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Because We're "Out of Time," Activists Storm Washington State Capitol to Launch "Climate Countdown"

 "If we don't act now, our orcas and salmon are goners...and then we will be."

Image: 350 Seattle

Demanding "bold action" from lawmakers in Washington state on Monday, activists and indigenous leaders rang in the start of the 2018 legislative session Monday with the launch of an initiative to urgently tackle the climate crisis.

"On the Peninsula, we're already seeing signs of a future we won't be able to live with—winter floods, summer droughts, wildfires, coastal devastation, acidifying seas, poisonous algal blooms," said Ed Chadd, a member of Olympic Climate Action. "If we don't act now, our orcas and salmon are goners...and then we will be. Climate change is not going to wait for us to get our act together."

"We're showing up in Olympia today to demand that the legislature acknowledge not just the reality but the unthinkable urgency of climate change."
—Emily Johnston, 350 Seattle
The aims of the "Climate Countdown" initiative are two-fold, climate groups said in a statement: to prevent any new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state and to pass legislation ensuring the state's energy is 100 percent powered by renewables by 2028.

Given the White House's active assault on climate protections, it's incumbent on states to be leaders on the issue—and with both of the state houses under Democratic control, the lawmakers have absolutely no excuse not to pass meaningful legislation, the groups say.

The day's event, which saw hundreds gathered at the capitol in Olympia, marks just the first of what the activists say will be "60 days for bold climate action" to coincide with the full legislative session. Each day over the next two months are set to include actions aimed at holding lawmakers' feet to the fire.

"The climate clock is running down: there can be no excuses from the Washington Democrats. We need bold climate action now," the coalition's call to action states.

Groups and individuals taking part in the action posted photos and videos to Twitter showing crowds chanting on the Capitol steps, tarpees on the Capitol lawn, a brief disruption during the Senate's opening ceremonies, and banners with messages including "Protect our children's water," "Keep in it the ground not the in the water," and "A healthy planet is the best investment."

"Washington state should be leading on climate," added Emily Johnston of 350 Seattle. "But we aren't, and we're flat out of time. We're showing up in Olympia today to demand that the legislature acknowledge not just the reality but the unthinkable urgency of climate change. Nothing they ever do will be as consequential as what they do now."

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