ECOSS bridges industry, government, and communities to promote practical and sustainable environmental solutions. We are leaders in community engagement, working in tandem with a broad base of immigrants and refugees to mitigate stormwater pollution, disseminate education on transportation electrification, improve green space access, reduce food waste, and more.
ECOSS was founded in 1994 to address the imbalance of environmental resources and services available to the South Park neighborhood and lower Duwamish River. We recognize that not all communities are equally served and that frontline communities, who are historically the most impacted by environmental disparities, are too often left out of environmental planning and solutions. To address these disparities, ECOSS bridges differences in language and culture through services to non-native English speakers throughout the Puget Sound region.
ECOSS' mission is to educate and empower businesses and diverse communities to implement environmentally sustainable practices. We are an environmental equity leader building cultural depth and meaningful relationships in diverse communities. Across impact areas of clean water, waste reduction, clean energy, environmental stewardship and climate resilience, we integrate the wisdom of frontline communities into the environmental sector by hiring staff from the communities we serve and offering them living wages, training, and meaningful opportunities to grow and thrive.
Our vision is of thriving communities that are environmentally sustainable and equitable. Small business owners and communities of color must have equitable access to resources and education necessary to self-actualize their needs for clean air, clean water, green spaces and more – key outcomes for environmental justice and health equity.
Our staff is a kaleidoscope of language, culture, religion, and customs. Since ECOSS' staff comprises 95% BIPOC, immigrants, or refugees, we know how it feels to come to America full of hope, knowing we will do everything in our power to be successful and contribute to our new home. And we have lived experience with the same types of challenges many immigrants in our community face – what it is like to not understand, to not be understood, to be seen as “other.”
We have heard people say that immigrants are a threat to the environment, to economies and a way of life, and we know that perspective is reductive, harmful, and unjust. We have created a community of international brothers and sisters who are all dedicated to environmental sustainability. It is our differences, our individual world perspectives, and our shared immigrant experience that make us stronger, more creative, and more effective. We are united by a common purpose – to educate and empower non-native-English speakers, immigrant and refugee communities to implement environmentally sustainable practices that result in healthier lives connected to a cleaner environment.
The individuals we serve face intersecting inequities related to race, immigrant and refugee status, language, and income level. As multicultural staff, we connect through Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Korean, Hindi, Swahili, Oromo, Amharic and Somali languages. We bring decades of combined experience conducting engagement and education as-well-as our lived experience as community members. Each team member brings personal access, relationships, and local knowledge to effectively reach targeted audiences. We ensure effectiveness because we meet people where they are, at their level of understanding, and in their language.
As a result of our work, we've been recognized at the local, state, and national levels for our continued commitment to creating cohesion between groups with diverse interests in the pursuit of a common goal – thriving communities.
In 2023, ECOSS was recognized by the Port of Seattle and received a Sustainable Century Award for Environmental Education & Outreach and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for our work with the community in our Transit to Nature program and habitat restoration work at Seward Park.
In 2021, ECOSS and our partner Equinox Studios were awarded King County’s Green Globe Award for being a “Leader in Industrial Strength Stormwater Solutions,” showing outstanding achievement in environmental stewardship and community resilience. ECOSS was also pivotal in two 2019 awards – Young's Restaurant’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure and The Wilderness Society’s Trailhead Direct outreach.
ECOSS could not do this work without financial support from the community. We are grateful for every person who has helped further our vision of thriving, environmentally sustainable and equitable communities.