A close-up photographic perspective of a greenery field filled with pink flowers

Photographer Shawn Bruce, shawnpbruce.com, Courtesy of Common Good City Farm

The Inflation Reduction Act recently passed by Congress represents (despite its name) what former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore called “a historic turning point” and “the single largest investment in climate solutions & environmental justice in US history.” And it couldn’t be timelier. As the US marked the second hottest summer on record (2021 was worse, but the trend isn’t a good one), environmental changes are also showing up locally in the too-early blooming season for cherry blossoms, drought on the one hand and the threat of floods on the other (note the new “High Water Mark” sculpture on the Wharf that illustrates this potential threat).
treat all nature’s gifts with respect
Health and mental health issues caused by extreme heat are especially challenging for those without access to air conditioning and other means of cooling off, and environmental hazards like air pollution are worse in DC’s predominantly Black wards, which include commuter routes like New York Avenue NE and DC 295 (driving is a major source of air pollution). Organizations that protect our natural resources, clean our rivers, care for our watersheds, advocate for green spaces, and cultivate our lands in sustainable ways (while feeding people in the process), are all doing their part to address locally what is, after all, a global challenge. And while caring for the non-human members of our society is not exactly an environmental mandate, the motivating spirit behind both is the same: treat all living things, like all of nature’s gifts, with sensitivity and respect, choosing to preserve rather than hurt or discard them. We are all the beneficiaries of this kind of respect and care.
environment & animal services
A close-up photographic perspective of a girl hugging a dog
Courtesy of Homeless Animals Rescue Team
homeless animals rescue team
The animals come from a variety of sources: they are strays and owner give-ups; they come from puppy mills and hoarding situations; most come from high-kill shelters in neighboring states. Volunteers make weekly trips to distant locations to pick up dogs and cats whom, because of overcrowding, shelters cannot save from euthanasia. HART also takes in dogs and cats after natural disasters as well as those who are transported thousands of miles to be rescued from dangerous circumstances and brought to safety in Northern Virginia. HART is a no-kill rescue shelter providing medical care and adoption of homeless animals into safe, loving, carefully screened homes. It assists local households and animals in its care by conducting a thorough matching process to ensure well-suited adoptions. In 2021, HART saved 789 dogs and cats and made many families feel whole.

wish list $100: slip leads, chew toys, bedding for 3 dogs; $500: 5 months’ boarding for a dog awaiting adoption; $1000: exams, vaccines, tests, spay/neuter for 2 dogs or 3 cats

Patricia Kurowski,
PO Box 7261
Fairfax Station, VA 22039
Tel 202 544 0046
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common good city farm

wish list $100: 1 week of
post-market food donations to a
mutual aid effort; $500: native plants
for the rain garden; $1000: a year’s
worth of staff appreciation activities
Samantha Trumbull,
Executive Director
PO Box 26030
Washington, DC 20001
Tel 202 559 7513
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Common Good combats food insecurity and nurtures the health and well-being of its community, addressing both immediate needs and long-term systemic injustices. The Pay-What-You-Can Farm Stand ensures that all visitors (some 300 families a year) walk away with fresh fruits and vegetables regardless of their ability to pay. Part of a larger effort to redistribute power to the community, Common Good will provide the space, funding, and support for a new Community Fridge & Pantry in the Kelly Miller housing community; residents will decide how it is managed and what items they need most – free food, dry goods, household items, diapers, feminine hygiene products. Farm-based educational sessions, an after-school youth development program, a certificate program in regenerative urban agriculture, and a wide range of community events make the farm a nourishing and uplifting place where neighbors come together.
prince william conservation alliance

wish list $100: 5 native trees for a
wildlife management area; $500:
2 programs by experts on local
environmental issues; $1000: 500
trees in under-resourced neighborhoods

Kim Hosen,
Executive Director
2239N Tackett’s Mill Drive
Lake Ridge, VA 22192
Tel 703 499 4954
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PWCA protects Prince William County’s natural resources, from tidal wetlands along the Potomac River to Bull Run Mountain, while also advocating for smart growth. The key is empowering everyday citizens in this fast-growing suburb to explore, enjoy, and become active stewards of their outdoor community. Tours, talks, festivals, and citizen science programs educate families about local environmental assets and their values. Native plant restoration projects and tree giveaways encourage people to improve wildlife habitats and reclaim the natural health of their suburban backyards. Land use workshops inspire residents to participate actively in planning and development decisions that affect their community: the work has resulted, among other things, in the creation of 40 miles of scenic byways. And PWCA’s advocacy work has resulted in more bike lanes, green spaces, protected public lands – and a higher quality of life.
potomac riverkeep network

wish list $100: trains 4 citizens to identify and report pollution; $500: puts 50 freshwater mussels back in rivers; $1000: supports a year of water patrols investigating pollution

Nancy Stoner,
3070 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20007
Tel 202 888 2037
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Six million residents live along the Potomac and Shenandoah River watershed, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. But instead of a clean and healthy river, they find swimming prohibitions and fish consumption advisories lining the banks. PRKN is a grassroots, on-the-water organization dedicated to fighting pollution and creating healthy rivers and streams. In partnership with pro-bono attorneys, it works to correct violations of environmental law and promote government accountability. A network of community science monitors reports on water quality and PRKN uses their data to direct enforcement and advocacy work – using the legal system to force polluters to clean up their act. Knowing that healthy rivers and healthy communities go hand-in-hand, Potomac Riverkeeper strives to ensure that all 383 miles of our river stay healthy. Clean water should be a right, not a privilege.