Sustainable Seattle Programs
Sustainability Leadership Awards
Each year we recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals, organizations, and businesses helping the Puget Sound Region be a more sustainable and livable place. Multiple awards are presented to those selected by a panel of independent judges. The nominees and winners are truly inspiring through their extraordinary accomplishments.
PNW Resilience Challenge
The PNW Resilience Challenge is a 3-year initiative aimed at accelerating the ability of our urban areas in the Puget Sound Region to respond to disruptive events. A primary focus of the initiative is fostering cross-sector information exchange and collaborative action toward high priority goals. Business leaders, government experts, insurers, urban planners, researchers and others are motivated to address policy issues, climate change forecasts and other threats of concern. The Challenge was launched on October 2, 2014 at a Summit with cross-sector attendees providing a forum for discussing key questions about our regional risks due to changing weather patterns, resource constraints and increased population density. We now have an opportunity to mobilize in support of a shared agenda and shared priorities.
Through on-the-ground projects, we transform Seattle communities. Rain gardens and other green infrastructure installations can convene citizens and catalyze long-term change by building stronger community ties and expanding the vision for neighborhood transformation. We highlight this work and projects of others through bi-monthly newsletters enabling cross-community involvement in building sustainability.
The Tools for Tomorrow series hosts vibrant interactive leadership forums, workshops, roundtables, and conferences that provide training and networking for professionals wanting to integrate sustainability practices into their area of business. Topics include climate impacts on business, sustainability reporting, and operational changes that save energy and resources.
Part of the Greendrinks network, Seattle Greendrinks was founded in 2003. Each month, those interested in and working on environmental and sustainability issues gather to create a shared and informal space that fosters connections, good times, and environmental awareness.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Accomplishments in 2014
Launched the PNW Resilience Challenge at a Summit event held at the University of Washington with 150 people present, including regional experts in climate, emergency preparedness, urban planning, reinsurance, architecture, finance, and utilities. Ongoing impact groups are working on stakeholder mapping and frameworks.
Presented seven awards to outstanding organizations and businesses at the Sustainability Leadership Awards celebration in January with 250 people present.
Held two leadership forums, one focused on receding snowpack and the other on aviation sustainability with ~25 regional leaders attending each forum.
Reached over 2600 subscribers with bi-weekly “Sustainable Happenings” newsletter. Increased social media subscribers to more than 5000, hosted 6 student interns, 30+ volunteers, and reached more than 500 people through program outreach at neighborhood events.
Completed a two year stormwater project with the community center, Highland Park Improvement Club, installing rain gardens, cisterns, and permeable pavers through the Depave Program, capable of filtering 100% of the stormwater that flows through the property, preventing pollution from entering the local waterways and transforming the site from asphalt to a beautiful green gathering place.
Stormwater project in White Center on multi-acre Holy Family Church and School site made significant progress with completion of extensive soil testing and the students and teachers incorporating the project into their classroom learning. Multiple cisterns and rain gardens will be installed in the spring of 2015.
A top priority is expansion of the PNW Resilience Challenge. Funding for the annual Summits and the biweekly newsletter communications, which aim to foster cross-sector engagement in the region, is something all of the regional leaders agreed is needed. At our 2014 Summit we heard from experts on our panels, "Act now." Several pointed out that regional priorities need to be focused on increasing our resilience before disruptions occur.