Voices to be heard: young adults gather at Seattle art gallery to discuss tuition crisis

JenniferGathered in a packed art gallery on Capitol Hill in Seattle, was a group of mostly young adults. They sat on stairs, the floor, and they stood. All eyes rested upon a pull-down screen that was displaying President Obama's State of the Union address.

They did not assemble merely to watch the president speak from the nation's capital, but to also discuss what was going on in their own capital, Olympia. The topic of the evening – higher education.

The event, “Olympia – In a Can,” was organized by the group the Washington Bus, a politically progressive non-profit organization aimed at raising political awareness among young adults.

Joining the group via Skype, were Rep. Deb Wallace, D-Vancouver, chair of the Higher Education committee, and Rep. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, vice chair of the Finance committee, to discuss and answer questions regarding funding for higher education in Washington. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties the legislators didn't get to share much.

Filling in the gaps were Maggie Wilkens with the League of Education Voters, Mike Bogatay with the Washington Student Association, and David Parsons with the UAW Local 4121.

With the $2.6 billion deficit that the state faces, “cuts to higher education are inevitable,” explained Wilkens to the audience.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, at Copenhagen climate talks, says "conspicuous conservation" on the way

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- Outgoing Seattle mayor Greg Nickels, attending the United Nations climate treaty summit here, says in an interview that Americans need to rethink what represents a successful economy. He says making buildings energy efficient and similar measures should take the economic place of manufacturing lots of stuff:

See more from Nickels on how he sees his role in Copenhagen and how Seattle led in the fight to curb climate change.

Nickels in Copenhagen: Seattle showed a thousand other cities the way to curb climate change

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, here for the United Nations summit aimed at reaching a global climate treaty, outlines how Seattle has led in the fight to curb global warming. He led a campaign that saw many of his fellow members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors pledge their cities to cut greenhouse gas emissions as called for the by the Kyoto Protocol:

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels at climate summit

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- Outgoing Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, whose time in office was notable because he rallied city governments across the country and overseas to fight climate change, is here for the United Nations summit aimed at reining in climate change. This is the first of three segments of his interview that InvestigateWest will be posting. In it, Nickels he explains his role in Copenhagen:

Seattle climate activist KC Golden in Copenhagen to push for ambitious global climate treaty

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

InvestigateWest caught up with KC Golden, policy director for Seattle-based Climate Solutions, who is in Copenhagen for the United Nations climate talks. He is attempting to let foreign delegates and world leaders know that the United States is getting serious about climate change. Hear more:

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Seattle meets greenhouse gas goals two years ahead of schedule

The population of Seattle rose 16 percent since 1990, but the city's overall energy consumption climbed only slightly. Amazingly, greenhouse gas production is down 7 percent.

rita_hibbardwebThat’s a goal the city is meeting two years earlier than it had hoped, admittedly aided by a declining economy that took vehicles off the street and pushed down energy consumption, but also a sign of steps the city has taken, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels says. Read the city's report here.

Reporting on the Nickel’s determined drive to push the city meet the international Kyoto Protocol capping carbon dioxide and other gases after the Bush administration backed off, Seattle Times reporter Craig Welch writes of challenges to come. The biggest issue remaining will be driving, with emissions from road vehicles rising 5.5 percent in the past three years. Most of the growth in emissions came from commercial truck traffic. Still, the city sees reasons for optimism.

"The encouraging news is that on a per-capita basis it [transportation] is going in the other direction," said Jill Simmons, senior climate-policy adviser for the city. City officials also said recent efforts to boost transit, build walkable neighborhoods, make parking more expensive and add bike lanes will help get more people out of their cars in coming years.

The city is measuring its greenhouse gas emissions every three years in three categories -- homes, commercial buildings and heavy industry.

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Seattle is smarter and luckier than Portland - less hip and green, but we'll take it

As one blogger sees it, Seattle is smarter than Portland.

rita_hibbardwebPortland and Honolulu may be higher on the “green-only litmus test” writes commentator Joel Kotkin, but  Seattle has a “smarter” economy. And I'd add a "luckier" economy to that list, because he goes on to note Seattle's location as the closest major port to the Asian Pacific.

Judging cities by economic fundamentals of infrastructure and livability, he says, would place cities like Seattle, Amsterdam, Singapore and Morterrey, Mexico, ahead of Portland. Seattleites are accustomed to hearing themselves compared unfavorably to Portland. It’s greener. Has more bike paths. Hipper. More livable. And so on. So this is good news for the bigger city with a chip on its shoulder.

Writing in the blog Newgeography, Joel Kotkin says:

"Although self-obsessed greens might see their policies as the key to the area's success, Seattle's growth really stems more from economic reality. In this sense, Seattle's boom has a lot to do with luck -- it's the closest major U.S. port to the Asian Pacific, which has allowed it to foster growing trade with Asia. Furthermore, Seattle's proximity to Washington state's vast hydropower generation resources -- ironically the legacy of the pre-green era -- assures access to affordable, stable electricity.

10 years after WTO, InvestigateWest to tell a story of “Seattle grown up” – in Copenhagen

As the orderly column of peaceful protest marchers rounded a corner in downtown Seattle, the scene changed suddenly. And dramatically. People were running every which way. Smoke billowed from dumpsters set afire. A young man ran past me clutching the silver “N” he had just snatched from above the entrance to the Niketown store. A voice behind me boomed into a megaphone: 

Everybody go down this alley – we think we’ve found a back way into the hotel!

I turned around to see that the guy with the megaphone was Michael Moore – the filmmaker, not the guy by the same name in charge of the World Trade Organization. It was the WTO’s presence in Seattle that sparked this scene 10 years ago today, as 40,000 or more protesters descended on the city.

robert Iwest mugI’m not big on anniversary journalism, but that protest known as N30  remains the largest anti-globalization protest in North American history. And, 10 years on, this week marks the start of what will no doubt be another series of globally significant protests.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected a week from today in Copenhagen, where negotiators from around the globe are traveling to supposedly try to reach a global accord limiting green-house gas emissions. Will the negotiators succeed?