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Archive for December, 2012

31
Dec

FIRST Chance to Give to DCEN!

Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:29:07 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

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31
Dec

Mayor Gray’s Proposed DC Waste-to Energy Facility

Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:06:31 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

“The District has an opportunity to craft a long-term waste-management strategy that redefines solid waste from a burden to a resource with economic, political and social value,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “This award will fund a comprehensive feasibility study to answer the question of how the District can best capture energy from materials that are routinely discarded as trash.”

– William O. Howland, Jr., Director, Department of Public Works

Incinerator in Cleveland-001

On January 3rd at Noon (1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor) the DC Environmental Network will be convening our monthly brown-bag to discuss a possible new waste-to-energy conversion facility (possibly incineration) within the District of Columbia. This is the FIRST DCEN networking opportunity of the year. All are invited and urged to attend!

RSVP for this First of the Year DCEN Networking Opportunity!

Our panel will include:

– Neil Seldman, Institute for Local Self Reliance
– Hallie Clemm, Deputy Administrator, Solid Waste Management Division, DC Department of Public Works
– Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network
– Larry Martin, Sierra Club, Washington, DC Chapter
– Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Background:

The Department of Public Works (DPW) was recently awarded $300,000 to study the costs and benefits of establishing a waste-to-energy conversion facility within the District. (The Mayor also committed $600,000 for composting programs.)

“The District has an opportunity to craft a long-term waste-management strategy that redefines solid waste from a burden to a resource with economic, political and social value,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “This award will fund a comprehensive feasibility study to answer the question of how the District can best capture energy from materials that are routinely discarded as trash.”

RSVP for this First of the Year DCEN Networking Opportunity!

DC focused environmentalists have concerns about such a proposal. Such a plant could pollute our city and region. An incineration option, if chosen, might not be a good one for the District. Incinerators are often the most expensive and polluting way to make energy or to dispose of waste.  They may compete with recycling and composting, which produce 10 times more jobs while helping the environment.

“Trash burning should not be considered renewable energy. Trash is not renewable. Incinerators burn discarded resources and the embodied energy they contain. They destroy rather than conserve materials. For every ton of material destroyed by incineration, many more tons of raw materials must be mined, processed, or distributed to manufacture a new product to take its place. More trees must be cut down to make paper. More ore must be mined for metal production. More petroleum must be processed into plastics. On the whole, three to five times more energy can be saved by recycling materials than by burning them.”

– Brenda Platt, Co-Director, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Testimony Before Maryland House Economic Matters Committee, March 9, 2011

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All are welcome!

RSVP for this First of the Year DCEN Networking Opportunity!

 

30
Dec

Help DCEN Grow the Movement!

Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 03:59:44 PM EST

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DC Environmentalists:

With all the work the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) engages in to green our city, what is not often seen is the help and assistance DCEN gives to individual organizations like City Wildlife.

In just the last sixteen months the DC Environmental Network has been a strong partner in helping City Wildlife reach out to the broader Washington DC environmental community to tell their story and share the belief that people and wildlife can co-exist together in urban settings.

Help grow DCEN so we can grow our green movement. Donate today!

Some highlights:

– CALLED NETWORK TO ACTION ON WILDLIFE: DCEN coordinated a forum featuring District of Columbia Councilmember Mary Cheh, Dr. John Hadidian of the Humane Society of the United States and Anne Lewis of City Wildlife to engage, and call to action, the broader green community on the importance of protecting urban wildlife. This gathering gave City Wildlife an opportunity to talk about their work and vision for DC.

– ENGAGED DECISION MAKERS: DCEN utilized its connections and experience working with the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) to help City Wildlife and other advocates address potential harmful impacts to wildlife that the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, near Kenilworth Park, might create. As the planning process was in the later stages, DCEN quickly coordinated two meetings with representatives of DDOE and the National Park Service to address some concerns and increase public and governmental oversight.

Donate to DCEN and help all of us do a better job keeping tabs on and influencing decision makers!

– PROMOTED CITY WILDLIFE: DCEN has continued to publicize the work and activities of City Wildlife to the broader community. In September, DCEN participated in and helped turn out wildlife enthusiasts to their highly successful Wildlife911 introductory course that focused on the principles of wildlife rehabilitation in the region.

DCEN is also concurrently working on efforts that directly impact the wildlife that we all care about. Our engagement to establish protections for wetlands, advocacy campaigns on behalf of clean rivers and efforts to establish an adaptation plan to help wildlife (and DC residents) deal with the impacts of global warming, are all complimentary initiatives that will help all of us.

Help DCEN continue to serve the needs of our shared environmental community. Please donate today!

DCEN is about building and growing our environmental community in the District and region. I see this in our strong support for groups like City Wildlife and I also see this in our support for the many other groups and individuals in the District of Columbia that are doing what they can to save our planet.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

26
Dec

We Are the DC Environmental Network!

Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:00:18 PM EST

DC Environmental Network Executive Director Chris Weiss:

DC Environmentalists:

In the last two weeks you have heard from key environmental leaders asking you to contribute to the DC Environmental Network (DCEN). They have shared support for DCEN’s efforts to leverage the talent and creativity of the broader green movement to achieve sustainability in our nation’s capital city.

Make a contribution to the DC Environmental Network today!

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– Brent Blackwelder, President Emeritus, Friends of the Earth:

“…I have watched DCEN help lead the maturation of the local environmental movement with more and more environmental leaders engaging in increasingly significant ways to weave ever deeply the connection between environmental values and quality of life issues. Whether it is clean rivers, global warming, green budgets or any of the other associated issues that impact the health and economic well-being of District residents, DCEN has played an important, sometimes even a leadership role in the development of new and innovative environmental programs and policies.”

Make a contribution today to ensure the continued growth of coalition activities in the Washington Metro region.

– Paul Walker, Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Global Green USA:CIMG3937-007

“Just last week, even as highly paid lobbyists were working hard to weaken Mayor Gray’s proposed stormwater and wetlands regulations in the District of Columbia, the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) convened a hopeful and positive dialogue calling on Mayor Gray to finally bring meaningful protections to the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek. It was DCEN who brought together Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Water Action, Global Green USA, Anacostia Riverkeeper, City Wildlife, Friends of McMillan Park, Friends of the Earth, Green Cross International and other organizations and activists to make a bold statement about what our rivers, our community and our economic future should look like.”

Make a contribution today to fund our work to push Mayor Gray to promulgate strong stormwater regulations and help make our rivers fishable and swimmable.

– Allison Archambault, President, EarthSpark International:

Donate Button A1“The District of Columbia is extremely lucky to have the DC Environmental Network (DCEN). DCEN strives to look at the world like I do. I feel connected to DCEN because they have created a framework that makes it easier for all of us to engage at the local level on possibly the most important issues of our time including global warming. DCEN understands the importance of addressing the mounting environmental ills that threaten the health, safety and economic viability of our planet. By helping the citizens of the District engage on these issues at the local level, DCEN makes it easier for all of us to do our part for the planet.”

Make a contribution today to help increase local opportunities for District residents to do their part as global citizens.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

 

21
Dec

Our Shared Vision for the District…and the Planet!

Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:58:14 PM EST

DC Environmental Network Supporter Allison Archambault, EarthSpark International:

DC Environmentalists:Allison 2

As the President of EarthSpark International, I spend a lot of time working to empower communities in Haiti by addressing energy poverty. I have also invested a lot of my personal time in the District working to make sure that the poor in our nation’s capital city have options and access to clean and affordable energy. I see strong connections between both my work in Haiti and the District. These connections are what make it possible for me and my colleagues to engage in the world as global citizens.

– DCEN helps all of us become better global citizens.

The District of Columbia is extremely lucky to have the DC Environmental Network (DCEN). DCEN strives to look at the world like I do. I feel connected to DCEN because they have created a framework that makes it easier for all of us to engage at the local level on possibly the most important issues of our time including global warming.

DCEN understands the importance of addressing the mounting environmental ills that threaten the health, safety and economic viability of our planet. By helping the citizens of the District engage on these issues at the local level, DCEN makes it easier for all of us to do our part for the planet.

Support DCEN Here.

– DCEN helps bring us together, in coalition, for change.

DCEN does a lot to set the stage for sustainability in the District. With monthly networking opportunities, webinars, trainings and the engagement of communities and decision makers through shared campaigns, DCEN creates the space necessary to influence the issues we all care about.

Central to all of their activities is the notion that the broader green community (and any group or individual who shares a concern) can do more, even create meaningful change, when we work together in coalition.

Support DCEN Here.

– DCEN has a track record of success.

Over the years I have watched DCEN use this model for success. I watched DCEN lead the environmental community in the creation and growth of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU).

DCEN led legislative efforts to bring clean energy to our neighborhoods, protection for our trees, standards for the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek and numerous other policy changes that are making true sustainability in DC possible. (See recent report by Brent Blackwelder.)

– DCEN looks to a sustainable future for our region.

DCEN is working hard to make sure DC Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC plan integrates the values of environmentalism, diversity and inclusion and does so in a manner that results in the reduction of poverty in the District of Columbia. That is why I feel a connection between my work and DCEN’s.

It’s not an easy path for any one individual or organization to take but if we pull together in coalition, like DCEN strives to do each and every day, we might all be pleasantly surprised by what we can accomplish together.

That is why I urge you to support the efforts of DCEN. We have a lot of work to do. Let’s start today!

Allison Archambault
DC Environmental Network Supporter

President
EarthSpark International

18
Dec

DCEN Brown-Bag: DC Waste-To-Energy Facility?

Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:44:22 AM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

“Trash burning should not be considered renewable energy. Trash is not renewable. Incinerators burn discarded resources and the embodied energy they contain. They destroy rather than conserve materials. For every ton of material destroyed by incineration, many more tons of raw materials must be mined, processed, or distributed to manufacture a new product to take its place. More trees must be cut down to make paper. More ore must be mined for metal production. More petroleum must be processed into plastics. On the whole, three to five times more energy can be saved by recycling materials than by burning them.”

– Brenda Platt, Co-Director, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Testimony Before Maryland House Economic Matters Committee, March 9, 2011

NA-AU481_WBURN_NS_20081205210626 bOn January 3rd at Noon (1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor) the DC Environmental Network will be convening our monthly brown-bag to discuss a possible new waste-to-energy conversion facility (possibly incineration) within the District of Columbia. RSVP Here!

Our panel will include:

– Neil Seldman, Institute for Local Self Reliance
– Hallie Clemm, Deputy Administrator, Solid Waste Management Division, DC Department of Public Works
– Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network
– Larry Martin or Hana Heineken, Sierra Club, Washington, DC Chapter (invited)
– Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Background:

The Department of Public Works (DPW) was recently awarded $300,000 to study the costs and benefits of establishing a waste-to-energy conversion facility within the District.

“The District has an opportunity to craft a long-term waste-management strategy that redefines solid waste from a burden to a resource with economic, political and social value,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “This award will fund a comprehensive feasibility study to answer the question of how the District can best capture energy from materials that are routinely discarded as trash.”

DC focused environmentalists have concerns about such a proposal. Such a plant could pollute our city and region. An incineration option, if chosen, might not be a good one for the District. Incinerators are often the most expensive and polluting way to make energy or to dispose of waste.  They may compete with recycling and composting, which produce 10 times more jobs while helping the environment.

All are welcome!

RSVP Here!

 

17
Dec

Clean Air Not Coal at Capitol Power Plant!

Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:50:58 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

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14
Dec

Green Community Comes Together for Clean Rivers!

Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 10:30:21 AM EST

by Paul Walker, Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Global Green USA

“…these stormwater regulations are arguably the first serious commitment to clean rivers in the entire history of local government in the District of Columbia.” – Paul Walker, Global Green USA

DC Environmental Network Founder, Paul Walker, Global Green USA:

DC Environmentalists:

I am so proud of our environmental movement in the District of Columbia.

Just last week, even as highly paid lobbyists were working hard to weaken Mayor Gray’s proposed stormwater and wetlands regulations in the District of Columbia, the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) convened a hopeful and positive dialogue calling on Mayor Gray to finally bring meaningful protections to the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek.

It was DCEN who brought together Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Water Action, Global Green USA, Anacostia Riverkeeper, City Wildlife, Friends of McMillan Park, Friends of the Earth, Green Cross International and other organizations and activists to make a bold statement about what our rivers, our community and our economic future should look like.

But the truth is this is what DCEN strives to do each and every day. Join me in supporting their efforts.

Donate Button A1I urge you to take a look at the passionate and thoughtful presentations made by Jennifer Chavez of Earthjustice and Rebecca Hammer of the Natural Resources Defense Council who made the case that we cannot continue business as usual in the District.

You can also listen to the open discussion that featured comments and observations by people who know including Andrew Fellows of Clean Water Action, Mike Bolinder, Anacostia Riverkeeper and Christophe Tulou, former Director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE).

All of these dedicated activists helped send a strong message to Mayor Gray and the representatives from the executive and legislative branches of government who attended, that now is the time for strong stormwater regulations. And by the way, these stormwater regulations are arguably the first serious commitment to clean rivers in the entire history of local government in the District of Columbia.

DSC_0043-003Help DCEN continue our efforts in support of strong stormwater regulations for the District.

Since I helped found DCEN in 1996 I have been able to witness the metamorphosis of the green movement in the District of the Columbia. I am convinced that if we had not pulled together and found common cause 16 years ago, we would not currently have the capacity and infrastructure DCEN (and all of us) helped create, with its toolbox of coalition-building opportunities, to combat the army of professional lobbyists and others who do not yet understand the importance of sustainability to our city, region and the planet.

I am very proud of what we have all achieved.

Please join me in supporting DCEN’s efforts to implement the coordinated activities necessary to continue to green our nation’s capital city.

Thank you.

Paul Walker, Ph.D.
An Original Founder (1996)
DC Environmental Network

Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability
Green Cross International and Global Green USA

5
Dec

Will the Mayor’s Regulations Help Our Rivers?

Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:46:31 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network


The DC Environmental Network invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists to Our Monthly Brown-Bag Discussion:

Environmental Community Responds to Mayor Gray’s Stormwater Regulations

Featuring:

– Jennifer Chavez, Earthjustice
– Rebecca Hammer, Natural Resources Defense Council
– Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Background:

Earlier this month the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) delivered formal comments to Mayor Vincent Gray’s District Department of the Environment (DDOE). These coalition comments were designed to help the District promulgate stormwater regulations that are critical to helping improve the health of the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek; provide social and economic benefits to District communities; and ultimately green our nation’s capital city.

These comments were joined by American Rivers, Anacostia Watershed Citizens Advisory Council, Anacostia Watershed Society, Audubon Naturalist Society, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, DC Environmental Network, Global Green USA and the National Wildlife Federation.

Read coalition testimony here!

On December 6th at Noon, join the environmental community in an open discussion about Mayor Gray’s proposed rules and why the District needs to make up for lost time and finish adopting strong stormwater regulations.

All are welcome. RSVP for this event HERE!

3
Dec

2012 Report: State of the Environment in DC

Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:48:24 PM EST

by Brent Blackwelder, President Emeritus, Friends of the Earth & DC Environmental Network Founder

DC Environmentalists:

As a founder of the DC Environmental Network (DCEN), along with eleven other organizations and funders, I have witnessed firsthand a lot of change in our nation’s capital city. Despite the continuation of the economic downturn and constant threats to funding for District environmental programs, Washington, DC has continued to enjoy an environmental renaissance of sorts.

Much has changed over the last decade. Over the last few years the District government has supported and introduced a record number of new green initiatives and Mayor Gray has launched a new Sustainable DC initiative with the ultimate goal of leading the country in a significant number of green indicators. There has also been a positive shift by individuals and businesses to take into consideration the condition of our urban environment. And we have shown the power of different member group coalitions, who form around a specific issue, can have the political clout to win.

Donat Button 2 BWRDuring this important period I have watched DCEN help lead the maturation of the local environmental movement with more and more environmental leaders engaging in increasingly significant ways to weave ever deeply the connection between environmental values and quality of life issues.

Whether it is clean rivers, global warming, green budgets or any of the other associated issues that impact the health and economic well-being of District residents, DCEN has played an important, sometimes even a leadership role in the development of new and innovative environmental programs and policies.

Some of our successes this year include (partial):

Sustainable DC: More than any locally focused environmental organization, DCEN has continued to engage Mayor Gray as he develops a sustainability plan for the District. As a participant in Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC Green Ribbon Panel DCEN has worked to make sure the interests of the broader environmental community are taken seriously.

Anacostia Waterfront Development Zone (AWDZ) Standards: DCEN pushed (and helped pass) legislation to make sure environmental standards for new developments along the Anacostia River are not weakened.

Green Movement Diversity: DCEN initiated a new campaign to help increase diversity within the environmental community and within Mayor Gray’s sustainability initiative. Read more!

Stormwater Regulations: DCEN has aggressively promoted new, workable city-wide stormwater regulations to protect the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek, and have pushed the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) to become more focused in harmonizing all of their stormwater initiatives to make sure we see real improvements in water quality. (Come to our December 6th DCEN Luncheon on the environmental community’s response to Mayor Gray’s proposed stormwater regulations.)

Green Budget: DCEN held budget briefings for the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and secured funding to protect children from lead poisoning and move hazardous materials remediation forward.

Power Grid Reliability: In response to Hurricane Sandy and the recent Derecho storm that uncovered extreme grid unreliability in the Washington Metro region, DCEN worked and continues to engage with energy activists to do the long term thinking necessary to create an energy delivery system that we can count on and that reduces our carbon footprint. Read more!

Support Growth of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE): DCEN’s advocacy over the last year and decade have focused on the creation, development and sustainment of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) which has resulted in an agency that spends quite a lot of time focused on the issues we care about.

Growing the Network: In the last year DCEN has focused very hard on trying to give the broader environmental community an opportunity to network and learn from some of the best environmental advocates in the country. We have held at least one general networking opportunity each month on numerous topics of interest to the District’s environmental community and have also added briefings, trainings and webinars which are available to anyone who wants to learn.

DCEN has striven to serve the advocacy needs of groups like City Wildlife, Casey Trees, Rock Creek Conservancy and others by giving them a forum to promote the issues they care most about.

DCEN has also been a leader in engaging in the hard advocacy necessary for real change. DCEN has not been afraid, when others have balked, to challenge decision makers when they are straying from real sustainability and threatening the progress we have worked so hard for.

As we move into 2013 I urge the environmental community to continue to believe in the idea that our most important successes have occurred when we have worked together in coalition. DCEN will continue to create opportunities for this to happen.

Brent Blackwelder
An Original Founder (1996)
DC Environmental Network