film festival


by Dave Feldman

Consider the following water-related facts:
  • 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water but less than 1% is drinkable.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed consists of more than 100,000 streams, creeks and rivers; 18 trillion gallons of water; 11,600 miles of shoreline. It  goes through 6 states and Washington, DC, and is home to 17 million people.
  • A typical individual in the United States uses 80 -100 gallons of water (reports vary) each day.  Over 1 billion people use less than 1.5 gallons a day.
  • On average, women in Africa and Asia walk 3.7 miles to collect water

The numbers tell compelling stories. Water is vital to all life on our planet.

On Saturday, June 14, Bethesda Green and partners Mark Leisher Productions and Journey’s Crossing will hold our third annual Reel Water Film Festival at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club.

This inspiring event will share beautifully produced films about water and explore what is taking place around the world and within our communities. Plus, you’ll hear personal stories directly from many of the filmmakers. Our highlight of the evening is the award-winning feature film DamNation that explores the changes in our national attitudes about dams and healthy rivers. Click here to see schedule details.

RWFF est 2012 logoOur work doesn’t end when the festival is over. We use the funds raised to support international water projects and local education about water sustainability. This year, we are partnering with Rukundo International to work in a village in southern Uganda called Kabale. We’ll be installing water-harvesting tanks to support a primary school and the surrounding community. Locally, Bethesda Green will work with partners to protect the Chesapeake Bay and support various storm-water management projects.

The documentary movement is growing everywhere and film stands at the crossroads of culture, somewhere between journalism, narrative and television entertainment. Water is our story. Film is our medium.

Tickets are now available to purchase online. See you at the festival Saturday, June 14.

Dave Feldman is Executive Director of Bethesda Green.

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BGnews_logoTurf Management Goes Green

The Kentlands community in Gaithersburg is moving toward organic landscaping, an effort to reduce chemical application options and provide a healthy environment for pets and children.

Kentlands is consulting with Paul Tukey, an organic landscaping expert, who envisions maintaining at least 50 percent of the landscape organically by 2015.

Roger Ford, a member of the Kentlands group that is overseeing the project, said, “If [Tukey] does it right, I think it’s going to be a showcase for Montgomery County and beyond.”

For more details, see article in The Town Courier.

Going Green on your way to College

Go Green without breaking your bank! Here are some tips to go green and save money for the school year.

  • Re-use textbooks — Re-using textbooks is a great way to save paper and it also reduces the amount of junk we have to dispose later on. Some websites such as SwapTree.com, PaperBackSwap.com, and Bookins.com let you swap books with others.
  • Do your laundry in cold water — In the warm seasons, you can save tons of energy by washing clothes in cold water. By washing clothes in cold water, you decrease your electricity usage which is required to heat the water. This reduces your overall carbon footprint.
  • Recycle your cell phones — Instead of discarding your old phones in favor of a new and updated one, recycle your phones because certain small parts of the phones can be used for other items.
  • Shop at thrift shops — You can find just about any item in a thrift store and they are usually extremely cheap. Also instead of throwing away your clothes, think about donating them to a thrift store so other people can enjoy it for a much cheaper price.
  • Keep indoor plants — Keep a small plant inside your house near a window. It is an efficient way to release more oxygen into the air, therefore purifying it. Perfect for your health and environment.
  • Go to the farmers market — Make sure you go to the farmers market or any local market! It is a great place to get fresh and good quality food. It also promotes local farmers and produce.

To find out about more tips, check out this article.

Debating Metro fare increases

In setting fares for the Metro public transportation system, the Metro board attempts to balance the the goal of providing the best possible service on it trains, buses, and vans for their riders and how to minimize the impact of fare increases on its customers, especially among those who are financially vulnerable and depend on public transportation.

A recent Dr. Gridlock column in the Washington Post helps frame the debate and concludes that it’s not solely the job of the Metro board to reconcile the issue:

“Helping other people get around is the right thing to do, whether it involves aiding a rider on a platform or assisting the needy in covering their transit costs. The benefits bounce back. Ensuring that people can get to their jobs and medical appointments boosts the economy and enhances the general welfare. That’s a task for the entire region — its governments, social service agencies and individuals. The transit authority can’t fine-tune its fares well enough to achieve this goal.”

Events

  • Environmental Film Festival — March 18-30, at numerous DC-area venues. The theme of the 2014 Festival — Our Cities, Our Planet — will examine the challenges posed by Earth’s urban environments and the efforts of the world’s cities to balance environmental and economic needs.
  • Montgomery County Business Recycling Seminar — Thursday, March 27, 9 am – noon, Silver Spring Civic Center. Meet county staff and get all your recycling questions answered.
  • Wheaton Green Drinks — Thursday, March 27, 5-8 pm at Limerick Pub.
  • Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup — Saturday, April 5, 9 am – noon. Join Rock Creek Conservancy for its 6th annual volunteer cleanup event.

 

by Julie Clendenin

DC Water lifted its two-day Boil Water Advisory March 7, which was a relief for many DC residents. Their short “water crisis” ended without much drama. It did, however, remind me of our good fortune when it comes to drinking water. It’s good that the remarkable days are those when our water supply is NOT absolutely safe.

And it made me wonder about the flip side of that luck that escapes my consciousness most of the time. I started really thinking about what it would be like to live without a reliable, convenient source of drinking water.

I wanted some perspective from the flip side, so I went looking for some data. Here’s what I found:

  • 768 million people in the world do not have access to safe, clean drinking water (UNICEF, 2014).
  • “Access to drinking water,” in international development language, means that the water source is less than 1 kilometer from its place of use.  That means that someone has to travel, collect water, and carry it home for use. EVERY DAY. The World Health Organization estimates that, globally, 200 million hours are spent EACH DAY collecting water for domestic use.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day (UN Development Program, 2006).

Our city’s briefly threatened water supply was an inconvenience for many of our neighbors – in fact, it was a very real health hazard that needed to be taken seriously. I am grateful that this kind of thing is a rare occurrence for us, and that we can remain confident about the safety of our drinking water.

RWFFLogo_FullColor_EST2012The thing is, in the developing world, the lack of clean drinking water is daunting crisis. In some African nations, less than half the population has access to clean drinking water. Every day, 1,400 children die from diseases directly linked to unsafe water or lack of basic sanitation.

The Reel Water Film Festival, Saturday, June 14 at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, is a great place to start exploring the global water crisis. It’s also an opportunity to explore our own, local water supply challenges. Roughly 6 million people live in the DC area – and most of us get our drinking water from the Potomac River, which is threatened by stormwater runoff from our paved surfaces, sewage overflows caused by massive rainstorms (and snowmelt!), chemical & nutrient pollution from our lawns as well as larger industrial and agricultural sources.

There are things we can each do to help, on both fronts. Let’s not take clean water for granted. It’s not really just a matter of good fortune. We need to get real about protecting it.

Julie Clendenin grew up in Bethesda, met her husband during high school at Walter Johnson, currently lives with her family in Kensington, and works for a consulting firm in Bethesda.

BGgreennews_logo1Bethesda Downtown Plan

Although there are still issues to work out, a development plan is taking shape for downtown Bethesda. The Montgomery County Planning Department is updating the 20-year-old Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan to manage future building and zoning decisions in the area. The Department recently hosted a workshop for residents, planners, and developers to help them move forward with their plan. Guests were asked to determine where the exact “heart of downtown Bethesda” was on a map on the wall and where the most troublesome areas were for pedestrians. Discussion also included changes that attendees thought needed to be made, with most saying there was a need for more green space.

Downtown Bethesda is growing rapidly; in fact, it is expected that between now and 2040 the population will double.

To get all the details, check out the Gazette.

Purple Line Project — Recommended by the White House

President Barack Obama’s new budget plan includes $100 million in federal construction money for the proposed light rail Purple Line Project, an infusion to help keep the $2.2 billion project on schedule. Also, the Purple Line Project was recommended for a full funding grant agreement, a long-term construction commitment that Maryland officials hope will amount to $900 million in federal funding. Purple Line construction is scheduled to start in 2015 and open in 2020.

Some of the advantages of the proposed plan would be faster and more reliable transit options for traveling east-west between suburbs and would encourage new investments around stations in older suburbs. Opponents of the project say that the construction would require cutting down hundreds of trees in popular trails and would bring noise pollution to residents living along the route. The town of Chevy Chase has been leading the opposition to the Purple Line Project because it would require condemning 116 homes and businesses; they also believe that the state hasn’t done enough to explore other options.

The Purple Line would consist of 21 stations with two-car trains mostly running above ground.

Read the Gazette article here.

Addendum: Council members call for Purple Line community task force (see article here).

Climate Change in Montgomery County

Climate change is becoming more apparent to farmers and gardeners because their farming or blossoming seasons are becoming unpredictable and unreliable. Last week, several horticulturists, biologists, and environmental activists met to discuss ways of adapting to climate change. They were part of a conference called “Green Matters 2014: Gardening in a Changing Climate” in Montgomery County.

Precise temperature and weather are key to growing healthy crops and plants but with the increasingly severe and erratic weather, the plants are susceptible to death.  Farmers and planters have to worry about temperatures dropping below freezing and damaging their crops. There is not much farmers and gardeners can do except respond to the changes they see. With higher temperatures, new pests can now survive farther north and at higher elevations than normal. For example, the mountain pine beetle, which is normally found in western forests, is beginning to spread. It and many other species could start invading Maryland.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network leads efforts to fight climate change through political activism and encouragement to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Read the Gazette article here.

Events

  • Raptors of the Chesapeake Bay: Past, Present, and Future Outlook for the Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon — Lecture, Thursday, March 13, 7 pm, Annapolis Maritime Museum, 723 Second Street, Annapolis. Speaker: Craig Koopie, Raptor Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chesapeake Bay Office. Free for certain Museum members; $10 for the public.
  • 5th Annual Davidsonville Green Expo — Saturday, March 15, 10 am – 2 pm, Davidsonville Elementary School, 962 West Central Avenue, Davidsonville, MD. The Expo features awareness about environmental issues, children’s activities, free native tree give-aways, Bay-friendly lawn and landscape techniques, and more.
  • Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital — various venues from March 18 – March 30. The theme of the 2014 Festival — Our Cities, Our Planet — will examine the challenges posed by Earth’s urban environments and the efforts of the world’s cities to balance environmental and economic needs.
MLP staff: Shane Yaeger, Tiffany Jones, Mark Leisher, and Susanna Parker.

MLP staff: Shane Yaeger, Tiffany Jones, Mark Leisher, and Susanna Parker.

A lot has happened with Mark Leisher Productions (MLP) over the past two years. The most exciting development for the Bethesda Green Incubator company is the addition of three new team members — Videographer and Editor Shane Yaeger, Production Manager Tiffany Jones, and Social Media Manager Susanna Parker. Shane traveled with Mark to document The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour last summer, a working relationship that went so smoothly that Mark asked Shane to come on as a partner in the company. Tiffany and Mark met a year ago, when they worked together on the Reel Water Film Festival.  Tiffany joined the team in March, supporting client communications and expanding the MLP brand. Mark first saw Susanna’s work for the Bethesda Green blog, where she was a weekly contributor. He realized that, as a growing company, they would need someone dedicated to social media and brand management, increasing awareness of current and upcoming projects.

Mark Leisher Productions has kept busy, creating commercial and marketing videos for a variety of local companies, co-sponsoring the 2nd Annual Reel Water Film Festival, and developing two feature films: a documentary about the Underground Railroad and a psychological horror film. Additionally, MLP has begun offering brand management and social media marketing services to clients, creating engaging videos and marketing them to increase their reach and impact.

Through it all, Mark has remained dedicated to increasing awareness of sustainability and the green community. MLP continues to co-sponsor the Reel Water Film Festival, works with Active Nature to encourage river stewardship in the paddling community, and supports fellow Bethesda Green Incubator companies by helping them create and market promotional videos. MLP has also worked with Lori Hill of Sister Eden to develop her brand as “Your Guide to Living the Green Life.” The team has created videos, managed social media relations, and developed content for the Sister Eden blog.  The future is bright for Mark Leisher Productions, working to make the video process fun, engaging, and simple.

by Alison Wentzell

RWFF 2013 010

Filmmakers and co-hosts at the Festival.

The second annual Reel Water Film Festival, hosted by Bethesda Green, Journey’s Crossing and Mark Leisher Productions at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club this past Saturday, helped educate the community about water issues both around the world and at home.

About 450 people showed up throughout the day with 15 different local non-profits represented.

“There was an overwhelming response to the festival,” said event director Tiffany Jones.  “We tripled the attendance from last year, and it was great seeing so many non-profit organizations participate. We’re grateful to the entire community for their support.”

Displays in the lobby from sponsors of the event and partner organizations informed festival goers about how they can get involved in all aspects of the environment, not just with water issues.  Once everyone found their seats, Dave Feldman of Bethesda Green kicked off the afternoon splash with a brief introduction about the festival and the importance water has in all of our lives.  The audience was then treated to 21 short films of different genres including animation, documentary, narrative, and claymation.  All of these films focused on the central topic of water and how everyone is affected by it, but some in more life threatening ways than others.

Visit this webpage to check out the short films presented at the festival.

After a brief intermission, round 2 of the festival began.  People had the option of attending a gourmet taco and fajita bar for dinner, or finding their own food and just watching the feature presentation Chasing Ice.  The movie captivated the audience as it portrayed the alarming rate in which glaciers are melting due to the changing climate.

Half of the proceeds from the festival are to be donated to a rural community in India that will facilitate getting water to a small medical center, school, and orphanage as well as funding a local stormwater management project in Bethesda.  We can only hope that the event was able to inspire people to reconsider their relationship with water and get involved with this issue.

Alison Wentzell is a senior at American University and an intern with Bethesda Green.  Her interests in sustainability focus on the community, environmental politics, and cultural aspects of the environmental movement.

RWFF logoEvent: Reel Water Film Festival

When: Saturday, June 15

Time: Doors Open: 1 PM

Afternoon Splash: 2 PM

Dinner & Movie: 6 PM  (dinner 6 PM, movie 7:15 PM)

Location: Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, 7719 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814

 

 

Enjoy live music and great food, meet local organizations making a difference, and check out short films from all over the world on Saturday, June 15 at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club in Bethesda, MD.  Among the more than 50 short films submitted to the festival, we have selected the best storytelling and cinematography covering a wide range of water-related topics such as wild weather, storm water management, lack of access to clean water, innovation around clean water, and more!

Scene for Chasing Ice, the evening feature at the June 15 Reel Water Film Festival in Bethesda.

Scene from Chasing Ice, the evening feature at the June 15 Reel Water Film Festival in Bethesda.

You can stop by for an “Afternoon Splash” featuring short films, come for the “Dinner & A Movie” highlighted by the award-winning documentary CHASING ICE, or stay for the entire festival and find out how you can make a difference!

Click here for ticket options and more information.

The Reel Water Film Festival is a non-profit event, with at least 50% of the proceeds donated to water projects in developing countries and right here at home.  Additional funds help support the continuation of the festival for many years to come.