by Mary C. Corddry |
Across the state, our groups are busy being green.
Following is a roundup of activities and issues of the nine Sierra Club Groups in Maryland: Anne Arundel County, Catoctin, Eastern Shore, Greater Baltimore, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, Southern Maryland, and Western Maryland. There is a link to each Groups website on the Maryland Chapters home page at www.maryland.sierraclub.org. If you have information to contribute to future Roundups for the Chesapeake newsletter, please contact Mary Corddry at XxDiTz4LyFxX@aol.com or at 410-248-0423.
All Groups during the summer and fall of 2006 were extremely active with reviewing, surveying, and interviewing candidates for county and state offices. The endorsees welcomed the Sierra Clubs support, and experienced success in the primary and general elections.
Anne Arundel Group
Chair: Ann Wolfe, 410-867-0900
The Group is seeking entries for a juried photo exhibit it is sponsoring at Arundel Center for April 2007. Entries are open to members and non-members. The categories are: Landscape, Water, Maryland Flora, Maryland Native Animals, Patterns, and Nature with People. For more information, contact Deede Miller at 410-268-2845.
In October, the Group sponsored a Cool Cities workshop on how to fight global warming in Annapolis.
After two heated public meetings attended by hundreds, the City of Annapolis dropped further work on its proposed Mixed Use Study of proposed intensive development near the Hillsmere community.
Mary Lou Pontius, a 50-year Sierra Club member, was selected by the Capital newspaper as its Volunteer of the Week for its July 5th edition. She led the cleanup and restoration of Hawkins Cove.
Over 80 people participated in the June 2006 Patuxent Sojourn, co-sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Group, making it the most successful yet. Participants paddled all or part of the way from Kings Landing to Jefferson Patterson Park.
Last spring, the Group co-sponsored with the Coalition of Anne Arundel Land Trusts a series of hikes to areas of significant natural resource value that are protected by conservation easements.
Catoctin Group (Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties)
Chair: Kim Stenley, 410-756-6402, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Kim Stenley, ChairCatoctin Group began to build an outings program in 2006. We have offered hikes nearly every month, ranging from an easy walk along the C&O canal designed to be family and senior friendly, to more challenging hikes along the Appalachian Trail and other trails. We had several joint hikes with Maryland Native Plant Association and one with the Frederick Ski Club. Turnout has continued to increase. We had our first afternoon hike followed by dinner in early November. Also, we have instituted Second Tuesday social hours on the second Tuesday of every month at a downtown Frederick Brewpub.
Cool Cities Westminster
The Cool Cities (CC) Westminster campaign kicked off September 2006 with 17 Carroll Countians in attendance. Dan Andrews, Kim Stenley, and Gregor Becker introduced themselves and offered an overview explaining the Cool Cities campaign. The short version of Kilowatt Ours was shown and two handouts were reviewedone concerning the problems and effects of global warming and the other, a simplified abstract of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Initial goals were announced such as:
-get towns and cities to make constructive environmental changes and
-develop an active organization where volunteers engage other people and form partnerships to spread global warming awareness.
Several groups were formed to discuss: Why they were there? What are they willing to do to help this effort? Whom could they invite to the next meeting to help aid in this effort? Several people reported their findings. Generally, those in attendance seemed excited to be a part of the campaign.
At the October meeting, the group (12 people attending) democratically decided that the local CC campaign should focus on the City of Westminster due to its population density and political influence. Then, three reasons to participate in the Cool Cities campaign were announced:
1) Personal - To learn for themselves and their families ways to help stem the problem known as global warming, climate change, and/or the greenhouse effect. These include: energy efficient techniques, lifestyle changes, green building technologies, fuel efficient vehicles, renewable energy (solar, wind, ground-source heat, green tags, and others), and other ways to live durably.
2) Activism - To work actively to convince your local governments to adopt the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
3) Community To become part of a group in which the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Individuals were asked to stand and tell the group why they attended the meeting. Local global warming statistics were discussed, to stress the importance of dealing with global warming at a local level. Solar photovoltaics and thermal solar collection modules were displayed. The State of Marylands monetary grants and the federal tax credits related to solar energy were discussed. The members then broke into groups based on who would like to:
1) reach out and invite participation of community partners
2) research current energy policies and actions, or influence the Mayor and town council.
Each group reconvened and announced their goals and intentions. Again, the members seemed to enjoy the participation and seemed willing to develop strategies to engage the City when the time is right. The November meeting is scheduled for Nov. 28th in Westminster.
Cool Cities Frederick Update
After a brief break for the mid-term elections, the Cool Cities Frederick Campaign (CCFC) is back on track. The CCFC teamed up with the local Frederick Film Festival in October in support of the showing of An Inconvenient Truth at the festival. Members of the coalition talked about what is being done locally to address the issue of global warming and answered audience questions about what they can do in their own homes. At our table in the theatre lobby, CCFC team members distributed literature and people signed up to join the campaign. As a result of our participation in the film festival, the Frederick News Post picked up the story and published a very informative article on the Cool Cities initiative. We were also interviewed by the local AM radio station (WFMD) about our efforts in Frederick City. A great deal of interest has been generated by all the publicity. As a result, our next meeting will take place late November. We will contact other local organizations and other potential coalition partners, and we plan to make a presentation to the mayor and Board of Aldermen by the beginning of the new year. All in all a very successful month! People can join the CCFC e-mail list by sending a blank e-mail to: email@example.com or contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (310) 696-5933.
The Frederick membership of the Catoctin Group has been working with a group of local citizens concerned about the proposed expansion of the Fort Detrick bio-warfare facility. The group is initiating a legal challenge to the woefully inadequate and misleading Environmental Impact Study (EIS) presented by the military. The group has obtained the assistance of a local public interest attorney who has volunteered to research the issue and make recommendations to the group pro bono. The as yet unnamed group is looking into applying for tax-exempt status, and will begin fund raising efforts in order to assist with the costs of setting up a web site and upcoming legal expenses. Read more at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/02/26/AR2006022601423.html.
To get more information about the effort, contact the groups organizer, Robert Kozak, at email@example.com.
Eastern Shore (Cecil County and Eastern Shore counties)
Chair: Howard Bedlin, 410-643-3283, Howard.Bedlin@ncoa.org
The major issue has been the proposed mega-development of 3,200 new houses, shops, and golf courses near Blackwater National Refuge in Dorchester County.
The Group is also concerned about saving Unicorn Lake in Queen Annes County from environmental devastation, due to plans for a 58-acre landfill next to the lake. In July, the Group had a picnic at the Lake, which attracted a large crowd and a number of elected officials and candidates.
Greater Baltimore (Baltimore City and County, Harford County)
Chair: Ron Henry, 410-838-9119, RonLHenry@msn.com
As part of the Sierra Clubs Cool Cities Campaign, the Greater Baltimore Group has been encouraging Baltimore City and Baltimore County to take measures to reduce global warming. Baltimore City signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and Baltimore County is considering signing. The Group co-sponsored a showing of Kilowatt Ours, about simple ways that homeowners and local government can work together to reduce energy costs, carbon dioxide emissions, and dependence on fossil fuels.
The Groups Chair Ron Henry has been attending meetings about a proposal for a Liquefied Natural Gas off-loading terminal and storage tanks at Sparrows Point and a pipeline running into Pennsylvania. A letter detailing concerns with the proposal was sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Patrick McMahon participated in regional and Statewide meetings of Reality Check Plus, conducted by the National Center for Smart Growth Research & Education, the Urban Land Institute, and 1,000 Friends of Maryland. Invitees were asked to envision and brainstorm about how and where the development should occur from population and job growth, especially what will result from the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) to impact Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Meade. Patrick tracks various transportation-related planning activities, such as for another Chesapeake Bay bridge crossing, Baltimore City Bike Plan, and mass transit in the Baltimore area.
Chair: Ken Clark, 301-725-3306, firstname.lastname@example.org
In November, the Group had a presentation by the National Coalition for Marine Conservation about their striped bass and menhaden conservation efforts.
On December 4th, there will be a gift-swap-and-recycle event. Attendees will buy, sell, or trade their unwanted gifts and lightly used items.
Upcoming programs include Legislative Issues in February and an Environmental Film Night in March. Check the Groups website for details and updates at http://maryland.sierraclub.org/hc/ or contact Kim Birnbaum at 410-379-1075.
Chair: Anne Ambler, 301-946-5599, email@example.com
By Anne Ambler, ChairThe Montgomery County (MC) Group joined forces with about 20 other civic and environmental organizations to push for a stronger State storm water permit, one with measurable goals. Since MCs permit is the first in the renewal cycle, it is hoped that permits for other counties will follow suit. We have been successful in inundating the Maryland Department of the Environments Secretary Philbrick with letters of support for our demands, including several from legislators.
Led by ExCom member Pam Lindstrom, the Group continues to advocate for city design and transportation appropriate for the impending global climate crisis. Pam helped our Planning Board design a series of three public roundtables about redeveloping transit-served commercial centers and redesigning a strip-mall lined major arterial.
A team led by ExCom member Tom Ralph is organizing a local Cool Cities Campaign. Already the two largest cities in the county and two small towns (Kensington, Chevy Chase, Gaithersburg, and Rockville) have taken Seattle Mayor Nickels pledge and signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to reduce emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Recognizing that governments alone cannot meet the goals, we expect the campaign to extend to changing citizens energy use habits as well.
ExCom member Bob Goldberg serves on a county task force whose goal is to resolve the thorny problem of how to preserve our vaunted Agricultural Reserve without devaluing the land for the current owners. Recommendations are expected in December.
Caren Madsen, Ginny Barnes, and Anne Ambler serve on a county task force aimed at improving implementation of the Forest Conservation Law. This law has not been working well in conserving forest and does nothing for urban trees. After the task force concludes, we intend to develop a tree ordinance for urban trees.
The ICC remains a big issue with us, undercutting transit-oriented development and sapping funds for needed transit. We continue our participation in efforts to educate the public and to reduce public and political support for this highly destructive project.
Many MC Group members worked with candidates to improve the political climate in the county and State. Our relative success inspires hope that the environmental agenda will move up in priority at both levels and that we will have a good working relationship with the incoming Council and County Executive, who has invited the MC Group Chair to serve on his Transition Team.
Prince Georges County
Chair: Chip Reilly, 301-218-3920, firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern Maryland (Calvert and St. Marys Counties)
Chair: Bob Boxwell, 410-394-6153, email@example.com
Western Maryland (Allegany and Garrett Counties)
Chair: Sam White, 301-264-4162, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Western Maryland Group is holding ExCom elections. Anyone interested in serving on the ExCom should contact the Chair, Sam White.
In August, the Western Maryland Group helped to sponsor a showing of Al Gores documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The Group had a table at the movie theatre, with materials about global warming and the Sierra Clubs Cool Cities Campaign.
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