I honestly couldn't even remember when I was in Seattle the last time. Maybe once, or twice, in the last year, if you don't count the train station, or the airport.
It's probably just because we don't leave the island a lot, but even when we do, it's either to go camping, or traveling to some further destination. Lately Charlie's family has spent holidays in other places too, so Seattle has just kind of fallen of our map.
Because of this I'm not very familiar with the city. In fact, I'm more way more comfortable in Portland than its cousin to the North. There's of course anything wrong with Sea-Town. It's a perfectly nice place to visit, but hard to navigate without a car, and lately, a little too upscale for my taste. It's certainly shocking that parts of the city, that even I, the most casual of visitors, can remember being normal working-class neighborhoods, are now teeming with monotonous condos, high-end sushi bars, and mock-Scandinavian furniture stores. Seattle seems to be rapidly loosing a lot of its character, but there's still pockets of awesome originality and layers of history to be discovered.
Beyond the normal off-Island activities of running errands, people watching, eating as much as we can, and visiting family, we love going to the city's many museums and galleries, and this time, I think I stumbled upon a gem. As it often happens in cities, this was all by serendipity alone.
We simply happened to park next to the historic Cadillac Hotel, because Charlie wanted to visit a Northwest Coast art gallery nearby, and I realized to my surprise that the hotel is actually a home to a museum, run by the National Parks! The museum centers on the history of Seattle's place in the Alaska's Klondike gold rush, and it had fun, interactive exhibits, with lots of reading, but also hands on kid-friendly stuff that you could touch.
Or who am I kidding? Me-friendly too! A lot of the museum is set as scenes from the rush, both here at home and up in the Yukon. Lots of little nooks to go into, and lots of little vignettes to see. I loved learning about the details of what a supplies a prospector needed, about the women of the gold rush, and even the origins of Seattle's own Filson brand.
In addition to feeling like I don't know my way around Seattle well, I also feel like I know way more about it's history, than its present, so this museum was right up my alley.
Beyond some business stuff, visiting Charlie's grandmother, and just eating, and walking around (about 10 or more miles on sunday!) and spotting stickers and street art, we also wanted to participate in a rally, organized to make sure Seattle doesn't open its doors for business with Shell's arctic drilling plans.
The Port of Seattle did some amazingly back-handed things to swing this deal through, and I imagine that the public's awareness about it grows, most people would be against having these fragile waters exposed to such risks.
Beyond that though, the rally was focused on the thrilling idea, that right here, right now, the people of the Puget Sound can say no, or at least considerably slow down the insanity that is the idea of drilling in the Arctic.
It has been increasingly the focal point of the global climate movement, that in order to save life as we know it, even to a certain degree, we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground. That we need wide political will to help change the paradigm we are forced to live in. This will comes both from people, and the politicians they vote for. Large scale change comes slowly and only when it is demanded resolutely and loudly. And as is the case with Seattle, even when many of the political powers that be are on board, a few bureaucrats with power can still undermine the people's will.
Hearing Annie Leonard speak to this on stage, surrounded by young activists who were rightly tying climate change to systemic inequality in this country, urging people to consider climate justice, as well as the scenic beauty of our waters, or the increasingly precarious futures of our children, was really powerful.
We are excited to go back in a couple of weeks to spend a day on the water in our kayaks, helping deliver that message. If you're in the neighborhood, you should come and join us.
Ever since we went off island, we kept noticing a resurgence in "Cascadia" stuff around. From baseball caps, to flags, to posters, the idea of the lands from North of San Francisco, to the Canadian border being one bio-region, with similar-minded folks, of similar values, was present.
Though no longer aiming for secession from the union ;) the idea perseveres, because it's a compelling one. What happens here, effects the region up and down the coast.
The same logic, of course applies to the whole planet, but even on a scale as big as Cascadia, it seems like an idea largely forgotten in our world.
With that in mind, we're very excited to revisit Cascadia's Northern Capital soon, to do our part in keeping this coastal sliver of the world on the right track.
Even the kittens know it!
More off-Island adventures in our next edition. Lots of love!