All are welcome to join our local climate movement's "Next Big Thing" Climate Crisis Conference!

The week of November 15th-19th, the DC Environmental Network, and over 26 local, regional, and national environment and community focused organizations (so far), are putting together a special series of virtual climate crisis conversations to help all of us visualize and internalize what will be the "Next Big Thing" for our nations capital city and surrounding region, to meaningfully mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.

Thanks to our talented conversation organizers we will have experts from around the country participating on some of these panels including The CLEO Institute (Florida), Deluth/365 (Minnesota), Green Neighbors Challenge (Wisconsin), Rocky Mountain Institute (California), and Sacramento Tree Foundation (California).

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Each virtual conversation will summarize their thoughts on the big ideas and programs that we will need to engage in the next ten years to aggressively reduce carbon emissions and prepare and adapt for the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

After the conference, the week of November 29th, we will convene a panel of environmental leaders to report the findings from our movements "Next Big Thing" Climate Crisis Conference to decision makers including Councilmember's Mary Cheh, Charles Allen, and Janeese Lewis GeorgePeople's Counsel Sandra Mattavous-FryeDC Climate Commission Chair Uwe BrandesDOEE Director Tommy Wells, and other invited leaders. We will hear their thoughts on DC's response to the crisis so far and what the "Next Big Thing" is for the District.

Make sure you RSVP below and we will send you Zoom meeting links.


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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE - November 15-19, 2021

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November 15th @ 2:00 PM

Net-Zero is a Dangerous Distraction for DC, Our Country, and the Planet!

As the climate crisis worsens and demand grows for governments and companies to increase climate ambition, Big Oil, Big Agriculture, Big Banks, other polluting corporations, and local, state, and national governments have lined up to proclaim one “net-zero by 2050” pledge after another. This is a dangerous greenwashing gimmick. It is the latest scheme by polluters — and their financial and political backers — to promote a facade of talking about climate action while exacerbating the crisis to protect their profits and power. Net-zero is premised on unjust offsetting schemes and removals of massive quantities of carbon from the atmosphere through unproven technologies, large-scale land grabs, and/or interference in the Earth’s climate system via geoengineering. As our city moves forward with the “next big thing” to engage the climate crisis we should do all we can to avoid a net-zero frame that can lead us towards ineffective and dangerous climate crisis policies that are unjust, inequitable, and allow greenwashing.

Learn how “Net-zero emissions” are not the same as “zero emissions,” and why 2050 is too little, too late.

  • Karen Orenstein, Director, Climate and Energy Justice Program, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Earth
  • Gaby Sarri-Tobar, Energy Justice Campaigner, Center for Biological Diversity
  • Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network
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November 16th @ 1:00 PM

Climate Justice in DC: What’s Next After “Hellish Heat and High Water” And Who is Most at Risk?

With extreme weather events and fires across the land it has been a tough year for all of us. What's next and who is most at risk as we witness more climate impacts? Audubon Naturalist Society has put together a dynamic panel of experts and impacted advocates from DC and Miami, Florida, to explore, share with, and learn from.

  • Brenda Perez, Program Analyst, DC Department of Energy and Environment, Office of Urban Agriculture (moderator)
  • Eliza Cava, Director of Conservation, Audubon Naturalist Society
  • Dennis Chestnut, Working with the FH Faunteroy Community Enrichment Center on community resilience, Ward 7 Resident.
  • Christine MacDonald, Executive Director, Hola Cultura
  • Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Executive Director, The CLEO Institute
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November 16th @ 4:00 PM

Next Steps for Electrification of our Homes and Public Transportation 

Electrification of our homes and public transportation system can play a huge role in reducing carbon emissions and protecting the health of our families and the communities they live in. Our panelists from DC and California will update us on the District’s efforts, share best practices from around the world, and discuss the “next big thing” that needs to happen in electrification to make sure we are all doing our part to engage the climate crisis.

  • Matthias Paustian, Sierra Club DC Chapter (moderator)
  • Amar Shah, Manager, Carbon-Free Buildings at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) – Oakland, California
  • Taalib-Din Uqdah, Northern Bus Barn Neighbors
  • Elliott Negin, Senior Writer, Union of Concerned Scientists
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November 17th @ NOON

The Next Big Thing: Our Behavior, Our Communities – Enlisting Citizens

To fight climate change, many noted scientists and decision-makers rightly put the onus on industries and governments to rapidly create large-scale change. As a result, though, individual efforts are often dismissed. Yet individuals have great power to institute change. It is more than just numbers adding up to create a new trend. First, neighbors greatly influence neighbors, as behavior change science has shown, and our communities are where culture change occurs. Second, individuals can actively and effectively inject themselves into larger scale civic, financial, political, and corporate decisions to yield strong impacts. Overall, citizens are “the Next Big Thing,” whose efforts are needed to prevent a backlash against top-down decisions.  We will discuss five examples of how the force of individual citizens can be harnessed, mentored, and joined into communities when needed.  

  • Dr. Annette Olson, Director and President of Climate Steps. Individuals Have Impact: Earth Hero, Climate Steps, and Green Neighbors DC (moderator)
  • Tone Lanzillo – Duluth/365, Culture x Climate: Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Andrew Butts, Green Neighbors Challenge, Madison, Wisconsin

November 18th @ 2:00 PM

The Human/Forest Nexus: Today’s Natural Infrastructure Solutions Leading to Tomorrow’s Climate Resiliency

Forests and green infrastructure support the resilience of our city through increased air and water quality, food security, heat reduction, and flood mitigation. This panel will discuss the nexus between humans and natural infrastructure in a changing climate, and how innovative changes in forestry, land conservation, and climate policy at different levels of governance can enhance the resilience of our communities into the future.

  • Kelly Collins Choi, Director, Policy & Land Conservation, Casey Trees (moderator)
  • Leah Harnish, Policy Analyst, Policy & Land Conservation, Casey Trees
  • Dr. Jessica Sanders, Executive Director, Sacramento Tree Foundation
  • Bob O’Connor, Director, Division of Conservation Services, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
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November 18th @ 4:00 PM

Floods, Fires, and Fauna: Climate Change and Wildlife

Some of the greatest casualties of climate change are other species. As we've seen with stronger storms, coastal flooding and major heat waves, several species are already experiencing changes to their habitat, migration patterns, or livability. This panel will focus on strategies to build resilience and maintain biodiversity. Looking at wildlife from a DC perspective, we'll talk about key strategies for institutions and individuals to make urban settings more livable for wildlife.

  • Max Broad, President Founder, DC Voters for Animals Ed Fund
  • Anne M. Lewis, President, City Wildlife
  • Jim Monsma, Executive Director, City Wildlife

November 19th @ 10:00 AM

Anacostia Park & Community Collaborative Climate Change and Equity Panel

The effects of climate change are becoming more pronounced, including record temperatures, storms, flooding, and more. Join us to hear from local experts about; what we mean by “Climate Change and Equity”; how it affects our communities, especially in Ward 7 and Ward 8; what individuals can do to stay safe; and where Ward 7 and Ward 8 residents can go in the event of an environmental disaster.

  • Brenda Lee Richardson, Anacostia Park & Community Collaborative (moderator)
  • Melissa Deas, Resiliency Officer, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA)
  • Kate Johnson, DOEE, Heat Sensitivity Expert
  • Victor Ukpolo, DOEE, Floodplain Expert
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November 19th @ NOON

City Parks: The Urgent New Front Lines of Climate Resilience

During the pandemic, city parks have become critical lifelines for safe access to nature and community. But the pandemic has also underscored how these green oases can galvanize deeper equitable power to meet and help begin to reverse the climate crisis. These include broad community health and social capital, sustainable housing density made possible by vibrant green spaces for all, local food resilience and security through intense urban agriculture, green workforce development and enterprise, and climate resilience and refuge from urban heat islands. This panel will explore how, as the greenest major city on the North American continent, DC can model for the world using city parks as a pivotal “next big thing” to catalyze far more sweeping change to meet the climate crisis.

  • Steve Coleman, Executive Director & President, Washington Parks & People (moderator)
  • Catherine Nagel, Executive Director, City Parks Alliance
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November 19th @ 2:00 PM

The Next Big Thing with Regional & National Climate Crisis Engagement in DC/MD/VA

Regional collaboration by advocates on climate crisis policy development has driven successes in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. The Chesapeake Climate Action Network team and regional partners will broaden the lens to discuss climate crisis initiatives in the region and nationally. We will explore how to use our local and regional power to drive national climate crisis policy.  

  • Doug Siglin, DC Coordinator, CCAN (moderator)
  • Mike Tidwell, Executive Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
  • Timothy Oberleiton, Senior Attorney, Right to Zero, Earthjustice
  • Quentin Scott, Federal Campaign Coordinator, CCAN

All are welcome. Register and start your climate crisis engagement today!