Frontline Communities as Experts

April 20, 2016 -- Partnership for Working Families

PWF affiliate Puget Sound Sage is helping build a just climate movement in Seattle, while ensuring those most likely to suffer the consequences of climate change lead the way. This philosophy has informed an aggressive policy agenda.

 

Last year, Puget Sound Sage partnered with Got Green to launch a climate justice research project. The groups interviewed 175 people living in low-income and neighborhoods with large communities of color along with 30 organizations with the goal of determining collective environmental priorities. Last month they released the report, Our People, Our Planet, Our Power—Community Led Research in South Seattle, detailing community concerns about climate adaptation, decreasing carbon pollution and ensuring equitable representation from their base in policy development. Communities named housing, displacement, food access, transit and environmental-related health issues as top priorities.

 

Sage has also been active in partnering with the City of Seattle to incorporate economic and racial justice into its environmental work. To that end, Sage co-chaired the City of Seattle Equity and Environment Initiative Community Partner Steering Committee (CPSC), an innovative, first of-its-kind, city-community partnership that shaped a community-driven vision for environmental justice in Seattle. The Equity and Environment Agenda the group produced will be released tomorrow, on Earth Day. It will include short- and long-term recommendations to advance equity, environmental justice and support actions in the environmental movement to increase capacity for those most-affected by environmental issues to lead on solutions. The initiative will also "look under the hood" of city investments and programs to understand who is and is not benefitting from Seattle's environmental progress.

 

In addition to working at the city level, Sage is pushing for climate and environmental justice through statewide policies. Sage is a founding member of Front and Centered, a coalition of more than 55 economic and racial justice organizations dedicated to elevating the interests of people of color and low-income communities in climate policy, community-based education and organizing and impact investments. Front and Centered is currently weighing in on statewide carbon pricing efforts and advocating for an equitable mechanism to limit carbon at the state level. The coalition has played a significant role in advocating for an equitable and effective Clean Air Rule that decreases carbon pollution while protecting communities. An updated version of therule is expected later this summer.

 

You can learn more about Sage’s efforts here.