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 guest blogger Beverly Firme

Dave Feldman, center, with Israeli environmentalists

Renee Halpert (L) of Forum Shemesh Yehuda, Dave Feldman (Middle) and another Forum Shemesh Yehuda guest.

Bethesda Green’s First Thursday Happy Hour is a great time to connect, meet friends, and hear about what’s going on in Montgomery County when it comes to Green.  This past Thursday, June 3, the Doubletree Hotel’s Wine Bar was packed with people, new information, and great connections–along with drinks and hot appetizers.  Sponsored by Clean Currents, the evening started with mingling and a chance to relax and talk before hearing from the special guests invited for the evening.

Dave Feldman, Executive Director of Bethesda Green, began his remarks by welcoming those special guests:  Doug Weisberger of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, and a group of Israeli environmentalists representing Forum Shemesh Yehuda for the Environment and Sustainability.  Feldman also noted happily that Tom Hucker of the Maryland House of Delegates was in the crowd of about 80 people gathered in The Wine Bar for the event.

Tom Hucker, left

State Delegate Tom Hucker (L) talks with folks at the First Thursday Happy Hour, including Renee Halpert of Forum Shemesh Yehuda

Weisberger spoke about Montgomery County’s relationship with Bethesda Green and applauded  efforts to bring business, community and residents together.  Renee Halpert, Manager of Forum Shemesh Yehuda, a non-profit grassroots environmental organization in the Beit Shemesh and Mateh Yehuda region near Tel Aviv, spoke on behalf of their group.  Formed as a volunteer-based, apolitical organization, Shemesh Yehuda’s efforts include creating awareness of sustainable practices, promoting land preservation, and opposing plans to extract shale oil in the region.  The group was excited about their visit earlier in the day to Bethesda Green and had learned a great deal to apply to their work in Israel.  We can look forward to continuing contact with Shemesh Yehuda, as Halpert mentioned their region will become a Sister City to Montgomery County.  Exciting news and we look forward to hearing more!

Gary Skulnik of Clean Currents

Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents, discusses his company's offerings.

Feldman mentioned Bethesda Green’s upcoming free Solar Expo, Solar Bethesda on June 12, and Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents, the evening’s sponsor, mentioned the launch of Clean Currents Solar.

Feldman also asked everyone to mark their calendars for October 7, the date reserved for Bethesda Green’s first gala, a Green Awards event co-sponsored by Bethesda Magazine.  “We will recognize Green Champions in Montgomery County,” he said.

To cap the event, Dave Heffernan, Director of Communications, drew winning raffle tickets for dinner for two at the Doubletree Restaurant. The crowd had a chance to talk with the invited guests and enjoy more wine, appetizers and conversation.  Walking through the crowd you could hear snippets of conversation as attendees spoke with the Israeli environmentalists, had the chance to meet our county and state officials, and talked with each other about Montgomery County’s recent passage of the carbon tax, the first county in our nation to do so.

First Thursdays is held the first Thursday of the month in the evening  at a new location in Bethesda each month.  Sign up for e-mail alerts, join the Bethesda Green MeetUp group,  or check Bethesda Green’s web site for the next location!

(View more photos from the June 3 First Thursday Happy Hour)

Here are some of the latest stories and events from the green scene in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C.

  • How to Decipher Nutrition Buzzwords and Food Marketing Labels – The Post had a useful article by Melissa Bell last week about what some of the descriptions on food packages—such as “natural,” “organic,” “healthy” and others–really mean.
  • Solar Power to the People – Homeowners are winning decisions in and out of court against homeowner associations that want to block them from installing solar electric or solar hot water panels on their roofs, according to Kiplinger.com. Maryland has a law limiting the ability of associations to issue blanket denials of homeowners’ requests to install rooftop solar systems.
  • P.G. Environmental Planning Proposal Draws Fire From All Sides – Planning officials in Prince George’s County are updating environmental regulations that affect stream buffers, water quality and woodland conservation. Environmentalists say the new rules won’t go far enough.
  • Wal-Mart Solar School Program to Put Panels on Some D.C. Schools – Wal-Mart recently announced it is providing a $1.2 million grant to put solar panels on 20 schools in five cities, including Washington, D.C.

Local Green Events

  • June 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. — Bethesda Green First Thursday Happy Hour. Join us for casual conversation and social networking at The Wine Bar in the Doubletree Hotel, 8120 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda.
  • June 3 from 8 to 9 p.m. — Author Kim Todd speaks at the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Md. She’ll discuss her new book, Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis, which looks at the life of a pioneering explorer/​naturalist who traveled to South America in 1699 to study insect metamorphosis. RSVP to kwilson@audubonnaturalist.org.
  • June 3 at 7:30 p.m. — ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series — Health — In the final talk of this series, Joan Almon of the Alliance for Childhood will discuss the vital role of play and how planners can design and build spaces that make it easy for children to be active. Where: Park & Planning Headquarters, 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.
  • June 7 at 7 p.m. — Film screening: ‘The Greening of Southie”See a revolutionary green building come to life! Eco-Coach presents the story of Boston’s first residential green building: a young development team makes bamboo flooring to dual-flush toilets a reality, despite job site skeptics and construction mishaps. Where: George Washington University, Duquès Hall, 2201 G Street NW. Please RSVP at the above link or e-mail info@eco-coach.com with “film screening” in the subject line.
  • June 9 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. — DC Gulf Relief and Rally for an End to Oil at BP Gas StationHear a briefing from Aaron Viles, Campaign Director of the Gulf Restoration Network, who is on the ground assisting the recovery effort in New Orleans. Sponsored by Sierra Club. Where:  Logan Circle area, 1301 N 13th Street, NW, Washington, DC.
  • June 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Solar Bethesda ExpoCurious about solar? Ready to learn more? Come to Bethesda Green’s *free* Solar Bethesda Expo! There’ll be exhibits from 10 local solar companies, as well as the Maryland Clean Energy Center and other organizations. Hear local residents with solar homes talk about their experiences; learn about the generous solar tax credits now available; and use a satellite mapping station to find out if your home is well situated for solar.

Check the Bethesda Green Calendar for more upcoming green events in the community.