Some of these topics do overlap—these are themes more than specific problems. Some are mostly city issues, some are regional. Every issue here affects marginalized communities disproportionally.
Quality of life in the Greater Seattle Area is high…if you can afford it. According to Zillow, renters paid about 24% of their income in rent between 1985 and 2000. Last year that figure was almost 31%. Homeownership is simply out of the question for many as the median value of a home jumped from $375,000 to over $700,000 as of last year. This city is not for everyone, and we can change that.
The Environment & Climate Change
The natural beauty of the Puget Sound region has few rivals for an urban landscape: Towering evergreen trees, Orca whales, Coho salmon, snow capped peaks, lakes in every direction, and of course Mt. Rainier. Yet, from climate change to wild fires, our region faces immediate and long-term environmental challenges that affect the health of everyone, animals included.
We’re in crisis. Over 11,000 human beings do not have a safe and reliable shelter in King Country. We’re one of the wealthiest and most educated metro areas in the country, yet we allow our fellow residents to suffer in brutal conditions. The quality of life for the animals we buy as food at places like Rain Shadow meats or The Madison Market Co-Op likely surpasses that of 11,000-plus people in our community. Think about that…
Traffic, Transportation, Infrastructure
We’re the 9th worst traffic city in America! Getting around our double peninsula of a city, surrounded by lakes, islands, inlets, hills and mountains, is not only tedious but damaging to our community. It’s bad for the environment and the economy. Furthermore, it’s deeply insidious for people who are barely getting by. After all, time is literally money for hourly workers.
Even if by some miracle we can make Seattle more affordable and rife with opportunity for any type of worker, we can’t lose sight of what good living is. That varies from person to person, but a truly joyful existence goes beyond a place to live and a job. We should focus on how to bring joy to life today, while we also work on the long term systemic failings of our community. Mindfulness and joy are not just for the privileged.