BGnews_logoBy Alison Wentzell

Climate Panel Warns Human Activity is the Cause for Warming

Recently, a draft of the International Panel of Climate Change’s “Fifth Assessment Report” has been leaked and the report looks bleak, according to an article in the New York Times.  The International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) is a team of several hundred scientists that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, along with Al Gore. Although the team does not conduct any of their own research, it is their duty to analyze work done by other scientists and publish the most important findings regarding climate change.  Many governments rely on these findings to create policies and prepare for the future impacts climate change will have.

This year’s assessment report, which will be finalized in September, strengthened many scientists’ beliefs regarding the future of climate change.  The assessment’s first major finding is that human activity is the cause of the increase in global temperature.  In the past climate skeptics have dismissed the idea that global warming was the adverse effects of human activity, but something that happened naturally.  But now, scientists are about 95% certain that the rapid increase in global temperature since the industrial revolution is the cause of carbon emissions produced from human activities.  Scientists have also dismissed the recent notion of a slowdown in the pace of warming.

The draft also elaborates on how strongly correlated carbon emissions and global temperatures are.  The report states that the lowest possible increase would be 2.7 degrees Celsius, down from 3.6 degrees published in the “Fourth Assessment Report”.  However, the IPCC was quick to point out that just because 2.7 degrees is possible, doesn’t mean it’s likely.  If we continue with a business as usual mindset, then carbon emission will double in the next few decades, increasing the global temperature by approximately 5 degrees.  This will cause extreme heat waves, difficulty growing food, mass extinctions and changes in plant and animal life, and land ice to melt.  The melting of ice is one of the biggest concerns for scientists, since it will displace many communities and many of the world’s major cities.

The report will be finalized in September, but until then check out this article in the New York Times.

Students Succeed in Building Electric Vehicle

A group of 7 students in Sandy Spring Friends School’s Advance Placement environmental science class won fourth place in the 2013 DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix this summer, which was open to high school students in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.  In addition to placing fourth in the competition, the students’ car won Best Technical Innovation and Best Graphic, and the team won Best Team Photo.   The team started working in December, when they were inspired to create a battery powered vehicle as a class project.  In March they started to build the vehicle to make their idea a reality.  The students hit many roadblocks while working on the project, but they believe that they learned more from the overall experience because of these roadblocks than if the project had ran smoothly.

These students are the future innovators and designers of our country, and have proven that they have the potential to change the world.  Competitions like the DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix help to foster and motivate students to take action and prove that they can do something remarkable, not only for them but for the world.  I can only hope that these students will continue on the path of brilliance and someday change our society’s infrastructure, to create a greener, healthier world.

For the full article, check out the Gazette here.

Events

  • 4th Annual Bake Bethesda A Pie Contest, September 1st, 9am-12pm, Bethesda Central Farm Market, located at the Bethesda Elementary School parking lot

Come out to the annual “Bake Bethesda a Pie” contest and help raise money for Mana Food Center!  Last year over 200 people attended for the judging of more than 45 different pies.

  •  Happy Hour, September 5, 5pm-8pm, The Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase, 5220 Wisconsin Avenue

 Join Bethesda Green for their First Thursday Happy Hour at The Courtyard and have a chance to win a raffle, get discounts on wine, beer, and cocktails, and delicious appetizers.  Also, meet the people protecting the local watershed—Cabin John, Little Falls and Rock Creek.  There is a $10 entrance fee and the proceeds are shared with local watershed groups.

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.

BG_HH_Jan13_eviteHappy New Year

To all our friends, associates, sponsors and supporters, Bethesda Green looks forward to celebrating our 5th anniversary with you in 2013, and we welcome your ideas, energy and commitment in sharing our mission to promote sustainable living practices and a healthy local economy.

We kick off the new year this Thursday,  Jan. 3, with a Happy Hour @ Redwood Restaurant, 5-8 pm.  In addition to enjoying complimentary appetizers, networking and casual conversation, we will share Green Resolutions for 2013.  Submit your green resolution to info@bethesdagreen.org to be eligible to win a $50 gift card from Redwood.

Click here for more info about the Jan. 3 Happy Hour.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

For my money, Green Resolutions always start with a re-commitment to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Reducing your consumption and reusing products help preserve our natural resources. Recycling paper, plastic, aluminum, scrap metal and a range of household and office materials divert these items from landfills.  Creating products from recycled materials also requires less energy and can save money in the long run. It’s a win-win solution!

Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services makes it easy for county residents to recycle a wide range of materials through its comprehensive and convenient programs and resources. The county provides information about how to recycle everything from plastic bottles to cooking oil. A variety of services and resources for businesses and residents are available, including some great waste reduction tips.

A while back, we published specific green resolutions — 5 Tips to Break Bad Habits & Get a Green Routine — aligned with the reduce, reuse and recycle theme, which we’re delighted to share again here.

What’s your green resolution this year?  Let us know so we can share them with others.

All the best in the coming year.

by Susanna Parker

Lester Brown and the Crisis of Peak Food 

Peak oil is a term we’re all familiar with, but it is looking as though the most worrying shortage of the 21st century will not be petroleum, but food. Lester Brown, founder of the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute, goes into detail in his new book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. Anca Novacovici of The Huffington Post discussed these potential shortages with Brown, who argued that we’re going from an era of food surplus to food scarcity. Some of the causes include ethanol production competing for a share of the world grain output, aquifers being depleted faster than they can replenish themselves, rice and wheat yields plateauing, and the continuing erosion of topsoil. Brown states that, to combat this scarcity, nations must work on increasing water productivity, improving access to family planning, increasing energy efficiency, and investing in renewable energy. To learn more about food scarcity, visit the The Huffington Post for the full article.

Bethesda’s Navy Exchange Is LEED Gold Certified, and Looks Out For Electric Cars

The Navy Exchange’s new store in Bethesda will serve military families all over the Metro area, has achieved LEED Gold Certification, and will provide four ChargePoint electric vehicle charging stations, the first at a Navy Exchange facility. Located in the two-level parking garage adjacent to the Navy Exchange, these spots are specifically reserved for eco-friendly, low emissions vehicles. Sold and installed by Green Power Technology, these ChargePoint stations are a crucial part of the Navy Exchange’s efforts to be more efficient and environmentally friendly. Pat Romano, President and CEO of ChargePoint, praises the Navy Exchange for this decision, stating that “Offering EV charging services… is an important endorsement for the future of electric vehicles.” For more information about the ChargePoint, Green Power Technology, and the Navy Exchange, please visit Herald Online.

Upcoming Green Events

If Black Friday got you down, and the prospect of visiting the mall in December leaves you cold, check out the 14th Annual Takoma Park Alternative Gift Fair. This yearly fair features 14-18 charities striving to make our world a better place, highlighting their work and providing the community easy opportunities for charitable donations. Last year the fair raised over $25,000 for local, national, and international charities! This year the fair will also feature live music, raffles, kids activities, a bake sale, and refreshments. Come by, get in the holiday spirit, and help your community!

Come join us next Wednesday as a panel of Montgomery County and metro area leaders discuss emergency preparedness in the DC area. Learn what items your family should have stocked in case of a weather or human-caused disaster, the role of local, state, and federal governments during an emergency, what plans the County has in place for situations like Hurricane Sandy or derecho storms, and much more.

Please RSVP to Sharon D’Emidio at sharon@bethesdagreen.org if you plan to attend this important and informative event.

Kick off the holiday season with our monthly networking happy hour! This month, we are excited to host this event along with Interfaith Power and Light, whose associated congregations will share their efforts to save energy and go green. Enjoy complimentary appetizers in the restaurant’s beautiful second floor lounge; donation requested at the door.

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                                                                                                                               

EPA Recognizes Maryland’s Panera Bakery-Cafes
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on October 25 that Panera Bread’s 35 Maryland locations are on EPA’s list of top green power purchasers among retailers. Panera Bread of Maryland purchases 100 percent of its electricity through wind power renewable electricity certificates (RECs). The company’s purchase of more than 11 million kilowatt hours is equivalent to avoiding the yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 1,350 passenger vehicles. “Supporting clean power makes good business sense and is good for the communities we serve,” said Brian J. Lemek, owner of Lemek, LLC, franchisee for Panera Bread bakery-cafes in the state of Maryland.

The EPA Green Power Partnership works with more than 1,300 partner organizations that are voluntarily purchasing green power to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Purchases of green power also help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and produce no net increase to greenhouse gas emissions.

Leggett Seeks Applicants for Ag Advisory Committee

County Executive Isiah Leggett is seeking applicants to fill seven vacancies on the Agricultural Advisory Committee. Four positions are for farmers selected to represent the farm community, and three positions are for non-farmers. The 15-member committee advises the County Executive and County Council on all matters affecting agriculture in the County. Farmer representatives serve three-year terms and non-farmer members serve one-year terms. Members serve without compensation, but are eligible for reimbursement for travel and dependent care for meetings attended. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday evening of each month in Germantown. The deadline for application is November 12, 2010.

County Rebates Still Available for Homeowners

Eric Coffman of the County’s Department of Environmental Protection this week gave Bethesda Green an update on the Montgomery County Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. As of Tuesday, October 25, more than 250 residents are participating in the program, reserving a total of $310,000 for a variety of energy efficiency projects. The roughly 75 jobs completed to date have created (in combination with the state Home Performance and Utility Programs) more than 2,000 hours of work for local energy efficiency professionals. The County still has almost $800,000 of funding available for Montgomery  County residents to help improve the efficiency of their homes.

Coffman suggests applicants ask for electronic copies of audits, proposals and invoices from service providers to make the application process easier. He says the vast majority of projects have been approved within 48 business hours of receiving the application. A few notices to proceed have gotten caught in spam filters, so if an applicant doesn’t hear from them in a week, he suggests they log into their account online. If they still have not received approval, he asks that applicants contact help@mcenergyfunding.com. One last tip for applicants: Make sure to check the “other sources of funding” link on www.mcenergyfunding.com for information about state, federal, and utility company incentives.

Bethesda Central Farm Market to Stay Open Year-round

The Bethesda Patch reports, in an October 26 article by Anna Isaacs, that the Bethesda Central Farm Market will remain open on Sundays throughout the winter at its location on Elm Street between Woodmont and Wisconsin avenues. According to the article, market co-founder Mitch Berliner expects at least 20 vendors to offer a variety of products this winter. Read the Patch article here.

Pepco Pledge to Save Campaign

Pepco is conducting a multi-pronged Pledge to Save Campaign in support of the state of Maryland EmPOWER initiative, which seeks to reduce energy consumption 15 percent by 2015. Pepco Maryland customers can make a “Pledge to Save,” signaling their commitment to reduce electricity use and entering them for a chance to win a $250 Lowe’s Home Improvement gift card. The deadline to submit a pledge is December 1, 2011.

Another feature of the campaign is a children’s art contest. Kids ages 5-10 (grades K-5) are invited to draw a picture illustrating what they are doing to save energy at home, at school or at play. The contest deadline is November 15, 2011. Six winners will be chosen and each will receive a $100 gift card. Pepco has started posting entries on the campaign’s Facebook page. Also for kids, the Energy Detective Activity Book teaches what electricity is, why it is important to conserve it, and what we can do to use less of it.

Upcoming Green Events

Open House about the proposed Purple Line Project, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, National 4-H Youth Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase. Hosted by the Maryland Transit Administration  (MTA). The Purple Line is a proposed 16-mile light rail line from Bethesda to New Carrollton. Help design a project that best serves the community. Learn about the  benefits and status of the Purple Line Project, light rail systems and stations, and what’s next.

Learn How to Protect the Seneca Creek Watershed, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 6:30 pm8:30 pm, Izaak Walton League of America – Rockville Chapter, 18301 Waring Station Road in Germantown. Great Seneca Creek is the largest watershed located entirely within Montgomery County and is a source of drinking water for much of the area. Meet local watershed partners and discuss ways to work together to improve local water quality. Sponsored by the City of Gaithersburg, Montgomery County Dept. of Environmental Protection, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, and Seneca Creek Watershed Partners.  For more information please contact Audra Lew at 301-274-8110 or e-mail alew@icprb.org.

Bethesda Green Happy Hour, Thursday, Nov. 3, 5 pm – 8 pm, 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.

Thursday, Nov. 3, “Wind Jobs Potential for Montgomery County” expo, featuring local businesses that would create offshore wind energy jobs, 6 pm – 7 pm. Followed by a Town Hall Forum: Maryland Offshore Wind Power for Montgomery County, 7 pm, Featuring: State Delegate Ben Kramer and State Senator Manno, along with health, economic, environmental experts, and local businesses. Mid County Community Center, 2004 Queensguard Rd., Silver Spring. Hosted by the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development. Register at CCAN Website. Background information here.

E-cycling day @ Whitman High School, Sunday, Nov. 6, noon – 4 p.m., Walt Whitman High School parking lot, 7100 Whittier Boulevard, Bethesda. Bring your old TVs, computers, small appliances, etc. Help spread the work and share this flyer with others.

Local Food Goes Digital, Monday, Nov. 7, 6 pm – 8:30 pm, Chef Tony’s Restaurant, 4926 St. Elmo Avenue, Bethesda. Support the Montgomery Countryside Alliance. Join us for cocktails and appetizers at Chef Tony’s Restaurant, specializing in seasonal, fresh and locally-grown cuisine. Learn how Foodem.com, a web-based marketplace, is connecting local farmers, food distributors and specialty food manufacturers with restaurants, schools, hotels and grocers. By doing so, Foodem.com does its part for the sustainable food movement by satisfying the growing consumer and business demand for more local, sustainably-produced, and healthier food choices. Cocktails and appetizers will be available at a discounted price. Part of the sales will be given to Montgomery Countryside Alliance, preserving and enhancing Montgomery  County’s Agricultural Reserve. Please RSVP by November 5.

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting – Newcomers Welcome! Thursday, Nov. 10, 4 pm – 5:30 pm., 4825 Cordell Ave., corner of Woodmont Ave., Suite 200, above the Capital One Bank, Bethesda. A team of volunteers, EOM supports all of Bethesda Green’s communication efforts. From recycling to energy efficiency, sustainability to green building/design, EOM expresses the organization’s various areas of expertise in a clear and concise manner via various media.  New members are welcome to join. More information here, or contact Bethesda Green Communications Director Dave Heffernan, dvheffernan@bethesdagreen.org.

Montgomery County’s first “Know Your Farmer,” Call-In Webinar, Wednesday, November 16, 8 pm. Montgomery Victory Gardens hosts “Challenges and Opportunities Facing Organic Agriculture in the 21st Century,” a discussion with Montgomery  County farmers Nick and Sophia Maravell.  Nick is the operator of Nick’s Organic Farm in Potomac and one of only four farmers sitting on the prestigious National Organic Standards Board, while his daughter Sophia, who has studied organic agriculture throughout the world, is one of our nation’s new generation of aspiring farmers. Register here.

Montgomery County Green Business Crash Course Webinar, November 17, 8:00 – 11:00 am. Offered in partnership by Montgomery College and Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. The course instructor will guide you through the application process to accelerate your certification. More info and registration.

Green News & Events, Week of August 01 – 07, 2011

by Dan Rudt

Earn a Certificate in Commercial Urban Agriculture at PGCC – Prince George’s Community College partners with ECO City Farms to offer the first program of its kind in the region, designed to give you a comprehensive introduction to starting your own urban farm. A total of six courses (28 hours of instruction) make up the Certificate program. The courses are taught by ECO City Farms staff at their urban farm at 4913 Crittenden Street, Edmonston, Maryland, 20781. More information here.

Volunteer and Experience Urban Farming – Not ready to farm for a living, but want to get your hands dirty? You can experience urban farming every Saturday as a volunteer at ECO City Farms. The educational, not-for-profit in Edmonston is designed to serve as a prototype for sustainable local farming. Workshops, potlucks and tours are also available.

Green Tech Company Wins DC Business Plan Competition – For the second year in a row, a green technology company has won the annual Washington, DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) Business Plan Competition. The award consists of a $100,000 investment and $50,000 of in-kind services. The winning company, Skyline Innovations, offers solar water heating and energy efficient HVAC systems, with no capital outlay by the customer. EnviRelation, LLC, a District-based business that composts restaurant waste and scraps, was last year’s competition winner.

Planned Solar Installation will Double Maryland Solar Power ProductionThe Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland Solar, LLC was granted a 20-year lease by the state for 250 acres near the Maryland Correctional Institute in Hagerstown. The company plans to install 100,000 solar panels on the land and will create approximately 125 construction jobs, beginning later this year.

Good News for Electric Vehicle Owners – If you own an EV, you will soon be able to buy the GE WattStation Wall Mount Electric Vehicle Charging Station at Lowe’s. GE and Lowe’s have announced the WattStation will be available at 60 Lowe’s stores and nationwide at Lowes.com in September. Lowe’s will be the first retailer to carry the GE product.

More Good News for EV Owners – The nation’s largest drugstore chain plans to become the largest retail host of electric charging stations. Walgreens says it will install electric vehicle charging sites at 800 of its retail locations across the country (including the DC market) by the end of the year. Two types of chargers will be installed. One, a high speed charger, should add 30 miles of driving with a 10 minute charge. The other, a Level 2 charger, is expected to add up to 25 miles of range with a one hour charge. Walgreens also will have more than 100 rooftop solar installations at stores and distribution centers by the end of the year.

Upcoming Green Events

Bethesda Green First Thursday Happy Hour @ Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle, Thursday, August 4, 5:00 PM, 4844 Cordell Avenue. Meet fun, like-minded people and learn about exciting, upcoming Bethesda Green events. Let us know you’re coming!

Green Networking Event at Dirty Martini, Wednesday, August 10, 5:30 – 8:00 pm. Capital Cabal and the Sustainable Business Network of Washington (SBNOW) invite you to enjoy appetizers, drink specials, door prizes and meet dozens of other “green” professionals at the 100% wind electrified Dirty Martini, 1223 Connecticut Avenue NW, (Dupont Circle). $15 in advance; $20 at the door. Preregister here.

2011 Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, August 12-20th. Experience the mobile science lab, Old MacDonald’s barn, animal birthing center & milking parlor, chat with master gardeners at the Bay Friendly Garden, and learn about honeybees. Don’t forget to buy some food and enjoy the rides and contests. More information here.

Closing the Loop in Our Food System: Breakfast, Panel Discussion & Optional Farm Market Visit, Sunday, August 21, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. This is the first in the series On the Farm; Around the Table, connecting farmers, food and community in three meals. Location: Bethesda Green & Bethesda Central Farm Market. More information here.

Maryland Clean Energy Summit 2011, Thursday, August 25 – Saturday, August 27, Marriott North Bethesda Hotel and Conference Center. More than 60 speakers from business, government and energy non-profits will discuss how Maryland is “Investing in Energy to Generate Jobs.” Clean energy companies and those that serve them will exhibit. This is an excellent education and networking opportunity for those who are in the clean energy field or curious about it.

Fertile Ground: Local Sustainable Farm Tour and Lunch, Saturday, September 10, 12:30 – 3:00 pm. Rocklands Farm, 14525 Montevideo Rd., Poolesville, MD 20837. This is the second in the series On the Farm; Around the Table, connecting farmers, food and community in three meals.  More information here.

Savor Local Flavor: Four Course Dinner and Discussion with Chef Tony, Monday, September 19, 7:00 – 10:00 pm. Chef Tony’s, 4926 St. Elmo Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814.  This is the third in the series On the Farm; Around the Table, connecting farmers, food and community in three meals. More information here.

Blog post by Jeanette Perthel

On a warm Thursday night, the sun sets on the patio at The Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase in Friendship Heights. This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified hotel was the venue June 2 for Bethesda Green’s “Step Up to Summer” happy hour where much of the environmental community gathered to eat, drink, and socialize in the summer air.

Everyone looked excited as they stepped onto the patio and saw the delightful set up. Savory appetizers and a bar serving wine, beer, and cocktails were calling everyone’s name as they settled into the welcoming and fun atmosphere. Each visitor donated $10 and in return they were entered in a raffle contest to win either the Green Guide: The Complete Reference for Consuming Wisely or two-night weekend stay at The Courtyard by Marriott, both prizes compliments of the hotel.

Many organizations and community leaders were present at Bethesda Green’s Happy Hour including: A Wider Circle; Clean Currents; Green Market Solutions; County Councilmember George Leventhal; and Jim Young, senior director, corporate facilities, Marriott International and an integral member of Marriott’s Green Council.

A Wider Circle Founder Mark Bergel

Mark Bergel, the Founder and Executive Director of A Wider Circle, presented an uplifting and inspiring speech that  encouraged all of us to come together to eradicate poverty in region. A Wider Circle is an incredible organization that provides basic needs such as furniture, home essentials financial planning, and stress management for those in poverty.

Picking the raffle winners followed the presentations. From a green bucket a small blue ticket was pulled and numbers were read aloud. Wendy Howard was the first winner! She won the Green Guide. As the next blue ticket was pulled and read aloud everyone was giddy and listening intently, hoping they would win the two-night stay at the hotel. Ironically, Marriott VP Jim Young’s number was pulled. Chuckling, he said, “pick another one.” Again the same silence fell as the numbers were read, this time Mike Kennedy won! Congratulations to both the winners!

The hum of conversation continued with many laughs, smiles, and pictures. Friendships bloomed and so did the summer season at the happy hour. One could tell it truly was the happiest of hours.

A Bethesda Green intern, Jeanette Perthel graduated from Churchill High School and is attending Towson University this fall.

Don’t forget this evening’s Bethesda Green First Thursday Happy Hour, 5 to 8 p.m. at Lebanese Taverna, 7141 Arlington Road, Bethesda, 20814.

There will be casual conversation and networking. Highlights will include:

Focus on Watershed Issues

  • Meeting some of the folks leading the way to protect the local watershed — Cabin John, Little Falls and Rock Creek.
  • Learning about a number of volunteer opportunities Saturday April 9 — for example, It’s Time to Take Out the Trash and Clean Creek, Clean Potomac — to help watershed clean-up efforts throughout the area. And on April 17, the Cabin John Creek Cleanup.
  • Enjoying complimentary appetizers from Lebanese Taverna, as well as discount beer, wine and mixed drink prices.

RSVP at the Bethesda Green Meetup page!