Message from the Chair
Thinking About Earth Day...
Looking ahead to a week of events in recognition of Earth Day, it's hard to ignore mixed feelings. The progress made in the last 40 years is undeniable, but it is threatened by climate naysayers, corporate polluters and others.
But I, like most environmentalists, am an optimist at heart. We believe in the power of regular people -- the grassroots -- to effect real change. We see hope in the emerging generation: PowerShift is coming to town, and with it some 10,000 young leaders who want to make a difference in the battle against climate change.
The constant vigilance of our chapter volunteers and the numerous allied organizations here in town are keeping environmental issues at the forefront with our city administrators and elected officials. The chapter's volunteer base is growing too, with active committees working on transportation, energy and recycling issues, among other things. And more volunteers means we have the ability to do more to protect and improve the District's environment. (If you're one of those volunteers -- thank you!!)
So I continue to have hope. People are starting to get that the environment is not a standalone issue; it is inextricably linked with people's health and quality of life as well as the long-term health and sustainability of our planet. As you read our newsletter, check out some of the upcoming opportunities and events. And this Earth Day do something for Mother Earth; commit to doing something a little differently, a little greener. And know that every little bit helps.
-- Gwyn Jones, Chapter Chair
Special Election April 26
Chapter Endorses Sekou Biddle for DC Council At-Large Seat
The D.C. Chapter's Political and Executive Committees voted unanimously to endorse Sekou Biddle (D) in the upcoming April 26 election for the D.C. Council At-large seat.
Biddle was appointed by the DC Democratic State Committee to serve as interim councilmember, filling the vacancy left when Kwame Brown was elected to council chair last November.
The endorsement could prove critical as Biddle faces a tight election from among a field of nine candidates including former Ward 5 councilmember Vincent Orange, whose past record has heavily favored developers and business over environmental quality.... (read more here)
Sierra Club Goes Dumpster Diving in Search of Recycling Scofflaws
Intrepid volunteers discover piles of recyclables in the Hard Rock Cafe's trash.
by Peter Bergen
Unbeknownst to many, recycling in the District of Columbia is required by law for all commercial establishments -- this includes all office buildings, restaurants, retailers, schools, and churches. But are these establishments actually obeying this mandate?
Over the past decade, the Washington DC chapter of the Sierra Club has been determined to find out, by whatever means necessary.
On March 15, several Sierra Club members, led by Jim Dougherty, DC Chapter conservation chair, scoured the alleys of Penn Quarter for violations of the recycling code. In little time, their efforts were rewarded -- the Hard Rock Café made little attempt to conceal the empty cans of beans and tomato sauce they had haplessly mixed in with food scraps and general rubbish in their road-side garbage bins. The Sierra Club now has photographic evidence of this violation, and plans to forward this to the Hard Rock Café.... (read more here)
Check out the Chapter's Calendar to stay abreast of the chapter's upcoming events, meetings and activities. Here are a few highlights:
April 16, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.-- Streetcar Education/Outreach at Eastern Market (7th and North Carolina Sts. SE). Stop by our table to learn more about streetcars in D.C., or if you would like to help staff the table for an hour or two, contact Amanda Brinton.
April 17, 4-9 p.m. -- Get-Out-The-Vote Phone Bank for Sekou Biddle. Whether you can come by for one hour or four, you can make a difference in this election where every vote counts. Contact Jim Dougherty.
April 18, 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. -- PowerShift Rally. Join us for an hour or all day. There is a lot to be done, and you can help. For more info/to get involved contact Phillip Ellis.
April 20, 6:30-8 p.m. -- Streetcar Public Meeting. District Department of Transportation (DDOT) officials will brief the community on progress toward completion of the first operational segment of the H St.-Benning Rd. NE streetcar line and other streetcar activities and will also field questions from the community.
April 21, 7 p.m. -- DC Chapter General Meeting, SE Public Library -- Free and open to all. Hear first-hand from a long-time activist/organizer about some of Sierra Club's history and key wins, meet local leaders and learn about local campaigns. And celebrate the birthday of the Sierra Club's founder, John Muir, with birthday cake and light refreshments.
Want to find out how you can get involved with the chapter? Whether you are passionate about a particular issue or have a specific skill, including: fundraising, event planning or writing, or you just want to help, you can make a real contribution to the chapter's work. For more information, contact Amanda Brinton.