Part of the series Communities of Color ‘Front and Centered’ this Earth Day
When Puget Sound Sage came together with Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, Community-to-Community, Got Green, El Centro Del La Raza, Latino Community Fund, One America, and Washington Community Action Network to create Front and Centered we committed to ourselves to forwarding the Principles for Climate Justice.
Our principles affirm that solving the climate crisis requires putting racial and economic justice in the center of policies addressing climate change. In order to build resilient communities, we committed ourselves to bringing both economic and environmental benefits to our communities and developing processes that engage community members in a way that is transparent and just.
Seeking to put these principles of climate justice into action at the neighborhood level, last year Puget Sound Sage and Got Green partnered on a community-based participatory research project (CBPR). We interviewed 175 people predominantly people of color, people living in Southeast Seattle and people with low incomes. We also interviewed 30 organizations with the goal of determining collective environmental priorities.
Last month we released the findings of the CBPR in a report, Our People, Our Planet, Our Power—Community Led Research in South Seattle, detailing concerns about climate adaptation, decreasing carbon pollution and ensuring equitable representation from the perspective of our base communities in Seattle. Communities named housing, displacement, food access, transit and environmental-related health issues as top priorities.
This report represents the direction we should be heading as a movement – both in the policy recommendations included in the report as well as the process by which those solutions were developed. What we learned during this process is that when we start policy development with our communities; they lead. And when our movement is led by and centered on the most impacted communities only then can we achieve real climate justice and resilience.
Dionne Foster is a Policy Analyst at Puget Sound Sage, Jill Mangaliman is Executive Director of Got Green, pictured here with Climate Justice Organizer Hodan Hassan.