Update on TCAT and Implementation of the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan
If you read our Good News Blast you know that we are making progress on seeing through the implementation of the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan (TCMP) in addition to other recent climate wins. With all this recent movement we want to give you a quick overview and update on all these recent happenings.
This month the City of Olympia has officially begun working on the framework to implement both a Climate Lens and an Equity Lens. In January of 2021 we passed these lenses alongside the TCMP. Each lens requires that the city consider the impact and implications for climate and social equity respectively, in all decision making at every level. The City of Olympia now has a draft framework for enacting these lenses in their decision making, which essentially operates as a set of questions that every department will use to run all decisions through in order to assess impacts to climate and equity. This is a huge step towards Climate Justice in our community as it forces consideration of the climate and the communities most impacted by systems of oppression in everything we do. Thus, this framework honors and acknowledges that everything is interconnected and all of our decisions matter to people, communities, and ecosystems in our shared home. You can download and read the draft framework here.
Although we are still waiting on Lacey to fund and hire staffing for the implementation of the TCMP, and Lacey has yet to pass a Climate Emergency Declaration (which was passed alongside the TCMP by Olympia, Tumwater, and the County), we are seeing positive forward movement on trees in Lacey.
At the June 16th Lacey City Council meeting, the Council voted 4-2, not to accept the Planning Department’s recommendation to remove the residential cutting policy known as the “5 in 3 rule,” which allowed homeowners to cut down 5 trees in a 3 year period without applying for a special permit, but the Council went one step further, passing a stronger more protective policy. The new policy restricts residential cutting to 3 trees over 5 years. This win is due to the tireless efforts of tree protectors throughout the county over the last year. We enthusiastically celebrate this success!
The City of Tumwater has hired Alyssa Jones Wood as their new Sustainability Coordinator. In this position she will be responsible for seeing through the commitments made by Tumwater in the TCMP. Her role is very similar to that of Dr. Pamela Braff in Olympia, who has been a huge ally to us in this work and instrumental in any progress made by the City of Olympia over the last year. We are excited to welcome Alyssa to our community and to work with her on mitigating the impacts of climate change in Tumwater and Thurston County at large.
The county assures us they will be hiring a Climate Coordinator in the very near future. In the meantime we are thrilled to see the County Commissioners as well as the Climate Action Steering Committee taking a strong stance on tree protection. You can read more about recent moves by the county to protect Legacy Forests in our Good News Blast here. These moves to protect Legacy Forests and old trees are vital to meet the sequestration goals laid out in the TCMP.
Climate Budget Campaign
This winter TCAT determined that one major hurdle in making progress on the TCMP has been a lack of prioritizing funding for the staffing of the implementation across all jurisdictions. In response to this challenge our Carbon Free Thurston (CFT) Action Group has been working on a Climate Budget Campaign, drafting Climate Budgets for each municipality and sending a team of TCAT staff and volunteers to meet with elected officials across all four principal jurisdictions to advocate for increased funding for TCMP related projects. To learn more about this project and the work of CFT contact Tom Crawford at