Why is the Sierra Club, an environmental group, interested in encouraging economic development in the city? The most straightforward answer is that if we can restore and improve the neighborhoods where we already live, we can spare the rapidly disappearing wilderness, parks, and farms in our region from becoming another suburban subdivision... We can preserve wilderness and parkland—inside the city and out—by building a better District of Columbia and providing economic opportunity for its residents... While it is easier to simply stop a harmful project, the real rewards come from finding solutions that better serve the city. - "Restore the Core"
The Chapter’s Smart Growth Committee volunteers are working together for a better city and region -– one where the built environment allows people to live, work, play, and travel with minimal impact upon the planet's air, water, and soil.
The committee advocates for more environmentally friendly transportation options and development patterns in the District and the region, working with other Sierra Club chapters and advocacy organizations in the region to influence the D.C. government, Metro officials, and other decision makers. In recent years, the committee has been a leader in advancing progress on D.C.’s streetcar network, advocating for transit-oriented developments, and pressing for more trails like the Metropolitan Branch Trail.
Unlike other advocacy groups in this region, the Sierra Club directly engages in District elections.
Current priorities include advancing necessary transit links like the crosstown streetcar line, implementing the Sustainable DC Plan and its transportation companion moveDC, and researching and advocating for leading-edge environmental standards to ensure that new development restores local ecosystems.
To find out how you can help advocate for the city’s transit network, secure reliable funding for Metro, make streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, and set high standards for sustainable development in the District, please contact the Smart Growth committee chair, or join us at our monthly* meetings: second Wednesdays, 7 PM, at the Sierra Club's F Street offices.
Did you know? The DC Chapter began its advocacy for Smart Growth with the "Restore the Core" campaign in 1997. We were one of the first chapters to endorse the Sierra Club's Neighborhood Principles for Smart Growth, recognizing that "Sprawl and Smart Growth are issues powerfully entwined with social justice."
Did you know? Every single day for the past generation, over 100 acres of forests -- an area larger than Theodore Roosevelt Island -- have been cut down within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, mostly for development. Smart growth, including infill development, is absolutely essential to halt the sprawl that imperils local wildlife, our own drinking water quality, and the world's climate.
* Except December, when we meet at Chapter's holiday party.