On December 10, at 1pm, a broad coalition of Tacoma organizations staged a COVID-sensitive Shoe Strike for Climate in front of the Tacoma Municipal Building at 747 Market Street, demanding that the City take action on the climate crisis. In addition, 17 circular banners that spelled out “PEOPLE OVER PROFIT” were deployed. Over twenty organizations stood together to make the Tacoma Climate Solidarity Event happen.
December 10 will mark one year since the Tacoma City Council acknowledged the perils of the climate crisis by passing Climate Emergency Resolution No. 40509. We applaud the City for this resolution. However, despite that acknowledgement, the interim regulations for the Port of Tacoma have not been adequately strengthened, SeaPort Sound Terminal has applied to expand twice, Par Pacific appears to be increasing throughput, and the Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility continues construction.
Upon passing the Climate Emergency Resolution, Mayor Victoria Woodards said to the Sunrise youth who inspired it with their Climate Strike of September 2019, “I want you to hold our feet to the fire. I want you to hold us accountable for everything we’re promising to you.”
Today we did just that.
Our coalition blocked off Market Street in front of Tacoma City Hall, deployed 17 banners and over 650 pairs of shoes (in lieu of people to be a COVID-sensitive event).
The point of the event is to draw attention to the City’s lack of action on the climate crisis, despite having passed an emergency resolution. Specifically, we call upon the City to:
- Terminate all new and current fossil fuel expansion projects;
- Update the city’s environmental action plan to reflect the size and scope of the environmental crisis;
- Follow the science and end the sale of our children’s future by removing the low job density fossil fuel industry from Tacoma by 2025
- Create jobs by investing into renewable energy industries and infrastructure upgrades/retrofitting for Tacoma to be prepared for the future. Ensure those jobs are filled with diversity in mind.
- Support climate legislation in WA state and Federally, especially the Green New Deal – there is nothing in their 2021 State Legislative Priorities about climate!
- Ensure our houseless neighbors are taken care of when wildfire smoke makes the air hazardous to breathe – there were no masks distributed. (Also, notification that the air was dangerous was way behind and not very widespread)
- Require all new construction in Tacoma to use electrical heating and services only – we are blessed with a bounty of hydro electricity through Tacoma Power and Utility, we don’t need to use dirty methane – and work with labor for smooth job transitions.
- Complete the ship shore power infrastructure in the port and incentivize all visiting ships to use our clean, local hydro power, with 100% compliance by 2025.
- Incentivize and build up rooftop solarization in our city and port – there are acres of rooftop available for this in our beautiful city – and run the collective arrays for the benefit of the people of Tacoma.
- Invest the City’s portfolio and pension funds in green and renewable industry and divest entirely from fossil fuels by December 2024. Move money away from any companies whose business plans aren’t in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement.
- Center justice in all of the above demands – this means honoring the treaties that protect indigenous lands, ensuring a just transition off of fossil fuels to a green economy, protecting frontline communities as well as welcoming those who have been displaced by the climate disasters.
“We all know that actions speak louder than words. Right now the City’s acknowledgement that we are facing a climate emergency is in sharp contrast with the fact that Seaport Terminal has been allowed to increase their capacity by at least 13% since the Resolution was passed,” said Janeen Provazek, a volunteer organizer with 350 Tacoma. “Scientists say we have ten years left to take bold action in transitioning towards a carbon-free economy in order to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis. We should have started decades ago, but the next best time to start is today.”
“The United Nations has just released a new report warning that the world is behind schedule in slowing the climate crisis. We know what the problem is – fossil fuels – and now we just need our leaders to act like this is an emergency,” added Daniel Villa, another volunteer organizer with 350 Tacoma.
Over 20 groups are standing together and supporting this action. They include:
- Sunrise Tacoma
- The Mayor’s Youth Commission
- New Generation 2.0
- Black and Done
- Black Panther Party
- Extinction Rebellion Tacoma
- The Conversation
- South Sound Antiracist Project
- Tacoma Democratic Socialists of America
- Veterans for Peace Chapter 134 Tacoma
- Tacoma Raging Grannies
- Subversive Arts 253
- Citizens Climate Lobby
- Citizens for a Health Bay
- Lawyers Against Systemic Racism
- Indivisible Tacoma
- Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective
- Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma
- Washington Youth for Climate Justice
- La Resistencia
- Sierra Club
- 350 Seattle
- Extinction Rebellion Seattle
- Mother Earth Project
- 350 Tacoma