Climate work is very much a future-oriented endeavor. That’s part of what makes it so hard. We fight now so that future generations can live healthy, prosperous lives tomorrow. We use those very words. But we cannot claim that as part of our mission without acknowledging that a healthy, prosperous future for all is threatened not just by the climate crisis, but by the systemic injustice and racism that block access and opportunity for Black people and people of color. This inequality of access, opportunity, and even safety has frequently been perpetuated by environmental policies that have ensured certain communities are unhealthy, under-resourced, and underserved. This must change.
We are an organization with a laser-focused mission of reducing carbon emissions. But our climate work is for the sake of people – all people – and we cannot deliver on our commitments while so many around us are unable to access opportunity, have their voices heard, or even feel safe in their communities.
So, while we look to the future in our work to fight climate change, we must do it with an eye on the present by denouncing the racial injustice that continues to be inflicted on Black communities across the country and committing to advancing policies and programs that help put a stop to this dangerous cycle. Anything that weakens or divides Washington communities must be addressed as a part of our mission.
Carbon Washington is committed to better understanding these issues in our work and our communities, actively identifying where our work aids in perpetuating injustice – and immediately correcting course, and advancing policies that lead to a healthy and prosperous future for all.
You’d certainly be forgiven for forgetting that today is Earth Day. With an unprecedented public health crisis relentlessly occupying our thoughts, a new daily reality governing our routines and interactions, and a looming economic crisis igniting our fears and anxieties, there is simply too much weighing on our tired minds. So, I’ll keep this message brief.
While you might not have remembered that today is April 22nd (I didn’t), or know that the first-ever Earth Day took place 50 years ago today, I want you to know that Carbon Washington has not forgotten our commitment to you and what we are fighting for. Recovering from this crisis is going to require bold action, innovative solutions, and renewed thinking about our economy and our way of life. It will require reaching across the aisle — even if that aisle is now the Wi-Fi connection between two faces on a monitor — and reaching out to folks in communities across our state who need it most, from Forks to Pullman and everywhere in between. (more…)
This afternoon, Governor Inslee signed SB 5947 into law, officially creating the Sustainable Farms and Fields Program.
The product of months of bipartisan collaboration, this voluntary grant program will provide much-needed economic support to WA farmers and ensure that our state remains a leader in climate action as well as agricultural production and innovation.
Thank you to the many partners and stakeholders that have worked so hard to make this day possible. The collaborative effort that led to the passage of Sustainable Farms and Fields is a powerful example of the type of statewide engagement that is possible and needed to unite WA communities and move forward together toward net zero emissions.
Thank you to the 115 farms and organizations from across the state that signed onto the letter of support for the program. Click on the following links to find out more about a few of these farms: Spoon Full Farm, Living Heritage Farms, and Klickitat Canyon Winery. (more…)
It has been less than two weeks since the 2020 legislative session came to a close, and yet it suddenly seems like a distant past. In that short time, the rhythms and realities of daily life have been altered in ways most of us have never experienced, and we are all left wondering what tomorrow will bring and worrying about loved ones with whom we cannot be right now. In this time of unease and uncertainty, we hope that those of you who can are staying home and staying safe. To those of you on the front lines of this crisis, working hard to keep the rest of us safe, healthy, and fed, we extend our sincerest gratitude to you and best wishes for your health and safety.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed not only our present circumstances, but also the way we think about the future and our role in addressing the new challenges it presents. It is going to take bold, decisive action to ensure that all Washington communities recover from this crisis and emerge from it more resilient to future shocks and disruptions to our economy and way of life. Carbon WA is committed to being a part of that process, and as we prepare for that work, we are staying connected to our communities and partners and supporting their immediate needs. (more…)
The new grant program will fund carbon sequestration practices in the agricultural community aimed at combating climate change.
Seattle, Washington, March 19, 2020 – With broad, bipartisan support, last week, the Washington State legislature passed Sustainable Farms & Fields (SB 5947). This bill creates a voluntary grant program to support farmers in the implementation of practices that increase the quantity of carbon stored in the land through efficient carbon-reduction and sequestration practices. The bill’s passage marks a significant victory during a short session wherein legislators struggled to find consensus on other much-needed climate legislation.
Initially introduced to the legislature in 2019, Sustainable Farms & Fields is the product of more than twelve months of stakeholder engagement and policy revisions. It is a testament to the legislative process and the potential for greater bipartisan collaboration in ensuring Washington remains a leader in both climate action and agricultural production and innovation. The program has been seeded with $225,000 to create an organizational structure and develop metrics for project evaluation and the grant selection process.
“We are so grateful for all the hard work and collaboration that went into shaping this bill,” said Jessie Martin, the newly appointed executive director of Carbon Washington. “Passing the bill is a great first step, but there is much more work to do to make sure the program is a success and to support Washington farmers at the scale that is needed to see real climate impacts as well as benefits to their bottom lines.”
The bill was supported at its final public hearing by leading agricultural commodity groups, including theWashington branches of the Farm Bureau, Dairy Federation, Wheat Growers Association, Cattleman’s Association, and Potato Commission. The bill was also backed by a coalition of more than 100 farms, food system stakeholders, and environmental/conservation organizations from across the state. Carbon Washington is already working with these partners, as well as others, to expand the program and increase funding in the 2021 legislative budget.
Since 2015, when Carbon Washington became the first organization in the U.S. to put a carbon tax on a statewide ballot (I-732), it has been an active participant in state government, working closely with concerned citizens and elected officials to pass meaningful and pragmatic climate policies that work for as many people as possible.
Under the leadership of Kyle Murphy, Carbon Washington has been at the forefront of climate action in the state. With a dedicated team of volunteers and a highly engaged base across the state, Carbon Washington has organized legislative action and ballot measures that led the nation, developed insightful policy analysis, and supported climate candidates who won close races. All of this has been done with a commitment to making a meaningful difference while generating broad support across Washington.
After nearly five years of leadership with Carbon Washington, Kyle is stepping back to focus on his studies as a second-year student at the University of Washington School of Law. Continuing the organization’s mission of increasing demand for climate action and fighting for smart carbon policies, Carbon Washington is pleased to announce the appointment of Jessie Martin as the new executive director.
Jessie brings more than a decade of diverse, cross-functional, leadership experience in the corporate, public, and non-profit sectors. Most recently, she served as executive director of Earth Economics, where she developed strategies to harness the power of markets to redirect capital toward nature-based solutions to urban and rural challenges. (more…)
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…)