Members of the GPOS (and some other GP members from other locals) attended the day long event called, "Connecting the Dots: Climate Justice, Economic Justice & Social Justice" at Seattle University on Sunday, April 27, 2014. This was jointly coordinated by three organizations: 350.org Seattle, Backbone Campaign, and Compassionate Seattle. The Green Party of Seattle was listed as an allied organization.
In the room for tabling, the Green Party had a highly visible spot, identified by one of our new banners and also a sign board next to our table. Literature was shared with many people and there was beneficial networking done throughout the day.
350 Seattle presentations talked about the realities of climate change, and the need for collective action. Compassionate Seattle (which has hosted the Compassion Games and will again this fall) challenged everyone to come from a place of compassion and healing intent in all our actions. I learned there that Seattle's City Council and Mayor in 2012 signed on to a proclamation, committing us to be a compassionate city. (See details below.) This gives us leverage to work on making ordinances and policies in the city to be more humane.
The Compassionate Action Network launched the 10 Year Campaign for Compassionate Cities in 2010. The Seattle members of this group meet with citizens, non-profits, educators, youth, businesses, and others to decide how to support the Charter for Compassion. They also share news, events, ideas, and resources with cities around the world in the Compassionate Cities group.
Backbone Campaign brought in a focus on helping people build skills in coalition work, addressing injustices on all fronts, from the personal to institutional oppressions built in on many levels to business as usual in our society. They hosted trainers from The Canopy Collective, an eco-feminist cooperative, to provide anti-oppression trainings that help build capacity for collaboration and collective liberation. Additional workshops were offered by other allied groups.
There was a focus on anti-oppression work, in every activity, whether interactive, small groups in a Conversation Cafe, the community artwork being done on site, hearing a presentation or workshop. Specific topics and strategies were addressed on topics such as homelessness and housing, at-risk youth, compassionate education, health, minimum wage (and the current efforts of many in Seattle working to bring that up to $15 per hour), alternative economies, and other facets of economic justice, as well as the many levels of what we can do locally about the climate emergency, and what climate justice is all about.
A highlight for me was hearing the Keynote Speaker in the morning, Kathleen Dean Moore presenting "Ferocious Love" and seeing the auditorium full of so many different people representing different communities and causes, a wide spectrum of ages. We also had moving performances of dance and music performed by youth in the opening plenary and some of it truly heart-rending -- hearing two young boys perform a song that posed a question to the audience, "What Will You Leave Behind?"
I think (and hope) we'll see and hear more of Dr. Kathleen Dean Moore, particularly as Greens staying on the front of fighting further climate change and catastrophe.
A quick bio about her: Kathleen Dean Moore is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University, as well as a co-founder and Senior Fellow of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word. An environmental philosopher, Moore writes about moral, spiritual, and cultural relationships to the natural world. Her recent award-winning edited volume, Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, addresses the question, "Do we have a moral obligation to the future to leave a world as rich in possibilities as the world we inherited?" Her current work applies ecological concepts to the challenges of making a powerful moral response to our environmental emergencies.