A profile of Patrick Mazza by Sheryl Feldman

Patrick Mazza has engaged on sustainability issues as an activist and journalist since the 1980s, and has focused on solutions to climate disruption since the late 1990s. Climate disruption is a “proxy for the entire range of sustainability issues,” he says. It affects land use, energy use, water resources, deforestation and production systems. They’re “all wrapped together.”

Over his time in activism, Patrick has engaged in all those issues. In the 1980s he co-edited a grassroots progressive newspaper called the Portland Alliance. It was the “house organ” for the local direct action movement, then staging civil disobedience actions in front of trains carrying nuclear weapons to the Bangor Trident sub base, and against old growth logging. In 1994 he started one of the earliest websites, Cascadia Planet, to focus efforts in the Northwest. In the late 1990s he helped found a major climate NGO focused on moving leadership groups to act on climate.

In 2014, he joined 350 Seattle, seeing the group’s focus on grassroots organizing and direct action as the cutting edge of the climate movement.

“350 Seattle is the new climate movement,” which is the “only arena where we’ve made any real progress” — including the cancellation of Shell Arctic oil drilling after the 2015 kayaktivist uprising, the withdrawal of $3 billion in Seattle city government funds from Wells Fargo for funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and a City Council resolution that the replacement bank not be an investor in the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Patrick has participated in direct action himself. In 2014, he and four others blockaded an oil train at Everett BNSF Delta Yard. The Delta 5 conducted the first climate disobedience necessity defense in U.S. history, arguing that breaking the law was necessary to avert greater harm. Unfortunately, the judge did not let the jury consider the necessity defense testimony, and they were convicted of 2nd degree trespass.

Patrick brought his decades of climate solutions knowledge into 350 Seattle to help create the Community Solutions Work Group, spurring work on local solutions in housing, transportation and energy carried on through Seattle Green New Deal and other initiatives. Community Solutions also was the original home of 350 Seattle’s work on Amazon, now carried out by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice.

Patrick has served as member and President of the 350 Seattle Board, and member of the Policy and Endorsements Committee. 

“We need a people power surge to turn the climate crisis around,” Patrick says. At 350 Seattle, “we offer ways for people who care about climate to become deeply involved and have an impact.”