Interfaith Climate Action – First Hill
People of faith responding to the existential threat of climate change
Some Successes in 2020
In concert with other local grassroots climate justice groups, Interfaith Climate Action – First Hill urged the City of Seattle to take some important steps to rein in climate-disrupting greenhouse gas emissions from both city-owned properties and from the city at large.
In January, after learning that the rebuilt Seattle Center Arena would be heated with natural gas, we wrote to Mayor Durkan and the City Council asking them to work with the city’s private development partners to replace the planned fossil-fuel heat system with clean, electric heat pumps. We were delighted by the announcement in June that Amazon had purchased naming rights for “Climate Pledge Arena,” which will be the first major venue of its kind to be operated without any use of natural gas.
In May, as the City Council began considering a proposed payroll tax that would fund COVID-19 relief, affordable housing, and energy retrofits of existing homes, we wrote to council members and the mayor. We endorsed the concept but asked that they work together to refine the plan in a way that would protect smaller businesses and the cash-strapped city coffers. Again we were delighted when, in July, the City Council adopted a bold plan that raises funds for affordable housing, climate action and other purposes without unduly burdening more vulnerable businesses and non-profit agencies.
We will monitor the City’s use of the tax proceeds, its broader Green New Deal agenda, and other climate efforts. These experiences reaffirm our belief that our impact is often greatest when we seek to influence government action at the local level.
Highlights of Recent Activity
- Lobbied legislators and participated in youth-led climate march.
- Planted trees to celebrate Tu BiShvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees.
- Participated in Taming Bigfoot, a friendly competition to reduce our personal carbon footprint.
- Co-sponsored two day-long faith in action climate conferences.
- Participated in prayer vigils with Faith Action Climate Team members.
- Hosted a six-session book group on Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone’s “Active Hope.”
- Ongoing action to lower our personal and communal carbon footprints.
- Organized premiere performance of jazz artist Nelda Swiggett’s mixed-media work on climate change, The Alaska Suite: a story of beauty, loss and hope.
- Arranged for purchases of carbon credits offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from our worship buildings and individuals’ personal lives.
Please Join Us!
- Subscribe to our email message list, at .
- If you feel called to help sustain a healthy Creation, we invite you to join us at our regular monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue Living Room, 1111 Harvard Ave. (Enter through the door just north of Spring Street). Email Keith above for the date of our next meeting.
How We Can Live More Lightly on the Earth
Things you can do now to lower your personal carbon footprint
These specific areas are places you and I can make a big difference NOW as we change our lifestyle and consumption habits to reduce the amount of carbon we are each producing.
+Discontinue travel by airplane unless you have to.
The bottom line is we need to drastically reduce our air travel! If you’re planning a trip or vacation and thinking about flying, look at the CARBON cost of the trip. Log on to Taming Bigfoot (www. Taming-Bigfoot.org) to find out how much projected carbon will be emitted when you travel by air vs, by car or train or bus. Consider not taking trips that involve flying. Just because you can doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do.
Cultivate connections in your community and share rides.
Take public transit, walk or bike.
+Replace your gas combustion car with a hybrid, better yet an electric vehicle.
There are A LOT more affordable options for electric and electric hybrid (electric/gas) vehicles now. Take a look at the Chevrolet Volt, or Nissan Leaf for starters. Go test drive. Buy a used one!
Home Energy Use
+Replace all your light bulbs with LED bulbs!
+Wash your clothes in cold water.
+Dry your clothes on a clothes rack instead of using a dryer. Dryers use a lot of energy.
+Have an energy assessment of your home to learn about low costs things you can do to increase energy efficiency.
+Practice not eating meat on certain days of the week.
+Reduce or discontinue your consumption of beef and lamb.
+Eat locally grown food that you can purchase at a farmer’s market or through a community supported agriculture program (Produce boxes). Share one with a friend if a box feels like too much.
+Make a commitment to eat in-season food. Foods have carbon footprints too. Foods that have to travel by airplane and long distance across the country… well, you get the point.
+Decrease use of bottled water. This decreases your plastic purchases and lowers risk of plastic pollution. Get a reusable water bottle and practice taking it with you wherever you go.