numerous other organizations. Literally dozens of these actions have been reported in media outlets like Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Democracy Now! and many more. In addition, we’ve supplemented these on-the-ground actions with other strategies: In December 2018, Chase executives received well over 20,000 emails and 1,000 phone calls demanding that they stop funding fossil fuels; at Chase’s 2018 AGM, RAN attempted to introduce a shareholder resolution that would have forced the bank to complete a study into their tar sands holdings, a resolution that Chase executives blocked from being introduced.

So, What’s Next?

Well, the short answer of that is more of the same. Last week, we just found out that Chase is now the largest funder of fossil fuels in the world. The numbers don’t lie: since the Paris Agreement was signed in late 2015, Chase has loaned over $196 billion to fossil fuel companies.

And so we will continue doing everything in our power to hold Chase accountable. We’ll engage their leadership in dialogue, we’ll send their executives tens of thousands of emails and call Jamie Dimon thousands of times, and we’ll protest at their branches all over the country.

The next opportunity to join the campaign is on April 10th. We hope that you’ll join us. Here’s how:

  1. Attend the Mass Action Meeting on Wednesday, March 27th at 6:30. You can RSVP and get more details here.
  2. Can’t make the meeting, but still want to get involved? Email Alec: alec@350Seattle.org
  3. Are you a Chase customer? Fill out this form and we’ll be in touch with ways that you can use your power as customer to help us win this campaign.

It’s going to take all of us to move the nation’s largest bank. We hope that includes you.

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March Newsletter

Climate activists hold banners on steps of Olympia capitol building

Spring is headed our way, with fire season right behind it… So let’s get to work:

FOSSIL FREE KING COUNTY

Last month, we passed the #FossilFreeKC ordinance and won a 6-month moratorium on all new fossil fuel development in King County. But that’s just the start!

Per procedure, there’s a public hearing on the moratorium and King County is asking for public input on its decision; in other words, this is a BIG opportunity to continue building energy behind the moratorium and shape the long-term planning process to make it permanent.

Which means that we need YOU to show up and let King County Council know that the community is 100% behind them as they take on the fossil fuel industry.

Public Hearing on the #FossilFreeKC Moratorium
Wednesday, March 13, 10:30–11:30am
King County Council, 516 Third Avenue, 10th Floor, Seattle 98104
Shareable event page

Want to know more? Join us for an action meeting where you can learn about the moratorium and public hearing, ask questions and prep your testimony.

FFKC Action Meeting – Prep for Moratorium Hearing
Tuesday, March 12, 6:30–8:00pm
350 Seattle’s NEW office! 1127 10th Ave E., Seattle 98102

CALL-IN TO PSCAA

At the end of March, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will release their response to over 10,000 comments submitted last fall—let’s see if we can get at least 100 calls made on the 15th!

Friday, March 15
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency: (206) 343-8800

Suggested call script:
“Hi! My name is _______ from ______. I’m calling to thank the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency for the additional environmental review on PSE’s Tacoma LNG facility. Please produce the strongest review possible that accounts for the 2014 IPCC data and the true climate impacts of fracked gas! The Air Agency has my full support in delaying the review again so long as you accurately examine upstream methane emissions. I’m confident that faced with the facts, the agency will ultimately deny the air permit for this facility. Thanks so much for your work!”

Pro tip: Put the phone number and script in a reminder on your phone for March 15th!

OH, TACOMA

The city of Tacoma is still dragging its feet on its promise to hire a third-party consultant to determine if the LNG project needs supplemental review. Please call City Manager Elizabeth Pauli at (253) 591-5130 and city attorney Steve Victor at (253) 591-5638 to share your support for the Puyallup Tribes’ request to have a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) that addresses safety concerns and substantial project changes.

Letters to the editor needed
Can you help educate our neighbors and elected officials about threats Puget Sound Energy’s proposed LNG fracked gas project brings to our Salish Sea communities? Check out our handy Letter to the Editor Guide for tips, talking points and even email addresses of where you can submit them!

HEY JAY, SAY NO TO FRACKED GAS

Check out this inspiring video of last month’s visit to Olympia where we delivered nearly 150,000 fracked gas comments to Governor Inslee! Want to add your voice? Click here to send our form letter urging the Governor to protect our climate, health and safety by opposing all new and expanded gas infrastructure. You can also call his office at (360) 902-4111.

BOOK ‘EM, PETE

Nine U.S cities and counties, from New York to San Francisco, have already filed claims against the fossil fuel industry for knowingly causing climate change, lying about it, and spending billions fighting any meaningful climate policy. It’s time for Seattle to step up and join this vital front of the climate movement.

Click here to sign our petition calling on the Seattle City Attorney to file claims against the fossil fuel industry. And while we’re pleased that City Attorney Holmes has already responded to our petition by announcing that they’ve hired a legal firm to explore suing the industry, hiring a law firm isn’t enough. We need to see Seattle move forwards and take the fossil fuel criminals to court!

CHASE-ING THEM OUT OF FOSSIL FUELS

350 Seattle is partnering with Rainforest Action Network to organize a National Day of Action on April 10th that will call out Chase’s role in the climate crisis. Already, there are actions confirmed in 11 cities and 10 states! Just last week, Chase announced that it is divesting from private prisons. This great news gives us hope that they can be convinced to divest from other heinous industries, like the fossil fuel industry.

#ShutDownChase – Seattle
Wednesday, April 10
To participate, sign up here.

More details coming soon!

PROMISE TO PROTECT

The Promise to Protect Training Tour is coming to nine cities across the U.S. this spring, preparing thousands of people to stand with Indigenous leaders to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. At this one-day training, you’ll learn about nonviolent direct action and support roles, protocols for mobilizing in Lakota territory, and how to apply these lessons to local campaigns.

Seattle Promise to Protect Training
Register for Saturday, April 27 or register for Sunday, April 28
Space is limited, so sign up today!

Join us as we create a nationwide wave of resistance against fossil fuel development in our communities, and prepare to show up when called by Indigenous leaders to stand against the Keystone XL pipeline.

AMAZON TAKES A CATCH-UP STEP

In a win for tech worker organizing and community pressure, Amazon made its first-ever announcement that it plans to reduce shipping emissions! Amazon committed to making 50% of shipments ‘net zero carbon’ by 2030 and to release its carbon footprint later this year.

Yet, in the same week, we learned that Amazon (along with other big tech companies) is actively courting fossil fuel companies to sell artificial intelligence that accelerates exploration, extraction, and production. So, clearly, we have a lot more work to do to pressure Amazon on climate justice. Stay tuned for next steps, and if you haven’t already, show support for the tech workers’ shareholder resolution by signing this petition.

WE’RE MOVING!

At 350 Seattle, we love to work together—and with you! But we haven’t really been able to, because our old office only comfortably fit two or three people.

So we’ve taken the plunge and signed a lease for a brand spanking new office—a beautiful space with two big rooms and lots of light that gives us room to grow, and a place where we can work together and welcome volunteers. But this is a leap of faith for us: our rent is going up $1100/month.

We need your help!
Head to our GoFundMe site and help us reach our goal. All money will go to paying for the new space. The Gofundme will be live until March 15!

And if you’d like to help us plan more fundraising events, please contact Shemona, we would love to have more people on the team!

STRONGER TOGETHER

Frontline Allies welcomes your participation in everything from organizing trainings on undoing racism and other oppressive systems, to supporting our allies in climate-related justice work. To join, contact Kara. More information and links are available here, including upcoming support and education opportunities. Our monthly meeting is a great place to learn about our work and current projects. Please join us Monday, March 18 at 7:00 pm to hear more about ways we can deepen our understanding of systemic oppression, ways to help out or attend the upcoming Our People Gonna Rise Workshop Series, and more. If this is your first meeting, please plan to arrive at 6:30 for an orientation. RSVP to Kara for the address of a home in the Wallingford neighborhood.

Our People Gonna Rise: Undoing Racism Workshop Series
Two more workshops are left in the series, and you don’t need to have attended the first one to attend these! These 6-hour workshops, facilitated by the Mangrove Collective, create a safe space for difficult conversations as we come together and commit to ending racism in our climate justice work. The format is a mix of short presentations on how oppressions (specifically racism) work and how individual experiences can intersect along axes of different oppressions; small group storytelling (longer times with opportunities for deeper sharing and deep listening); large group sharing (shorter and mostly of highlights from small group discussions); and time for individual creative reflection. Please click here for more information and to reserve your spot!

yəhaw̓ at King Street Station!
yəhaw̓ is an Indigenous-led exhibition that will run March 23 – August 3, 2019. It’s the inaugural exhibition for ARTS at King Street Station, Office of Arts & Culture Seattle’s new cultural space.

yəhaw̓ – Opening Celebration
Saturday, March 23, 12:00–7:00pm
Performances, song, and storytelling all day. The exhibit runs through August 3.
Event page here.

This show features the work of 200+ Indigenous creatives at over 20 sites across Seattle and beyond. Curated by Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole), Asia Tail (Cherokee), and Satpreet Kahlon, this project series celebrates the depth and diversity of Indigenous art made in the Pacific Northwest.

Solidarity with Unist’ot’en update
For weeks, the RCMP and Coastal GasLink (CGL) workers have denied residents of the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre access to their traditional traplines, and in some cases, destroyed traplines in the process of work. The BC Environmental Assessment Office issued an order to “not resume activities that may affect” the use of this trapline until June 12, 2019. CGL is not honoring this request, and continues to block access, operating bulldozers and excavators within meters of active traps last week.

The trapping program is an integral part of Unist’ot’en Healing Center activities, providing a cultural, land-based activity that lets residents connect with ancestral knowledge and practice, acquiring skills that establish a sense of personal esteem and mastery, building up their confidence as knowledge keepers and eventually as teachers.

Please share this information! It is important that everyone is made aware of the ways in which corporations and governments continue to place profits over Indigenous sovereignty. Follow the camp Facebook pages for timely updates: Unist’ot’en Camp and Wet’suwet’en Access point on Gidimt’en territory.

GREEN-A-THON 2019

“Those of us involved in the environmental justice movement have a different take on what it means to be an environmentalist. We view our struggle for environmental justice as being organically linked to all struggles for justice. Against poverty. Against homelessness. Against police brutality, racial violence and racial profiling. Against the prison industry. If we don’t have political justice, if we don’t have racial justice, if we don’t have economic justice, we cannot achieve environmental justice. —Got Green’s Young Leaders Team.

Got Green is a Seattle area environmental justice organization rooted in community, led by people of color and youth. Front-line Allies is launching our team for the Green-A-Thon, Got Green’s annual community building and fundraising campaign. Members of our team, 350 ways to love Got Green, can contribute in many ways: fundraise for Got Green within your own networks (ask a friend, share on social media, hold a bake sale); join group fundraising activities; join the (non-fundraising) Community Canvass Event with all the other Green-a-Thon teams; volunteer to help Got Green; or help organize our team’s work.

Work Party, Thursday, April 18, 6:00–8:00pm
Earth Day Community Canvass, Saturday, April 20
Community Appreciation Party, Thursday, May 9
Work Party, Wednesday, May 8, 6:00–8:00pm

Will you be on our Green-A-thon team this year? Please contact Paul to let us know!

CLIMATE-KILLING NAFTA

While it’s still a mystery when the new climate-killing NAFTA will be up for a vote, we know it’s time to amp up the pressure on our Congressional Representatives and Senators to vote no. There are plenty of reasons to oppose it, like the regulatory chapter full of provisions that threaten our ability to implement the Green New Deal. Learn more here and here.

The Trade team brought these concerns to Senators Murray and Cantwell, as well as the Congressional offices of Derek Kilmer, Adam Smith and Kim Schrier. Thanks to all who attended and spoke eloquently, including Linda Brewster, Hillary Haden (from Washington Fair Trade Coalition), Jack Smith, Brent McFarlane, Mimi Stewart, Kevin Kilbridge, Margie Bone, Camryn, Nancy Corr, and Neal Anderson.

Please call or email your Representative and our Senators and ask them to vote no on the new NAFTA.

NAFTA Webinar
Learn about NAFTA’s impact and how the new NAFTA could continue to harm working people and the environment in three countries.

Trump’s NAFTA – Improve It or Lose It!
Thursday, March 14, 5:00 – 6:00pm
Register here.

This webinar provides context and talking points for contacting members of Congress and offers ways to get involved in the fight against the pro-corporate NAFTA.

PHONES ARE RINGING IN OLYMPIA

Wowza! In just the first 8 weeks of the state legislative session, we have collectively made almost 1,500 phone calls and sent 500 individual emails to legislators! Nice work, civic-minded activists!

Want to join us in making sure that climate becomes a priority for Washington politicians? There’s still plenty of time to make your voice heard in Olympia this session: Sign up here to receive our weekly Civic Action Team Alerts!

TRANSPORTATION = 62% OF SEATTLE GHG

Help us hasten an equitable transition to fossil-fuel-free transportation here in the Seattle area, as well as the region.

Next Transpo Meeting is Monday!
Monday, February 11, 4:15–5:45pm
Vance building, Room 330, 1402 3rd Ave., Seattle 98101
Text 206-427-7884 if you have trouble finding or getting into the building

35th Ave Bike Lane needs a(nother) moment of your time
The mayor still has not announced a decision whether to act, so we’ve updated our form letter to let her know we haven’t forgotten. Whether or not you’ve written the Mayor already, please take a moment right now to send the Mayor our updated 35th Bike Lane email. And for even more impact, write the mayor directly: jenny.durkan@seattle.gov.

Roads are Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
And that’s why we are plenty steamed about a state transportation package that would widen and build roads at the expense of transit, bike, and pedestrian/rolling infrastructureRead our blog post about it here, and to be kept in the loop, and maybe even help, sign up for the Transpo mailing list: email Andrew.

HOUSING

Housing bills are moving in Olympia—help give these a push!

SSB 5812 / SHB 1797
These bills require cities to increase housing capacity by removing some restrictions on accessory dwelling units (ADUs). These bills are in line for floor votes, so please contact your senator and also your representative, and tell them that: 1) ADUs give both renters and homeowners more options. 2) they can provide affordable housing and needed income for low-income homeowners. 3) Too many cities in WA excessively and needlessly restrict the construction of ADUs, limiting homeowner choices that could help the whole city.

SHB 1923
This bill would fight both climate change and Washington’s long history of racially and economically segregated housing by increasing urban residential building capacity in areas close to transit, services, and opportunity. The House Rules Committee is still considering whether to send it for a vote by the full House—it needs a boost!

Contact your representatives and tell them: We have a climate crisis AND a critical housing shortage: our cities need to increase housing capacity in the neighborhoods that need it most. We can’t allow wealthy neighborhoods with more political power to pull up the drawbridge while lower-income neighborhoods shoulder all our much-needed new urban housing.

ARTFUL ACTIVISM

We welcome all skill levels in any art form, and have lots going on to jump into, from occasional participation to leadership opportunities. Join online here or come to art builds whenever you can! They are fun, no-skills-needed, community gatherings with food and good connections.

Looking for a mural wall
As the weather improves, we’re still looking for a high visibility wall for a beautiful mural. Know of one? If you do or would like to paint bus shelters with young people, contact Doug.

Join the Deployment Team!
Ever wish you had a role during actions and events? Come learn crucial skills with us! We need you! Contact Shemona.

And if you’re a skilled artist (visual, theater, dance, music…) and want to apply your skill or show others how, please let us know!

Join our Photo/Imagery Library Team!
We’re organizing our photos and imagery data and are looking for folks who want to join a team to do photo sorting and labeling for our events and our imagery library. Also looking for folks who want to do photo sorting and be an imagery co-librarian! Contact Lisa.

LET’S GATHER AROUND MUSIC!

It’s a concert for 350 Seattle! Were you at our March General Meeting? Two of our artivists, Alexandra Blakely and her ten year old daughter Femi, opened for us in song. And well, they have lot more songs to share, in a concert to support fundraising for 350 Seattle! Come join us for an evening of medicinal music for social change. Bring a friend or two and let’s continue building community together.

Medicinal music for social change
Saturday, April 6, doors open at 7 for the 7:30 show (event end: 9:45pm)
Kenyon Hall, 7904 35th Ave SW, Seattle 98126
Suggested donation $20 general, $18 seniors and students (no one turned away for lack of funds)

Ticket info and reservations
To make a reservation, please e-mail kenyonhall@earthlink.net with your request. You’ll receive an e-mail confirming your reservation. We accept cash and checks at the door.

Thanks for everything you do!

350 Seattle

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The Other Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Highway traffic

by Andrew Kidde

For the last several decades, traffic congestion has plagued many U.S. cities, and in response government agencies have repeatedly added more lanes to highways, or built new highways. Every time, shortly after a highway is widened or a new one is built, the congestion returns. Transportation planners call it “induced demand.” Despite the fact that adding highway capacity virtually never solves congestion problems, governments throughout the country have returned to this false solution time and again.

Senator Hobbs, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, has fallen into the same trap, proposing a multi-year transportation funding package that includes a hefty amount of highway capacity improvement projects and almost nothing for pedestrian, bike, and transit projects. According to a Seattle Times article, “in total, about 8 percent of the funding would be for “multimodal” projects, compared with 29 percent for new roads and another 12 percent for roads preservation and maintenance.” The bill passed out of committee last week, and could now go to a floor vote.

Not only does adding highway capacity fail to resolve congestion, but it is also a disaster for the climate. The highways that encircle and cut through our cities are the other fossil fuel infrastructure, as dangerous as the drilling and piping and refining of oil. They literally pave the way for all that consumption of big oil that makes transportation responsible for close to half of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Adding highway capacity locks us into transportation infrastructure that is based on private cars.  And car ownership, with its many hidden costs, is a bigger financial burden than many of us realize. For lower income families, the transportation package’s investment in highway capacity would expand a system that they cannot afford to use.

Instead of limiting ourselves to a future of clogged highways, Washington’s transportation funding package should help create a future where we have more transportation options. Rather than paving the way for more and more polluting vehicles, it should fund sustainable clean transportation, such as transit, and pedestrian and bike infrastructure. Instead of spending the majority of funds on a system that many cannot afford to use, we need investment in a transportation system affordable to all.

Of course private cars will be with us for a long time, and in many parts of our state, they will remain the principal transportation system for decades. So we need to invest in maintaining roads and bridges. And we need to invest in vehicle electrification to ensure that we can meet climate pollution targets. But expanding the highway system makes no sense — let’s stop building bigger and more highways that get jammed up, pollute the air, ruin the climate, and make transportation expensive. As they say, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Stay tuned for action alerts as we learn about the next votes…

PS: If you care about climate, there’s a lot more to hate about this bill — read here for more details.

 

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Racism & Climate Change

Climate justice activist atop tarpee at Washington State Capitol

by Barbara Bengtsson

Late last year, two major new reports called for urgent action on climate change; one, from the International Panel on Climate change (the IPCC), warned that we have less than twelve years to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Why then should we battle racial oppression and economic injustice in our fight against runaway warming?

For one thing, overcoming the political and economic power of the fossil fuel industry requires an understanding of how the industry has operated, working to keep its most obvious pollution and harms far from those with political power. Those who have benefited the least from the fossil fuel economy have also suffered the most from it. In marginalized communities facing injustices like police violence and the daily struggle to make ends meet, climate change is seldom seen as the most immediate problem, but redlining and discriminatory land use policies have meant that it’s usually poor and/or African American, Native American, and Latinx communities who live in close proximity to chemical plants, incinerators, refineries, and other polluters — and who are also the most vulnerable to severe weather and other climate risks. Amy Goodman’s tour of Houston’s Fenceline Communities after Hurricane Harvey shows the shocking extent to which marginalized communities are exposed to toxic pollution. As researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Montana documented, “Minorities and low-income communities are seen as the path of least resistance because they have fewer resources and political clout to oppose the siting of unwanted facilities.

This raises unsettling questions: would we still be facing anthropogenic climate change if our society valued all lives equally? Maybe the sacrifices required to make a fossil fuel economy work would not have been acceptable. Unfortunately, as slavery and religious strife show, humans have a long history of considering some lives as less worthy than others.

Slaves, of course, were denied their humanity and sold like cattle; they suffered torture designed to force ever more productivity out of them. And the land on which cotton was grown was stolen from Native Americans, who were either killed or forced to leave their homes. After slavery, segregation and violence against African Americans and Natives continued, and redlining kept neighborhoods segregated and drained resources from black communities; these neighborhoods have often also been the most polluted. And the prison industrial complex that has disproportionately entrapped Black, Latinx, and Native people has environmental as well as social consequences, including a large carbon footprint.

It’s easy to show the violence of the oppressed; during the Baltimore uprising after the murder of Freddy Gray, media reports focused on images of burning cars and smashed storefronts. But the violence of the powerful is more subtle, virulent, and widespread; it places waste incinerators close to schools and refineries next to homes, poisons community water supplies to protect the profits of bond holders, and allows global warming to destabilize Sub-Saharan Africa because maintaining an unsustainable economic system is fundamentally valued over the lives of Africans.

Policies rooted in white supremacy are designed to divide people and thereby destroy solidarity. Other policies, rooted in the logic of capitalism, may inadvertently do so, because no one wants to believe that their comfort requires someone else’s illness or death. Failing to understand the brutal logic by which the fossil fuel industry has operated—“progress” at any price, and keep the pain and suffering out of view of those with power who might be troubled by it—profoundly limits our ability to deal with global warming for many reasons, perhaps most of all because we fail to see how willing they’ve been to sacrifice people. Why would it be different now? It isn’t—to see that, we only need to look at fights like the one over the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was rerouted so that it didn’t endanger the water supply of Bismarck, and did endanger the water supply of the Standing Rock Reservation.

We also need to remember that if only solutions coming out of the white ruling class are considered, we are listening only to those with  a vested interest in preventing changes that would limit their profits and power. Scientists have warned about the threat of anthropogenic climate change for over 40 years, ample time for the implementation of market-based solutions. But because the executives of the fossil fuel industry lied to protect its profits, here we are—faced with irreversible climate chaos unless we transform our economy over the next ten years, a formidable task that will require us to come together as never before. And that requires white people to understand the profound environmental and economic inequities of the system—a system that has benefited many of us greatly—and to show up in solidarity and humility for racial and economic justice.

We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past and expect that things will turn out differently. To solve climate change, we must recognize and overcome the system that gave rise to it.

 

 

 

 

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- Naomi Klein

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