Can Washington D.C. become the greenest city in the U.S.?
From greener buildings to "a fishable, swimmable Anacostia river," the Sustainable D.C. Act of 2012 has "32 goals, 31 targets, and more than 140 actions" aimed to make Washington D.C. the "greenest city in the U.S."
There’s an accelerated tree planting campaign, with 6,400 slated to be planted this season alone. The goal is a 40 percent tree canopy, which would put D.C. in the top tier of major cities worldwide. Beyond trees, the city is implementing “high standard stormwater infrastructure investments.” For example, “we are now building more green roofs than anyone,” with 1.5 million square feet now in place. Green streets, like the first green alley built in Ward 7, are also being rolled out, with more potentially coming soon in Chinatown. Green infrastructure technologies may get a local boost, too, with the $4.5 million that has been dedicated to “innovative pilot projects.”
The district already has the biggest bike share network in the U.S., but “this may not be the case for long, as other cities are catching up.” The D.C. government now purchases 100 percent renewable energy. We have become a “number-one U.S. E.P.A. green power community.” All of this action has led to a 12 percent reduction in green house gas emissions over the past year.
However, Jared Green goes on to report on how the so-called sequester cuts may hinder much of the progress.
Climate change inaction is already putting an enormous cost on the economy. Whether we want to pay for sustainable solutions now or wait and pay more later, it is more financially prudent to invest in the future. That this is still a complicated idea is sometimes hard to believe.