The Office of Sustainability & Environment has released an update to Seattle’s environmental progress report, Moving the Needle, showing more Seattlites are riding transit, buying from local farmers, conserving more energy and cutting the amount of waste going to landfills. The report highlights Seattle’s progress towards goals in environmental categories such as climate, building energy, transportation, food, trees and green space, complete neighborhoods, and healthy environment and shows continued progress toward our goal of being better stewards of the environment and fighting climate change.
The original Moving the Needle report, released in 2014, was the first time the City assembled Settle’s key environmental metrics in one report. This most recent release includes updated data from the 2014 report and where possible, includes outcomes by race or Equity & Environment Initiative (EEI) Focus Areas—the geographic areas where communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and people with low incomes tend to live in Seattle.
“While we continuously advance environmental solutions with an eye toward the future of our city, it’s these instances where we look back at our progress to date that create a clear picture of Seattle’s environmental vision and our path to achieving it, ” said Mayor Ed Murray. “As we continue to grow, we will take steps to ensure that those who have not benefitted from Seattle’s environmental accomplishments to date will share equally in those advantages going forward.”
Moving the Needle shows that while people of color and people with low incomes are accessing Seattle’s environmental services in greater numbers, they are still burdened by unequal distribution of environmental amenities such as trees and green space. Key findings related to race include:
- People of color are accessing transit in greater numbers thanks to ORCA lift and 70% of households in EEI focus areas have access to frequent transit service.
- Over half of the households served by Seattle’s low-income weatherization program, Homewise, are people of color.
- There has been a year over year increase in people of color using Fresh Bucks, indicating Seattle’s targeted outreach is effective.
- People of color are still subject to poorer air quality and the corresponding health impacts due to their proximity to heavily traveled roadways.
“This Earth day, while I am pleased to demonstrate the remarkable progress Seattle is making in key citywide environmental areas like transportation, forest restoration, and food access, I am also happy to have data that will help guide our work in areas where we can improve,” said Jessica Finn Coven, director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment. “This report can be a resource for all individuals and organizations working for environmental progress.”
Moving the Needle will be updated periodically to track progress over time. The report was developed by the City’s Office of Sustainability and Environment, which works to develop innovative environmental solutions that foster equity, vibrant communities, and shared prosperity.