Now Reading: The Sustainable DC Plan

If your community has a sustainability plan, you should read it. This the plan for the city I live in, Washington, DC, USA, and it’s terrific. I discovered it a few months ago while taking a course on climate change literacy (see: Now Analyzing: Temperature and snowfall data for Washington, DC, Implications for Health | Ted Eytan, MD) And I was immediately drawn to it, not just because of our Mayor’s (@mayorvincegray) vision:

‘In just one generation – 20 years – the District of Columbia will be the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States. An international destination for people and investment, the District will be a model of innovative policies and practices that improve quality of life and economic opportunity. We will demonstrate how enhancing our natural and built environments, investing in a diverse clean economy, and reducing disparities among residents can create an educated, equitable and prosperous society.’


  • It considers “sustainability” broadly – not just mitigating climate change, energy, water, air quality, etc but all the things that will keep a city around for generations, like equity and diversity, health and wellness, jobs and the economy
  • It’s accessible, easy to follow, kind of like a guide to how our city can thrive
  • There’s a neat online green dashboard as well, that shows where we need to improve (air quality, landfill diversion)
  • It really feels like it was written by the people of Washington, DC, and it kind of was
  • There’s a resident-friendly web site that goes along with the plan at ( and twitter at @sustainDC )
  • Wherever I walk I can see the plan being put into action – from anti-idling technology on our police cars to the urban forest being planted around us

I of course have the photographs to prove it:

I’ve clipped out a few pages from the plan to get a sense of what it covers. I’m proud to say I am car-less, purchase renewable energy certificates, work for an organization that does the same, and regularly celebrate the diversity of our city. It’s all related, and it’s great to be in a place where people believe it’s all related with me.


Ted Eytan, MD