Next year, Washington’s state Legislature will reconvene with an opportunity to help secure affordable housing, climate-resilient communities, and environmental justice for Washingtonians today and for our children tomorrow. They should take it.

How? By making long-needed updates to Washington’s Growth Management Act (GMA). The GMA sets the terms by which Washington limits sprawl, manages growth, and protects critical farmland and wilderness. It’s done good work for us for 30 years.

But despite a growing affordability crisis, the GMA doesn’t require communities to plan housing for everyone who lives in their communities. A proposed update would help secure housing for everyone while protecting us from gentrification and displacement.

Despite an increasingly lethal climate emergency, the GMA doesn’t require communities to plan for climate change. Another update would help wind down dependence on fossil fuels, shore up critical resilience infrastructure, and set responsible standards for transportation emissions. An environmental justice bill would help ensure that every resident of our state has equal access to parks, healthy foods and housing.

In the face of mounting challenges, Washington can’t wait to make the changes to the GMA necessary to help communities better prepare for what lies ahead of us. We should act now.

Rian Watt, Seattle, former city of Seattle planning commissioner