On Feb. 19, 2013 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Bellevue College students and 24 of the state’s leading conservation groups gathered in Olympia, Wash. to lobby for the safety of the Puget Sound environment. The sole purpose of this lobby was to speak to the legislatures concerning the problems around the environment and to push for the passage of the Environmental Priorities Coalition’s 2013 legislative agenda. “I believe students chose to attend to demonstrate their commitment to building a greener Washington, demonstrating the power of students in environmental advocacy, and to get experience in the political process in Olympia,” said Deric Gruen, the director of the Office of Sustainability at BC. Students met with legislators from their districts, attended information sessions on the priorities of the Environmental Priorities Coalition and networked with other participants. According to Gruen, a total of nine students, a few hundred Washington citizens and nonprofit organizations and Governor Jay Inslee participated at the rally.
They lobbied for many reasons concerning the environment but the students of BC had three main priorities: the Toxic-Free Kids Act, clean energy solutions and conservation works. In summary, the Toxic-Free Kids Act is to make sure that Washington kids are ensured to have a healthy future and to make sure that chemicals do not enter the homes in this state. It offers a solution by banning any unnecessary flame-retardants in the homes of young ones in Washington state.
The clean energy solution is to put Washington residents to work, promote a healthier environment and strive to put the economy a little forward. The year 2012 was the hottest year in record and was the year where so many climate pollution consequences really hit: super storms, forest fires, droughts and many more. A BC student, Tsering Lhayang, showed concern for this particular problem, stating that if 2012 had that many disasters then one can only imagine what would happen if business goes on as usual.
Lastly, conservation works address the toxic pollution that is damaging the water and wildlife of Puget Sound. It explains the danger behind toxic from runoff roads falling into the water and the outcome it has on the water in Puget Sound. The conservation works’ priority is designed to offer a solution for this problem and work to create high jobs for which the Washington residents would be able to apply for.
The rally allowed students to gain a better understanding of Washington environmental issues and politics. They were able to meet contacts for future activities on campus and pushed forward the agenda advocated by the Environmental Priorities Coalition.