This Chart Breaks Down How Women Experience Discrimination in America

Yin YangFrom police interactions to pay equity, a new survey examines how women of different races and ethnicities encounter bias.

A new survey shows that Native American women experience discrimination at higher levels than other groups of women living in America.

Released today (December 11), “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of American Women” is a collaborative effort of NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Researchers polled 3,453 adults between January 26 and April 9 to find out how women experience various types of discrimination in the United States.

Overall, 68 percent of the women polled said they believe people who identify as women are discriminated against in 2017 America. But the prevalence of this belief varies widely by racial and ethnic group, as well as by sexual orientation and gender identity. Eighty-seven percent of Black women agree that discrimination against women exists. Among Native American women, 79 percent agree. White women (67 percent), Latinx women (66 percent) and Asian American Pacific Islander women (52 percent) are less likely to agree. And 84 percent of LGBTQ women agree, versus 68 percent of women who don’t identify that way.

Continue reading and view chart in Colorlines

Originally written by Kenrya Rankin

Showing Conservatives the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Can Shift Their Views on the Issue

Ocean with melting IcebergsPolitical conservatives are particularly unwilling to accept the reality of climate change. Recent research reiterated this reluctance, and noted that it appears to stem from “worry about the economic and political ramifications of climate science,” rather than an inherent distrust of scientists.

In other words, the implications of a warming planet challenges their worldview, and they’re understandably resistant to revisit some of their most fundamental beliefs.

Much research suggests directly challenging people’s convictions often backfires, leading them to cling to “alternative facts” ever more strongly. But a new study points to a way around this dilemma.

It reports emphasizing the fact there is near-unanimity among climate scientists that climate change is both real and human-caused is a surprisingly effective way to get conservatives to shift their opinions.

“The vast majority of people want to conform to societal standards. It’s innate in us as a highly social species,” lead author Sander van der Linden, a University of Cambridge psychologist, said in announcing the findings. “People often misperceive social norms, and seek to adjust once they are exposed to evidence of a group consensus.”

In the journal Nature Human Behavior, van der Linden and his colleagues describe the results of “a large nationally representative online survey experiment” featuring 6,301 American adults. Confirming previous studies, they found a correlation between political conservatism and reduced acceptance of climate science—an association that was even stronger among highly educated right-wingers.

“We subsequently exposed half of the sample to a descriptive norm: ’97 percent of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening,'” they write. “We measured judgments of the consensus at the beginning of the survey and at the end, with various ‘distractors’ in between to obscure the purpose of the experiment.”

Continue reading in Pacific Standard

Originally written by Tom Jacobs

Renewable Energy Isn’t Perfect, But It’s Far Better Than Fossil Fuels

Electric cars charging

In their efforts to discredit renewable energy and support continued fossil fuel burning, many anti-environmentalists have circulated a dual image purporting to compare a lithium mine with an oilsands operation. It illustrates the level of dishonesty to which some will stoop to keep us on our current polluting, climate-disrupting path (although in some cases it could be ignorance).

The image is a poor attempt to prove that lithium batteries and renewable energy are worse for the environment than energy from oilsands bitumen. The first problem is that the “lithium mine” is actually BHP Billiton’s Escondida copper mine in Chile (the world’s largest). The bottom image is of an Alberta oilsands operation, but it’s an in situ underground facility and doesn’t represent the enormous open-pit mining operations used to extract most bitumen.

Lithium is used in batteries for electric cars, cellphones, computers and other electric devices, as well as power-grid storage systems, because it’s light and highly conductive. Most lithium isn’t mined. More than 95 per cent comes from pumping underground brine into pans, allowing the liquid to evaporate and separating out the lithium using electrolysis.

Any real comparison between oilsands and lithium batteries shows that oilsands products, from extracting and processing to transporting and burning, are by far the most destructive. Extraction and production destroy habitat, pollute air, land and water and produce greenhouse gas emissions. Burning the fuels causes toxic pollution and wreaks havoc with Earth’s climate.

Does that mean batteries are environmentally benign? No. All energy sources and technologies have some environmental impact — one reason energy conservation is crucial. A 2010 study comparing the environmental impacts of electric cars to internal combustion vehicles found the latter are far more damaging, taking into account global warming potential, cumulative energy demand and resource depletion. Battery components, including lithium, can also be recycled, and used electric car batteries can be repurposed to store energy for homes, buildings and power grids.

Lithium wasn’t found to be a major environmental factor for electric car batteries, but copper, aluminumcobalt and nickel used in the batteries have high impacts. Materials used to make other car components, for electric and internal combustion vehicles, also come with environmental impacts.

Continue reading in Desmog

Originally written by David Suzuki

The Regional Housing Gap

Graph: King County’s population growth
King County’s population growth has consistently outpaced housing creation. Housing is percentage of prior year total units.

Last year, the population of King County grew 48,600, or 2.3%. The housing stock grew 14,700, or 1.6%. The gap, 0.7%, is a rough measure of our failure to create enough housing.

This is the sixth straight year when population growth exceeded housing creation in King County. Snohomish and Pierce appeared more balanced until 2014, but now face heightened housing pressures as displacement of King County workers from expensive local housing markets grows.

The gap between population and housing growth is an increase in household size. Over this decade, 11.5% more King County residents have squeezed into 8.3% more housing units. That might not seem so large, but it’s about 27,000 missing homes. Those on the margins of the housing market live with parents longer or take on more roommates. Some are homeless. The housing shortage also manifests in rationing via higher rents and rising home prices.

The other safety valve to the housing shortage has been the displacement of King County families to neighboring counties, and particularly to the South Snohomish suburbs. The role of Pierce and Snohomish Counties in the regional housing market goes beyond more housing units. Specifically, they provide much of the new single-family housing growth in the region. Seattle is 21% of the region’s housing stock, but just 2% of added single family housing since 2010 is in Seattle. Distant developments on the edges of the urban growth area have helped to fill a second housing gap, a deficit of housing for families in King County. But in recent years both Pierce and Snohomish are increasingly unable to keep up with demand.

Continue reading in the Seattle Transit Blog

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Seattle Considers Zoning More “Family-Sized” Apartments

SColorful Apartmentseattle’s elected officials want developers to build more family-sized apartments — the two- and three-bedroom units that could offer parents and children an alternative to expensive single-family home rentals. In recent years, less than 20 percent of new apartment construction has been multi-bedroom and the majority of that has been two-bedroom. The city has proposed a new policy that would require residential developers in some low-rise zones to build a two-bedroom or larger unit for every four studios or one-bedrooms they build.

The proposed regulation is part of a broad package of upzones and land-use tweaks across the city. It is the latest step in Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). Over the last few years, the city has implemented several neighborhood upzones. With the upzones came a requirement that developers provide a certain number of income-restricted units in their building or pay an in-lieu fee to the city housing fund.

Earlier this month, the mayor and City Council unveiled the final environmental impact statement for the citywide version of those neighborhood upzones. It increases allowed density in neighborhood centers and along transit corridors in much of the city. The plan also makes some small changes to the land-use code. It creates a new zone called Residential Small Lot that will replace about 6 percent of existing single-family zones. The new zone permits a modest increase in density by allowing up to three units per lot instead of one. The citywide plan also expands the boundaries of neighborhood “urban villages.”

If the package passes, Lowrise 1 (LR1) zoning will no longer have a density limit and developers will be required to build family-sized units. LR1 allows for “gentle density” such as cottages, duplexes, rowhouses and small apartment buildings. According to Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) spokesman Jason Kelly, the current density limits in LR1 make it economically unviable to build apartments. The change should make apartment construction financially feasible. Because there are so few apartments in LR1 currently, OPCD heard concerns from residents that buildings full of studios would not be a good fit.

The requirement that for every four studios or one-bedroom units, developers must build a unit with two or more bedrooms is, in part, a concession to existing residents. It will likely have a modest impact on the lack of family-sized apartments.

Continue reading in Next City

Originally written by Josh Cohen

Hungry and disappearing: Is the orcas’ future already here?

Orca Whale jumping out of the water

Every day this summer, Jeanne Hyde scanned the waters off the west side of San Juan Island, hoping that the killer whales would show up. All night, she streamed the underwater sounds from microphones submerged along the shoreline, waiting for the whales’ distinctive trills, chirps and whistles to wake her up.

Too often, she slept through the night.

“Day after day after day, I’d wake up the next morning and I’d check the recording to make sure I didn’t miss something,” said Hyde, 71, who has watched and listened for the whales every day for 14 years.

“And I’d just put a line through the date and the time: nothing, nothing, nothing. They just weren’t here.”

This summer was “the worst year on record” for sightings of endangered southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea, according to Ken Balcomb, a biologist and founder of the Center for Whale Research, who has been monitoring the animals for more than 40 years.

Orca daily sightings_2004-17

As recently as 2004, the whales were spotted 150 days from May through September, or nearly every day. This year, they showed up on only 40 days in the same period, Balcomb said. Previously, the worst year was 2013, when there were 70 days of sightings.

But with this year’s record-low Chinook runs, the whales had no reason to waste their time in the Salish Sea, Balcomb said.

The southern residents’ absence this summer is just one more signal that, without more salmon, the whales’ survival is in jeopardy. A new study, to which Balcomb contributed, concludes that the only way to increase the number of whales is to increase the number of Chinook, while also addressing other threats to their survival, including noise from ships and boats that can disrupt their feeding.

The deaths of seven whales in the past year, including a calf that appeared emaciated before disappearing in September, dropped the wild population to only 76 animals. That’s the lowest number in more than 30 years, and about half as many southern residents as probably existed before dozens were killed or captured for marine parks in the 1960s and 70s.

Continue reading in Crosscut

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Office of Planning & Community Development: Growth and Livability

Seattle skyline with a foggy skySeattle is again the fastest growing city in the country. Our beautiful natural environment, diverse communities, and strong job market all serve to attract people to this region. As our population grows, so too must our supply of housing or Seattle will increasingly be affordable only to the wealthy.

While there are many benefits to living in a growing city, like more job opportunities, new neighbors, lively streetscapes, a greater diversity of businesses, and more vibrant public life, there are also challenges. In Seattle, our challenges include increasing competition for housing, risk of displacement of current residents, more traffic, and more demand for public infrastructure. To address these challenges, we are committed to continually investing in livability to help growth bring benefits to everyone.

Originally published in Seattle.Gov

View the Growth and Livability Report and Growth and Livability Case Studies by visiting the Office of Planning and Community Development’s webpage.

A National Framework for Urban Extension

birds eye view of a cityAbstract

To help ensure Extension’s relevance and accessibility to an increasingly diverse population, the National Urban Extension Leaders group created a framework based on historical and emerging developments. Themes focus on programs, personnel, partnership, and the positioning of Extension at local, state, and national levels. For Extension to be a vibrant and resilient 21st-century system, it must build on best practices, leverage regional and national networks, and invest in innovative strategies that engage people living and working in metropolitan communities. A robust urban Extension presence contributes to building strong connectivity among urban, suburban, and rural communities.

Introduction

In an effort to reinvigorate a national discussion and move toward a more sustainable and integrated approach to urban Extension, a group of mid-level administrators working in metropolitan areas across the United States began meeting in late 2013. This group is called the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL). NUEL’s steering committee prepared A National Framework for Urban Extension, a report for the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). In October 2015, ECOP approved NUEL as a director/administrator-approved group of Extension employees who cooperate in advancing the strategic importance and long-term value of urban Extension activities by being relevant locally, responsive statewide, and recognized nationally. Advancing urban Extension is now one of ECOP’s top priorities (Extension Committee on Organizational Policy, 2015; National Urban Extension Leaders, 2015).

Although there are many similarities in Extension’s work across all geographic settings, dynamic situations in cities and large metropolitan areas present unique challenges and opportunities as Extension extends a history of innovation. Rural and urban communities are interdependent (Dabson, 2007; Davoudi & Stead, 2002; Lichter & Brown, 2014), necessitating a synchronized flow of Extension’s work along the urban–rural continuum. To embrace effective urban Extension models and approaches, the Cooperative Extension System need not abandon its historic rural agendas.

Capitalizing on the extensive resource network of the nationwide land-grant university system, Extension must become better equipped to efficiently and effectively address complex urban priorities. In this article, we summarize relevant national trends and their overarching implications; suggest, against a backdrop of historical context, emerging opportunities and recommendations related to urban Extension; and issue a call to action. For the purpose of this article, the terms urbanmetropolitan, and city are used interchangeably to refer to densely populated areas; no consistent parameters for population density have been established with regard to urban Extension.

Continue reading in the Journal of Extension

Originally written by: Julie Fox, Marie Ruemenapp, Patrick Proden, and Brad Gaolach

 

How Seattle Bucked a National Trend and Got More People to Ride the Bus

the word "bus" painted on the roadAlmost every major U.S. city has seen years of decline in bus ridership, but Seattle has been the exception in recent years. Between 2010 and 2014, Seattle experienced the biggest jump of any major U.S. city. At its peak in 2015, around 78,000 people, or about one in five Seattle workers, rode the bus to work.

That trend has cooled slightly since then, but Seattle continues to see increased overall transit ridership, bucking the national trend of decline. In 2016, Seattle saw transit ridership increase by 4.1 percent—only Houston and Milwaukee saw even half that increase in the same year.

“What’s happened with the city of Seattle was an interesting and important experiment.”

Bus service is crucial to reducing emissions in the Seattle region. According to King County Metro, which serves the region, nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state come from transportation and its operation displaces roughly four times as many emissions as it generates, by taking cars off the road and reducing traffic congestion. The public transit authority has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability and its bus fleet is projected to be 100 percent hybrid or electric by 2018.

So what exactly did Seattle do to improve ridership in a city famously clogged by cars? Three people with different positions in the Seattle transit community: Advocate, official, and bus driver, weigh in.

The bus driver: When buses get priority, riders prioritize the bus

On Third Avenue, where Adelita Ortiz’s routes usually begin, her only traffic obstacle is a stream of other buses traveling down the road. The street blocks off cars and becomes a transit-only corridor during the morning and afternoon rush hours (private vehicles are supposed to turn off after a block on the street). Third Avenue is one of a few transit malls in the United States that restrict private automobile use. Only Portland’s streetcar line or Boston’s Silver Line bus tunnels come close to dedicating as much space to public transit as Seattle’s arterial rush hour north-south escapeway.

Continue reading to hear these experts weigh in on their city’s ridership success.

Originally written by 

Infographic: Where in the West young people are moving

This story is part of the State of Change project, produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network.

 Across the West, more young people are moving out of rural communities than in. In every decade since 1980, most rural counties in the 11 Western states lost 20-somethings, without an influx of other young adults to make up for the loss, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau migration data by the Bozeman-based Headwaters Economics. A few managed to attract young people with the lure of some nearby metro area like Albuquerque or Denver, or a roaring tourism industry like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but the undeniable trend has been a slow march to cities, where, especially in the West, jobs and people are increasingly concentrated.

In New Mexico, all but two rural counties have lost far more 20-somethings than they’ve gained since 1990. Tiny Harding and Catron counties led the state, losing people in their 20s at the fastest rate during the early 2000s. Only Roosevelt and Curry counties attracted people in their 20s during that time. The trend for 30-somethings in New Mexico is more mixed; more than 200 people in their 30s moved to Union County in northeast New Mexico since 2000, for instance, but hundreds of 30-somethings moved out of Socorro and Roosevelt counties.

Population Change from Migration by Age and Decade

 Maps

This exodus is not just a Western problem; the USDA’s Economic Research Service says a record number of rural counties across the U.S. lost population since 2010. It’s a function both of young people seeking education and trying to keep up with a changing job landscape, said Megan Lawson, an economist with Headwaters Economics who tracks migration trends across rural counties in the West. Not only has mechanization reduced the number of people needed to work traditional rural jobs like farming and mining, Lawson said, but new jobs haven’t emerged to replace them. Jobs in the fastest-growing industries in the West — health care, real estate and tech — are cropping up mostly in densely populated areas.

If viability for small towns in the rural West depends in part on cultivating the next generation of local workers and leaders, or on a town’s ability to attract new people to fill those roles, understanding why young people choose to move is particularly important. “You really need a representation from all these different life stages,” Lawson said. “When (a community) gets too lopsided on one end or another, you really lose some of the economic opportunity and the contributions that these different ages bring.” Attracting a new generation of young people could be one answer to reversing the slow bleed of population in some rural places, though simply attracting young people isn’t a silver bullet. Bozeman succeeds at attracting young 20-somethings for college, for instance, but the town can’t hold onto them for long, Lawson said. People in their 30s continue to leave.

So, where is the young West? Where are young people actually choosing to live, and what’s drawing them there? Here’s a look at a few rural communities of all sizes -from tiny Camas County, Idaho, to booming Franklin County, Washington — that are attracting young people in surprising ways.

Continue reading in High Country News

Originally written by Leah Todd from Solutions Journalism Network