Honoring the 50th anniversary of Earth Day should be more than just celebrating the past 50 years. It offers us a chance to grow beyond the norms that continue to divide the environmental and climate justice movements.

Today marks the premiere of the Growing Old Project, a podcast series exploring Seattle’s urban forest and the humans that live within it. You can subscribe to the series on all your favorite streaming platforms, follow the story on Instagram, and learn more at growingoldproject.com.

Our team came together to consider how Seattle’s forest had changed over the past half century, and where we might go in the next 50 years. We asked:

 

 

What would it look like, within the next 50 years, for Seattle to become a place where both trees and humans grow old?

 

This question took us through parks and reserves throughout our City, to the Chief Seattle Club’s Eagle Village, and into discussions with experts across fields and communities. We explored the histories that have shaped the forest we live in: colonialism, assimilation boarding schools, Japanese internment, and regional restoration among them.

We heard visions of healthy, abundant Orcas in the Salish Sea, millions of Salmon thriving, and affordable multi-family homes in proximity to beautiful trees. We imagined carbon neutrality, a biodiverse and contiguous forest devoid of litter, and a bountiful landscape with foods and medicines native to this place. And we explored what needs to happen today to make that future a possibility.

 

 

We bring these stories to you across eight episodes of Growing Old. 

 

I had the honor of being a co-creator on this project, along with Colleen Echohawk of the Chief Seattle Club and Lylianna Allala, Climate Justice Director with the City of Seattle’s Office of Environment & Sustainability.

We worked with producer Katie Mosehauer and an incredibly creative group of collaborators, including Felicia V. Loud and Jace ECAJ of Black Stax, Lacey Warrior, Glass Heart String Choir, Zoey Echohawk-Hayashi, Lily Warrior, Uly Curry, Talaya Logan, Greg Fields, and Pierre Ferguson to bring this series to life.

It wouldn’t have been possible without some key partners and supporters, including:

  • -Chief Seattle Club, which even amidst a pandemic has kept their doors open, serving 250 meals a day, and offering COVID-19 testing. The Chief Seattle   Club has found incredibly innovative ways to care for their relatives during this crisis, and through it all have continued to be essential collaborators on   our project.
  • -We’re also grateful to The Vida Agency (shout out Katie Myers!) for being our outreach partner for Growing Old, helping to engage our community in   dialogue around human and ecosystem health.
  • -EarthDay Northwest 2020, which I have the pleasure of serving on the Commission for, has been our fiscal sponsor for our project, enabling us to scale our project to include public programming.
  • -The Henry M. Jackson Foundation came on board as our first sponsor for the series, enabling us to provide artist stipends for collaborators.
  • -Arts in the Parks, a partnership between the Office of Arts & Culture and Seattle Parks and Recreation, has provided funding for Growing Old to host a   series of tree walks this summer in Seattle.

I couldn’t be more excited for us to be sharing this project with you now, and to hear your ideas for what Seattle might look like in the year 2070.

Hoping you are well neighbors, and on your way to growing old.

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