PROTEC17 members from the City of Seattle and King County hosted a Climate Justice Summit on October 29. The summit was compromised of a panel of experts, including City of Seattle Urban Planner and PROTEC17 member, Connie Combs, Alec Connon from 350 Seattle, and Judy Twedt, a UAW member-organizer and PhD candidate studying climate change at the University of Washington.
The meeting served to raise awareness of the impacts of global climate change on a local level and to seek PROTEC17’s endorsement and support of the Seattle Green New Deal, a resolution which Seattle City Council unanimously passed in late summer.
According to its website, the campaign for a Seattle Green New Deal is a “people-powered movement demanding that the City of Seattle create its own Green New Deal to eliminate climate pollution by 2030, address historical injustices, and create thousands of good jobs.”
Similar to the Green New Deal being discussed at the Federal level, the proposal is the beginning of a process that develops policies and programs that will help alleviate climate change and the inequities that accompany it, by co-creating solutions with the most impacted communities.
The presenters on the PROTEC17 panel provided a brief introduction to the Seattle Green New Deal, and opened the floor to attendees to have a robust dialogue with each other about the local impacts of climate change. The other piece was discussing the opportunities that public sector employees have to take a leadership role in mitigating and combating these impacts.
PROTEC17 member Connie Combs, a Planning and Development Specialist II for the Seattle Planning Commission, got involved in this movement by first volunteering with the Sunrise Movement – a youth-led organization promoting the federal Green New Deal.
“I’m an urban planner with an environmental background, and earlier this year I got excited about the Seattle Green New Deal for its bold climate change policies that also address environmental injustice, and promote worker’s rights,” she said.
For Combs, the link between climate change and worker’s rights is clear, and having her union support these issues is critical to moving them from ideas to action.
“The idea behind the Seattle Green New Deal is to have the City transition away from fossil fuels and to invest in public works projects that create union-wage jobs,” said Combs.
“I’d love to see union members support the movement by having PROTEC17 formally endorse the campaign,” she continued. “I think it would be great if we could conduct more of these trainings as well — possibly a lunch-and-learn at different offices to make it more accessible to other union members.”
If you’d like to learn more, you can visit the Seattle Green New Deal website at: seattlegnd.org or the Seattle 350 website at: 350Seattle.org. If you’re interested in arranging a training or lunch-and-learn to talk more with your fellow PROTEC17 members about this topic, please reach out to Union Representative Alex Il at or 206-328-7321 ext. 118