It’s a Beautiful View from Atop the Summit

On February 16th, we held the 2nd Annual Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit, and as we process outcomes from this landmark event, we are electrified by the range of innovative, collaborative and intersectional “solutions-making” that is happening throughout our region. We have a lot of work ahead to scale up to match the immense challenges of building solutions that address polluted runoff as we create healthy, thriving communities for all people, but we are ready to make it happen!

Working closely with an amazing host committee from The Nature Conservancy, City of Seattle, Salmon-Safe, Washington State, University, Washington Environmental Council and MIG-SvR Design, we focused on three interconnected themes: Getting Growth Right at this unique moment in history, using green infrastructure for Climate Resilience, and making green infrastructure into a positive force for Racial and Social Equity. These themes were throughlines for the day’s presentations, discussions, case studies and breakout sessions focusing on positive impacts, decision-making and developers going way beyond code requirements.

Among the day’s many highlights:

  • Keynote speaker, Majora Carter challenging our notion that green infrastructure isn’t sexy as she laid out the appeal of the path from green infrastructure to community revitalization through jobs and property development investments.
  • Demonstration that Huskies and Cougars alike are bringing innovative perspectives and cutting edge science to bear on polluted runoff.
  • Stewardship Partners’ beta-launch of the Sound Impacts portal, a project two years in the making, designed to bring organizations, government agencies, businesses and communities together around shared data tracking for the sake of understanding our collective impacts.
  • In the closing call to action, the point was made that we live in unique times and the bright green light that Puget Sound shines is an important beacon for the nation and the world.

We wrapped the day’s discussions with a panel that demonstrated growth, equity and resilience in current ongoing projects, followed by calls to action from Congressman Denny Heck and Seattle Public Utilities General Manager Mami Hara. We closed by recognizing three community leaders who are driving local movement towards equity, strategy and implementation: Jessica Knickerbocker with the City of Tacoma, Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS), and De’Sean Quinn, Tukwila City Council.

This collaborative effort included 16 sponsors including premiere sponsors, Boeing and the Nature Conservancy, and over 30 presenters! The Summit was dedicated to building a region-wide collaborative network around the City Habitats Campaign – a virtual gathering space and resource sharing portal for green infrastructure work across the Puget Sound guided by the principle that for nature, cities and people to thrive, we must connect all three through green infrastructure, access to nature and sustainable solutions to our biggest challenges.