Participants Chosen for the WA Climate Assembly

A crowd of people

On December 17th, 2020 eighty participants plus ten alternates were picked for the WA Climate Assembly. Using a complicated lottery system involving four 10-sided dice that was not quite like Dungeons and Dragons, but still an ingenious way to pick a group of people who will reflect the broad diversity found in Washington state.

Multi-sided dice.

Over six thousand calls were made by a team of trained researchers from Strategic Research Associates using a dynamic process of identifying and contacting so many people. When the people who were willing and able responded, a volunteer team (Panelot) from Carnegie Melon University and Harvard University used an algorithm they developed to generate a list of 10,000 panel compositions. Each one of these panel compositions had a mix of 80 potential Assembly members that reflected the make-up of Washington State, including: 

How the panels were sorted

Sorting hat from Harry Potter.

  • Approximately half men/women
  • Age range from 16+
  • Congressional district
  • Income level
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Education level 
  • A range of opinions backed by earlier studies about whether global warming is happening; is caused mostly by human activities; and whether the individual is worried about global warming. 

Gretchen Muller
Coordinating Team Project Manager 

This truly is a once-in-a-life time opportunity to work with Washingtonians from around the state on a very, very complicated issue. It’s an opportunity for you to have a voice and to help shape future decisions about climate change.”

The algorithm to generate the panel compositions ensures each of the pool members has a probability of at least 29% to be chosen for the assembly and a chance of at least 39% to be chosen at all as an assembly member or as an alternate. Each of these possible combinations is identified by a unique number from zero, zero, zero, zero, though nine, nine, nine, nine. Gretchen Muller, from People’s Voice on Climate, rolled the four dice and the winning number was 4529.

Elizabeth, from Port Angeles, was the only Assemblymember chosen from the Olympic Peninsula.

Over the course of several weeks together online, Assembly members will learn from science and policy experts, develop connections, and deliberate on a specific aspect to reduce climate pollution.  They will then identify and recommend policies to lawmakers.  Legislators will know that the recommendations represent the will of a cross-section of their constituents when crafting climate policy and law. This Assembly will conclude on March 12th, 2021

The first WA Climate Assembly meeting starts January 12th, 2021.

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