A focus on local climate initiatives as Biden’s efforts halt
Over the weekend, news from West Virginia Sen. Joe manchinthe ax movement a critical part of the president Joe bidenThe climate plan of the, an initiative to replace coal and gas with wind, solar and nuclear power, has met a social media storm. Critics have accused Manchin and other representatives opposed to the energy replacement plan of holding the health of the planet hostage to fill their pockets fueled by fossil fuels. The Biden administration is now fighting for a plan B: a tax on carbon dioxide pollution. Meanwhile, the DC Office of the People’s Counsel, an independent government agency that advocates for clients of public services, organized a “A frank speech” on the climate emergency, climate injustice and what the district can do regardless of the agreement reached by the federal government.
Dennis Chestnut, a longtime resident of Ward 7, remembers growing up in northeast DC and witnessing the changes before and after Route 295 was built from 1957. The highway that separates the neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River has contributed to flooding in those communities where there was none before, and ultimately, due to climate change, has flooded homes and businesses, said chestnut, who is also the Executive Director of Groundwork Anacostia River DC Inc.
During Saturday’s conversation, local experts highlighted such community stories to show the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on certain neighborhoods and to share ideas on what the city and DC residents can do to fight. against floods and heat islands. The main climate goal of the DC Department of Energy and Environment is to eliminate greenhouse gases by 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. can act now rather than expect long-term abstract goals.
The first step is often to recognize what we are doing wrong: with the climate crisis, “us” means government as much as individuals, climate scientists. find. This budget cycle, the DC Council reduced the budget for Solar for all, a municipal program that helps install solar power on single-family homes and develop community solar projects, and the Weatherization assistance program, which helps to support the energy efficiency of housing and local energy jobs, Chris Weiss of the DC Environmental Network pointed out.
The next step could be to take stock of available community resources. DC has the most certified development companies in the country, noted Lenwood Coleman, vice president of solar development and operations at Groundswell in DC These nonprofits designed to support community economic development can be a vital asset in the fight against climate change, he said.
“Just think, if we took these great sunbeams in the District of Columbia and created CDCs… not only could we [residents] turn around and cut down on their energy use, but they would sit around the table and decide how the supplement [energy units] could be used to improve the daily life and working relationships of those who live in these communities. After the three years or so it takes to build a solar panel, despite the maintenance costs, the panel pays for itself. Community organizations and residents can buy or rent solar power options. People Recommended by Chestnut review programs like Community Solar intended to support access to solar energy to reduce energy consumption.
Greener electrification was another major concern of resident participants, some of whom asked about switching from gas to heat pumps. Weiss shed light on the DC chapter of the Sierra Club electrification campaign, “Beyond Gas”, which projects what a future could look like with alternatives to gas. A Nov. 15 panel with the DC Environmental Network will explore this topic, he said, so interested residents can stay tuned for this conference.
Water resilience is another critical issue for residents, especially those in DC neighborhoods most at risk of flooding, said Sarah Kogel-Smucker, environmental and climate lawyer at OPC-DC. Kogel-Smucker noted that the OPC has a water division and works to help residents connect to local government resources and raise the voices of residents to inform the city of their concerns and what the district should do else.
Chestnut advised residents to visit the DOEE website and learn about incentive programs such as RiverSmart Homes, a project that “inspires people to soften the surfaces of their garden, to turn those patios into something that can help control storm water.”
Residents should also use the resources and opportunities available from their local civic association groups and neighborhood advisory boards to get involved and “roll up their sleeves,” he said.
This sleeve rolling is expected to occur in ways and in sectors as diverse as the DMV community, according to Nakisa Glove, founder of the climate justice organization Sol Nation and organizer of the Think 100% Hip Hop Caucus. As useful as government and community resources may be, climate justice education and advocacy will not reach everyone through the limits of the written word, she stressed.
We need teachers to educate about the disparities within the climate crisis, artists to translate the messages through a myriad of mediums to reach diverse people, and families to spread the message inside and out. outside of their tribes, Glover said.
“You are qualified. You are qualified, you… have received an inherent gift within you that is necessary to effect the change… to put us on a course of justice and mitigate the climate crisis, ”she said.
–Ambar Castillo (advice? [email protected])
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