Jill Mangaliman, executive director for climate justice nonprofit Got Green, sees the effects of climate change almost everywhere they look. They find it in the devastation of Typhoon Pablo on indigenous Filipino communities and even in their family's half-empty catch buckets from crabbing and clam-digging trips along the Washington peninsula. Alongside their team at Got Green, Mangaliman works to promote jobs in clean energy and bring communities of color to the table to shape environmental policies, including Washington's controversial carbon tax plan, which failed in this year's general election.
"You can't solve climate change with the same systems that caused it," Mangaliman said. "It can't be about how much money we are going to make... It's about improving the conditions of everyday people and being defenders of communities and the environment."
What is the biggest misconception people have about the climate justice movement?
Climate change and environmental racism are just symptoms of an unjust economic system, which has worked to benefit a few people or corporations and sacrifice communities in order to make quick profits. The majority of the polluting industries and polluted sites are next to poor, immigrant, and communities of color neighborhoods. Being part of the climate justice movement is a commitment to fight for the right to healthy air, food, livelihood, homes, and water for everyone, and to stop harming workers, communities of color, and Mother Earth.
Washington's carbon tax measure, opposed by Got Green and other climate justice groups, failed during the general election. How are you moving forward from here?
Got Green is continuing to push for climate policies that reduce pollution directly at the source, with targets based off of the most recent science, and reinvest in communities most impacted by climate change and a just transition for workers [into clean energy careers]. We are pushing [a new] climate policy through the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, a statewide coalition of labor, environmental, health, faith, and racial justice groups, and doing listening tours around the state to get folks ready to pass it in the next couple of years.
Tell me about another organization you think is doing amazing work.
My other organizing home is BAYAN-USA Pacific Northwest, which is an alliance of progressive Filipino organizations representing youth, women, artists, LGBTQ people, and workers who are educating, organizing, and mobilizing to fight for genuine democracy and self-determination in the Philippines. We also connect with local struggles such as supporting Sea-Tac Airport workers, justice for trafficking survivors, and ending violence against women.
If you could fix one thing about Seattle with a magic wand, what would it be?
To stop displacement. It would be amazing to preserve neighborhoods, places, and spaces through protected zones or keeping it affordable. Maybe we can create more community land trusts, community ownership, and worker cooperatives. I get that our city is growing and changing, but seeing how quick and ruthless the development is happening, Seattle is becoming unrecognizable at times.
Speaking of the changing city, what is the one Seattle establishment that you want to stay open forever?
Randy's on East Marginal Way. It's a real 24-hour diner with a theme of everything airplanes. My mom used to go there when she was working in SeaTac. We catch brunch there from time to time as mother and daughter. I also had an awkward pre-date with my now partner there. I like to eat all the pies when I'm there.