If you live in Seattle, you've chosen a spot that probably won't see the most extreme impacts of climate change right away. The city happens to be blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including protective mountain ranges that keep us relatively insulated, and well-hydrated.
But that doesn't mean that Seattle won't be radically altered by the global climate shift. A new report from Got Green and Puget Sound Sage now shows which citizens climate change will likely hit the hardest, and first: low-income communities of color.
The same report also highlights those communities' concerns about the changes to come.
The study, which came out this last weekend, relies on interviews conducted with 175 residents of South Seattle and 30 local organizations. In Seattle, the report is the first of its kind to survey people on the front lines of climate change.
Food insecurity ranked as the top climate concern in South Seattle. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that food prices could increase between 3 and 84 percent by 2050, and 13.4 percent of households in King County already qualify as food insecure. The number of families that rely on the state's food aid program has also increased by 5 percent in recent years. If the trend continues, a growing number of families will be particularly vulnerable to changing food prices.
A third of of residents interviewed also identified lack of affordable housing as the most significant issue impacting their neighborhoods. Increasing rents not only push people out of their neighborhoods; they also often increase the distance that people must travel to get to work.
"The continued gentrification and displacement in Seattle drives families further away from the places they work, play, and live," report authors write. "The displacement of low-income households to the suburbs may also pose a risk to the City's efforts to lower carbon emissions."