by Susanna Parker

Public Comment Sought on New Fertilizer RegulationsBGnews_logo

In accordance with the recently passed Fertilizer Use Act of 2011, Maryland’s Department of Agriculture has created new regulations on lawn fertilizer applications. The regulations, along with some proposed changes to non-agricultural commercial fertilizer requirements, were published in Saturday’s Maryland Register. The regulations are part of the Department of Agriculture’s larger efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay from excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Those nutrients, often found in fertilizer, can cause algal blooming in water sources, and can eventually lead to dead zones like the one at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

If the regulations are adopted, they will be included in the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Urban Nutrient Management Training Manual, and will take effect October 1, 2013. Seeking resident feedback, MDA has designated a 30-day public comment period, ending February 25th. For more information on the regulations, please visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

India Seeks to Turn Municipal Waste to Clean Power

Solving what might be India’s largest looming crisis, an Indian corporation has announced plans to build a power plant that will run on municipal waste. While the growing amount of waste generated in India is a problem, it is also a potential resource. India’s cities generate 55 million tons of solid waste, and 38 billion liters of sewage each year; a waste-to-energy plant could solve the problem of increasing waste while contributing clean energy to India’s power infrastructure.

Waste-to-energy power plants are still rare in India – however, they have seen success in European countries including Germany, where startup Angion Energy has developed a gasification process that can turn trash into energy. If India’s power plant succeeds, it could contribute clean energy to India’s growing demand, which will soon reach levels equal to Europe and the United States. For more information, please read the full Washington Post article here.

Upcoming Green Events

  • “What Investors Are Looking For & How to Pitch” presented by Bethesda Green Finance Workshop Series & Venture Forum, Thursday, January 31, 8 am – 10 am, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Second Floor, Bethesda MD

Bethesda Green is proud to present the second in a series of workshops aimed at developing the green business economy of Montgomery County. Designed to enhance access to financing, educate entrepreneurs, and bridge the gap between investors and entrepreneurs, Bethesda Green seeks to improve the likelihood of successful deals and new businesses. Thursday’s workshop will address what investors are looking for in an early stage company and how to effectively pitch to them, presented by a moderated panel with speakers from the local business community. General networking and light refreshments will be available at 8 am, the program begins at 8:30.

Tickets are $15, and may be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets.

  • Meet the Greens! Monthly Networking Happy Hour, Thursday February 7, 5 pm – 8pm, Chef Tony’s 4926 St. Elmo Avenue, Bethesda MD

Join us for casual conversation, social networking, and presentations by representatives of green organizations in Wheaton, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Poolesville, and Annapolis – hear how they got started, and learn where they’re headed!

There is a $10 entry fee at the door; proceeds will be shared with the participating green organizations. Chef Tony’s will offer complimentary appetizers and a glass of wine. Please RSVP through the Bethesda Green Meetup.

  • Fields of Green Internship Fair, Saturday, February 9, 10 am – 2 pm, at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, second floor above the Capital One Bank.

Looking for an internship or job in the environmental sector?  This is the event for you.  Numerous employers will be interviewing promising candidates on the spot.  More info can be found 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

Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan faces legal, political challenges

Facing various legal challenges over the issue of nutrient trading, the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan could wind up back on the drawing board, according to an article by Washington Post reporter Darryl Fears. Similar to the cap and trade program in air pollution control, nutrient trading would allow farms and other enterprises that met or surpassed their pollution-control expectations to sell off their remaining allowances to businesses that fail to meet the set limits.

Raising an intramural political fight with other Cleanup Plan supporters, some groups have filed a lawsuit to remove nutrient trading, calling it a “pay to pollute” program to get around the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

U.S. District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo is presiding over the case, and she has set no timetable as to when she will make a decision on the plan’s fate.

For more information, read the full Washington Post article. To learn more about the lawsuit, as well as other initiatives to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay, please visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s website.

DC Seeks Public Input on the April 2012 Sustainability Vision

DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s April 2012 Sustainability Vision is moving steadily toward implementation. On November 7, over 100 DC residents met as part of the public outreach process headed by the Department of Environment and the DC Office of Planning. Over the past summer, working groups were formed to discuss topics such as climate, energy, transportation, and a green economy, among others. The working groups identified more than 1,000 possible implementation action items which were submitted to the DC sustainability task force. While sorting through suggestions, the task force focused on jobs, as well as “big impact things that will move the needle.” The Department of Environment and the DC Office of Planning expect to release the final document before the end of the year, and city-wide implementation activities will be launched soon after.

For more information, visit the April 2012 Sustainability Vision site.

Upcoming Green Events

The holiday season is fast approaching; come and learn some gorgeous and eco-friendly gift wrapping techniques from designer Reena Kazmann. Forget the cheap wrapping paper, it just gets thrown away! Through words and pictures, Reena will demonstrate ways to present your gifts inside beautiful, sustainable materials. Visit here for more details.

Please RSVP to

  • Climate, Energy, and Upper Montgomery County, Friday November 16, 6 – 8:30 pm, Kettler Forlines Brightwell Crossing Model Home, 17919 Elgin Road, Poolesville, MD 20873

As part of the “What Is It All About?” series presented by Poolesville Green, this educational event will feature discussions of energy options, led by County Councilman Roger Berliner, Poolesville Commissioner Eddie Kuhlman, and Dan Savino of the Poolesville Global Ecology Program. Come learn, socialize, and enjoy refreshments provided by Whole Food Kentlands. Visit here for more details. The event is open to all; please email with any questions.

  • Making Black Friday Green: How We Can Promote Sustainable Business Practices, Monday November 19, 6:45 – 8:30 pm, Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library, 1630 7th Street NW, Washington DC

While the fervor around Black Friday can make some consider abstaining from holiday shopping altogether, a middle ground exists: local businesses with sustainable practices. This panel will teach attendees both how to find already-green businesses, and how to encourage their favorite stores to adopt sustainable practices. The panel will be moderated by Kurt Walters of CarbonFreeDC, and will feature Live Green President Stephanie Sheridan, Megan Barrett of Clean Currents, and Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets.

For details, please visit CarbonFreeDC’s MeetUp.

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 Dan Rudt

Funding Threatened for Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

Tom Pelton of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation warns that if Congress slashes $23 billion from the federal Farm Bill, as it appears poised to do by next week, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative could be eliminated. The program funds farm runoff control projects in parts of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; Maryland’s Eastern Shore; and the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The funds help farmers pay to construct fences to keep cattle out of streams, build manure control facilities, and plant strips of trees and grasses along waterways, among other things. Losing those funds, Pelton claims, would make it much more difficult to reach pollution control goals for the Bay.

States Agree to Form Northeast Electric Vehicle Network

Ten northeast states (including Maryland) and the District of Columbia announced the formation of the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network on October 19 to expedite the deployment of electric vehicles in the region and promote the use of alternative fuels. As part of their ongoing collaboration through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), the participating jurisdictions will promote all clean vehicles and fuels and facilitate planning for and the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and related infrastructure throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The group will also work together to attract additional public and private investment in infrastructure for clean vehicles.

Americans Believe U.S. Headed in Wrong Direction on Energy

A poll released on October 19 by The University of Texas at Austin found fewer than 14 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction on energy. The 3,406 respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the job that 26 different organizations, corporations, institutions and government bodies were doing to address energy issues. Congress — with ratings of 8 percent satisfied, 71 percent dissatisfied — ranked dead last. “This survey shows that the public craves leadership on energy issues,” said Bill Powers, President of The University of Texas at Austin. The majority of Americans see energy prices as high and likely to increase. Four out of five are interested in learning more about how to reduce their energy use.

Energy Department to Invest $60 Million in Concentrating Solar Power Technologies

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on Tuesday (10/25) a $60 million investment over three years for applied scientific research to advance Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies. CSP technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight to produce heat, which can then be used to produce electricity. The funding is meant to support research into technologies that have the potential to dramatically increase efficiency, lower costs, and deliver more reliable performance than existing commercial and near-commercial CSP systems. DOE expects to fund roughly 20 – 22 projects, and encourages industry, universities, and National Laboratories to apply.

2012 Beginner Farmer Training Program Accepting Applications

Future Harvest-Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture is accepting applications up to November 30 from new farmers interested in participating in the Beginner Farmer Training Program. Five to ten trainees, mostly college graduates with some farming experience and a commitment to a career in sustainable and/or organic agriculture, will be selected to participate in the free program that begins on January 13, 2012 with a two day conference. Participants will attend workshops one evening per week for eight weeks in February and March at the new Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture. They will undergo field training on a weekly basis at an organic farm in Baltimore Country or Harford County and participate in farm tours and workshops from May through August at various sustainable farms in the region.

Upcoming Green Events

Peter Doo LEED EB: O+M Event, Thursday, October 27, 8:00 – 11:00 am, Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd floor. Building owners, managers, developers and other building professionals are invited to attend a special presentation on LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance. Details here.

BG101, Thursday, October 27, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd floor. Join us for an orientation about Bethesda Green, our history, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Maryland Clean Energy Summit, Thursday, October 27 – Saturday, October 29, Hilton Inner Harbor, Baltimore. Includes a consumer trade show and conference sessions that are FREE TO THE PUBLIC – on Saturday 10/29 9:30 – 2:30. Test drive a Chevy Volt, learn how to use your smart phone to control your home’s thermostat and lighting while you’re away, how to finance home energy improvements and much more. Click here, then scroll down to “Saturday, October 29th” for more information about the free consumer event.

Audubon Naturalist Society Annual Meeting, Friday, October 28, 6:00-9:30 pm (Program starts at 6:30 pm), Woodend Sanctuary,  MD. Featuring “Looking Back & Forward at Our Region’s Water,” a lively talk by longtime environmental reporter and renowned author Tom Horton. Silent Auction items include six original, framed J.J. Audubon stone lithographs and other rare works of art. More information here.

“The Age of Stupid” Film and Discussion, Friday, October 28, 6:30-9:30 pm, The Festival Center in Adams Morgan, 1640 Columbia Road, NW.  View the climate-change blockbuster film, followed by discussion w/ Mike Tidwell, Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network. More details here.

Rockville Bike Advisory Committee (RBAC) Invites You to Try Nancy’s Bike Route, Saturday, October 29, 2:00 pm. Ride starts at Rockville Memorial Library, heading south toward Bethesda.  Details here.

Bethesda Green First Thursday Happy Hour, Thursday, November 03, 5:00 – 8:00, The Parva Restaurant and Lounge, 7904 Woodmont Avenue. You are invited for casual conversation and networking. Meet the Bethesda Green Incubator Companies and learn more about the Incubator. Enjoy complimentary appetizers in Parva’s beautiful second floor lounge. Donation requested at the door. RSVP at the Bethesda Green Meetup page.

Laura Seltzer

Filmmaker Laura Seltzer

(This is a guest post from Lexy at

“My goal is to produce films that inspire change.” – Laura Seltzer, Documentary Filmmaker

KissMyCountry wrote about Laura Seltzer a few weeks ago in our posts on the Bethesda Green Fields of Green Internship Fair. We now get to know Laura better through her most recent work, ‘Last Boat Out’. Enjoy!

Laura Seltzer, award-winning producer and documentary filmmaker, uses her talents to help to make a difference in people’s lives. Her work has taken her many places, including foreign countries and inside the world of mental illness. Laura’s latest film, ‘Last Boat Out’, highlights the watermen of the Chesapeake Bay, whose way of life is threatened by pollution and development. For Laura, it’s a chance to make a difference that’s very personal. Laura grew up on the Chesapeake Bay and knows both the Bay and the lives of the watermen firsthand.

Last Boat Out

'Last Boat Out' premieres April 21 on PBS. Join Bethesda Green for a group viewing, April 21 at Hard Times Cafe.

“I grew up boating on those waters. My family had a boat on Deep Creek . We would spend the whole summer on the boat”, Laura says. “I watched countless sunrises on the James River. The workboats would come in and you would see this gorgeous glow on the water.” When Laura learned the last local pier in Newport News used by the watermen would be torn down, she took action. “I took my camera and went down to the pier. Losing the pier meant more than a chunk of wood. The watermen grew up on the pier, their fathers grew up on the pier, and their grandfathers grew up on the pier.” Laura’s action and the cooperation of the Chesapeake watermen led to ‘Last Boat Out’, a 27-minute film.

The film sparked a response among supporters even before its premiere on MPT on Wednesday, April 21. Sam Waterston asked to narrate the film after hearing about it through Oceana. The Congressional Water Caucus, interested in the water quality of the Chesapeake, organized a Congressional Viewing at the Capital on April 14–-a first for Laura and her films. “It was so gratifying to not only show my film on the big screen in our nation’s capital but to have those who influence public policy view my film”, Laura said after the screening.

“The film is right on target”, says Tommy Leggett, a Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration and Fisheries Scientist, and for years a working waterman himself. “Every emotion the watermen feel in the film, I have felt. Every decision they struggle with, I have struggled with. They’re in a tough, tough spot.”

Laura is thrilled that ‘Last Boat Out’ is receiving attention already, and hopes the film motivates people to push for change for the better. “It’s great to have the cachet of a showing on PBS or a viewing by Congress, but if people don’t use it to help save the Bay then what use is it?”. Laura decided to become a documentary filmmaker after working in commercial photography and then film production after attending film school at NYU. “I volunteered on a documentary and that was my turning point. I wanted to make films that inspire people and I’ve been doing that for 15 years. My goal is to produce films that inspire change.”

Bethesda Green will host an evening with Laura Seltzer on April 21 at Hard Times Café from 7-9:30 p.m. Laura, you’ve done a great job and we can’t wait to see ‘Last Boat Out’. We’ll be there at the Hard Times Café on April 21!

Bethesda Green is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located on the second floor of the Chevy Chase Bank Branch at 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200, Bethesda, Maryland 20814. Bethesda Green will host a Premiere Party on Wednesday, April 21 from 7-9:30pm at the Hard Times Café for Laura Seltzer’s PBS documentary “The Last Boat Out”, about Virginia’s Watermen and the Chesapeake Bay, narrated by Sam Waterston. Suggested donation for the Premiere Party is $10 to go toward education programs for Bethesda Green and communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Please RSVP to attend the Premiere Party to Melissa (at) or 202-210-4689.