Reel Water Film Festival


BGnews_logoBethesda Green looks to produce rooftop gardens in downtown Bethesda

Bethesda Green is looking to partner with the owners of flat rooftops in town — mostly businesses — to plant gardens and grow produce that would then be sold to local restaurants.

“We want to start a new business model,” said Sharon D’Emidio, program manager for Bethesda Green and head of the rooftop gardens program. “We’d love to see every roof with a garden on it.”

The rooftop gardens are a good fit for many of the roofs on Bethesda’s commercial properties because of their flat surfaces, plenty of sunlight and easy access to water, D’Emidio said. Produce from these gardens could be labeled pesticide-free.

See full article in Gazette.net.

Green Events

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.

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.

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.