Injustice in Seattle
Although Seattle is far from the fracking fields of British Columbia or North Dakota, residents of South Park, Georgetown, Beacon Hill and other neighborhoods of color are exposed to an array of toxic chemical sources, including factories, a Superfund site, diesel truck traffic, low-flying aircraft, Interstate 5. Gas-powered furnaces, water heaters and gas ranges must be replaced with heat pumps and electric stoves in order to reduce people’s exposure to polluted air.
Shockingly, life expectancy in South Park and Georgetown is 13 years shorter than life expectancy in affluent Laurelhurst.
While wealthier families can afford to decarbonize their homes, it’s more difficult for families, businesses and nonprofits in lower-income communities. Even though some of these changes bring long-term savings, the up-front cost can be prohibitive. That’s why Green Buildings Now has created a decarbonization fund, and why government action is needed.
Grassroots organizations led by people of color are working to build community power and play a leading role in decisions affecting their communities. Here are some of the groups doing this work:
The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition elevates the voice of those impacted by the Duwamish River pollution and other environmental injustices for a clean, healthy, equitable environment for people and wildlife. The coalition promotes place-keeping and prioritizes community capacity and resilience.
Front and Centered is the largest coalition of communities of color-led groups in the Pacific Northwest, whose diverse missions and work come together at the intersection of equity, environmental and climate justice.
Got Green organizes for environmental, racial, and economic justice, cultivating multi-generational community leaders to ensure that the benefits of the green movement and green economy reach low-income communities and communities of color.
Puget Sound Sage is at the forefront of shaping the debate on groundbreaking economic, environmental and equity issues in the region. Sage advocates for policy that makes racial and social equity a top goal for decision makers at all levels of government.