Sound Status Update – June 2020

Rebel Wisdom: A Memorial for Kay Treakle

Earlier this month, we lost one of Tacoma’s best advocacy minds. Kay Treakle was a Tacoma native who brought a Grit City sensibility to the environmental movement in the 70’s and developed profoundly strategic tactics both here in Washington state and internationally. Kay wrote an essay on the core lessons she learned from a lifetime of fighting environmental injustice, so that some of us would be able to pass it on to younger activists.

Kay finished the essay on Earth Day, the fiftieth anniversary of an event at which she originally marched for a cleaner future. It shows the wisdom, curiosity, and humor she brought to this work, and I hope you will read it. Please forward this to young people you know who may be inspired to try to change the world, because this is spot on.

Our Commitment to Advancing Racial Justice

The ongoing mistreatment, marginalization, and murder of black people in this country, the resulting civil uprising, and the Black Lives Matter movement has led the staff and Board of Directors at CHB to have much-needed conversations around our commitment to racial justice. Recent examples of police brutality, the disproportionate impacts COVID-19 has on black Americans, and the environmental racism that we see daily here in Tacoma, continues to emphasize that this a systemic problem.

People of color experience disproportionate impacts from climate change and suffer the greatest effects of environmental racism. Despite this, the environmental movement, which has traditionally been overwhelmingly white, has been active in a way that serves the interests of the wealthy, white, privileged class.

Now, more than ever – we acknowledge the racist system that is the foundation of environmentalism, and we are taking the initial steps of evaluating how we can contribute to dismantling white supremacy. First, we are donating 10% of the proceeds from our Cheers to a Healthy Bay online auction to the Tacoma Urban League, which will help support critical programs for our black communities. But this is just the start. We know that the fight for racial justice is extremely connected to the climate crisis and healthy ecosystems, and CHB is committed to this fight.

We encourage you to read CHB’s full statement on recent events and the Black Lives Matter movement, check out our recent forum that examined the role white supremacy plays in environmentalism, and see the list of suggested readings at the end of the newsletter.

Recent Sewage Spills in Commencement Bay

Over the past two months, there was a string of sewage spills in Commencement Bay that warranted numerous no-contact advisories. According to officials from the City of Tacoma, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, and the Department of Ecology, the first, and largest spill that occurred on April 24 came from an unknown source and entered the Thea Foss Waterway. The second spill in the Foss occurred on May 12 and was the result of residents flushing products in their toilets that are not flushable. The latest spill was discovered on May 26 near Les Davis Pier along Ruston Way, and was caused by a small landslide that damaged sewer pipes.

CHB will be working with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to ensure our community knows when our water is safe to recreate in. Because these types of events impact the safety and accessibility of local beaches, as well as the overall water quality, we urge residents of Pierce County to sign up for Beach Closure notifications. Click the link and make sure to select “Surface Water and Shellfish Advisories.”

Tideflats Interim Regulations Renewed Fourth Time

On Tuesday, May 19 Tacoma City Council renewed the Tideflats Interim Regulations for the fourth time since they were first adopted in 2017. The Interim Regulations were meant to be temporary until permanent protections could be adopted under the Tideflats Subarea Plan. As City Council is required to renew these regulations every six months, many councilmembers, and the Mayor, have grown weary of the process. The next Tideflats Subarea Plan Steering Committee is set for Thursday, July 9, and should reveal any new ideas Tacoma City Council may have on renewing, strengthening, or making permanent the Tideflats Interim Regulations.

To read more on the events that led up to this most recent renewal, check out our recent post.

Welcome Katy Stone, CHB Development Director

A Tacoma native and passionate outdoorswoman, Katy spent the bulk of her childhood exploring the beaches and forests of the Key Peninsula where her family home is located. She received her degree in Environmental Policy from the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University and has spent much of her life championing environmental causes in the Puget Sound and surrounding areas. Over the last 10 years Katy has served in development positions for several Tacoma area non-profits and educational institutions including Charles Wright Academy, Two Waters Arts Alliance, Tacoma Waldorf School, and most recently Museum of Glass.

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