Why you should comment on the Sustainable DC 2.0 Plan by July 15

Why you should comment on the Sustainable DC 2.0 Plan by July 15

The DC Department of Energy and Environment has released a new Sustainable DC 2.0 Plan, and they are asking for your comments.  Why should you care about Sustainable DC? Bradford Everette from DOEE came and talked to APACC at our last meeting. He said that "sustainability" doesn't just mean buying "green" products and planting trees -- "sustainability" means "survival." Being sustainable means having a healthy home, healthy food, and healthy neighborhood that help you live a happy and long life. 

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"Honor the Anacostia" - Summary of the 100 Resilient Cities Phase 2 Working Group Kickoff

"Honor the Anacostia" - Summary of the 100 Resilient Cities Phase 2 Working Group Kickoff

I recently attended the “Phase 2 Kickoff” of DC’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative. There were about 100 people in the room from all kinds of District agencies and non-profit organizations who are concerned about DC’s future. About 20 of them were there to talk specifically about the Anacostia River.

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Gardeners: modify your practices to accommodate climate change

If you have a vegetable garden, it's important to factor in climate change in addition to the traditional concerns about planting times, water schedules, and what you will plant.

So says University of Maryland professor of biology and entomology Sara Via in How to plant a climate-smart garden — Step one: Expect spring to come earlier, on average.

Said Via:

In the northeast of Maryland, we’re having an earlier spring and a later fall, so we have a longer growing season. . .
Warmer nights, we know, can prevent some plants from flowering, like peppers and lima beans. And hot days can prevent successful pollination in tomatoes and sweet corn, and so you get tomatoes that are sort of concave because they don’t have seeds. And sweet corn, you don’t get enough kernels on the ear.

Head on over to the Yale Climate Connections article to listen to the interview and look at additional information.

 

Explore the Anacostia Watershed in this Interactive Online Exhibit!

Explore the Anacostia Watershed in this Interactive Online Exhibit!

Krista Schlyer, a multimedia journalist and artist who has been working on the Anacostia River for a long time, has launched a new online interactive exhibit about the Anacostia Watershed. An additional 8 episodes will be released once per week! 

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Building Prosperity in East of the River through Community Solar

Building Prosperity in East of the River through Community Solar

By nearly every metric, the educational, income, housing, and environmental progress that have redefined Washington stops at the banks of the Anacostia River. With several million square feet of new residential and commercial construction is scheduled to come to Wards 7 and 8 over the next five years, the District currently has a unique window of opportunity to address the housing and energy cost challenges East of the River.

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Join the Policy Advisory Council for DOEE's Weatherization Assistance Program

Join the Policy Advisory Council for DOEE's Weatherization Assistance Program

DOEE's Weatherization Assistance Program provides services to low-income households including insulation, duct sealing, heating and cooling systems repairs or replacement, air infiltration mitigation; and reducing electric base load consumption through measures such as energy efficient lighting and  appliances.The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) is seeking applicants for participation in the Fiscal Year 2018 Weatherization Policy Advisory Council (PAC) through Friday June 30, 2017.

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APACC Members are Leading the Discussion: Diversity and Inclusion in Decision-Making about Urban Parks, Climate Change and Resilience

APACC Members are Leading the Discussion: Diversity and Inclusion in Decision-Making about Urban Parks, Climate Change and Resilience

Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative (APACC) has been leading the discussion about meaningfully engaging and including diverse voices in decision-making on important issues like climate change, land development and resilience.

While these issues are often addressed through government plans and programs, community organizations like APACC’s members—and the people we serve—face the reality and impacts of these issues in our daily lives and work.

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The wider the gap between rich and poor, the more the environment suffers

The wider the gap between rich and poor, the more the environment suffers

A recent report flips the common narrative that says that climate change “exacerbates social and economic inequality,” and instead argues that inequality can itself drive climate change. The report, by Susan Holmberg of the Roosevelt Institute, shows that “unequal societies inflict more environmental damage than more economically even societies.”

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Resilient Infrastructure: DC’s Shades of Community Greening

Resilient Infrastructure: DC’s Shades of Community Greening

This article was originally posted on APACC member Anacostia Waterfront Trust's blog on May 15th, 2017. It is written by Katherine Antos, former Anacostia Ambassador with AWT, and highlights some of the work that APACC members are doing to address resilience in the Anacostia watershed through green infrastructure.

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February 3 meeting a success, first in Wards 7 and 8 on #ClimateReadyDC and people

Did you know that close to 30% of respondents to DOEE's survey related to climate change "have experienced distress or complications due to climate change impacts"? One person wrote "The 2012 Derecho left my family without power for over 5 days in nearly 100 degree heat."

Or did you know that Watts Branch in Ward 7 is one of DOEE's five priority planning areas in the Climate Ready DC Plan? Or that DC government has a wide range of resources to support residents and businesses in their effort to become more resilient?

DOEE's Kate Johnson shared these and other facts with the more than 40 people who participated in the February 3 APACC meeting on climate change.

As interested in the participants were in hearing from Johnson and others from DC government, they were most interested in talking about the next steps, what needed to be done to actually make Wards 7 and 8 more resilient. Many ideas were shared but they boiled down to two things.

  1. Actively engage the residents and organizations who most need information and/or help about climate change and what can be done to improve their resiliency
  2. Messaging more effectively, understanding and respecting the realities of people who live in Wards 7 and 8

Materials from the meeting:

The #Storify Recap of February 3 #ClimateReadyDC and People meeting curates tweets sent during the event. And the video Climate Ready DC Meeting (also to the right) combines photos with video clips of the presentation segment (first part) of the meeting.

 

February 3: What climate change means to people, a meeting for nonprofits

All nonprofits in Wards 7 and 8, as well as those serving east of the river residents, are encouraged to attend this February 3 discussion about how to help clients become climate ready. The event will feature reps from the Department of Energy and Environment who will talk about the District government's Climate Ready DC Plan.

Extreme heat waves and flooding are predicted and they will have the greatest impact on older, sick, and poor residents. Some examples from the plan:

  • Heatwaves and dangerously hot days will become common: "As average temperatures rise, extreme heat days will increase and heatwaves will last longer and occur more frequently.  In 2012, DC experienced a record-breaking heatwave when temperatures soared above 95°F for 11 straight days. This previously unprecedented event could occur every one to two years by the 2050s." This means that older, sick, and poor clients will have a harder time staying cool. Their utility bills will increase, further reducing the money they have available to pay other important bills.
  • Flooding could harm community resources: "Ward 7 is home to the largest number of vulnerable community resources, including schools, medical services, and public housing located along the flood-prone Watts Branch." Flooding in the northern part of the ward will have serious and detrimental effects on buildings and programs on which thousands of Ward 7 residents rely.

Attend the meeting and talk with DOEE about how your organization can help clients reduce these impacts. Meet staff from other organizations and share ideas about addressing these important challenges.

 Every nonprofit has a role to play.

  • Friday, February 3, 2017, 10:00 - 11:30 am
  • Benning/Dorothy I. Height Neighborhood Library, 3935 Benning Rd NE (Minnesota Ave Metro Rail is closest station; ample free parking)
  • RSVP by February 1
  • More information: Susie Cambria, susie.cambria@gmail.com
  • Event flyer (PDF)

 

Community feedback necessary on draft Climate Ready DC plan; comment deadline Sept. 2

The weather is more than the expected heat and precipitation in the four seasons. Record breaking heat over days and weeks, flooding, and unusual storms are becoming more common and intense. We can either ignore the changes or take action toward improved resiliency.

 

Climate Ready DC is the District’s strategy for achieving this goal while helping to ensure that our city continues to grow greener, healthier, and more livable. 

 

The draft Climate Ready DC plan (PDF) "identifies the impacts that a changing climate will have on the District; the risks to our infrastructure, public facilities, and neighborhoods; and the actions we must take now and in the future to prepare." The Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) has consulted with all manner of experts to inform the draft plan.  And now it's up to residents to respond with comments.

You don't have to be an expert in the environment or energy or transportation or weather to comment.  You just need to be interested and concerned and want to make a positive impact on your community.

Consider, for example, the report section "People:"

Climate change will not affect everyone equally. Individuals who are most vulnerable to climate change are those who are more sensitive to events like heatwaves and those who have less capacity to adapt and respond to the stresses caused by climate change. For example, older adults tend to be more sensitive to heat and more likely to suffer heat stroke or worse. And, an individual who can afford to install and run air-conditioning has greater capacity to adapt to heat waves than someone who cannot afford airconditioning. In order to identify the areas of DC that include the largest number of residents with higher vulnerability, we assessed social and economic indicators, Including unemployment, poverty prevalence, rates of obesity and adult asthma, and age.

The results, shown in the Vulnerable Populations map… demonstrate that vulnerability to climate change is not evenly distributed across the District. Wards 7 and 8 are most vulnerable given high levels of unemployment, poverty, obesity, and asthma, as well as a large elderly population. This is followed by Wards 5, 6, 1, and 4. (emphasis added)

Climate Ready DC describes more than 75 actions the District can take to prepare for the impact of severe weather. This is where the community's perspective is most needed. Are the recommendations workable? Do they address the realities of your community or should they be modified?  

The Department of Energy and the Environment is collecting comments on the draft plan through September 2 at 5:00 pm.

If you need help formatting your comments, take a look at Commenting in Person on the Draft Climate Change DC Plan: Guidance on Preparing Comments (Word, PDF).

Want to spread the word about this important plan and opportunity for the community to have a say in the future of their neighborhood and city? Share the East of the River climate change action flyer (PDF).