Looking up through very green leaves of tall tree
This past summer saw a series of extreme climate events in the Northern hemisphere and around the world. June seemed more like July, and searing heat and extreme rainfalls hit parts of the country, while water shortages and devastating fires hit others. A recent study from the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science predicts that DC will feel like Mississippi within a generation if we don’t slow climate change. We are also becoming more aware that environmental and social challenges intersect.
environmental and social justice are intertwined
Extreme heat hits vulnerable communities hardest, whether residents live in buildings with poor ventilation, are reluctant to spend scarce resources on air conditioning (if it is even available), are elderly, isolated, or have chronic health problems that make them unable to access help. At the highest level, rejoining the Paris Accords is a step in the right direction, but largely, the burden falls on grassroots environmental efforts, combined with grassroots social service efforts – like the ones featured in this Catalogue. And in truth, local nonprofits have the vision and plans to engage the communities most affected by the health of rivers, streams, water, and air, and they see the intersection between environmental health and the health of a community. After all, drinkable water, swimmable and fishable rivers and streams, breathable air, land on which crops can grow without flooding, and cohesive communities in which people know about and care about each other – all these affect the health, livelihood, and lives of our neighbors: environmental justice and social justice are inextricably intertwined. When individuals and groups are empowered to come together, they create healthier communities for generations to come and build their own power as engaged participants in a safer, and often more sustaining, natural world.
People on a boat tour
Courtesy of Anacostia Riverkeeper

anacostia riverkeeper

An 8.5-mile-long tidal river within a 176-square-mile watershed, the Anacostia River is home to nearly one million people who live either directly on it or on one of its many connected streams. Working toward a clean, healthy, swimmable, fishable river means enforcing existing environmental laws, working on better ones, building public awareness of environmental and health issues, and creating programs that focus on pollution prevention and cleanup. Friday Night Fishing, educational boat tours, service opportunities that foster ownership in the river for watershed residents, citizen water quality monitoring, and opportunities for residents to weigh in on important policy matters that will impact the future – all are framed around questions of equitable access to the river, equal representation in watershed issues for marginalized communities, and ensuring that the health of the river works for the health of its communities.
wish list $100: trash bags, gloves, grabbers, supplies for river cleanups; $500: trees to beautify under-resourced communities; $1000: Spanish language radio PSA
Suzanne Kelly,
Acting President
515 M Street SE, Suite 218
Washington, DC 20003
Tel 240 605 7077


wish list $100: trash bags, gloves, grabbers, supplies for river cleanups; $500: trees to beautify under-resourced communities; $1000: Spanish language radio PSA
Ruby Stemmle, CEO
5836 Dewey Street
Cheverly, MD 20785
Tel 240 564 1256
From its inception, ecoLatinos was designed to encourage more members of the region’s fast-growing Hispanic community to take action to protect the environment and improve local green spaces. It specializes in effective, culturally sensitive work with the Spanish-speaking residents of the Chesapeake Bay region and builds a bridge that unites Hispanics with other environmentalists. Latino
consulting services, customized Spanish educational campaigns, culturally appropriate bilingual field outreach teams, and access to a vast network of Latino-led organizations, businesses, churches, and community leaders, forge a powerful alliance for environmental justice and stewardship. Working with the Hispanic community, ecoLatinos encourages members to enjoy nature while keeping waterways free of trash. Its green career-training program offers an early introduction to best management practices. The vision is social and environmental justice through engagement, education, and activism across the Chesapeake Bay.
potomac conservancy
wish list $100: planting & care of 3 native trees for 3 years; $500: training & materials for 3 volunteer leaders; $1000: trash bags & gloves to remove 10,000 pounds of trash
Hedrick Belin,
962 Wayne Avenue, Suite 540
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel 301 608 1188
For centuries, the Potomac has been an anchor for our region’s identity – and the source of 90% of its drinking water. The wildest river running through an urban area, it is home to more than 200 rare species and natural communities. But rapid population growth – and associated urban sprawl – has led to an increase in river and stream pollution. Potomac Conservancy provides effective, long-term conservation solutions: permanently protecting land from development (thereby preventing future pollution), and building a coalition of advocates for smart urban growth and river-friendly policies. Thousands of volunteers in its Community Conservation program engage in hands-on restoration, raise awareness, inspire action, and encourage their friends and family to get involved. Tree plantings, river cleanups, seed collections, and other hands-on activities improve the local environment and empower individuals to leave a healthier, cleaner legacy for generations to come.
ecoaction arlington
wish list $100: a hands-on or virtual presentation for 25 students; $500: trash bags and gloves for 3 cleanup projects; $1000: LED bulbs, sealants, and low-flow shower heads for 25 families
Elenor Hodges,
Executive Director
3308 South Stafford Street
Arlington, VA 22206
Tel 703 228 6427
Climate change, air and water pollution, and habitat degradation are urgent issues that require action, not only at the global but also at the local level. At EcoAction Arlington, local residents participate in stream cleanups, invasive plant removals, and storm drain markings; well over 2,000 students gain hands-on training in sustainable environmental practices; high school seniors create energy conservation activities for elementary students; Energy Masters volunteers make tangible improvements to reduce energy use/emissions in affordable housing units (a real benefit to families). The Tree Canopy Fund plants trees on private property thereby increasing Arlington’s tree canopy, and Straw Free Arlington engages restaurants in reducing the consumption of single-use plastic – a benefit to shores and sea creatures alike. Volunteer engagement is critical throughout – because engaging residents in the creation of a sustainable environment is what our planet, and our community, requires.