Dear Ward 5 neighbors,
This past week’s heat wave in the District was the worst in recorded history this late into September for our region. Just weeks after experiencing the devastating effects of climate change through flash floods in Ward 5, we felt them in another way this week through heat advisories, resulting in limited recess for children who have just returned to schools, strained HVAC systems, and more.
In some ways, Ward 5 is known for being green – trees form canopies over many Ward 5 corridors, the U.S. National Arboretum provides an expansive place to rest, play, and explore, the Franciscan Monastery is a beautiful retreat, and community gardens and forest patches are carefully tended by countless neighbors. In other ways, though, Ward 5 also suffers some of the worst of the city’s environmental injustice and neglect – industrial land use, large parking lots creating heat islands, neighbors fighting for clean air in battles with National Engineering Products and bus depots, to name a few.
In this week’s newsletter, I’m focusing on the environmental aspect of healthy communities. From housing to transportation, recreation to business, education to public safety and more, the environment impacts our daily lives in ways we may not always realize. While there are larger systemic issues ultimately causing climate change that our global community must work to tackle together, I want to share some of the ways we can work locally to build environmentally healthy communities in Ward 5.