Thurston Climate Action Team History

The Thurston Climate Action Team’s mission is to partner with our community to build a low carbon future and to improve climate resilience in Thurston County.

TCAT was established in 2009 to address climate change and its impact on the people and communities of Thurston County. Founding members included local elected officials, business people, educators, community activists and representatives of the key planning entities in the County.

 

Recent initiatives:

  • Climate Coordination Project.  TCAT has brought together a variety of community organizations working on climate change into a Coordinating Council, which meets regularly to coordinate efforts. We have developed a calendar of climate related events, a speaker’s bureau, and climate action groups, and we send out a regular e-newsletter to over 1,000 subscribers. We also organize an annual Climate Action Convention, which in 2019 attracted 350 local activists to hone their knowledge and skill in taking climate action in their communities, and to find new ways to collaborate on projects.  
  • Carbon Free Thurston Campaign: Through TCAT’s advocacy in this campaign, Thurston County, along with the cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, have committed to deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions community-wide, and have developed a plan for meeting those targets. TCAT’s Carbon Free Thurston campaign is building public awareness about this effort, bringing business and environmental groups together to agree on local policies, and encouraging public officials to take strong, bold action to reduce our local emissions.
  • Thurston Thrives:  Within this county-wide public health initiative, TCAT established a Climate and Clean Energy Action Team.  This group has been instrumental in identifying climate and clean energy strategies, and furthering conversations about climate action among local agencies and elected officials.
  • Greenhouse Gas Inventory: In 2013, TCAT completed the first-ever greenhouse gas inventory for Thurston County and all its incorporated cities within the county. We have completed an inventory for every year since 2010. Local cities and Thurston County have used this data to inform their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and for developing strategies to reach those targets.
  • Climate Conversations and The Chrysalis Project: Local artist and environmental educator Carrie Ziegler has partnered with TCAT to create interactive art aimed at informing people about climate change, and eliciting their fears and hopes on the issue. Carrie also engaged local residents in creating art and messages to local officials, linking the transformation of a chrysalis into a butterfly to the transformation needed in Thurston County to meet the climate challenge. Recently Carrie has launched the Climate Art in Action Group in addition to facilitating the creation of the Climate Justice Mural in downtown Olympia. 
  • Community clean energy / climate poll: In partnership with Thurston County (https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/) and the LOTT Clean Water Alliance (https://lottcleanwater.org/) along with faculty from area higher education institutions, TCAT polled community members to gauge public opinion in Thurston County about clean energy and climate change.   The results showed broad support for climate action and clean energy projects. 
  • Sustainable Thurston: TCAT board members participated in developing a three-year sustainability plan completed by the Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC).  This plan contained specific goals and actions, including science-based targets for reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions, and was officially adopted by cities and the county. 
  • Thurston Energy: In 2009, TCAT partnered with Thurston Economic Development Council to establish the Thurston Energy program. Its purpose was to promote energy efficiency in homes and small business.  We took an active role in guiding the project during its first three years of operation and it expanded to a five-county area, helping improve energy efficiency for hundreds of homes and businesses throughout Thurston County.