The Resilience Hub
“Across the country and world community by community, people are building microcosms of the systems and societies we need to reverse the tide of catastrophic climate change and become a world that respects all rights for all people, in harmony with Mother Earth.”
—Jacqui Patterson, senior director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Quote from: All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis
The first on-site work to improve energy efficiency and remove fossil fuels from the future South Beacon Hill Resilience Hub began early this year, with insulation of the Bethany United Church of Christ sanctuary, Rainier Valley Cooperative Preschool and community meeting space. Green Buildings Now paid for this work and for repainting to restore walls to their prior condition.
Future work will include installation of solar panels and backup batteries (funded by other sources), and installation of heat pumps that will replace oil and gas furnaces.
Bethany United Church of Christ and Got Green, an environmental, racial, and economic justice advocacy group led by people of color and low-income people, originally conceived the idea of creating a South Beacon Hill Resilience Hub on the Bethany campus. The campus is a gathering place for a year-round network of critical relationships and resources such as food production, health services, housing, jobs and job training. The vision is that the Resilience Hub also will support the community during emergencies, by providing shelter, food, communications, warmth and safety, along with cooling in extreme heat.
“ I’m excited to be a part of a hands-on climate action project that can really make a difference for a community in need. Meaningful change needs to happen in our homes, in our communities and in our legislature.”
— Kelley Howard, member of climate justice and several other social justice programs at University Unitarian Church
“Climate change threatens marginalized communities first and hardest. The Green Buildings Now initiative is a direct way to reduce carbon emissions while beginning to address long-standing racial inequities fueled by racist policies. I’m excited to be part of it!”
–Paul Finley, father, psychotherapist and member of the GBN Leadership Team
“For us,” the Hub partners explain, “‘Resilience’ means that the community has what it needs to make it through times of crisis, and ‘weather the storm.’ According to dialogues Got Green has had with community members over the last five years, climate resilience includes food security, a social safety net that provides services and resources for and by the community, and healthy housing that keeps them rooted in place.”
The South Beacon Resilience Hub will host a solar+storage project which will provide power in the event of sustained outages. The buildings will be weatherized to conserve energy. In the event of a disaster, the solar array will recharge the battery back-up system in order to continue operating critical electric appliances and heating/cooling.
The South Beacon Hill Resilience Hub is showing the way toward a just transition to clean energy and energy efficiency that prioritizes the families and workers impacted first and worst by climate change. Got Green and Bethany United Church of Christ have set a goal of removing fossil fuels from the multi-building Bethany campus.
Green Buildings Now has committed to help the South Beacon Resilience Hub weatherize its buildings and transition away from fossil-fuel energy systems to non-polluting electric systems such as heat pumps. A priority of the Hub partners is to replace the inefficient oil furnace with a heat pump in the building that serves as a community gathering space, sanctuary and preschool.
With partial funding from Seattle City Light Green Up customers, Centralia Coal Transition Grants and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, The Hub plans to install a rooftop solar array paired with battery storage so community services, including emergency mutual aid, will be able to operate even during power outages.
Spark Northwest, a nonprofit dedicated to development of locally-controlled clean energy sources, is helping the Hub partners and Green Buildings Now plan and fund these improvements.
Bethany United Church of Christ is known for its tireless justice work in partnership with numerous faith, labor, activist and community organizations, in making change for good. The church advocates especially for our Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities, and youth and families at risk of deportation, eviction or detention.
Got Green organizes for environmental, racial, and economic justice as a South Seattle-based grassroots organization led by people of color and low-income people. Priorities include educating the community about climate change, creating a network of resilience hubs, and nurturing a core of Black, Indigenous, people of color and working-class climate leaders. To learn more about Got Green, see their Annual Report and Our People, Our Planet, Our Power.
Other organizations located on the Bethany campus include the Black Power Epicenter Cooperative, Nurturing Roots, Rainier Valley Cooperative Preschool, Rainier Valley Food Bank, Refugee Women’s Alliance, and Youth Undoing Institutional Racism.
Bethany UCC is in conversation with these groups about how campus improvements can be made in a way that brings them clean energy at the lowest possible cost.