Author: billboyd

 

by Adam Maxwell and Douglas Ray, PhD

This article appeared in the Seattle Times on Jan. 13, 2020

During a short legislative session, conventional wisdom dictates that only a few small bills will pass into law, most likely on a partisan basis. Our organizations, however, choose not to accept conventional wisdom. As we have in previous legislative sessions, we will continue to work to pass several important climate bills this session while encouraging legislators — both Democrat and Republican — to support policies that protect people and birds from the worst effects of climate change.

Significant progress is possible. We know this because of our state’s tradition of transcending partisanship in the name of conservation. In 2020, elected officials can pass smart policies that reduce emissions in our state, while supporting rural economies.

So, back to that “conventional wisdom.”

Conventional wisdom No. 1: Don’t expect too much in a short legislative session.

While this might make sense in the normal course of things, we aren’t living in “normal times.” The impacts of the climate crisis are clear, here in our backyard and around the world. Audubon’s research shows that if we don’t cut emissions 45% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by midcentury, two-thirds of North American birds will be vulnerable to extinction. It’s not just the birds that are impacted. Drought, sea-level rise and climatic shifts threaten our whole economy and way of life.

Against this backdrop, we expect legislators to advance effective climate policy, every single year. (more…)

The 2020 legislative session began on January 13th. It is a short 60-day session so Carbon Washington staff, board members, volunteers, and supporters have been working hard to lay the groundwork to advance important climate legislation.

Sustainable Farms and Fields Progress

Over 75 farms, food systems stakeholders, and environmental organizations from across the state have endorsed the Sustainable Farms and Fields campaign. This strong support underscores that effective climate policy can also benefit farm businesses and rural communities. Read this article to find out why Spoon Full Farm, a farm in Thorp, Washington, has endorsed Sustainable Farms and Fields and how they sequester carbon, improve fertility, and build healthy soil.

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Spoon Full Farm has endorsed Sustainable Farms and Fields

We expect that the Sustainable Farms and Fields bill (SB 5947) will be reintroduced in the Senate early in the legislative session. Now is a great time to call your state Senator to express your support for the bill and ask them to pass effective climate solutions, including SB 5947, that benefit communities across Washington State. (more…)

Agriculture produces about 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. But 80 miles east of Seattle, a small farm along the Yakima River is proving that agriculture can store carbon in the soil, instead — in a big way.

Spoon Full Farm is jointly run by four determined young farmers who are out to grow produce and meat in ways that maximize their taste and nutrition — while strengthening and enriching the soil with large quantities of carbon.

One of those farmers is Mericos Rhodes. He was studying philosophy at Williams College in Massachusetts when he attended a lecture by an innovative cattle rancher. “He was running around on stage yelling about soil microbes,” says Rhodes, “and describing how rotational grazing of bison built soil fertility and massive stores of carbon in the Midwest. This guy really loved his life. I wanted what he was having.”

A few years later, Rhodes’ mom and stepdad bought what is now Spoon Full Farm. “I’d been serving the Kool-Aid of carbon farming to them,” he says. “After they’d owned the land for about a year, a few friends of mine and I moved out there and started farming.” (more…)

Over $5,000 raised toward our $7,500 match!

Give now to double your gift!

Thanks to over 25 donors who have helped us raise over $5,300 towards our $7,500 match to support our Sustainable Farms Campaign! You can help by donating now to help us hit our match. Funds raised go towards supporting our Sustainable Farms staff (meet Noa!), growing our coalition, lobbying in Olympia for the passage of SB 5947, and building broader awareness through events, like an upcoming presentation in Spokane at Forza Coffee at 5 pm on 10/24 and media (like The Washington Wire). Your gift goes directly to a lean, mean campaign for bipartisan legislation that will. cut. carbon. emissions.

More farms join our coalition!

Since our last newsletter, we have launched a sign-on letter for farms, environmental organizations, and other partners to sign in order to demonstrate the growing support for SB 5947 and climate-friendly farming practices broadly. Almost immediately, 7 farm or farming organizations joined us. We expect many more to join us in the coming months ahead of the next legislative session. You can help by sharing the attached letter with farms, farming and food organizations, environmental groups, and businesses so they can sign on. To officially sign on, please send an email to Noa@carbonwa.org demonstrating an appropriate officer of the organization approves of signing the letter and include a logo. (more…)

Kyle Murphy has been CarbonWA’s executive director since 2016 (and campaign co-chair before that). Kyle is now in his second year of law school and needs to focus on the demanding curriculum. Thank you, Kyle, for all you’ve done to help CarbonWA become a force for cleaning up Washington’s carbon emissions.

CarbonWA is now looking for a talented administrator, team leader, communicator, fundraiser, political strategist and more to take on the executive director role. This is your opportunity to help take CarbonWA to the next level of fundraising capability, volunteer mobilization, and legislative success.

Sound like you? We’d love to hear from you. Please read the job description, then send your cover letter and resume to jobs@carbonwa.org.

We’ll start reviewing applications on October 14.

Thanks for your interest!

Image result for 21 acres farm

Will You Invest in Climate-Friendly Farming Today?

CarbonWA’s campaign for climate-friendly farms and ranches needs your help!

Last legislative session SB 5947, a bill to support climate-friendly farming, moved through the Senate with bipartisan support led by Senators McCoy (D) and Schoesler (R). Senate Bill 5947 is the first step towards Carbon Washington’s goal of supporting our farming economy while maximizing the potential to use farm and prairie lands to fight climate change. You can learn more about the bill here and here. A CarbonWA supporter just offered to increase our matching amount from $5,000 to $7,500 to support this campaign. Please give today to help us take full advantage of the match!

A donor stepped up to increase the match from $5,000 to $7,500!

Can you give now?

(21 Acres Farm hosted CarbonWA at their fall harvest celebration)

We are already making progress! (more…)

Noa Kay is joining CarbonWA as sustainable farms campaign manager.

Noa earned masters degrees in Education and Public Health and has over 16 years of experience working as an educator and public policy researcher. Throughout her career, Noa has worked collaboratively with families, stakeholders, partner organizations, and elected officials. Recently, Noa’s commitment to improving both human and environmental health led her to launch a small no-till vegetable farm. She spends her time outside of work hiking, trail running, and cooking.

“We’re thrilled that Noa is part of our team,” says Kyle Murphy, CarbonWA executive director. “She brings the right mix of background experience in public policy, hands-on farming experience, and strong communication skills to the position.

“Noa will lead our coalition in a broad outreach and education effort to showcase the potential of climate-friendly farming practices. She will also work with our lobbying team to steward SB 5947 to success in 2020.” SB 5947 establishes a sustainable farms and fields grant program.

Other CarbonWA members, including Policy Chair Greg Rock, CarbonWA Vice Chair Peter Kelly, Melinda McBride and the broader advocacy and communication teams will continue to provide support on the sustainable farming campaign.

Adds Murphy: “We are especially grateful to the donors, large and small, who helped to make this hire happen!”

Will You Invest in Climate-Friendly Farms Today?

CarbonWA’s campaign for sustainable, climate-friendly farms and ranches needs your help!

Last legislative session SB 5947 moved through the Senate with bipartisan support led by Senators McCoy (D) and Schoesler (R) and testimony in support from many in the farming community. However, after passing the Senate the bill stalled in the House for reasons discussed here. Senate Bill 5947 is the first step towards Carbon Washington’s goal of supporting our farming economy while maximizing the potential to use farm and prairie lands to fight climate change. You can learn more about the bill here and here.

To get the bill over the finish line, we are launching a campaign to cultivate interest among farmers and rural communities while collecting input to perfect the bill for 2020’s legislative session. As a first step, we have hired a campaign manager to spearhead our work to build support and awareness in the farming community. We’ve raised roughly $30,000, but are short of our fundraising goal to support other critical elements like rural outreach coordinators, media support, lobbying and more.

That’s why the CarbonWA Board is matching gifts up to $5,000!

The beauty of focusing on farmland is that we can tackle climate change and help our farmers and improve our land for wildlife. We can reduce the fertilizer use which leads to algae blooms, help farmers buy new equipment that reduces air pollution, and store more carbon in our soils — which leads to increased yields and microbial activity. (more…)

CarbonWA’s Sustainable Farm Campaign is Growing!

If you were following along last winter and spring, you might have seen the we were busy supporting and influencing a myriad of climate bills including SB 5947, a sustainable farming bill. CarbonWA helped construct SB 5947 and spearheaded the campaign for its passage. With bipartisan support, led by Senators McCoy (D) and Schoesler (R), testimony from many in the farming community, and a well designed bill, it sailed through the Senate in just 17 days. However, after passing the Senate the bill stalled in the House when Democrats and committee Chair Brian Blake declined to advance the bill. The primary opponents the Potato Commission and the Farm Bureau called on the legislature to fund a $30,000 study bill review the legislative proposal over the interim rather than advancing the bill in 2019.

To get the bill over the finish line, we are launching an interim campaign designed to cultivate and grow interest among farmers and rural communities, while collecting input to strengthen and improve the bill for 2020’s legislative session. We are also hiring a campaign manager to spearhead our work to build support and awareness in the farming community. (Thanks to all whose donations have made this possible.) You can help by:

1) Sharing the job description with potential candidates who have political experience and farming ties.

2) Making a donation (click here) to our sustainable farms effort.

3) Connecting us with farmers who may want to provide input, learn more, or support this campaign (send inquiries to info@carbonwa.org).

 (more…)

In Washington State, rural communities are often the hardest hit by climate change impacts like wildfire, flooding, drought, pests, and other harms to natural resources. Rural economies can also potentially benefit from climate change solutions that create market-based systems to reward practices that sequester carbon in the soil and reduce carbon pollution. This potential has been neglected by many groups that focus on climate change.

Agriculture accounts for roughly 7% of Washington’s direct greenhouse gas emissions. However, farmers can adopt proven technologies and practices that completely offset those emissions and more, by sequestering carbon in soil and forest while producing valuable economic outputs in food, feed and materials.  The 2019 Washington State Legislature explored the creation of a grant program, spearheaded in part by Carbon Washington, to fund agricultural practices that reduce climate pollution and sequester more carbon in trees and soil. That program generated bipartisan sponsorship and broad interest. 

The sustainable farms campaign will harness the potential to advance sustainable agriculture practices to increase their usage and create momentum for statewide policy action to encourage sustainable farming while exploring interest in similar policies for forested landscapes.

The sustainable farming campaign manager will oversee and execute a statewide campaign of outreach, education and advocacy on behalf of sustainable farming practices.

Read the job description.