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Story Publication logo November 9, 2023

Podcast: The Climate Divide

Washington, DC / USA - July 8, 2019: Torrential rain flooded parts of Washington, DC, stranding cars and causing havoc with traffic.
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Streets in Washington, D.C.'s poorest wards flood regularly, taking a toll on residents.

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Season 2 of “The Climate Divide” examines why some neighborhoods have been overburdened by hazards like pollution, extreme heat and flooding and how these disparities came to be. In a time when both the national and D.C. governments are emphasizing environmental justice, this podcast focuses on the people most affected, who’ve voiced their concerns and advocated for greater environmental justice.


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"The Climate Divide" Season 2: Striving Towards Environmental Justice Trailer

In Season 2, we’ll highlight stories of residents coping with various environmental hazards that are disproportionately located in low income neighborhoods and decipher the real-world impact of big construction projects and government funding.

Episode 1: Heat, Storms and Smoke: Climate Change's Impact on Washington D.C.

In the first episode of season 2, we'll see how climate change may already be affecting D.C. and cover a recently completed tunnel project that is expected to address more intense rain storms. We’ll also set out to explain a climate anomaly that occurred over the summer: smoke from Canadian wildfires that came all the way to the District.

Episode 2: Why a Golf Course Renovation Plan Led to an Outpouring of Support for Trees

In episode 2, we look into a controversial tree-removal proposal for the Rock Creek Park Golf Course. More than 1,200 trees are slated to be removed, and numerous environmental groups have spoken up about finding alternatives to cutting all the trees.

Episode 3: Breaking Down Barriers for Latinos in the Climate Space

There’s recently been a large federal investment in environmental justice. But how does that investment play out? And what does this funding mean for climate organizations in the D.C. area?

In this episode, we feature an interview with Abel Olivo, the co-founder and executive director of Defensores de la Cuenca, a local organization that received $2 million for its tree-planting program. In this conversation, Abel speaks about the origins of Defensores, the process of acquiring these federal funds, and how his organization works to engage the Latino community in its environmental efforts.

Episode 4: How D.C. Got a Clean Rivers Project

D.C. has made a massive investment in improving the health of our rivers and reducing chronic flooding in historically flood-prone areas. Civic action and collaboration with environmental groups played a huge role in shedding light on the contaminated state of the Anacostia River and neighboring communities.

In episode 4, Frazer Walton Jr. lays out the history of activism in his neighborhood, Kingman Park, and other communities on the banks of the Anacostia River. Their advocacy led to the District’s multi-billion dollar overhaul of the storm sewer system through the DC Water Clean Rivers Project.

Episode 5: The State of Climate Action in D.C.

While Mayor Muriel Bowser attended the COP climate summit in Dubai, she released a report that laid out D.C.’s path to achieving carbon neutrality. Episode 5 explains what carbon neutrality means for the District, explores one bill that addresses indoor air pollution from gas stoves and examines the impact the city’s tight budget has had on one key environmental program.

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