A greater number of floods, hotter summers, and increased storms are just a few things that were discussed at a recent Climate Change discussion in Southwest.
Residents from James Creek, Syphax Gardens, Greenleaf, and the surrounding communities sat down at King Greenleaf Recreation Center on December 8 to listen to local experts on the environment and to learn more about D.C.’s Climate Ready Plan.
Representatives from the District’s Department of Energy and the Environment, National Wildlife Federation, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and Earth Conservation Corps discussed what global warming means for the community, city, and country.
For example, D.C. summers have an average temperature of 87 degrees. However, by the end of the century, that number is expected to be closer to 97 degrees. Rising temperatures require more energy use as people turn on their air conditioners. The hotter weather affects the younger and older populations, as well as those with chronic health concerns, said a DOEE representative.
Rising sea levels also affect D.C. residents since both the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers are tidal. That means more flooding could occur in the future.
“The Climate Ready plan has 77 different actions the city can take to prepare for these changes,” the DOEE representative said.
Those actions include using more solar energy, building cool roofs with light colors to reflect the sun’s heat, and other green infrastructure.
The District of Columbia Housing Authority has been working to include green infrastructure into its buildings – such as a solar array at Sheridan Station and a green roof at Regency House. There also are weatherization projects happening at properties like Syphax Gardens and a new recycling program has begun at several sites including Greenleaf Family.
The meeting organizers then asked the community what steps they could take to save energy and water—since the money saved from these activities could help the housing authority make further improvements at each site.
Residents suggested turning off water when not using it, taking shorter showers, washing clothes in cold water, and turning off lights as you leave the room.
Gaynell Norris, who lives in Greenleaf, said more people should be recycling. She suggested helping the elderly and shut-ins by taking their recycling to the designated areas for neighbors. She also would like to see more signage to encourage others.
“We can even help each other,” Norris said. “We’ve got to unify to help each other in that building.”
D.C. has several city-wide programs that can be helpful for families to prepare for emergencies and to make changes towards a more energy efficient lifestyle. For more information, click here for the Climate Ready D.C. report; click here for the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency(HSEMA) Plan for Emergencies; and click here for Alert D.C. registration.