• Lobby & Advocacy

Spring 2016

For interns, by interns

What’s in this edition?

Current Interns

Nicco Fortes_WECNiccolo Fortes, Field Intern

Favorite project you did as an intern? I participated in Got Green’s Green-A-Thon, a canvassing event in South Seattle. Got Green is a local organization concerned with environmental justice – you can learn more here. It was great to engage with the community and talk about social issues.

What is your main take-away from your internship? The power of people. As the recent events with Washington coal terminals show, when people come together with a common goal of protecting our environment, their voices are heard.

What’s your favorite summer activity? Discovery Park is always great place for people North of Seattle. It’s a great park with lots of trails and is dog-friendly.

Ryan Monahan_WECRyan Monahan, Field Intern

Favorite project you did as an intern? In May, I participated in an event which partnered multiple organizations including WEC, WCV and the development team behind the mobile app TOTAGO (Turn off the App Go Outside). The event used aspects from each organization to create an engaging experience for all who attended. While we walked along the Des Moines Creek Trail, participants were given the opportunity to engage in dialogue with each other and with local legislators of the 33rd district, Sen. Keiser and Rep. Gregerson to discuss topics related to the use of public transit or how to ensure continued access to local parks and trails in the community. I enjoyed seeing the friendly communication of opinions and strategies that attendees brought forward and the support from the local legislators who came out to listen.

What is your main take-away from your internship? The importance of community organizing through public outreach and undying persistence. Being able to communicate our concerns with the public and receiving positive feedback and support was great, but seeing mobilization and action by those same individuals was even better.

What’s your favorite summer activity? Take a dip in Lake Washington using the numerous access points and beaches dotted along the lake. The crisp waters will alleviate the harsh temperatures of the summer months and provide endless fun and leisure for all.  I recommend Madrona Beach for its quaint and familial atmosphere or Seward Park, where you can also take advantage of the last remaining old growth forest in the city.

Janelle Picazo_WECJanelle Picazo, Development and Events Intern

Favorite project you did as an intern? I helped with and attended Summer Swell. Attending Summer Swell not only gave me a glimpse of what a WEC-hosted event is like, but also provided me the opportunity to meet supporters of WEC’s efforts, old and new.

What is your main take-away from your internship? The importance of establishing and cultivating relationships. Through cultivated relationships, an organization’s efforts are expanded and heightened. The work of an organization does not only depend on the people working within it, but also on others who connect with the mission of an organization and work toward fulfilling it as well.

What’s your favorite summer activity? I would recommend going to a Mariners game.  On certain game days, there are post-game fireworks, post-game movies, or free items given away such as bobbleheads or jerseys. Some games even have a specific theme – it’s a great way to spend time with a group of friends.

Julie Tran_WECJulie Tran, Field Intern

Favorite project you did as an intern? Attending the public hearing in Longview for the proposed Millennium Bulk coal export terminal after calling so many people about it was satisfying and inspiring to see that there are many others out there that also care about the same things I do. The testimonies and rally gave me reassurance that there are groups, communities, and leaders out there also doing what they can about these dire issues.

What is your main take-away from your internship? Strength in numbers and also that your vote counts! We need to utilize our privileges of democracy in order to incite the change we want.

What’s your favorite summer activity? Hiking – there are so many places to explore and so close by compared to other regions so don’t take that for granted! Also stand-up paddle boarding is super easy and a great core workout.

Clean Energy Progress

Quick Look

  • The cost to install solar panels has dropped 70% in the last 10 years.
  • Wind energy capacity in the US grew 16% in 2015 and is projected to grow 10% in both 2016 and 2017.
  • Portugal used clean energy as its sole source of power throughout the country for 4 days.

Transitioning off Coal

TCoal_longviewhe US Army Corps of Engineers denied the proposed Gateway Pacific coal export terminal at Cherry Point. The terminal was found to be in violation of treaty fishing rights of the Lummi Nation. Read more about it here.

The proposed Millennium Bulk coal export terminal in Longview has also had setbacks. One of the major investors of the terminal, Arch Coal, has backed out of the project. Read more about the Longview coal export terminal here and an overview of export terminals in Washington here.

What WEC is Up To

Putting it into Perspective

As a volunteer for WEC, I was given the opportunity to work with the forestry program, specifically to collaborate with the Marbled Murrelet Coalition in preserving the majestic old growth forest under the management of the Department of Natural Resources.

The marbled murrelet, an endangered seabird who nests in the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest, is under increasing pressure from logging. Washington State’s constitution mandates that land under its purview can be used for logging to fund school construction. The Board of Natural Resources (BNR), under the leadership of the Washington State Land Commissioner Peter Goldmark, consists of five appointed officials tasked with determining how much and which lands will be leased to logging companies. Over the next year, the BNR will determine how much land it will protect from logging for the marbled murrelet’s survival. The Marbled Murrelet Coalition (made up of organizations such as Defenders of Wildlife, the Audubon Society, and Washington Forestry Law Center) is working to convince the BNR to commit enough land to conservation in order to stabilize and hopefully increase the bird’s population. I was given the responsibility of scheduling meetings between BNR members and Marbled Murrelet Coalition members.

My experience working on this project has been both professionally and personally enriching. Through this experience, I’ve learned how multiple non-profit organizations come together to work for a common goal and how to develop rhetorical and political strategies to protect the environment. Even though the marbled murrelet is a small piece in the big picture of conservation, they nonetheless deserve representation and people to advocate for their survival.

— Arianne Jaco, Evergreen Forests Program Volunteer

Goodbye and best wishes to Sabrina Upadhyay, Climate Field Organizer

“Oh no! Happy-Sad day!!” was my reaction when I heard that Sabrina Upadhyay, our Climate Field Organizer, was moving back to her home country, Switzerland. I was sad for the loss to our field team and a wonderful friend, but happy for her opportunity to pursue her Master’s degree. Sabrina was warm and welcoming from my very first day with WEC & WCV and was a valuable mentor each day following. Several generations of interns had the pleasure of working with her and got to experience her intelligence, warm smile and team-oriented work style.

I could always look to Sabrina for creative ideas, help on a project or Excel, or a caring hug on a sad day. Sabrina was critical in bringing conversations about race and environmental justice to the Field Team and helping me develop that portion of our internship program. I am thankful we got to hit the road to Longview together for a canvass day for the Power Past Coal Coalition – she is an expert at getting community members to understand the issue and sign our comment cards.

I will miss working closely with Sabrina, but I know she is just a phone call away should I ever want her advice or just a friendly voice.

— Kat Holmes

Past Interns

Leah Harari, 2015 Fall Field Intern

“I was a field intern for WEC last fall and have since started a job at Big Brother’s Big Sister’s (BBBS) of Puget Sound. At BBBS I’m the development coordinator, so I work with donors a lot. Working at a nonprofit that creates local change is something I admired about WEC/WCV and have now found in this new job. I spend most of my time here stewarding our broad-based donors and bringing in money to help local kids get “matched” with a Big. So far I’ve found it to be a very rewarding place to work!”

Cady Moris, 2015 Summer Field Intern

“Since spending the summer of 2015 as a Field Intern for WCV/WEC I have had a crazy final year at the University of Redlands. I spent a semester serving as my sorority’s president and the whole year as the Sustainability Representative in student government. As the Sustainability Representative, I put on a festival for the University to help students meet representatives from the University’s environmentally focused student and staff groups as well as local environmental organizations and companies. Of course, I did have to fit in my remaining classes and final capstone as well. It was certainly a lot of work, but it all paid off because I received honors for my capstone and graduated Summa Cum Laude in April. I am coming back home to Washington for a 10 week internship this summer, and then after that I will either explore the job market, or possibly other parts of the world. After my four years at college in California, I am certainly glad to be coming back to Washington State, especially with all of the exciting political action that will be happening in the coming months. I look forward to taking a break from going to school and seeing what the “real adult world” has to offer.”