Washington State


Over the course of the last 3 years, Washington State has tried time and time again to pass a carbon tax. Each time, our team has supported these efforts. Most of the pollution in Washington State is a result of transportation, similar to Oregon. Not only is the will high in polling to clean up the mess polluters have made, but recently the legislature in Washington went blue for the first time in 5 years. It’s time to take advantage of the political scene to positively push carbon pricing in the media and with millennial voters around the state to pass equitable and science-based carbon pricing in 2018.

Our team has not deployed its programming on a ballot initiative before so we are excited to greet this challenge and build out new tools and strategy, largely guided by our strong relationship with The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. The strategy is to pass a fee and invest policy (polling at 63%% yes, 39% strong yes).. It is likely there will not be strong policy in the short legislative session but our team, and other Alliance partners, plan to use the session as a way to train young people to sit with legislators and amplify positive support of carbon pricing, to pave the way for a successful ballot initiative led by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. We will use every opportunity we have to pass strong climate policy by November 7, 2017.

Coalition Partners

Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy

2018 Goals

Pass a carbon fee on the ballot via the 2018 midterm elections in Washington State

Important Dates

  • February 10, 2018- Pacific Northwest Our Climate Student Summit in Olympia, WA

  • Late February - Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy Climate Justice Steward Convening

  • March 1st - Begin collecting ballot initiative signatures

  • July 7 - 380,000 signatures turned in!

  • July 8 - November 7 - Get out the vote!

  • November 7, 2018 - WIN!

What will Our Climate do to help get this policy over the finish line?

#1. Empower 50 student and millennial leaders from Washington and Oregon to effectively advocate for fair and equitable climate policy.

  • Arrange presentations and/or meetings on 6-8 traditional and nontraditional college campuses in both states to identify 3-4 student leaders. Special attention will be paid to reaching students who are not already engaged in the climate movement, and often underrepresented in the environmental movement (e.g. connecting with racial justice leaders on campus).

  • Organize statewide summits with approximately 25 young leaders. Summit workshops will include trainers from diverse backgrounds who can inform students on a variety of topics that will shape their thinking on what constitutes “strong” and “equitable” climate policy. Examples include climate scientists, leaders from communities of color, workers from energy-intensive industry, etc.

  • Identify concrete opportunities for students to gain valuable skills through grassroots organizing and legislative engagement. This on-the-ground experience is invaluable and complements our leadership development curriculum.

  • Hold 1 PNW Student Summit with 30 participants in February

  • Host 2 additional Youth Climate Trainings around media, the Washington policy, and meeting with elected officials to endorse the policy

  • Facilitate 50 conversations between students & high profile decision makers to demonstrate youth support for carbon pricing by November..

#2. Pass strong and equitable carbon pricing policy in partnership with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy.

  • Mobilize 25 students host ballot signature collecting events and collect 25,000 ballot initiative signatures to put carbon pricing on the 2018 ballot in Washington state between March 1st and July 7th, 2018.

  • Mobilize 100 students to make 25,000 voter contacts between July 7th - November 7th, 2018

  • With direction from lead coalitions, prioritize outreach and organizing efforts in target districts to demonstrate growing youth support for the policy. This could requiring focusing on more rural and conservative parts of the state, or high-density areas for maximum reach, depending on what is most needed.  

  • Generate over 1,000 calls and emails to lawmakers from students and millennials that we engage through presentations, tabling, and campus events. Talking points, petitions, call scripts,  and other materials will be drafted to ensure the messaging is consistent and strategic. Social media will also be utilized (as stated below).  

  • If deemed strategic, organize creative initiatives in each state that demonstrate to lawmakers and the media the growing youth support for proposed carbon pricing policies.

#3. Amplify Northwest climate leadership, and youth engagement, by reaching over 150,000 people via social and earned media.

  • Publish 10 op-eds and LTE’s in target electoral counties (Pierce, King, Whatcom) to educate constituents about carbon pricing between January 2nd and November 7, 2018.

  • Use digital engagement tools and social media to inform over 25,000 students in the region about engagement opportunities (e.g. advocacy days and committee hearings) and activate students to call and/or write their representatives.  Our partnerships with national climate organizations, including Years of Living Dangerously, will allow us to increase our reach significantly.

  • Share relevant carbon pricing content created by Years of Living Dangerously and other partners to build public support for carbon pricing and building equity into climate solutions. There are stories to tell from Washington and Oregon efforts that are nationally relevant; let’s make sure they are told.

  • Organize 2-3 high-profile events that receive earned media from statewide or national outlets. This could take the form of a creative initiative or hosting big-name speakers.

#4. Diversify Our Climate’s leadership team by recruiting at least 8 students and/or millennials from underrepresented communities to our Millennial Advocacy Board or Board of Directors.

  • Our campus and community outreach (outlined above) will prioritize reaching constituencies that are often underrepresented in the climate movement.  In doing so, we will make an effort to establish partnerships with other youth-led or campus organizations focused on social, economic and racial justice, and include them in our carbon pricing advocacy work (and support their campaigns).

  • Recruit students with diverse backgrounds and cultural identities to lead and attend trainings, events, actions, etc., as these opportunities often lead to more meaningful ownership and engagement.

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