The Capital of a Clean World?

Hello from the sunny side of the Cloud! I hope all is well in your part of the world.

In my most recent blogs, I’ve been reviewing the green credentials of cities that I visit. I’ve been doing this to raise awareness about the importance of preserving our world. This time, I’m visiting Washington D.C., the capital of the United States of America.

Senate-Washington

Home of the Senate and House of Representatives

Washington is a beautiful city, full of history, and is a seat of global power. It is also a city struggling with an uncertain climate future. Washington was late to take positive action to address climate change. Just this summer (2019), D.C. had fourteen ‘Orange Days’ when the air quality was particularly low. In fact, Washington’s air quality is one of the worst in the United States and consequently in the world. One Federal Government study claims that 9.7 million people are at risk from the air quality in the immediate region.

I think that Washington should be a shining example of greenness just like it is an example for freedom and prosperity around the world. So how does the ‘Capital of the Free World’ find itself so heavily polluted? The answer to this question is complex. First of all, Washington D.C. is administered by the Congress of the USA. All city services and plans; including police and fire services, and even trash collection are controlled by acts of Congress. Under partisan conditions, it can be difficult for parties to agree on anything and, unfortunately, the nation’s capital is at the mercy of their disagreements. More importantly, Congress, as the administrators are not really residents of Washington. They live outside of the federal district in comfortable suburbs when they are not back in their home states. Finally, the environmental focus is greatly influenced by the policy of the government in power. The current chief executive is an admitted climate sceptic, and this affects the administration of the federal district.

Not all of the environmental story is bad. In 2013, the Mayor of Washington D.C. announced its “Sustainable D.C.” plan to improve the environment and plan for climate change. The aim of the plan is lofty;  to make Washington “the healthiest, greenest and most liveable city in the United States in one generation.”
WASHINGTON - Monument

The Washington Monument built in memory of George Washington

The plans has specific actions to improve the environment, reduce energy consumption, improve food quality, renew nature, make transportation more sustainable, reduce waste and improve water quality. These are important goals and I wish them well.

M Luther King

We all should have Dreams!

For all of its environmental issues, Washington D.C. is a truly beautiful city. The Mall is the focal point of the federal district with the nation’s capital at the east end and the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial at the west end. In the middle of the Mall is the Washington Monument. Straight north from the Washington Monument is the Ellipse and the White House while straight south is the Jefferson Memorial. Surrounding the Mall to the east of the Washington Monument are important buildings including several halls of the Smithsonian Museum. Meanwhile, the west end of the Mall is dedicated to national memorials. In addition to the Lincoln Memorial, there is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Albert Einstein Memorial.

Most tourists visit the Mall and occasionally visit the surrounding government district. There are interesting attractions like Ford’s Theatre, where President Lincoln was shot, the National Geographic Museum, the campus of George Washington University and the Watergate Complex. Both the White House and Lafayette Park across the street are interesting places to visit. Across the Potomac River are important sites like the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. Washington celebrates the history and power of the entire United States.

Here’s a pro-tip: there are numerous Hop-on/Hop-off buses in Washington D.C. serving all of the major sites. These are a greener way to beat the traffic and crowds and have a scenic view of the federal district. Just jump off the bus at any interesting location and jump back on the next one that comes by after you’ve enjoyed the site.

Capitol Hill – Washington DC

Capitol Hill – Washington DC

Visiting Washington is easy. Dulles is the international airport while Ronald Regan Airport serves domestic cities and is close to downtown. Baltimore Airport is an alternative for the surrounding area. Public transportation is readily available with the subway and also an extensive bus system.

Lincoln-Memorial

Washington’s Memorial to its 16th President Abraham Lincoln

All major hotels offer extensive properties around the federal district. They are often busy, however, so booking ahead is important. This includes iconic properties like the Mayflower Hotel and the Jefferson Hotel. You may consider staying outside of the District of Columbia for lower priced options. The neighbourhoods around the federal district are where most of the government workers live. This includes Bethesda, Arlington, Alexandria, Fort Washington and Georgetown amongst others.

These historic communities are lively with restaurants, pubs, markets and malls. These are a good place to stay because they offer more life after-hours than the federal district.

There are excellent restaurants to fit any taste and budget. I especially like the Capital Grille on Pennsylvania Avenue because it is a fun place for great food and to see the nation’s leaders enjoy a meal. The Old Ebbit Grill is another historic landmark that is close to the White House and a great place to relive the historic past of this great city.

 

I hope you enjoy your visit to Washington D.C. While you are there, encourage world leaders to think green for a brighter future!

 

Love

 

Isabella

 

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: The White House, The Reflecting Pool & Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the many other memorial sites of interest on the west end of the Mall. National Geographic Museum and the Pentagon. The sight-seeing hop on hop off it the perfect way to get around (https://washington.org/, https://www.sightseeingpass.com/en/washington-dc)

Where to stay: Lots of accommodation as you’d expect in the capital, all budgets catered for.  I recommend the Mayflower Hotel & The Jefferson Hotel (https://www.marriott.com/, https://www.jeffersondc.com/)

Where to party: Best drinking holes are in Capitol Hill & for great food and drinking try the cosmopolitan Dupont Circle neighbourhood

Where to eat: Neighbouring districts have lively bars, food and after-hours nightlife.  Try Capital Grille or The Old Ebbit Grill (https://www.thecapitalgrille.com/,  https://www.ebbitt.com/)

What to buy: How about an FBI sweatshirt, White House Ornaments and some shopping mall splurges!

Let’s go to the Mall!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: The White House, The Reflecting Pool & Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the many other memorial sites of interest on the west end of the Mall. National Geographic Museum and the Pentagon. The sight-seeing hop on hop off it the perfect way to get around (https://washington.org/, https://www.sightseeingpass.com/en/washington-dc)

Where to stay: Lots of accommodation as you’d expect in the capital, all budgets catered for.  I recommend the Mayflower Hotel & The Jefferson Hotel (https://www.marriott.com/, https://www.jeffersondc.com/)

Where to party: Best drinking holes are in Capitol Hill & for great food and drinking try the cosmopolitan Dupont Circle neighbourhood

Where to eat: Neighbouring districts have lively bars, food and after-hours nightlife.  Try Capital Grille or The Old Ebbit Grill (https://www.thecapitalgrille.com/,  https://www.ebbitt.com/)

What to buy: How about an FBI sweatshirt, White House Ornaments and some shopping mall splurges!

Let’s go to the Mall!

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