“Reducing emissions will not be cheap or easy, but the greatest obstacles are political.”

Dr. Robert Stavins Presenter at "Evening with Dr. Rob Stavins" at Seattle University, 2016

Policies for zoning laws or taxes can for many of us at first blush like a distant, dry, even boring topic. But policies have very real impacts on all of us, every day. Consider your own neighborhood: the height of the buildings, the presence of green space, the accessibility and affordability of healthy food or public transportation. Or, in rural communities, consider the agriculture and irrigation employed and access to clean water. 

Policies connect to justice. Low-income, minority communities are more likely to be negatively impacted by ecological degradation and pollution than communities with political or economic power. We must research and understand the policies put in place by those in power which continue to disadvantage society’s most vulnerable. As informed and active participants in local and nationwide politics, we can use whatever privilege or voice we possess to elect officials and vote on policies that will better the state of the environment and all members of society.

Research Highlights:

Local Organizations1:

  • Center for Environmental Law and Policy brings its water law expertise to help citizen groups and tribes throughout Washington protect their rivers, streams and aquifers.   
  • Climate Solutions works to accelerate practical and profitable solutions to global warming by galvanizing leadership, growing investment and bridging divides
  • Earth Ministry is committed to engaging the Christian community in environmental stewardship and environmental advocacy.
  • The Lands Council preserves and revitalizes Inland Northwest forests, water, and wildlife through advocacy, education, effective action, and community engagement.
  • Washington Environmental Council leads a state-wide effort of leading groups pushing for improved protections for the health of people, land, air and water of Washington.


The resources listed were compiled by CEJS as examples of local organizations working on environmental programs and sustainability initiatives. Seattle University is not affiliated with these organizations and expressly disclaims all responsibility for any content provided and all liability that may arise out of participation in any organization programs or activities.