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Archive for August, 2012


Restoring Confidence in the Power Grid

Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 05:22:29 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

September 6th & 10th at Noon!

All Washington Metro Region Environmentalists Are Invited to Attend Two Brown-Bag Networking Opportunities:


The June 29th Derecho storm illustrated that we can expect extreme weather events to be the rule, not the exception. It also demonstrated that the eroding reliability of the power grid increases the frequency, scope and duration of power outages resulting in billions of dollars being lost.

With our grid firmly mired among the bottom quartile of reliability rankings among all US municipalities certain questions need answering:

– How can we hold Pepco accountable?

– What will it take to build an infrastructure capable of powering our region through the 21st Century?

– What are the components of a reliable grid? What would they do? How do they fit together?

– How much will this cost? Who will fund it and how long will it take to build?

– What are the alternatives to Pepco?

September 6th! Community & NGO Perspective:

On September 6th at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network and other interested activists and organizations to explore answers to these important questions designed to help us come up with a strategy for restoring confidence in the power grid. This discussion will be held at the offices of Global Green USA/DC Environmental Network, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.

Our panel will be anchored by:

Jigar Shah, Jigar Shah Consulting; Founder, Sun Edison; Founding CEO & Current Boardmember, The Carbon War Room (confirmed)

Robert Robinson, Organizer, & Solar Homeowner active with DC SUN (confirmed)

RSVP Here!

All are welcome!

September 10th! Regional Elected Officials Perspective:

On September 10th at Noon, join metro region elected officials and other decision makers to take this conversation to the next level and hear what they have to say about how we might restore confidence in the power grid. This discussion will be held at the offices of Global Green USA/DC Environmental Network, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.

Our panel will be anchored by:

Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Council President (invited)

Hans Riemer, Montgomery County Council Member (confirmed)

Phil Mendelson, Chair, DC Council (invited)

Mary Cheh, DC Councilmember (invited)

RSVP Here!

All are welcome!

We are inviting other regional leaders and elected officials from Montgomery County, Prince Georges County and the District of Columbia as well to participate in our conversation.

In addition to regional environmentalists and other activists we are inviting the American Association of Retired Persons and other community groups that have been demanding accountability for residents in DC and regionally to participate in this event.

Please come, listen and share your thoughts with us and help us look for common cause.

All are welcome.


Diversity & Inclusion in a Green DC

Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:33:06 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

REPORT: DCEN Forum on Sustainable DC, Latino Community and the Connections Between Environmentalism, Diversity and Inclusion.

On August 8th over 50 individuals decided to take an important step towards shaking up the status quo and thinking a bit about whether or not we are all doing what we can to promote inclusion into our lives and work. People representing numerous environmental organizations and District government pondered the relationship between sustainability, environmentalism, diversity and inclusion.

As a starting point we decided to focus on the District’s booming and diverse Latino community which makes up over 75,000 District residents who constitute the most diverse group of Latino’s in an urban setting inside of the entire United States.

We seemed to have a diverse crowd with a critical mass of all the many components (ethnic, NGO & governmental) that would be necessary to have a serious and meaningful discussion. It was clear right from the beginning that the District’s environmental community was looking for opportunities to explore how inclusion could be better integrated into local environmental programming.

Participating Organizations & Others (partial):

Alice Ferguson Foundation, Anacostia Watershed Society, Beltway Biodiesel, Clean Water Action, DC Office of Planning, DC Sustainable Energy Utility, District Department of the Environment, Earth Africa Media Services, Earthjustice, Global Green USA, Just Economics, LLC, Office of Latino Affairs, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, Opening Creativity, Respect DC, Rock Creek Conservancy, Sierra Club DC, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, U.S. Green Building Council, Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Washington Parks & People.

Our Panelists:

Our four panelists included Latino environmental leaders as well as representatives from the District Office of Latino Affairs (OLA) and District Department of the Environment (DDOE). You can watch their full presentations:

–          Christophe Tulou, Director, District Department of the Environment (DDOE) – Christophe connected the ideas of sustainability and inclusion and how they might relate to Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC Initiative. WATCH VIDEO!

–          Roxana Olivas, Director, District Office of Latino Affairs (OLA) – Roxana shared important demographic information and stressed the importance of getting to know the Latino community. She also gave participants an idea as to what is OLA’s mission.  WATCH VIDEO!

–          Jorge Bogantes Montero, Conservation Biologist, Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) – Jorge shared his personal experiences that led to his becoming an environmental leader in the Washington Metro region. WATCH VIDEO!

–          Jennifer Chavez, Lawyer, Earthjustice (EJ) – In addition her own personal experiences Jennifer was able to share what happened when Earthjustice decided to explore connecting their environmental work with the values and vision reflected in diversity and inclusion. WATCH VIDEO!

–          Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network (DCEN) (Organizer & Moderator) – Chris introduced our panelists and gave an overview of potential preliminary goals for increasing diversity and inclusion in the District and region. SEE POWERPOINT!

All participants were then able to ask questions, make statements and explore possible directions we might all take increase inclusion in our work and lives.  Our open discussion lasted over an hour. WATCH VIDEO of OUR OPEN DISCUSSION HERE!

“To ensure that District Latinos are integral partners in prioritizing and solving environmental problems and achieving a sustainability in the District, it seems that the existing environmental community will need two things. First, a long-haul commitment to this goal both collectively and through individual organizations, including funders. Second, help from experts in diversity and inclusion who can help the environmental community systematically identify appropriate goals and an action plan.” – Jennifer Chavez, Lawyer, Earthjustice


  • Increased coordination between OLA & DDOE to promote Sustainable DC Initiative

ACTUAL OUTCOME: Progress has already been made. DCEN forum participants reported that DDOE and the Office of Latino Affairs have scheduled a meeting together to talk about ways to improve communications with the Latino community and parties are in the process of scheduling meetings with the other outreach offices—African Affairs, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and Religious Affairs.

  • Expansion of outreach efforts on behalf of the environment by NGO community & Gray Administration.

ACTUAL OUTCOME: Numerous organizations have made commitments to convene regularly and come up with short term and long term goals for increasing inclusion.

  • Identifying leadership and formation of DCEN working group to develop outreach plan.

ACTUAL OUTCOME: Numerous individuals and organizations have offered to participate in a working group. We will convene our first working group to select a chairperson and develop some short term outreach opportunities in September. The working group will be staffed by the DC Environmental Network.

  • Continue engaging and learning about the connections between environmentalism, diversity and inclusion.

ACTUAL OUTCOME: DCEN is already planning a series of opportunities, including trainings and forums, to continue this important discussion.

“The values and vision of environmentalism, diversity, and inclusion are inextricably linked. In the 21st century, the ability of environmental organizations to catalyze a positive common future for all people, beings, and places will depend on the commitment of leaders and organizations to make these explicit, intentional connections in every facet of their work. Diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence need to become major priorities at the organizational level if environmental and social change movements are to marshal the innovation, creativity, and expansive reach necessary to handle the complexity and scope of environmental challenges. Organizational and movement-wide impacts are at risk if diversity is not seen as mission critical.”

– Angela Park, Founder and Director, Diversity Matters,  “Mission Critical: A New Frame for Diversity and Environmental Progress

More to come!


Sustainable DC and the District’s Latino Community

Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 12:30:32 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

“The values and vision of environmentalism, diversity, and inclusion are inextricably linked…Organizational and movement wide impacts are at risk if diversity is not seen as mission critical.” – Angela Park, Diversity Matters

On August 8th at noon, join the District Office on Latino Affairs (OLA), District Department of the Environment (DDOE) and  DC Environmental Network (DCEN) for a very special brown-bag discussion focusing on District efforts to become more inclusive and sustainable and the existing and/or planned role in this effort of our growing and vibrant Latino community.

Our panelists will include:

Roxana Olivas, Director, District Office of Latino Affairs (OLA)

Christophe Tulou, Director, District Department of the Environment (DDOE)

Jorge Bogantes Montero, Conservation Biologist, Anacostia Watershed Society

Jennifer Chavez, Lawyer, Earthjustice

The discussion will be moderated by Chris Weiss, Director, DC Environmental Network.

RSVP Here!

Discussion Outline:

Our panelists will begin a critical conversation that will start answering some important questions:

– How can both the District government and local environmental community do more to diversify the green movement? Why is this important?

– What can DDOE and OLA do to increase outreach on sustainability initiatives to the Latino community? What is already occurring or planned?

– What can the local environmental community do to increase outreach? What is already occurring or planned?

– What are some of the potential environmental issues of concern to the Latino community?

– Who are some of the local Latino environmental leaders in the District and what is their story?

All participants will be able to share their thoughts, questions and opinions on this timely topic.

Why Are We Having This Discussion?

The percentage of citizens of Latino or Hispanic origin in the District is 9.5% or roughly 58,709 (of 617,996) individuals. Latino’s make up about 12% of the metro area’s population.

A recent Summit Fund-sponsored report, “Restoring the Anacostia River: Determining the Best Path Forward and Building Public Will for Action,” by Lake Research Associates and the National Wildlife Federation, featured insights from focus groups and key stakeholders on diversity within the river restoration movement, a major component of sustainability efforts in the District.

The report stated:

“The restoration movement is not as diverse as the community in which it operates. Although no single constituency was cited as missing, the point was made by many that while the majority of the leadership in the advocacy and philanthropic community that is focused on the river is white, the majority of the community in which they work and the elected officials they seek to influence are not. Beyond the lack of racial diversity, several political and community leaders noted the lack of Spanish-speaking advocates and the corresponding inability of the advocates to build meaningful relationships within the non-English-speaking communities.”

It is in this environment that Mayor Gray has moved forward with his Sustainable DC initiative, an aggressive plan that is designed to create jobs and improve the quality of life for ALL District residents.

The DC Environmental Network believes diversity matters and that we cannot have real success until we bring everyone to the sustainability table. We are holding this discussion to support efforts to expand inclusion within the District’s environmental movement and to ultimately make this goal a major component of our cities sustainability efforts.

  • Date: August 8, 2012
  • Time: 12:00 PM
  • Location: Global Green USA, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC (near Farragut North and McPherson Square metros)

RSVP Here! All are welcome.


Wildlife 911: Wildlife Rehabilitation & First Response

Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 12:12:37 PM EST

by Anne Lewis, FAIA, President, City Wildlife

(The DC Environmental Network has increased its advocacy and outreach efforts relating to wildlife in the District of Columbia in the last year. We believe the District can continue to grow in population AND maintain a positive relationship with wildlife that continue to inhabit each and every neighborhood. We gladly support the efforts of City Wildlife to educate and  create the infrastructure that will make the relationship and interaction between wildlife and District residents work in a way that benefits all.)

Wildlife 911: An Introductory Course in Wildlife Rehabilitation and First Response for Sick, Injured and Orphaned Wildlife

Sponsored by: City Wildlife, Wildlife Rescue League of Virginia, Maryland Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.

Dates & Time: September 15, 22, 29, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon at The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Have you ever felt powerless when you’ve found a wild animal in distress? Would you like to be able to help sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in the National Capital region? If so, come and learn what to do in emergencies involving native wildlife in our area.

Wildlife 911 is open to anyone interested in wildlife rehabilitation or in volunteering for any of our area’s wildlife rehabilitators or wildlife emergency hotlines. The course will emphasize training for first responders and hotline call-takers (those at the critical first line of defense for animals in need). In a series of three, two-hour sessions, experienced wildlife rehabilitators will discuss:

  • common wildlife species and the problems they encounter in our urban environments;
  • how to know whether the animal needs help;
  • first response techniques in capturing and handling the animal;
  • basic critical care of injured wildlife;
  • orphans and how to handle them; and
  • how to handle calls from the public who have found injured or orphaned wild animals.

The course is recommended for anyone thinking of volunteering in wildlife rehabilitation or call-taking, and volunteer opportunities will be discussed during the course. The course is intended to be participatory and informal, so there will be ample time for discussion and questions. A certificate of completion will be given to participants who attend all three sessions of the course.

Speakers will include:

  • Kathleen Handley, wildlife rehabilitator (Second Chance Wildlife Center, Gaithersburg, MD,
  • Patti Hoffman, hotline coordinator (Wildlife Rescue League, Northern Virginia,
  • Rebecca Cardozo, former dispatcher at DC Animal Control (DC)
  • Dr. Patrice Klein, DVM, wildlife veterinarian (Second Chance Wildlife Center, Gaithersburg MD,
  • Lee Prouty, wildlife rehabilitator and waterfowl specialist (Rockville, MD)
  • Suzanne Shoemaker, raptor rehabilitator (Owl Moon Raptor Center, Boyds, MD,

The course is free, but will be limited to 30 persons, so register now by contacting or calling (202) 965-1947. If you have questions, please call City Wildlife at (202) 965-1947.

We look forward to welcoming you to the world of wildlife rehabilitation!