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.

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Green Events

by Alison Wentzell

Maryland updates Bike and Pedestrian PlanBGnews_logo

A little over a decade ago Maryland adopted the 20-year Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.  Now at the half way point, it is time for the Department of Transportation to update the plan.  While the plan does not establish any specific projects, it does set goals and outlines what we will see over the next 10 years.

A lot has changed since the plan was originally drafted, and the number of Maryland residents who choose to bike and walk has increased, with a concurrent demand for more infrastructural supports.  Bike lanes are popping up in communities that never had them before, and programs that support bicycling are growing.

The state of Maryland has budgeted $151 million over the next six years, and once the plan is complete officials can start making decisions on which projects get funded.

To see the full article published in the Gazette, click here.

Residents push back on rapid transit proposal

To improve long-range transportation options, be more environmentally friendly and support local business, the Montgomery County Planning Board recently approved a proposal to dedicate two lanes for rapid transit buses along Wisconsin Avenue from Friendship Heights Metro to the Rockville Metro.

However, according to a report published in the Gazette, many residents attending a May 28 meeting challenged the plan, especially in the Green Mile corridor between Friendship Height and downtown Bethesda.

See the Gazette article here.

CO2 Emissions Rose 1.4% in 2012     

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4% in 2012, warning that if  we don’t change by 2020, there will be more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than we can reasonably deal with.

IEA representative Fatih Birol warns that “climate change is slipping down in the political agenda in many countries.”  To keep this issue at the forefront of our global leaders’ minds the IEA is urging countries and companies to implement four drastic measures by 2015.  This includes implementing aggressive energy efficiency measures, limiting coal output from inefficient plants, reducing the release of methane in gas and oil operations, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

Click here to read the complete article published in the Washington Post.

Upcoming Events Bethesda Green Events

Come out and see entrepreneurs practice their pitch for our panel of investors, and get helpful feedback!

Join Bethesda Green for a great baseball game.  Tickets are free and available while supplies last. Email

Upcoming Partner Events

Join GreenWheaton for their 3rd anniversary!  The night includes appetizers, beer, wine, refreshments, green vendors, and door prizes!  Tickets are $30.

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

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.