Our People, Our Planet, Our Power: Community Led Research in South Seattle

Our People, Our Planet, Our Power is a compilation of ?ndings, stories, and recommendations from community discussions in South Seattle/King County, Washington, facilitated by Puget Sound Sage and Got Green’s Climate Justice Project. This project was run by a steering committing of people of color, who designed and implemented a survey to identify the perspectives of people of color living in South Seattle related to climate change.  Over nine months, the research team interviewed 175 people and 30 organizations to determine collective priorities and initiate a process of equitable planning. In addition to the survey, the steering committee organized three round tables to encourage a deeper dialogue.

Understand a model for community-based climate research, engagement, and planning. 

Some of the main lessons from the survey and roundtables include: the lack of a?ordable housing and risk of displacement are top concerns among respondents; there is strong support for strategies to reduce emissions; and food insecurity is the most-concerning climate impact.

The report outlines steps to achieve the following four recommendations:

  • Prevent displacement of communities away from the urban core. This will include policies that promote affordable housing, ideally through ownership by community based organization.
  • Engage communities in climate resilience and fighting climate change. This includes creating access to green careers for young people.
  • Put racial equity at the center of climate adaptation decision-making. This includes creating a city-wide climate and environmental justice board.
  • Build local economies for resilient communities. This includes creating locally determined economies through worker cooperatives and urban farming to provide access to healthy foods.

The report is grounded in an equity-centered approach to climate resilience. The methodology of the report was a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to develop a culturally-relevant analysis of climate change that is useful for the community, as well as to spark community leadership in resulting campaigns. The report describes in detail the “climate gap,” the disproportionate burden of climate impacts on people of color and low-income communities already confronting existing social, economic, and health disparities. The report concludes with a glossary of climate justice terms.


Publication Date: March 12, 2016

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  • Engagement
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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