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Environmental Justice

​Climate change is the existential challenge, and the tremendous opportunity, of our time. Seattle and the Cascadia region are blessed with the amazing resources and talent to enable us to lead the world in addressing climate change - and the solutions are the very same as the ones we need to address our housing, homelessness, and public safety challenges: more abundant, denser housing; better, cleaner public transit; and safer and more walkable and bikeable cities.

  • As climate change disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color, it is important to prioritize those communities’ needs and perspectives by including their community leaders and supporting organizations in the process of identifying both priorities and solutions. We can demonstrate that climate justice is of true importance to the city of Seattle by making investments that address the needs of these communities.

  • The city must encourage the use of public transit, biking, and walking to reduce our reliance on cars, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. We need to make walking and biking safe and enjoyable ways to get around in our city.

  • As we develop more housing, we must fully implement existing green building standards, expand standards to more types of buildings, and explore more ambitious standards. Buildings are responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, so we must look at requiring new buildings to meet certain efficiency and electrification standards and offering incentives for retrofitting existing buildings to make them more energy efficient and electrified. In addition, there can be substantial improvements in indoor air quality by electrifying home appliances. From a climate justice lens, we must make these changes while also being sure not to leave any of our families behind. We may need financial incentives, training programs, and education to support workers transitioning into new roles.

  • Seattle has set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In order to reach this goal, we need to:

    • Electrify all city-owned transportation and buildings.

    • Pass comprehensive legislation that requires all new buildings to meet stringent energy efficiency and electrification standards, and enforce these standards.

    • Provide financial incentives and support to property owners who want to electrify their buildings or retrofit them to be more energy-efficient.

    • Require energy-use disclosures for all property upon sale or lease.

    • Allocate funding towards expanding the city's public transit infrastructure, particularly increasing the number and frequency of bus services to connect Light Rail to neighborhoods. Require that these buses be electric.

    • Pass a land value tax to encourage dense development of unused land and provide a source of progressive revenue to help fund climate initiatives.

    • Educate and encourage residents to consume less and compost more.

Public Transportation

As we expand our pedestrian infrastructure, we also must expand our access to public transportation. The Light Rail has brought improved access along the North/South corridor, but we must also expand bus routes with increased service to bring people to the Light Rail system. This is vital to increase utilization of the Light Rail and our public transportation system overall, which will help abate Seattle’s increasing traffic congestion, address the challenges of climate change, and meet the needs of our different communities. Lake City and Bitter Lake are two District 5 neighborhoods that can greatly benefit from more bus routes. Improving public transportation to the North End can help provide our residents with better access to jobs and other services throughout the city.

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