Seattle, WA – Travelling by bicycle, foot and mass transit thousands of Seattle area residents gathered at the Moving Planet Seattle: Moving Beyond Fossil Fuels event at Lake Union Park on Saturday, September 24th to attend workshops, and participate in activities aimed at helping Seattle, and the world end its dependency on fossil fuels.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn headlined the speakers at an afternoon rally that capped the events of the day. The mayor, who arrived by bicycle, talked about the importance of creating mixed-use neighborhoods to decrease pollution and cutting fossil fuel use.
“We know coal is a huge proportion of our global warming pollution but transportation is the largest proportion in the state of Washington; in the City of Seattle its 60%. We have to make changes to make it easier for people to use transit, walk, bicycle. Create mixed-use neighborhoods where things they need are nearby. And if you do those things you create places that are healthier for people to live. You can walk more, bike more. You just do it naturally as part of their day.”
McGinn went on to say that the people need to, “hold the business leadership, the labor leadership, the non-profit leadership, all of the leadership in the community…accountable to a vision of the future that means we can leave this planet to our children as healthy and as beautify as we have gotten to enjoy it ourselves.”
After the Mayor’s speech KC Golden, Climate Solutions Policy Director talked about one of the major themes of the day coal. Golden noted that Seattle gets none of its power from fossil fuels and Washington State and Oregon are eliminating all coal plants from their states. However, “They [the coal companies] have a plan to take all that coal that we aren’t going to burn any more and fifty times more, load it onto trains in Wyoming and Montana through Idaho and Spokane up the Columbia river gorge up the coast…right through the Sculpture Garden right up past Golden Gardens…up into Bellingham and build a giant new coal port so they can ship it to China where it will be burned and incinerate the planet every bit as effectively as if we had burned it ourselves.”
Golden noted the irony of allowing Washington State to be used to traffic coal to other countries when the state has done so much to eliminate its fossil fuel dependency. “We are super busy in this community right now scrubbing the coal out of our power supply, building a better community with dramatically less fossil fuel dependence we’re not going to be anyone else’s conveyor belt for the global coal economy.”
Other speakers included Christopher Williams, Seattle Parks & Recreation Superintendent who offered to co-host the event next year, Lisa Quinn, Executive Director of Feet First, and Yes! Magazine Executive Editor, Sarah van Gelder who said that it is our responsibility to future generations, “to make sure our planet can continue to support human life and human civilization.”
This event was part of a worldwide Moving Planet Day in which over 2000 individual events were held in 700 cities around the United States and in over 170 countries around the world including Egypt, Finland, Scotland, Vietnam and India. Moving Planet Day was sponsored and coordinated by 350.org a non-profit group dedicated to solving the climate crisis and hosts of local environmental and transportation organizations at individual events.
Despite the attendance of the Mayor of Seattle and the worldwide nature of the Moving Planet events there was scant media attention in the region. The Seattle Times and the seattlepi.com ran the same small Associated Press article with four photos from events in Egypt and India.
In fact, there was little corporate media coverage of the event anywhere around the world even with over 2000 gatherings spread over 85% of the countries around the world.