by Susanna Parker

Committing to Sustainability BGnews_logo

Zack Kline, whose company A.I.R. Lawn Care is a member of the Bethesda Green Incubator, has decided to make sustainability his full-time job. Two weeks ago, Zack quit his former job at a payroll company in order to focus on getting A.I.R. Lawn Care on the map. The landscaping company is different from most others due to Zack’s eco-friendly methods. A solar panel mounted on the company truck charges the electric blowers, mowers, and trimmers that he uses to transform neighborhood lawns. Unlike conventional equipment, Zack’s don’t emit either noise pollution or gas fumes, which is especially appreciated during the hot Washington summers. Zack plans to focus on growing his business and cornering the market on eco-friendly lawn care. To learn more about Zack and his company, read Aaron Kraut’s full story on Bethesda Now.

Multiple Oil Disasters Throw a Shadow on the Keystone XL Pipeline

The Exxon Pegasus pipeline incident is not the only spill that has occurred in recent weeks. The same day of the Pegasus spill, the West Columbia Pipeline, operated by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, was reported to have a potential release of 700 barrels of crude oil. The release, which equals nearly 30,000 gallons, was detected by the U.S. National Response Center. Last Thursday, Coast Guard representatives confirmed that at least 50 barrels of oil had entered into Vince Bayou, a waterway connected to the Gulf of Mexico.

The spill is only the most recent in a series of oil disasters. The Arkansas incident is ongoing, with residents still evacuated from their homes as clean-up workers attempt to clear oil from the small town. Additionally, two rail car derailments in Minnesota and Canada released a combined spill of almost 50,000 gallons. These multiple disasters are giving backing to those who protest the potential Keystone XL pipeline. Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, said “Transporting toxic crude oil – and tar sands in particular – is inherently dangerous… This is why Keystone XL… must never be built.”

To learn more about the Texas spill, read Carol Linnitt’s article on DeSmog Canada.

Beekeeper Draws Attention to Colony Collapse

Darren Cox, the national beekeeper of the year, is attempting to use his status to raise awareness of the plight of the honey bee. In a Huffington Post article, Cox explains that colony collapse disorder affects honey bee hives, causing the bees to suddenly disappear and die. The disease is spreading nationwide, and regularly destroys colonies at a rate of 30% a year. However, 2012 saw an extreme rise in bee death, and Cox reported 70% die-off in his hives. Before colony collapse disorder became so widespread, bee death generally held steady at 15%, usually caused by pests and diseases. No one has discovered the cause of colony collapse disorder, but scientists point to a combination of pesticide contamination, poor nutrition, and bee diseases.

Colony collapse disorder has the potential to wreak havoc on the nation’s food supply. Honey bees are the main pollinators of our agricultural crops, and a dramatic population decline could have a major, negative effect on crop output. The cost of having humans do the work that bees do naturally, for free, would be staggering, and the effects would be felt worldwide.

There are ways to mitigate the disorder. Cox urges farmers to spray pesticides at night, when bees are less active, while homeowners and gardeners are encouraged to grow a variety of pollinator-friendly plants, which will provide food and habitat for honey bees.

Upcoming Green Events

  • Learn About SCRAP DC, Tuesday, April 9, 7:30 – 9 pm, Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200

SCRAP DC is a small “creative reuse” nonprofit that diverts useable stuff from local waste streams, affordably offering it for arts, crafts, and education. Join its co-directors for an information session at Bethesda Green. Come hear what SCRAP’s been up to, discuss activities you might do together, and envision bringing a SCRAP location to Maryland.

  • Cleantech Open Briefing, Wednesday, April 10, noon – 1:30 pm, Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue

Join us for a business and informational lunch briefing in support of the Cleantech Open with special remarks from Joshua C. Greene, Southeast Regional Director. Lunch and refreshments to be served. To RSVP, email Robert Snyder,, or call 240-396-2440 x-103.

  • Take a Bite Out of ALS with Gator Ron’s, Sunday, April 14, 11:45 am – 2:30 pm, BlackFinn, 4901 Fairmont Avenue, Bethesda

Support Gator Ron’s, a Bethesda Green incubator company, as it launches a partnership with BlackFinn. Enjoy Gator Ron’s zesty sauces and Bloody Mary mixes. Proceeds help support ALS research.

  • Home Energy Workshop in Bethesda, Sunday April 14, 1 – 2:30 pm, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, 9601 Cedar Lane

This Saturday, Interfaith Power and Light will be teaming up with Groundswell and Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church to teach neighborhood homeowners how to save energy at home. Did you know that proper weatherization could save you 15-35% of your heating costs? Learn about this an other ways to save energy, create green jobs, and shrink your carbon footprint! Food and refreshments will be provided by members of Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church. Please RSVP to

  • Green Volunteering: Earth Day, Every Day, Monday April 15, Silver Spring
  1. Tour of Shepherd’s Table, 4 – 4:45 pm, 8210 Dixon Avenue
  2. Green Volunteering Fair, 5 – 6:30 pm, Eggspectation, 923 Ellsworth Drive

Join the Corporate Volunteer Council for our Earth Day, Every Day event in Silver Spring! The afternoon will start with a tour of Shepherd’s Table, which has provided food and services to Montgomery County’s homeless population since 1983. Following the tour, we’ll head over to Eggspectation in Downtown Silver Spring. Learn about green nonprofits in Montgomery County that are focused on environmental stewardship, reuse, recycling, and the protection of natural resources. To learn more about the event, and to register, visit the Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County.

  • Bethesda Big Train Fanfest and Celebrity Softball Classic, Saturday, April 20, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Shirley Povich Field, 10600 Westlake Drive, Bethesda, MD 20817
Bethesda Green supporters take note: For every ticket that is purchased online using the promotional code [GREEN], the buyer will receive 20% off each ticket and Big Train baseball will donate $2 back to Bethesda Green for every ticket purchased! All you have to do is enter the promotional code [GREEN] at the checkout page.
Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.