Climate Disruption, Sea Level Rise & Our Children

This is a summary of Nathaniel's thoughts on climate change, read his full proposals here

Policy Statement #4 – July 11, 2019


Climate change is upon us as we witness strange weather events, changes in habitat, and the rapid loss of polar ice, glaciers, and coastal communities.   Olympia faces tidal flooding, winter river floods, respiratory diseases, invasive plants, animals and microbes, and an influx of climate refugees. Wildfires, ocean acidification, species migration, flooding and drought threaten our way of life, our economy, and our prospects for the future. 


A vacuum of leadership at the federal level has shifted the burden of action onto state and local governments.  And it is within that context that I am proud to have led local efforts for climate action within Thurston County.  Recently Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, and Thurston County adopted common goals for carbon emission reductions. There is power in working together to turn back growing carbon pollution in our communities.

Many required changes are outside of our city’s direct control, yet it is time for a bold pragmatic response that cannot stop at our city limits.  As a member of Olympia’s City Council I have joined with others to help Puget Sound Energy shut down the coal plants that supply our electricity. We have begun the transition to renewable power.  Last year I helped the State Investment Board scrutinize their fossil fuel holdings, working to protect state pensions by moving our public dollars out of risky carbon investments. In each of these responses it has been my role to bring together other local officials from across our region and state to collectively address and implement solutions that work for all residents. For each of us and for our collective future, the risks of inaction are far too great.

Our city’s low-lying downtown is directly threatened by any elevation of sea level. For this reason, we will experience the impacts of climate disruption sooner than other communities in our region. The Sea Level Rise Response Plan, published in March of 2019, describes in detail how sea level rise will impact our community and provides our city with choices and timelines to effectively respond to predicted changes in sea level. However, the plan is powerless without the willingness of our leadership to secure essential financing. Simply stated, we have a blueprint for what we need to do as a city to preserve our downtown in the face of sea level rise, but we need the steady leadership to take these essential steps. What is needed now is leadership forward. 

This is a summary of Nathaniel's thoughts on climate change, read his full proposals here