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12
Sep

Come Show Support for DC Council Climate Actions!

Fri Sep 12, 2014 at 01:24:54 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DC Climate Rally 3

DC Environmental Network:

We are almost there! With your valued assistance, the DC Environmental Network has been working hard the last 18 months, to try and help move the District into the 21st Century with creative carbon reduction policies.

Join us on September 23rd to finish the job! RSVP here!

These legislative initiatives, to clean up our renewable portfolio standard and divest city funds from fossil fuels are simple, straight forward, and meaningful changes:

- The “Fossil Fuel Divestment Act of 2013″ will require the city government to sell off its direct investments in fossil fuel companies, sending a strong signal to industry that business as usual cannot continue while also protecting pensioners from the hazard of a “carbon bubble.” If we are to avoid catastrophic climate affects, more than 2/3 of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. DC divested from South Africa during Apartheid — it is time to do so again.

– The “Renewable Energy Portfolio (RPS) Standard Amendment Act of 2013″ will help ensure DC’s RPS incentivizes truly renewable, innovative sources of power. While fellow Mid-Atlantic States like powerplantpollutionDelaware and New Jersey get over 70% of their renewable energy portfolios from the wind and sun, these resources have made up only 15% of D.C.’s “renewable” portfolio over the last seven years. The primary reason is a flaw in our renewable energy law that categorizes “black liquor” and “inefficient wood waste” facilities that have been in operation for 30 years on average as renewable fuel providers. Black liquor and inefficient wood waste generate climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions and health-hazardous air pollutants at levels greater than or equal to coal. The D.C. City Council should pass the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Amendment Act of 2013 to remove dirty energy from D.C.’s Tier 1 renewable energy standard. This legislation will promote new, clean sources of renewable energy and reduce pollution at levels equivalent to taking 146,000 cars off the road every year for the benefit of D.C.’s environment, health, and economy.

Now it’s time to finish these important climate campaigns. On September 23rd at 9:00 AM, join the DC Environmental Network as we make our final push to move these two bills over the finish line. Hope to see you then!

Let us know you are coming by signing up here!

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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2
Aug

DCEN LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 2014

Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 09:34:41 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

All Metro-Washington Environmental Organizations and Advocates are Invited to Our Monthly Networking Opportunity:

 

2014 Legislative Update w No Background

 

District Building b2

This year has been an extremely busy one on the legislative front in the District of Columbia. Numerous legislative initiatives, many that deal with issues of importance to our movement, have been making their way through the legislative process.

Mayor Gray, Chairman Mendelson, Councilmember Bonds, Councilmember Cheh, Councilmember Grosso and others have introduced a number of bills that will do a number of things including help grow the local community garden movement; ban Styrofoam; clean up toxics in the Anacostia River; modernize our solid waste management system; reorganize government agencies; eliminate dirty energy from our Renewable Portfolio Standard; and divest District funds from the fossil fuel industry (partial).

Some of the bills we will get updates on:

– Bill 20-0418, the “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Amendment Act of 2013″
– Bill 20-0573, the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013″
– Bill 20-0641, the “Waste Management Modernization Act of 2014″
– Bill 20-0481, the “Fossil Fuel Divestment Act of 2013″
– Bill 20-0677, the “Urban Farming and Food Security Act of 2014″

On August 7th at NOON, join the DC Environmental Network for a special Legislative Update were DC Council staff and environmental advocates will give us the latest information about a number of important bills. This special briefing will be held at the offices of the DC Environmental Network, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.

RSVP and learn what you can do to make 2014 one of the best years for sustainability.

We will talk about next steps for recently passed legislation and start organizing to push the remaining green priorities through the legislative process before the end of the year.

All are welcome!

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20
Jul

DC Council Takes a Step Towards Zero Waste!

Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 12:42:19 AM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Thanks Council! No Background

Cheh Team on Dais Pic 2

DC Environmental Network:

District citizens, wildlife and environmental advocates had a good day last Monday, July 14th, when the DC Council successfully passed, and sent to Mayor Gray for signature, both the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013″ and the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014″. These important bills both had provisions to help the District move towards being a zero waste city.

Highlights of the two bills:

DSC_0106b2vMajor Zero Waste Provisions of the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013″:

  • Called for a ban of the use of Styrofoam for food service businesses by January 1, 2016.
  • Requires food service businesses to only use compostable or recyclable food service ware by January 1, 2017

Major Zero Waste Provisions of the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014″ (partial):

  • Requires the Executive to develop a zero waste plan that lays out the programs necessary to achieve Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC goal of 80% waste diversion and clears the way for a Pay as You Throw (PAYT) system that can help increase the District’s waste diversion rate.
  • Prioritizes reuse and recycling over landfilling and incineration.
  • Requires separation of waste into recyclables, compostables and trash.

What made this first step in the legislative process even more meaningful is that the District of Columbia Council, much like Seattle, San Francisco and other cities, did not back down when high paid corporate lobbyists from the American Chemistry Council, DART Container Corporation and other large corporate interests, lobbied aggressively against these provisions.

2014-07-19_18-02-47The Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, DC Environmental Network, DC Statehood Green Party, Earthjustice, Energy Justice Network, Foundation Earth, Global Bees, Global Green USA, Green Cross International, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Potomac Riverkeeper, SCI/Community Forklift, Sierra Club DC Chapter and many more all played a variety of roles during this legislative process and will continue to advocate for Mayor Gray to sign both bills and continue to engage and advocate during the implementation stages of these two zero waste bills.

This continues to be a priority campaign for the DC Environmental Network and we will be pushing to make sure the District moves forward towards achieving our 80% waste diversion goal.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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12
Jul

Don’t Let Corporation’s Dictate DC Policy!

Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 09:24:29 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Dont Let Corps Dictate DC Policy

DC Environmental Network:

In the last few days the DC Council was visited by an army of high paid corporate lobbyists representing some of the largest corporations on the planet. Their goal was to attack, at the last moment, important environmental bills, some of which are scheduled for final vote on Monday.  All of which are important to thousands of District residents who want to create a Sustainable DC.

Some of the well paid lobbyists were working for the following associations:

American Forest and Paper Association (powerful trade association for forest products) – They were working hard to convince Council members to allow giving the paper mill industry, hundreds of miles away from the District, DC ratepayer dollars to burn dirty, polluting black liquor, to produce energy. This was contrary to the intent of the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard’s law that was designed by DCEN and others, to incentivize clean energy, like wind and solar…not dirty black liquor.

Consumer Electronics Association (representing over 2,000 consumer technology companies) –  Attempted to convince decision makers to limit the scope of what Extended Producer Responsibility means in DC with the effect of  keeping much of the potential value of electronic recycling materials out of the hands and reach of District residents.

American Chemistry Council (representing almost every polluting company on the planet) – Opposed Mayor Gray’s Styrofoam ban and attempted to bully the Council to stall or reject the Mayor’s proposal.

DART Container Corporation (global seller and advocate for increased use of styrofoam) – Were working hard to stop the Styrofoam ban and make sure they could continue to sell their toxic and polluting products to the District and internationally.

All of these corporate representatives share one thing in common. They all have millions of dollars to push local government decision makers around with an army of lobbyists that are more concerned about, maintaining the status quo, protecting profits and increasing income and wealth disparity, then they are about protecting the health and well-being of District residents.

Luckily, our DC Council has been, over the last few decades, willing to represent the interests of District residents and not those of corporate America that believes if it just throws some money around and wages negative campaigns at the last minute, they can slow down progress to combat global warming and promote a zero waste society.

Our priority issues:

Join us to make sure the ban of Styrofoam passes and includes meat trays; dirty and polluting black liquor is eliminated from our RPS laws; support for language to move towards pay-as-you-throw is kept in the bill; and incineration of our valuable waste resources is removed or diminished as a waste management option in DC.

Join us! We need you.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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4
Jul

Mayor Gray Opposes Council Waste Bill!

Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 11:07:29 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

“I urge the Council to reject this legislation.”- Mayor Vincent Gray

 

Zero Waste Letter to Council

 

DC Environmental Network:

2014-07-03_0-29-13As we all move into our 4th of July weekend I wanted to share some important news.

Yesterday, the Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, DC Environmental Network, DC Statehood Green Party, Earthjustice, Energy Justice Network, Foundation Earth, Global Bees, Global Green USA, Green Cross International, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Potomac Riverkeeper and Sierra Club DC Chapter all united around a simple message.

We want zero waste in DC!

All of us have been working very hard to pass Bill 20-641, the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014″ to give the District a fighting chance to join cities like San Francisco, Taipei, Seattle, Copenhagen and Capannori, Italy in making zero waste a priority.

Surprisingly, Mayor Vincent Gray sent a letter to the DC Council saying, “I urge the Council to reject this legislation.” He even went so far as to reject a policy, Pay As You Throw (PAYT), that is a cornerstone of his very own Sustainable DC Plan.

Well the whole world pretty much knows that zero waste policies work, are already in place in communities around the world, and can be a stimulus for economic development and healthy communities.

You can learn the whole story in the the letter the environmental community sent to the DC Council in support of their efforts to move the District in this important direction.

dump truck final

We also asked that the District adopt a zero waste hierarchy and eliminate incineration from the list of solid waste management strategies. Incineration is a policy of the past and has no place in our neighborhoods or the communities that surround the District of Columbia.

It’s time for us all to work together to bring our waste management policies into the current century.

Click here to read the letter.

Let me know if your organization can sign-on to this letter. We will be sending an update to the Council sometime next week.

Sincerely,

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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14
Jun

DCEN to Honor Five Former DDOE Employees!

Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 10:39:37 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and Others to a Special Awards Ceremony & Networking Opportunity!

Awards No Background FINAL

Mark your calendars. On July 10th at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network, Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Grosso for a special recognition of five former District Department of the Environment (DDOE) employees who played important leadership roles to grow DDOE, expand the vision for achieving clean rivers and a clean energy future and developed and created what is now known as the Sustainable DC plan.

Click here to sign-up to attend and show support for five DC environmental leaders who made a difference!

ddoe-folks-hires b

Our 2014 DCEN Environmental Advocacy Award Recipients (Former Position with District Government):

- Paul Connor, Deputy Director, Environmental Services, DDOE
- Kim Katzenbarger, Office of the Attorney General, General Counsel, DDOE
- Veronique Marier, Deputy Director, Energy Administration, DDOE
- Christophe Tulou, Director, DDOE
- Barry Weise, Special Assistant & Legislative & Regulatory Analyst, DDOE

Our Award Presenters:

- Chairman Phil Mendelson, Council of the District of Columbia
- Councilmember David Grosso, Council of the District of Columbia

RSVP here!

Mark your calendars. All are welcome.

 

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13
Jun

Waste Bill Mark-Up on Monday the 16th @ 3:00 PM

Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 11:15:38 PM EST

by Ellen Kincaid, DC Environmental Network

waste bill markup pic 2

We need just ONE HOUR of YOUR time!

UPDATED June 13, 2014

DC Environmental Network:

Lunch w Environment Committee #4My name is Ellen Kincaid. I have been working with the DC Environmental Network and the broader environmental community to help strengthen the “Waste Management Modernization Act of 2014″ and the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013.”

These are two bills that could help DC join cities like Berkeley, CA and San Francisco, CA to keep valuable waste out of our landfills and out of incineration facilities and start moving the District and region closer to becoming a zero waste zone.

I am writing because the DC Environmental Network needs you for one hour to support zero waste in DC!

On Monday, June 16th at 3:00 PM, at the DC Council, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 120, join the DC Environmental Network and other zero waste advocates as we attend the mark-up of two waste bills that can help us reach our environmental goals.

RSVP Here and let us know you are coming.

We will sit and watch the committee as they have the first vote of the legislative process to move these important bills forward. Our presence will show the committee how important this legislation is to the sustainability community.

Some of our priorities are:

  •  MAKE ZERO WASTE A DEFINING PRINCIPLE: Define zero waste (zero waste from landfills and incinerators), establish zero waste as the City’s goal, require the City learn from other cities with zero waste goals/plans, and require City to develop a Zero Waste Plan.
  • DSC_0058b2ESTABLISH A ZERO WASTE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Ensure that the Act codifies public participation in a meaningful and binding way.
  • FOLLOW BEST PRACTICES IN CALIFORNIA: Establish an advanced disposal fee on electronic products sold in the District rather than codifying in law corporate hegemony over the system.
  • CLOSE LOOPHOLES AND INCLUDE PUBLIC EVENTS: Close the loopholes in the Sustainable DC Omnibus bill to restrict all disposable polystyrene food service ware not just expanded foam, and to ensure City facilities and City-located public events are covered.

You can learn more about these priorities at HERE.

I hope to see you on Monday the 16th at 3:00 PM!

RSVP Here and commit to spending your lunch hour in support of zero waste in DC.

Sincerely,

Ellen Kincaid
DC Environmental Network

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9
Jun

Green Recommendations for DC Council Waste Bills

Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:59:42 AM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Cheh Zero Waste Letter Graphic No background

June 7, 2014

Councilmember Mary Cheh, Chair
Committee on Transportation & the Environment
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 108
Washington, DC 20004

RE: Recommendations to Move District Towards Zero Waste

Chairperson Cheh:

With both the “Waste Management Modernization Act of 2014″ and the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013″ the District of Columbia has a unique opportunity to finally move forward and make progress towards becoming a zero-waste city.

DSC_0046b2agWith a new Mayor coming into office in 2015, and it being very likely that the next Mayor will be one of the current DC Council members, it seems like this would be an optimum moment for the legislative branch to make some bold moves.

With both of these bills currently moving through the Council DCEN believes it would be appropriate for our future executive branch leader and the rest of the Council, to take advantage of this historic moment and use the two bills as vehicles for getting a head start towards implementing best practices in waste management well before the November election.

We are so thankful for what your committee has done so far to move towards zero waste. There is much good in the two bills currently.

DCEN has consulted with the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ISLR) and others and come up with four key recommendations that have the potential to moving us forward now as well as making it possible for the District to join the many other cities that are reaping the economic benefits associated with zero waste policies.

Our four main recommendations include (SEE DRAFT DETAILS HERE):

  • MAKE ZERO WASTE A DEFINING PRINCIPLE: Define zero waste (zero waste from landfills and incinerators), establish zero waste as the City’s goal, require the City learn from other cities with zero waste goals/plans, and require City to develop a Zero Waste Plan.
  • ESTABLISH A ZERO WASTE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Ensure that the Act codifies public participation in a meaningful and binding way.
  • FOLLOW BEST PRACTICES IN CALIFORNIA: Establish an advanced disposal fee on electronic products sold in the District rather than codifying in law corporate hegemony over the system.
  • CLOSE LOOPHOLES AND INCLUDE PUBLIC EVENTS: Close the loopholes in the Sustainable DC Omnibus bill to restrict all disposable polystyrene food service ware not just expanded foam, and to ensure City facilities and City-located public events are covered.

We have submitted a number of other recommendations but believe the four outlined above are central to the Council taking advantage of this important and historic moment.

We have appreciated the assistance of your staff but believe we should meet with you face to face to discuss our priority recommendations.

Sincerely,

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

 

2014 DCEN ADVOCACY b

 

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2
Jun

DC Council Hearing: Trees & Transportation Act!

Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:21:39 AM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Letter Graphic B

For more information use these links:

- Hearing Notice for Bill 20-0759, “Transportation Reorganization Act of 2014″ (information on how to testify in person, send testimony by email or just attend and support DC trees)
Language at Introduction of “Transportation Reorganization Act of 2014″ (see language of bill when it was introduced)
Casey Trees Comments on “Transportation Reorganization Act of 2014″ (learn more about why DCEN and Casey Trees are making these recommendations)

For anything else you might need contact DCEN at 202-754-7088 or Casey Trees at 202-833-4010.

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30
May

Urban Ore: Economic Development, Zero-Waste Leader

Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:58:35 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN & ILSR Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and Others to a Special Briefing, Strategy Session & Networking Opportunity:

URBAN ORE GRAPHIC NO BACKGROUND

On Tuesday, June 10th at 2:30 PM, join the DC Environmental Network, Institute for Local Self Reliance and the DC advocacy community for a special briefing on zero waste and economic development in the 21st century. This event will be held at the offices of the DC Environmental Network, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. Our presenters will be Mary Lou Van Deventer and Dan Knapp, of Urban Ore.

RSVP Here! Join us for this special briefing.

Key issues to be addressed at this briefing:

- Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Design
– Resource Recovery Parks
– Municipal Composting
– Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
– History of Recycling in Post-World War II United States

This presentation is part of a speaking tour sponsored by the Institute for Local Self Reliance in celebration of their 40th anniversary since their inception as a community organization in Adams Morgan, Washington, DC.

Background:

Urban Ore is a reuse and recycling enterprise based in Berkeley, CA that traces its origin to the tip face of the old Berkeley dump from where Urban Ore recovered its initial tools and capital as the basis for the multi-million dollar enterprise operated by 65 workers and occupying a unique site on 3 acres in downtown Berkeley, CA. Urban Ore provides quality used building materials, household furnishing, with its 200,000 square foot warehouse for its immediate customers. It has also become a supply train for scores of additional reuse stores throughout the SF Bay Area.

DSC_0007b2Urban Ore is a private business with a track record of community service that dates to its origins. Van Deventer and Knapp lead the fight in the early l980s to keep garbage incineration out of the region. The Berkeley Burn Papers, l982, informed citizens and small businesses well beyond the Bay Area. Over 300 planned garbage incinerators were defeated by grass roots campaigns inspired by the work of Urban Ore and neighboring recycling enterprise, Santa Rosa Community Recycling Center that produced Garbage Incineration the False Panacea.

Van Deventer and Knapp have also served as intellectual and policy leaders within the recycling and economic development movement from which the zero waste movement emerged in the 1990s. Knapp traveled to Australia and brought back word of initial zero waste efforts in Canberra. Zero Wealth has become the new paradigm for grass roots citizen and small business activists.

Urban Ore developed the 12 category (and sub cluster) source separation system, which has become the basis for contemporary zero waste plans. Urban Ore participated in the first zero waste plan in the US, for Del Norte County, CA. Urban Ore graphics have been used in numerous plans for resource recovery facilities. Van Deventer and Knapp are at the center of policy discussions on Extended producer responsibility. They were principal contributors to the Berkeley Zero Waste Commission revised that self-serving EPR formula put forward by global corporations. The Berkeley City Council and the Global Recycling Council of the California Resource Recovery Association have adopted their principles of government control over EPR. Urban Ore published The EPR trilogy following a national conference on EPR held by the Illinois Recycling Association in 2012.

Urban Ore worked with ILSR to establish the Recycling Archives Project, now housed at the University of Illinois, Springfield.

Urban Ore Quote boxBoth Van Deventer and Knapp hail from the Mid-West. Van Deventer is an environmental writer who started her career at Friends of the Earth and then worked for the CA Office of Appropriate Technology in Sacramento. Knapp was a professor of sociology at the University of Illinois and University of Oregon before getting involved in solid waste and recycling in Lane County, OR where he opposed the building of a garbage incinerator. As predicted by Knapp, the plant blew up within a few years. The tale of this early anti incineration and pro recycling battle has been depicted in the Lone Recycler, published by Urban Ore with illustrations by Nancy Gorell, Berkeley Ecology center.

Urban Ore has been the lead group pointing out that recyclers and zero waste advocates are the true environmental and philosophical conservatives within the US political spectrum: conserving resource, protecting the environment and creating new companies and jobs.

RSVP Here! Come learn about the best zero waste programs in the country.

All are welcome!

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19
May

Former DDOE Staff Recognized for Service to District!

Mon May 19, 2014 at 05:27:51 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and Others to a Special Awards Ceremony!

Awards No Background

Mark your calendars. On July 10th at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network, Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Grosso for a special recognition of five former District Department of the Environment (DDOE) employees who played important roles to grow DDOE, expand the vision for achieving clean rivers and a clean energy future and developed and created what is now known as the Sustainable DC plan.

Click here to sign-up to attend and show support for five DC environmental leaders who have made a difference!

Our 2014 DCEN Environmental Advocacy Award Recipients (Former Position with District Government):

-DSC_0431c Paul Connor, Deputy Director, Environmental Services, DDOE
Kim Katzenbarger, Office of the Attorney General, General Counsel, DDOE
Veronique Marier, Deputy Director, Energy Administration, DDOE
Christophe Tulou, Director, DDOE
Barry Weise, Special Assistant & Legislative & Regulatory Analyst, DDOE

Our Award Presenters:

- Chairman Phil Mendelson, Council of the District of Columbia
Councilmember David Grosso, Council of the District of Columbia

Mark your calendars. All are welcome. More information to follow. RSVP here!

Comments (0)

24
Apr

Electronic Waste & Economic Development in DC

Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 11:57:46 AM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and Others to a Brown-Bag Discussion, Strategy Session & Networking Opportunity!

E-WASTE Brown Bag Graphic w No Background

Dealing with electronic waste is becoming a big challenge locally AND globally:

“In the United States, 3 million tons of e-waste (computers, printers, phones, cameras, televisions, refrigerators, etc.) is produced every year. Globally, e-waste generation is growing by 40 million tons per year. This is equivalent to filling around 15,000 football fields six feet deep with waste! As unimaginable huge as this figure already is, it is increasing at an alarming rate.”Sophie Vos, “Electronic Waste Disposal”, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment

On May 1st at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network for a special briefing and strategy session on how we can use electronic waste (e-scrap) in the District to create jobs and expand economic opportunities. Panelists and participants will discuss these possibilities at the offices of the DC Environmental Network, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.

Sign me up! I want to help strategize about how the District could be a leader on electronic waste issues.

Background:

Last year around 137 tons of e-scrap was dropped off at District Department of Public Works (DPW) Fort Totten drop off site. It is estimated that there is over 1000 tons of e-scrap generated in the District annually. The Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) has suggested that this material, if managed properly, could add greatly to the local economy in terms of revenue, jobs training and well-paying careers for District residents.

e-waste-photoA number of local jurisdictions across the country are benefiting financially from programs that pull out the value of e-scrap by sale of unprocessed materials; deconstruction and sale of metals; sale of refurbished computers; and other creative programs. Some of the more creative e-scrap initiatives have resulted in the creation of good jobs with benefits.

Currently the DC Council is considering a bill, the “Waste Management Modernization Act of 2014″ to overhaul some of the city’s various waste policies.

This bill was introduced by Councilmember’s Cheh & McDuffie and co-sponsored by Councilmember’s Mendelson, Bonds & Graham.

Among a number of things this legislation calls for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) or requiring industry to take responsibility for their products and packages post-consumer use. Although this may be better than nothing, the District may be giving up the opportunity to maximize the economic value of e-scrap in the District.

ILSR is recommending that that the Committee on Transportation and the Environment eliminate the section of the waste management bill that calls for industry to take responsibility for e-scrap.

Instead, ILSR recommends the section call for a 6-month evaluation of EPR approaches available to the city, with specific recommendations. The legislation should establish an advisory committee representing community, youth (and other) employment, environmental, industry and government regulators to review policies in other jurisdictions and recommend policies for the District. ILSR also recommends an economic impact assessment should be required for any policy to determine which approach to e-scrap EPR maximizes economic development.

The DC Environmental Network supports this approach and believes the current waste modernization legislation is a good tool to thoughtfully move this proposal.

This approach could help the District move forward in a visionary and substantive manner consistent with the meaning of true sustainability.

RSVP here and help us map out a visionary new program in the District.

All are welcome.

 

Comments (0)

18
Apr

Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC Earth Day Event!

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 10:09:15 AM EST

 

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DDOE SDC One Year Report 2014 No Background

DC Environmental Network:

On September 23rd, 2011, almost three years ago, the DC Environmental Network held the first of many forums, conference calls and strategy sessions to advocate for and assist in the direction and design of Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC initiative. Former District Department of the Environment (DDOE) Director Christophe Tulou and Former Office of Planning (OP) Director Harriet Tregoning shared Mayor Gray’s plan to make sustainability a cornerstone of District efforts.

On Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22nd, Mayor Gray will be presenting a special first year progress report on the implementation stage of Sustainable DC. This event will be held at the Langley Education Campus, 101 T Street NE, from 6:00 PM until 8:30 PM.

Let us know you are coming! We want to make sure there is a good turnout!

There are many reasons why the DC environmental community should participate in this Earth Day event:

  • DSC_0032-001b5NEW MAYOR IN 2015: Mayor Gray will not be Mayor in 2015 and it is not clear that the current candidates for this office will support a sustainability plan for the District. The environmental community needs a strong showing at this first year progress report and other sustainability focused events over the next 8 months to make it clear to decision makers that we want to make real progress on Sustainable DC now and after the Gray Administration leaves office.
  • LOT’S OF WORK TO DO: Our work has just begun. We all need to work hard to accelerate progress to clean up our rivers; reduce carbon emissions; develop a meaningful zero waste plan that does not include incineration; and continue to pressure our elected officials to promote sustainability principles with every decision that is made.
  • SUPPORT OUR COLLEAGUES: A number of our colleagues in the environmental community will be making pitches on how you can get involved in their good work. These groups include the Anacostia Watershed Society, Capital Area Food Bank, Casey Trees, DC SUN, DC Sustainable Energy Utility, Groundwork Anacostia DC, Neighborhood Farm Initiative and Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

Let us know you are coming! We want to make sure there is a good turnout!

The DC Environmental Network will soon be announcing additional opportunities to discuss and strategize how to both strengthen and continue to move sustainability efforts forward in DC.

Happy Earth Day and hope to see you next Tuesday at 6:00 PM!

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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6
Apr

Joint DCEN, DDOE, DCFPI Budget Briefing!

Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 06:52:13 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

The DC Environmental Network (DCEN), DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) and District Department of the Environment (DDOE) invite you to a special DDOE budget briefing.

DDOE Budget Briefing w No Background

On April 8th, from 1:30 PM until 3:00 PM, join the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) for a briefing on the District Department of the Environment’s fiscal year 2015 budget that was submitted by Mayor Vincent Gray to the DC Council on April 3rd.

Participants will have an opportunity to learn about their priority programs and use the information to prepare for the DC Council DDOE budget hearing scheduled for April 11th.

This DDOE, DCEN, DCFPI sponsored budget briefing will  be held at the offices of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), 1200 First Street NE, Fifth Floor.

RSVP HERE to let us know you are coming!

DSC_0015bBackground:

Every spring, the Mayor submits the proposed budget and financial plan and Council committees review the request for each of the agencies under their purview.  Agencies are questioned about their budget and public hearings are held to receive testimony from the agencies, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, other organizations, the advocacy community, and private citizens.  Each committee’s chairperson then prepares a budget report that is presented to the full committee for markup and approval.  The reports include recommendations for funding and personnel levels for each agency, policy proposals, and any appropriation language changes.  The reports also identify additional budget needs, legislation required to implement the committee’s recommendations, and any other budget-related analysis that the committees deem appropriate.

You can see a general overview of the process here: http://dccouncil.us/budget/2015

What does DDOE do?

[DDOE WEBSITE] “The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) is the leading authority on energy and environmental issues affecting the District of Columbia. Using a combination of regulations, outreach, education, and incentives, our agency administers programs and services to fulfill our mission. We work collaboratively with other government agencies, residents, businesses, and institutions to promote environmentally responsible behavior that will lead to a more sustainable urban environment.

DDOE has about 300 engineers, biologists, toxicologists, geologists, technicians, inspectors, environmental specialists, policy analysts, administrators, public outreach specialists, and support staff. Among their many responsibilities are issuing permits, monitoring environmental conditions, providing funding and technical assistance, assessing environmental risks, developing policies, inspecting facilities, enforcing environmental regulations, working with other entities to solve every-day environmental issues, and informing and educating the public on local environmental trends and their benefits.

The DDOE team promotes public and environmental health by implementing and enforcing District and Federal laws and regulations. We recognize that strong and healthy communities are central to the District’s economic prosperity, and work daily to protect the environment in which its people live, work and play.

DDOE Mission:

The mission of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) is to improve the quality of life for the residents and natural inhabitants of the nation’s capital by protecting and restoring the environment, conserving our natural resources, mitigating pollution, and educating the public on ways to secure a sustainable future.”

RSVP HERE to let us know you are coming!

All are welcome.

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4
Apr

Energy Benchmarking & Climate Change

Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 10:18:21 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and to a Brown-Bag Discussion & Networking Opportunity!

Benchmarking Brown Bag TITLE GRAPHIC w No Background

On April 9th at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network for a special climate education opportunity. By far the largest share of the District’s community wide Green House Gas (GHG) emissions (74%) is attributed to building energy use. Building benchmarking, or tracking a building’s energy performance, is a critical part of developing a meaningful plan for reducing carbon emissions.

Join us to learn more about this important part of the climate puzzle and what you can do to help. This briefing will be held on April 9th, 12:00-1:30 PM, at the offices of DCEN/Global Green USA, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC.

Our Panelists:

- Taresa Lawrence, Deputy Director for the Energy Administration in the District Department of the Environment (DDOE)
Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)
Sam Brooks, Associate Director of the Energy Division for the Department of the General Services (DC DGS)
Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network (Moderator)

All are welcome to come learn more about the connection between benchmarking and curbing carbon emissions in the District of Columbia. RSVP Here!

Background:

Building benchmarking is the process of tracking a building’s energy and water performance and comparing that current performance to its historical performance, a group of peer buildings’ performance, or a national average.  It’s the foundation of a successful energy management strategy—as the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Nine cities and two states, including Washington, DC, require their large commercial buildings to benchmark and disclose their energy performance—these laws affect 51,000 buildings and 5.8 billion square feet nationwide. They aim to catalyze markets and inform decision makers by making energy data more transparent. DC itself has a policy that covers 1800 buildings and just over half of the total building square footage in the District. The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) has released a rich data set of the first year of private building results earlier this year.  The upcoming panel will focus on the District’s benchmarking law and how it’s making the city, building owners, and other stakeholders smarter about their energy use.

US Benchmark Comparison MAP

Figure 1. Displayed above is a geographical representation of the current existing benchmarking policies. The 2 states and 9 cities that require private building benchmarking are: California, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Minneapolis, Chicago, DC, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.

US Benchmark ComparisonFigure 2. This table provides greater detail on the specifics of the private building benchmarking policies of the 2 states and 9 cities. The building sector coverage, type of disclosure, and first reporting date are a few of key fields in this table.

To benchmark, building owners need 12 consecutive months of whole-building utility data—this is often difficult to get, especially in separately metered buildings. The panel will also highlight barriers to benchmarking and recent efforts by the utilities and City Council to improve the benchmarking law and make it easier for building owners to comply.

Opportunity to Take Action to Combat Global Warming:

The City Council will be holding a roundtable on the current benchmarking law and regulation to discuss the current state of compliance and what market transformation potential is already being realized after two years of reporting. We encourage those who wish to support this impactful law or learn more about the information that this law makes available to attend the City Council’s roundtable on April 3rd. You can sign up by emailing abenjamin@dccouncil.us. The roundtable notice can be found here.

All are welcome to come learn more about the connection between benchmarking and curbing carbon emissions in the District of Columbia. RSVP Here!

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4
Apr

Delivering Effective Climate Communications!

Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 10:13:21 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

On April 9th, Join DCEN for an Interactive Presentation by Scientist-Turned-Filmmaker Randy Olson on Developing and Delivering Effective Communications.

DSC_0044bThe DC Environmental Network is a participant in the DC Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP) focused on educating the community about climate change. CUSP will, through a constellation of partners, help people address the short-term and long-term impacts of climate change on the District by working to reduce the city’s overall greenhouse gas emissions and preparing the city to adapt to direct and indirect changes that will likely impact District residents.

The National Geographic Society, who spearhead this initiative, have put together a special interactive presentation that will help us develop better climate focused communications skills.

Scientist-turned-filmmaker, Randy Olson, will share an interactive presentation entitled, The CONNECTION Storymaker Model for Broad Communication. This presentation is scheduled for April 9th, 8:30-10:30 AM at the offices of the National Geographic Society, Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M Street, NW.

All are welcome. RSVP Here!

Background:

Randy Olson, a marine biologist-turned-filmmaker and author of Don’t be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style, will be speaking at National Geographic about how to effectively develop and deliver effective communications for campaigns.

Randy Olson was a humble, mild-mannered professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire. But then his brain sort of turned inside out and he shifted from scientist to artist. It happened in his first year as a professor. He hit a point where he realized that after fifteen years of telling stories OF science he had grown more interested in telling stories ABOUT science. Despite his Harvard Ph.D., four years of post-doctoral research in Australia and Florida, and years of diving around the world from the Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica, he tossed it all in, resigned from his tenured professorship and moved to Hollywood to explore film as a medium for communicating science.

Olson invitation_2

Today he is an INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER and no longer considers himself a scientist, but is now fluent in the two languages of science and cinema. In addition to writing and directing his own feature films about major issues in science, he has worked with a variety of clients to assist them with the use of visual media in communicating science to the general public. Through his writings he has both related his journey, and continues his exploration into the role of storytelling in the mass communication of science.

All are welcome! RSVP Here!

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31
Mar

Food & Film with DCEN & Day Eight!

Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 06:32:05 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists, Artists and Others to a Special Dinner & Movie Networking Opportunity!

Life Out of Balance Graphic w No Background

On Friday, April 4th, at 6:00 PM, join the DC Environmental Network, Day Eight and local arts and environment non-profits for a potluck dinner and film screening of Kooyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance! Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, is a 1982 film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music composed by Philip Glass and cinematography by Ron Fricke. Our main goal is to get a fun group of people together from the arts and environmental communities, have some food, watch a movie and enjoy the end of the work week together. All are welcome.

Thanks for sharing, and get your tickets by clicking here!

The first five people who send DCEN an email get a free ticket!

MORE ABOUT PROJECT:

By bringing arts organizations into environmental conversations we will encourage public understanding of and connection to critical environmental issues through media as diverse as photography and dance, and produce creative responses to those challenges. By resourcing environmental and arts partners to work together as participants, planners, and performers, the project’s collaborations will increase participation in current and future environmental campaigns. Come meet some of the participants and partners!

936full-koyaanisqatsi-posterFILM: Koyaanisqatsi (“life out of balance”):

- By renowned director Godfrey Reggio, producer Francis Ford Coppola, film composer Philip Glass.

- “The quintessential environmental movie – a trans-formative meditation on the current imbalance between humans and the wider world that supports them.” -Guardian critic Leo Hickman

- An apocalyptic vision of the collision of two different worlds — urban life and technology versus the environment.

- Awarded at the Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Leipzig, Warsaw, and Beijing Film Festivals, this film is also in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and other cultural institutions.

By bringing arts organizations into environmental conversations we will encourage public understanding of and connection to critical environmental issues through media as diverse as photography and dance, and produce creative responses to those challenges. By resourcing environmental and arts partners to work together as participants, planners, and performers, the project’s collaborations will increase participation in current and future environmental campaigns. Come meet some of the participants and partners!

DC Environmental Network (www.dcen.net):

Vision of rebuilding Washington, DC’s neighborhoods and communities for long-term economic stability —by protecting and restoring the Capital City’s urban environment. Our undertaking is a challenge. Major environmental problems in the region include threats to our drinking water, air pollution and dirty energy, congested traffic, neighborhood trash, degradation of the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek and the impacts of global warming.

Day Eight (www.dayeight.org):

A leader in local arts programming, Day Eight has a strong track record as a performing arts company and publisher, and Day Eight’s founder, Robert Bettmann, is the author of the book Somatic Ecology: Somatics, Nature, Humanity and the Human Body.

Thanks for sharing, and get your tickets by clicking here!

All are welcome!

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31
Mar

State of Waste Management in DC

Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 04:18:51 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and Others to a Brown-Bag Discussion & Networking Opportunity!

On April 3rd at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network for a special joint brown-bag with the Sierra Club, Washington DC Chapter (and others) featuring a unique overview of the state of waste management in the District of Columbia and what needs to happen to move towards zero waste.

Learn about the state of waste management in your city and what we need to do to achieve zero waste. RSVP HERE!

Our Panelists:

- David Grosso, DC Councilmember, At-Large
Hana Heineken, Chair, Zero Waste Committee, Sierra Club (Washington, DC Chapter)
Jeff Carrol, Director, Humanim/DETAILS
Sara Polon, Founder and Owner, Soupergirl
– DC Department of Public Works (Invited)
Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network (Moderator)

The State of Waste Management in DC:

DC currently generates approximately 900,000 tons of waste per year, but only has a recycling rate of 20 to 25% while the rest is largely incinerated or landfilled.

Last year, Mayor Vincent Gray presented a Sustainable DC Plan which commits to achieving zero waste by 2032. As part of this initiative, a ban on the use of Styrofoam was proposed by the Mayor (Bill 20-573). A separate bill introduced by Councilmembers Mary Cheh and Kenyan McDuffie is proposing an overhaul of the City’s various waste policies (Bill 20-0641). At the same time, the DC Department of Public Works (DPW) has commissioned a comprehensive Solid Waste Management Study to identify how to, among other things, meet the Sustainable DC goals.

This event will be an important opportunity to learn about all of these activities in DC and get more involved in how to shape the future of waste management in the District.

Learn about the state of waste management in your city and what we need to do to achieve zero waste. RSVP HERE!

All are welcome!

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21
Mar

Join DCEN for a Mayoral Forum Tonight!

Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:47:46 AM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

SMALLER CANDIDATE GRAPHIC

The only candidate forum focused entirely on sustainability and the environment is TODAY!

Let us know you will be participating in this forum! Click here.

This will be an educational forum, not tied to any endorsements, to help District residents understand the candidates’ positions on a number of environmental and sustainability issues that are defining a unique moment in our planets history. This is a time when citizens and decision makers are going to have to grapple with environmental and sustainability issues that already impact our quality of life and will influence the future health and livability of our city and planet.

This educational forum is scheduled for TODAY, March 21st at 6:00 PM. It will be held at 300 Tingey Street SE, in the Yards (just behind the twin USDOT buildings and adjacent to the Navy Yard).

Participating Candidates as of Friday the 21st, 11:00 AM:

- Carlos Allen
– Councilmember Jack Evans
– Mayor Vincent Gray
– Councilmember Vincent Orange
– Councilmember Tommy Wells
– Councilmember Muriel Bowser (Invited)
– Other Candidates

Our forum is sponsored by a number of environmental organizations and others including Navy Yard Neighborhood Association, NSC Partners, Capitol Riverfront, Sierra Club and the member organizations of the United for a Healthy Anacostia River coalition that includes the DC Environmental Network, Clean Water Action, Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Citizens Advisory Committee, Anacostia Watershed Society, DC Appleseed, Groundwork Anacostia DC, NRDC Action Fund and the Federal City Council.

Let us know you will be participating in this forum! Click here.

Agenda:

 5:30 – Doors Open

 6:00 – Call to Order by Moderator

 6:03 – Welcome by Former Mayor Williams

 6:08 – Introduction & Ground Rules by Moderator

 6:10 – Questions and Comments with the Mayoral Candidates (Two Minute Final Statements by Each Candidate at End of Question Segment)

 7:55 – Final Comments by Mayor Williams

 8:00 – End

All are welcome!

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6
Mar

DC Candidates Sustainability Forum!

Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:20:11 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Mayor Forum Graphic

DC Environmental Network:

I want to invite you all to participate in what looks like the only District of Columbia mayoral candidate forum that will focus on sustainability and the environment.

This will be an educational forum, not tied to any endorsements, to help District residents understand the candidates’ positions on a number of environmental/sustainability issues that are defining a unique moment in our planets history. This is a time when citizens and decision makers are going to have to grapple with environmental/sustainability issues that already impact our quality of life and will influence the future health and livability of our city and planet.

Mayoral Candidate Forum Details:

This forum is scheduled for March 21st at 6:00 PM. It will be held at 300 Tingey Street SE, in the Yards (just behind the twin USDOT buildings and adjacent to the Navy Yard).

This forum is co-sponsored by a number of organizations including NSC Partners, Capitol Riverfront, Sierra Club and the member organizations of the United for a Healthy Anacostia River coalition that includes the DC Environmental Network, Clean Water Action, Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Citizens Advisory Committee, Anacostia Watershed Society, DC Appleseed, Groundwork Anacostia DC, NRDC Action Fund and the Federal City Council.

Mencer Donahue Edwards, Founder and CEO of Justice and Sustainability Associates, will moderate this important forum.

Let us know you will be participating in this forum! Click here.

Why should we all participate in this forum?

There are a number of reasons why District residents needs to have a good showing at this forum. The water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe and the neighborhoods we live in are all being impacted by a changing world. The next Mayor of Washington DC needs to understand this and will have to address many critical environmental challenges that will impact our quality of life and maybe even our health. We need to show these candidates that our city is important to us and we want to make sure DC is on a sustainable path were we can have some confidence that the health of our communities will be protected.

We also need to make sure our issues are addressed in this election. Just looking at many of the campaign websites makes me worry that our issues are not being adequately prioritized in the messaging of some of the candidates. [GRAPHIC UPDATED March 6, 2014, 7:00 PM]

Candidate Website InfoIn what many are calling the age of the environment, we need to do what we can to raise the profile of sustainability issues…especially when we are exercising our right to vote for those that would lead our city. That is why I hope you will attend this forum and learn about the environmental, sustainability perspectives of the candidates.

Please let us know you will be participating in this important Mayoral forum! Click here.

Look forward to seeing many of you on March 21st at 6:00 PM.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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