Phillip Thompson is a professor of Environmental Engineering at Seattle University (SU) and is the founding director of its Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability. He has been teaching in the university’s civil and environmental engineering program since 1997. Additionally, he has been the faculty advisor for their chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World since 2004, which promotes environmental education in local schools, and has worked with communities in Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, Jamaica, Thailand, and Zambia on projects ranging from aquaponics to safe drinking water.
When he first thinks of the Pacific Northwest, he pictures its mountains, trees, and the Puget Sound. In this beauty, he recognizes our responsibility to be stewards of this beautiful place as its Native peoples have continued to be for millennia. At the forefront of this stewardship, Phillip believes that “we must find ways to live with and protect nature from human harm.” This should be done by having policies that minimize our impact on the Puget Sound’s water quality and maximizing salmon populations through sustainable fishing policies. Furthermore, he emphasizes our need to eliminate fossil fuels as soon as possible to combat climate change and protect the Puget Sound.
Phillip recommends that people “make it a point to connect with nature,” as “it’s hard to care about something you don’t make an emotional connection with.” This could be done through a hike along the shores of the Sound or through one of our protected parks. On the topic of environmental stewardship, he underlines the necessity of doing so with “action, intention, and passion.”