recycling


logogreenwheatonJoin Bethesda Green and other supporters of GreenWheaton at their 3rd Annual Gala, Wednesday, June 25, 6 – 9 pm, Ballroom at Wheaton Glen above the Wheaton Fire and Rescue Squad located at 2400 Arcola Avenue, Wheaton, MD.

The Gala, sponsored in part by Safeway, IHop Restaurant, The George Apartments and M&T Bank, celebrates the organization’s successes in three years of non-profit educational work and green initiatives in the Wheaton community, and serves as a fundraiser for continuing efforts into the future.

For the first time, the 2014 Gala will feature an awards ceremony recognizing a local group or citizen for its green efforts in the Wheaton community. The 2014 winner of the GreenWheaton “Green Community Award” will be Northwood High School’s Academy of Technology and Environmental Systems Sciences in recognition of its efforts to promote a “walkable” Wheaton.  GreenWheaton will also present a donation to Wheaton for the purchase of an additional Big Belly solar powered waste recycling station (bringing the number to 18 coming to Wheaton in June).  This will be largest installation of Big Belly units in Montgomery County.

Also featured will be local green vendors, door prizes, local wine, beer and food from Wheaton favorites Hollywood East Cafe, Limerick Pub, Green Plate Catering, and Los Chorros.

For tickets, please visit greenwheatongala2014.eventbrite.com. Use the promo code: GReen for a special discount.

Over the past year, GreenWheaton has provided seminars on “greening” for both residents and businesses, coordinated monthly green drinks happy hours, and put out a monthly informational e-newsletter. The organization has coordinated several recycling events, including two paper shredding and electronics recycling events at Signal Financial Credit Union.

Recently, the group  held its first coordinated event with Bethesda Green and Silver Spring Green, a two-hour expert panel discussion on “Demystifying Clean Green Energy,” attended by over 80 people.

Advertisements
Cabin John Creek flows under the MacArthur Blvd. bridge.

Part of our local watershed, Cabin John Creek flows under the MacArthur Blvd. bridge.

by Julie Clendenin

I spend a lot of time enjoying Rock Creek Park, which runs alongside my Kensington neighborhood. I drive through it every day on my way to work.  I run and walk regularly on the Beach Drive path. I have enjoyed the playgrounds and wetlands with my children and friends. I love it. Rock Creek is an oasis of natural beauty in the midst of our highways, lawns, houses, supermarkets, and sports fields. But sometimes, when the rains (and snows) are heavy, Beach Drive is closed due to high water, which reminds me that our suburban sprawl is a real threat to this precious natural wetland. We are slowly edging out the Potomac River’s natural filtration system of forests and wetlands.

Right now the water is running fast and the marshy grass along the creek’s banks is pocked with huge puddles. And all of our runoff — fertilizers, pet waste, de-icing chemicals, and other pollutants — is headed straight for the Potomac River (our main source of drinking water) and the Chesapeake Bay.

According to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB), of the 14,650 square miles in the Potomac River watershed, 57.6% is forest; 31.8% is agricultural; 5% is water or wetlands (like Rock Creek Park); and just 4.8% developed land. While agriculture and development play important roles in our community, it’s important to understand their far-reaching affects on the local watershed. Everything we do on land has an impact on our river, which is the source for 90% of DC’s drinking water; in fact, 486 million gallons are taken out of the Potomac every day to provide drinking water for 5 million people in the DC metro area. We need to protect our river.

Recently, a number of water conservation groups organized a regional river clean up day. including the Alice Ferguson Foundation, which reports that more than 5,000 volunteers picked up over 1oo tons of trash. Here’s some of the things pulled out of the river banks:

  • 73,700 beverage containers
  • 7,800 cigarettes
  • 18,300 plastic bags
  • 510 tires

RWFFLogo_FullColor_EST2012All of this trash was rescued from the Potomac River watershed. How does that make you feel? Disgusted? Regretful?  Personally, I feel grateful to the many people who spent their weekend cleaning up after us. I also feel inspired by them, and I’m thinking that maybe you do to. The Reel Water Film Festival, Saturday, June 14 at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, is a great place to learn more about local water issues. Also, here are a few things, including some from Potomac Riverkeeper, that you can do to help protect the Potomac River:

  • Scoop pet waste and dispose of it properly
  • Plant a rain garden or use a rain barrel – Montgomery County residents are eligible for rebates of up to $2,500 through the RainScapes Rewards Rebate Program
  • Properly dispose of hazardous wastes like oil and paint
  • Use natural fertilizers and do not over-fertilize your lawn or use chemical pesticides
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle (don’t forget your reusable shopping bags)
  • Wash your car at an eco-friendly commercial car wash or use biodegradable soap
  • Safely dispose of unused drugs and other chemicals – DO NOT FLUSH THEM
  • Spend time enjoying  the river and show your friends and family why it’s important to protect it

Julie Clendenin grew up in Montgomery County and is happily raising her family here with her husband, Tom.  She enjoys having unlimited access to Rock Creek Park; tasty, cold water from her kitchen tap; and swimming in the ocean.

BGnews_logoWhat is the future for Solar Energy?

GreenBiz.com recently published a solar industry forecast with a bright future — at least in the short term.  Solar energy has been growing and becoming more popular throughout the last five years but what does the future look like for it? The solar energy industry is moving extremely fast and, according to the GTM Research’s annual solar industry conference, the United States is expecting to install more solar capacity this year than Germany.

Solar energy is becoming popular because it is able to be sold to consumers through numerous channels, including traditional installers, car companies, environmental groups, home improvement stores, and home automation companies.  Solar energy is also becoming a favorite of institutional investors, which allows new companies such as SolarCity and Sungevity to innovate around financing.

Solar energy is the second largest source of new power generation and if it continues to grow, it is estimated that it could contribute nearly 10 percent of electricity generation in 15 years.

The challenge is that solar energy’s continued fast growth is not guaranteed. Future cuts in federal tax credits could slow down sales.

To read all of the details, check out this article.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — but first Avoid

This article published by Shareable asks: What would a zero waste world look like? One dimension is efficient recycling. But to truly get to zero waste, you’d need to go beyond recycling into reduce and reuse. In South Australia, they’re experimenting with how to take this one step further by adding “avoid” to the top of the waste management hierarchy.

Insects help our food system

Eating bugs certainly is not an accepted part of our cultural appetite.  But that all may be changing.  According to an article published by Worldwatch, insects are an important part of the future for our food. The prices of grains and meats that depend on these grain supplies to feed livestock will definitely rise. Insects, however, offer a great alternative because they are easy to raise, healthy, and much more efficient in processing. The only problem is that bugs are usually not a friendly or attractive topic.

Most people relate disgust to insects so the biggest hurdle would be introducing insects as an appetizing and healthy food. The easiest way to integrate insects in our diet is through processed food, where the texture and taste of the bugs are lost but the healthy and sustainable source of protein is preserved.

Who knows?  It may not be too long before raising bugs is a normal part of the U.S. food consumption economy.

Learn more at this article.

Opportunities in water technology innovations

According to 77 percent of the respondents to the 2013 CDP Global 500 Water Report, business opportunities exist in addressing water-related risks. Many companies identified new products and services as one of the opportunities. The commercialization of innovative water technologies can be challenging though. These reasons include a disconnect between the price and the value of water and a lack of funding for water infrastructure and technologies in the public sector. Despite the challenges, water technology innovation continues.

To find out more, check out this article.

Events

By Alison Wentzell

Cheverly Students Participate in Bike to School Day BGgreennews_logo1

Every year Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School in Cheverly puts on Fall Bike to School Day.  Bike to School Day was set up as part of a program run through the National Center for Safe Routes to School, with the hopes of reducing traffic and pollution.  This year 90 students rode from Legion Park to the school alongside a police escort.  The day is to encourage children to walk and bike to school to promote healthier lifestyles.  As it is, approximately 50 students walk or bike to school each day, and the school hopes that this number will increase.

Check out the full article on the Gazette here.

Thumbs up to the DC Circulator

A recent study conducted by Howard University’s Transit Research Center concluded that the DC Circulator is as popular as ever!  Created a decade ago, the public transportation system has been keeping riders happy, as it links people from neighborhoods to mass transit stations.  The team surveyed approximately 1,800 riders who use the system on a regular basis, and found that 9 out of 10 riders were satisfied with the service.  More than 80% of the respondents use the system to commute between home and work and use it as an alternative to other options. The study found that 57% of DC Circulator riders own their own vehicles,, showing that the system promotes the use of mass transit in the DC area.

For more information, check out the full article in the Washington Post.

Events

  • Save a Birding Hot Spot, Sunday, Oct. 20, 9 – 11 am, 20500 Zion Road, Laytonsville, MD

Join The Montgomery County Sierra Club, Montgomery Bird Club, and Department of Environmental Protection to remove invasive plants from the Blue Mash Nature Trail, and protect bird and other wildlife species from invasive non-native plants.  Tools are limited so please bring clippers, saws, and loopers, if you can!  For more information click here.  If your interested please RSVP to mimi.abdu@maryland.sierraclub.org or call 301-919-6060.

  • Paper Shredding and Electronic Recycling Event, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 5 -7 pm, 3015 University Blvd, Kensington, MD 20895

Come out to the Signal Financial Federal Credit Union parking lot for a paper shredding and electronic recycling event organized by GreenWheaton!  Bring all unwanted paper and document to be securely shredded and recycled.  You can also bring any unwanted electronics to be recycled by ECO City Junk.  If you’re interested in volunteering for this event, contact GreenWheaton at info@greenwheaton.org.

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

Big Green Bus comes to Annapolis

News from Annapolis Green

biggreenbus350Annapolis Green is is bringing Dartmouth College’s Big Green Bus to Annapolis this Friday, June 21, 9:30 – 11:30 am to focus its “vehicle for change” campaign on clean water and the Chesapeake Bay. Members of the Big Green Crew will share their personal stories about how they developed their sustainability philosophies and how they’ve come to make lifestyle changes to adjust to pressing environmental and social issues.

The biodiesel-fueled bus carries a dozen Dartmouth students aboard for the summer as they travel the country — from sea to shining sea — “promoting positivity and enthusiasm for the environmental movement” and celebrating what the environmental community is already achieving.

At the two-hour stop in Annapolis, the Big Green Bus will park near the National Sailing Hall of Fame at City Dock and conduct video-taped interviews of a half-dozen environmental leaders and enthusiasts who will be asked to tell their stories about the importance of clean water and the Bay to their lives.  At the end of the bus tour, in the fall, members of the Bus crew will create a documentary about their experiences.  Think of this as a cross between NPR’s Story Corps and On the Road with Charles Kurault.

The Big Green Bus visit is a part of Annapolis Green’s “Red Right Recycle” initiative promoting Greening of waterside events such as the U.S. Boat Shows in Annapolis. We’ll be recording audio of these stories and any YOU would care to share with us, to air next week on our radio program, Living Green in Annapolis.

Let’s show them a big welcome, share our stories … and check out their very cool bus!

Information about the Big Green Bus: www.thebiggreenbus.org.

Children answer environmental questions at the Bethesda Green tent.

Children gathered at the Bethesda Green tent to answer environmental questions.

by Alison Wentzell

On the first Saturday of June every year, Bethesda Urban Partnership sponsors a festival for the children of Bethesda and surrounding area.

The 19th annual Imagination Bethesda proved to be extremely successful, despite the scorching heat, drawing about 15,000 children and parents to watch performances, listen to foreign language storytelling, make crafts, and enjoy a variety of other activities.  Children were beaming with delight as they participated in activities involving a wide array of skills and experiences.  At the Bethesda Green tent, kids created environmentally friendly crafts and tested their knowledge for the chance to win a small prize.  We provided the kids with recycled scrap paper and markers so that they could make armbands or add links to our eco-friendly paper chain.

The purpose of these small crafts were to show them that they don’t have to throw away something after using it only once; instead, they can reuse items multiple times to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills and recycling centers.  On the other side of the tent both parents and children were equally stumped by our environmental trivia questions.  These questions forced families to think about our environmental impacts, both as a nation and individually.

Children potted flowers at the American Plant tent.

Children potted flowers at the American Plant tent.

Bethesda Green dedicated Saturday to creating awareness about environmental issues in the fun and vibrant atmosphere that is the Imagination Bethesda festival, with other organizations promoting sustainable values as well.  At American Plant, children were given the opportunity to plant their own potted flowers.  Joy of Motion Dance Center had visitors make paper chains and lanterns from recycled paper.  Other organizations promoted language development, multicultural awareness, and creative development.  Whether or not an organization promoted green values, they all worked to equip children with the skills necessary for a better future.

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.

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.

Next Page »