Our environment is under assault on several fronts. Locally, illegal encampments are filled with tens of millions of pounds of trash, plastic, and needles throughout our city. Our rivers, Elliot Bay, and Puget Sound will soon be inundated with trash and needles as the snow melts, the rivers rise, and the trash flows into our waterways.
On a larger scale, the Trump administration is rolling back important regulations that protect air and water quality. The United States spends over $185 Billion on health care directly related to poor air quality caused by pollution from cars, coal-fired power plants, and the burning of fossil fuels. Increased carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is being transferred into our oceans, making them more acidic. We already see the effects in Puget Sound as oyster fisheries are forced to import seed stock since Puget Sound water is now too acidic for the shells of young oysters. Combined, the fishing industry yields $4.5 billion in economic activity. Commercial fishing alone employs 14,000 people in Washington state and is a $1.5 billion industry. Is this an industry we can afford to lose?
China is poised to be the world leader in green energy production. As the Trump administration pulls back from green energy production, China is moving forward rapidly. The Chinese have announced they are closing 103 coal-fired power plants and are moving their green energy goals, while we are slipping on ours. Seattle and the West Coast must form a green energy coalition and move aggressively forward regardless of the missteps of the current administration.
- Commit to transforming Seattle consumption to using 100% renewable energy by 2030
- Move forward with distributed green energy programs. Solar, wind power, tide and battery storage must become a significant foundation of our energy future. Germany has the same level of cloudiness as Seattle and they lead the world in solar installations.
- Solar is now cheaper than wind power and half the price of coal. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-15/world-energy-hits-a-turning-point-solar-that-s-cheaper-than-wind
- Switch all city vehicles to electric or hybrid as they are replaced.
- Provide tax reductions and incentives for homeowners who switch to solar.
- Require buildings to incorporate solar and wind when appropriate.
- Distributed energy is the best strategy against earthquakes and military attacks.
- Shoreline restoration projects throughout the city to promote salmon habitat.
- Have an immediate city-wide clean-up of all illegal homeless encampments and close the encampments down while providing outreach and access to shelter.
- Install a “Trash Wheel” in the upper Duwamish and above just above the Ship Canal salmon ladder: http://baltimorewaterfront.com/healthy-harbor/water-wheel/
- Ban the sale of Neonicotinoids and other pesticides associated with Colony Collapse Disorder in the city and/or add a tax to pesticides. http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-study-links-pesticides-to-colony-collapse-disorder-2014-5
- Gradually install water pipe turbines throughout the city. http://newatlas.com/portland-lucidpipe-power-system/36130/
- Create an Urban Gondola system topped with vertical axis wind turbines.