Other Campaign Efforts
The DC Environmental Network has been involved in many successful and not so successful campaigns and advocacy efforts over the years. Generating new environmental requirements to protect rivers and trees, reduce lead contamination in drinking water and bring healthy, pesticide free food to District school children takes years of commitment and effort. In addition to our primary campaigns the DC Environmental Network works to support the efforts of organizations that work each and every day to build on past successes. Some efforts include:
Re-Tree DC Campaign
In 2001, in response to significant tree canopy loss over the last 30 years, the DC Environmental Network’s Re-Tree DC Campaign, working with many organizations including Casey Trees and Sierra Club, successfully convinced the DC Council to introduce legislation to protect trees in the District of Columbia. This legislation, the Urban Forestry Preservation Act of 2002 was passed in January of 2003 and signed by Mayor Tony Williams. It was especially designed to protect trees over 55 inches in circumference. This legislation also sets up a tree fund to pay for tree plantings and to help low income residents with fees associated with cutting down trees. Since then we have had to work very hard for adequate implementation of these legal requirements.
In 2006 Casey Trees authored a recommendation in the DC Environmental Network Environmental Agenda of 2006 to “Set and Pursue Urban Tree Cover Goals” using a baseline of information. In 2010 Casey Trees convinced Mayor Fenty to commit to a 40% tree canopy goal. Despite Mayor Fenty’s commitment, he recently proposed using money from the tree fund for purposes inconsistent with the intent of the Act.
The wonderful thing about trees is that they have the power to help improve DC’s environment in many ways including improving air quality, cooling our homes and streets, cleaning our water, reducing crime, reducing stress and making our cities more sustainable and livable.
Because of this and more DCEN is supporting the efforts of Casey Trees, to continue efforts to do whatever is necessary to restore the District’s tree canopy.
What Can I Do?
- Volunteer with Casey Trees and help restore the District’s Tree Canopy
- Work with the DC Environmental Network to develop long term advocacy goals on behalf of the District’s tree canopy.
DC Farm to School Network
In 2006 Friends of the Earth authored a section in the DC Environmental Agenda of 2006 calling for District Schools to “purchase, prepare, and sell locally produced and nutritionally healthy food.”
This DC Environmental Agenda stated, “A “Farm to Cafeteria” program would require Washington, DC schools to serve primarily local produce in all cafeterias, incorporate nutrition education into the academic curriculum, and even promote hands-on learning opportunities through school gardens and field trips to local farms, farmer’s markets, and CSA sites.”
In 2009 the DC Environmental Network, under the leadership of Andrea Northup, became a founding member of the DC Farm to School Network, working with numerous food activists across the city. As momentum grew for the program the Farm to School Network (and Andrea) found a more permanent home with the Capital Area Food Bank.
In December 2009, DC City Council representatives Mary Cheh and Vincent Gray co-introduced the Healthy Schools Act of 2009. The Bill contained many important Farm to School initiatives, (some of which reflected recommendations in the DC Environmental Agenda of 2006) as well as other initiatives designed to improve the health and well-being of District schoolchildren and to “green” District schools. On May 4, 2010, The D.C. Council voted unanimously to pass the bill, with the goal of the legislation being in effect when school resumes in August 2010. On May 21st, Mayor Fenty signed The Healthy Schools Act. Many organizations including the DC Environmental Network worked to strengthen and generate support for this legislation.
The DC Environmental Network will be expanding its efforts to support the DC Farm to School Network and will also be working to protect existing urban food production and promote new and innovative ways to create more locally grown, pesticide free food for all District residents.
What Can I Do?
- Volunteer with the DC Farm to School Network and help bring healthy foods to our schools!
- Work with the DC Environmental Network to develop long term advocacy goals on behalf urban food production.