conservation


BG_FCF_farmtour_logo.finalby Jennifer Roe

Bethesda Green’s 3rd annual Farm Tour is almost here! This is a great opportunity to learn about the importance of connecting with local farms and building a local, healthy, sustainable food system in our region.

So, what is a food system? It is defined by all the steps necessary to produce and feed a population — from agricultural rearing, growing, and harvesting; to processing, packaging, transporting, distributing, marketing, preparing, consuming and disposing of food.

Over recent decades, food systems have become dominated by large corporations and monocropping. They have become increasingly resource intensive and global as food products travel further distances to meet consumer demand. As a result, the environment feels more pressure in terms of habitat loss/change, climate change, resource depletion, water pollution and toxic emissions.  Our current food production system is extremely inefficient, wasting a high percentage of natural resources and polluting our ecosystems.

According to a recent report authored by Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Dana Gunders, “Waste: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill,” food production from farm to table uses 10% of the total U.S. energy budget, 50% of our land, and 80% of the freshwater we consume.  From these statistics, it is clear that agricultural production has a huge impact on our planet.

So let’s learn about one part of our food system and understand why we need to preserve local farms that are implementing sustainable agricultural practices.  Reserve your spot here.  By the end of the day, we hope you will better understand our current food system and be inspire to support local, sustainable agriculture whenever possible.

Jennifer Roe is a recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh where she received her Master’s in Environment and Development.  She is passionate about building a just and sustainable food system where every individual has the opportunity to lead a successful, healthy life.

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by Susanna ParkerBGnews_logo.

Rock Creek’s Deer Population Causes Dissent

Rock Creek Park has a deer problem. The deer population, which is approximately 73 deer per square mile, is wreaking havoc on the native flora, resulting in a loss of biodiversity. When deer populations become too big for their territory, the resulting competition for food causes the deer to go after tree seedlings, along with their preferred diet of native, low-lying vegetation and underbrush. The loss of tree seedlings and native vegetation allow invasive vegetation to take hold, and the forest begins to degrade. When deer populations are at a more reasonable ratio, such as 25 per square mile, enough seedlings survive that they can replace old trees as they die, and the forest is preserved. The problem Rock Creek Park and the National Park Service face is the method they should use to achieve that optimal population.

Many, including the National Park Service, believe that controlled hunting is the best way to control the deer population. With a closely followed program, sharpshooters could reduce the deer population to manageable and sustainable levels within 2 years. The Humane Society of the United States strongly opposes the plan, calling it a “wasteful killing program.” They advocate for, and have offered to pay half the cost of, a program of administered birth control. Unfortunately the suggested vaccine does not meet the Park Service’s requirements for birth-control agents, and may in fact increase the deer’s breeding season, resulting in late-season births and increased fawn mortality. While similar birth-control programs have been successful in other parks, such as Assateague Island, the Park Service plans to go ahead with the controlled hunting. Nick Bartolomeo, the park’s chief of resource management, points out that while large predators roamed the park many years ago, “[they] wouldn’t be tolerated if they were here, so we have to take action.”

For the full article and infographics on deer population, visit The Washington Post.

Apply for a Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award!

Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award winners are recognized for their strong commitment to sustainable practices, measurable results, and continual improvement. Gain recognition within your community, your organization and among peer institutions by applying for an award today. Leadership Winners are presented with a certificate, receive recognition through press and social media, notification to elected officials, and will be featured in a video. Just share five environmental practices and one measurable result that you employ in your office space and in your organization’s activities and events. Click on the link below to download the application. Applications are due April 30, 2013.

Maryland Green Registry Application

Upcoming Bethesda Green Events

  • Developing an Investor Package, Bethesda Green Finance Workshop Series for Green Businesses. April 25, 8 am – 10 am, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200.

In the fifth installment of the Bethesda Green Finance Workshop series, our panel will discuss approaching investors with a solid plan for success. Investors often require documentation of concrete business plans, including documents geared toward each stage of engagement, “teasers,” and detailed descriptions of business and financial models. The panel, featuring Joseph Chirico of Capital One, Barry Michael of Focus Investment Banking, and Cheryl Heusser of Snyder Cohn, will address both how to develop these documents, and how to use them effectively. Admission is $15; please RSVP to rsynder@bethesdagreen.org.

  • Greening the National Capital Region: The Commercial Real Estate Commitment to Building Green, Tuesday, April 30, 5:30 pm – 8 pm, 7550 Wisconsin Avenue.

Bethesda Green is currently launching a Green Building and Sustainable Development seminar series to help participants understand green trends impacting the commercial building sector. To kick off the series, Bethesda Green has partnered with NAIOP MD/DC to highlight Bethesda’s newest commercial office building: Akridge’s 7550 Wisconsin Avenue. Come tour the building, see the green infrastructure, and network with those passionate about sustainable development in Bethesda. Admission is $30, and includes light fare, beer & wine. Please RSVP to Sharon D’Emidio at sharon@bethesdagreen.org by Thursday, April 25.

  • Bethesda Green’s Fourth Annual Solar & Green Home Expo, Saturday May 11, 10am – 3pm, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200.

Join us for our fourth annual Solar & Green Home Expo, an information-packed showcase event featuring many green home expert services and solar providers. The goal of this event is to provide homeowners and other interested parties an opportunity to get the latest information about area services and incentives to green their homes. Local area green home businesses will display their services throughout the Bethesda Green office space while individual workshops related to greening your home will be conducted throughout the day. To learn more about this free community event, visit the event page here.

Upcoming Partner Events

  • GreenWheaton’s Green Drinks Networking Happy Hour, Thursday April 25, 5 pm – 8 pm, Limerick Pub, 11301 Elkin Street, Wheaton

Join GreenWheaton and local environmentalists for an evening of networking and casual conversation. This month’s special guest is Reuven Walder of Ecobeco, who will be discussing energy efficiency initiatives and incentives for home and business.

  • The Green Network of Montgomery County’s Damascus Wastewater Treatment Tour, Saturday April 27, 10 am – 2 pm, 23730 Log House Road, Damascus

For the first time, the Damascus Wastewater Treatment Plant will be open for public tours! Join members of the Green Network of Montgomery County to explore the plant. Winner of numerous awards, the tour will provide you with the opportunity to see how Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission treats your water. For more details, visit their Meetup page here.

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.

by Susanna Parker

Puerto Rico’s Northeast Ecological Corridor Declared Protected Land BGnews_logo

On Saturday, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed a law to protect a 2,900 acre site that is the top nesting site for the endangered leatherback turtle. The land, known as the Northeast Ecological Corridor is an ecologically diverse area, containing the leatherback nesting site, bioluminescent bays, and more than 861 types of flora and fauna. The variety is due to the unique diversity of the land itself, which features all ecosystems found in Puerto Rico, which range from a subtropical dry forest to the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. Forest system. The area is also host to at least 50 rare or threatened species, included a recently spotted limpkin – a bird that hadn’t been seen since the 1950s.

The law marks the end of a 15-year battle between environmentalists and developers. Several years ago then-governor Anibal Acevedo Vila attempted to create legal protection from the area, but faced opposition from senators. His successor Luis Fortuno went the opposite direction and issued an order allowing for the large-scale development of the land. However, none of the submitted projects gained permits, and the land remains undeveloped. While the law has declared the land protected, the government still needs to complete the purchase of privately held land in the corridor – approximately 35% of the protected area is private. Puerto Rico eventually hopes to protect 16% of its land, up from the 8% that is currently designated for conservation.

To learn more about the Northeast Ecological Corridor, please read the full Huffington Post article here.

EPA Delays Climate Rule for New Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency has delayed their implementation of the first-ever greenhouse gas limits on new power plants. The rule, which was to go into effect April 13, is still undergoing revision and review. EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson said that the agency is still reviewing over 2 million comments on the proposal. The proposed rule would require any new power plant to emit less than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of energy produced. The limit would not be a hardship on natural gas power plants, which average emissions of 850 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. Coal-powered plants, however, emit an average of 1,786 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour; opposition to the rule is likely to come from the coal industry. Insiders say that the delay is partially to make sure that the rule could withstand a legal challenge, as well as to allow the EPA to bolster their legal case for imposing new carbon restrictions.

To learn more, please read the full Washington Post article here.

13 Oil Spills in the Last 30 Days

While the spills in Mayflower, Arkansas and Houston, Texas have been getting all the attention, The Huffington Post points out that there have been 13 total oil spills, on three continents, within the last 30 days. Heather Libby, Managing Editor of Tcktcktck.org, created an infographic on the spills, delineating their location, spill type, and volume. Crude oil and tar sands oil make up over 90% of the oil spilled, with the rest being made up of tailing pond waste fluid, hydraulic fluid, and condensate. In total, oil companies in North and South America released over 1 million barrels of oil and toxic waste over the last 30 days. To learn more about the spills and see the infographic, please visit The Huffington Post.

Upcoming Bethesda Green Events

  • Developing an Investor Package, Bethesda Green Finance Workshop Series for Green Businesses. April 25, 8 am – 10 am, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200.

In the fifth installment of the Bethesda Green Finance Workshop series, our panel will discuss approaching investors with a solid plan for success. Investors often require documentation of concrete business plans, including documents geared toward each stage of engagement, “teasers”, and detailed descriptions of business and financial models. The panel, featuring Joseph Chirico of Capital One, Barry Michael of Focus Investment Banking, and Cheryl Heusser of Snyder Cohn, will address both how to develop these documents, and how to use them effectively. Admission is $15; please RSVP to rsynder@bethesdagreen.org.

  • Greening the National Capital Region: The Commercial Real Estate Commitment to Building Green, Wednesday April 30, 5:30 pm – 8 pm, 7550 Wisconsin Avenue.

Bethesda Green is currently launching a Green Building and Sustainable Development seminar series to help participants understand green trends impacting the commercial building sector. To kick off the series, Bethesda Green has partnered with NAIOP MD/DC to highlight Bethesda’s newest commercial office building: Akridge’s 7550 Wisconsin Avenue. Come tour the building, see the green infrastructure, and network with those passionate about sustainable development in Bethesda. Admission is $30, and includes light fare, beer & wine. Please RSVP to Sharon D’Emidio at sharon@bethesdagreen.org by Thursday, April 25th.

  • Bethesda Green’s Fourth Annual Solar & Green Home Expo, Saturday May 11, 10am – 3pm, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200.

Join us for our fourth annual Solar & Green Home Expo, an information-packed showcase event featuring many green home expert services and solar providers. The goal of this event is to provide homeowners and other interested parties an opportunity to get the latest information about area services and incentives to green their homes. Local area green home businesses will display their services throughout the Bethesda Green office space while individual workshops related to greening your home will be conducted throughout the day. To learn more about this free community event, visit the event page here.

Upcoming Partner Events

  • Electronic Recycling Event! Sunday April 21, noon – 4pm, Wheaton High School, 12601 Dalewood Drive

Join GreenWheaton and the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection to celebrate Earth Day and recycle your unwanted electronics. You can do some Spring Cleaning, and not worry that your old cell phones or laptops will end up in a landfill! Acceptable items include: computers, printers, CDs, TVs, all plug-in appliances, and more. For the the full list, please visit Montgomery County’s website. If you’re recycling your old Apple or Mac, visit the Mac Recycle Clinic across from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring.

  • Free Screening of BIDDER 70, Monday April 22, 7pm, Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring, 10309 New Hampshire Avenue.

Did you miss Bidder 70 during the Environmental Film Festival? Well here’s your second chance to watch! Presented by Sister Eden, and co-sponsored by Mark Leisher Productions, Bethesda Green, Silver Spring Green, GreenWheaton, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring, this event will celebrate Earth Day, honor Tim DeChristopher’s actions, and raise awareness of the environmental activism movement. Tickets are not required, but donations are accepted at the door. For more on the event and the film, visit http://sistereden.com/bidder70/

  • Arbor Day Tree Planting at Bethesda Library, Friday April 26, 11 am

Join Conservation Montgomery and MC Department of General Services in celebrating Arbor Day at the Bethesda Library. In the continued work to preserve urban green spaces, Conservation Montgomery will be planting two native trees on library grounds; a yellowwood and a dogwood, both trees native to this region. Come support local efforts to green and beautify the library, and peruse the special book displays that will be set up for the occasion.

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.

by Susanna Parker

Climate Change Could Cause Major Shift in Coral Reef Communities BGnews_logo

Climate change and the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may result in conditions less favorable to reef building stony corals. The buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has had the effect of increasing oceanic acidity worldwide. When carbon dioxide reacts with water, atmospheric carbon dioxide transforms to carbonic acid. That acid damages hard corals, which secrete calcium carbonate to form a protective outer shell. Softer corals, cousins to the reef building corals, lack the hard outer skeleton that is damaged when the water turns acidic. The changing conditions could lead to a change in the makeup of coral communities. When you combine the less favorable conditions with the softer corals’ ability for rapid colonization, softer corals may out-compete hard corals.

Stony corals are an important member of the underwater ecosystem. Their protective outer layers help provide shelter and habitats for many reef organisms, such as clownfish. Though it covers less than 1 percent of the ocean floor, hard coral reefs support about 25 percent of all marine life. Soft corals do not provide the same shelter to marine organisms, and their dominance could result in a major shift in the underwater environment.

For more information about carbon dioxide and coral reefs, please read the full Huffington Post article.

Obama to Designate Five New National Monuments

Sources from several prominent environmental groups say that President Obama will designate five new national monuments, including one in Maryland commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railway. The other four monuments are the First State National Monument in Delaware and Pennsylvania, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, Washington state’s San Juan Islands National Monument, and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio. The Antiquities Act, which allows the president to protect federal lands without congressional approval, was rarely invoked by President Obama during his first term. After an internal Interior Department list of potential monument sites became public, House Republicans threatened to repeal the act. Obama therefore kept his first four national monument designations to areas of cultural or historical significance.

Two of Obama’s new designations – San Juan Islands and Rio Grande del Norte – are ecologically valuable. Environmentalists have shown vocal support the president’s move, and local communities near all five monuments support additional federal protections. In Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley, and Democratic Senators Barbara Milkulski and Ben Cardin had all lobbied President Obama to establish a monument commemorating Harriet Tubman’s work. Brian O’Donnell, the executive director of the Conservation Lands Foundation, praised Obama’s actions, saying “…we are grateful for President Obama’s leadership in advancing conservation at a time when it’s desperately needed.”

For more information, please read the full Washington Post article here.

Upcoming Green Events

  • Bethesda Green Finance Workshop Series for Green Business, “Due Diligence: Evaluating a Potential Investment”, Thursday March 28, 8am – 10am, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Second Floor

The fourth installment in Bethesda Green’s Finance Workshop Series will address the substance and process of the due diligence investment evaluation. Advice will also be given on how entrepreneurs should conduct due diligence on the potential investor. Speakers include John May of New Vantage Partners, Mahesh Konduru of Potomac Energy Fund, and David Levine of Geostellar. For more information, and to RSVP, please visit Bethesda Green’s Program Page.

  • Non-Native Invasive Plant Removal Class, Wednesday April 3, 6:30pm – 9pm, 3030 12th Street NE

Join Rock Creek Conservancy and Casey Trees for an educational session on non-native invasive plants. Learn how to identify and control species of non-native invasive plants, including garlic mustard, mile-a-minute, and bush honeysuckle. Once you’ve learned all about invasive plants, you’ll be ready for the Rock Creek Clean-up on Saturday April 6th! For more information, and to RSVP, please visit here.

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.

by Susanna Parker

Orin Schepps, CEO of Consultance Accounting Services, is no stranger to community involvement. His company has a longstanding commitment to both corporate and personal social responsibility, supporting a variety of nonprofit organizations with missions that include promoting theater and cultural arts, protecting DC’s water supply, and Consultance Accounting Serviceshelping restore tree cover to communities around the world. In addition to providing pro-bono financial guidance and bookkeeping services to Bethesda Green and other groups, the firm donates 5 percent of its fees to qualified nonprofit organizations of their clients’ choosing.

Orin got involved with Bethesda Green after hearing about its mission and approached Executive Director Dave Feldman with his offer of help. The relationship has been meaningful on both sides, leading to new associations and further involvement in the local green business community. Consultance Accounting Services does more than just support green business – they have adopted green practices as well.

Despite handling 180,000 pieces of documentation, Consultance uses a paperless system for all their bookkeeping and accounting services, saving trees and conserving resources.  They do more than work in a paperless environment – all of Consultance’s services are offered remotely, allowing each employee to work from home, reducing gasoline usage and cutting emissions to the environment. Consultance Accounting Services also helps its clients to go green, assisting them in their changeover to paperless processing for their accounting and bookkeeping needs.

In addition to adopting more green practices in Consultance’s future, Orin has hopes that more firms in the accounting industry and other businesses in general will go paperless. He explains that, with technology that is readily available, paper files are needed less and less in today’s business world. With nearly 4 billion trees cut down annually, just for paper, imagine the positive impact on the environment if all businesses went paperless.

Consultance Accounting Services offers accounting, bookkeeping, comptroller, and CFO services for businesses and nonprofit organizations. Visit their website at http://consultancellc.com

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.