Houston Environmental News Update July 17, 2019

Apollo and the Environmental Movement, Greater Houston Environmental Summit, Green Film: Ay Mariposa, State of the Bay Symposium proposals, GreenBiz 2019 Perspectives, Green Jobs, and more


This Saturday, July 20, the world celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the culminating event in the United States’ first foray into the era of space research and exploration, which the U.S. and many other nations continue to this day. The Apollo missions also produced one of the most famous pictures in space exploration, Earthrise. This photograph, taken during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968, shows our planet from the point of view of the moon, floating alone in the inky blackness of space. Apollo 8 pilot Jim Lovell remarked: “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.” That image of Earth, small and vulnerable, sparked a wave of environmental consciousness, as people realized that Earth was the only home they had and it deserved protection.

On January 1, 1970, the United States created the National Environmental Policy Act. On April 22, Americans celebrated the first (and still largest) Earth Day with about 20 million people participating. On July 9, the Environmental Protection Agency was established and on October 2, NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) was created.1972 sparked a wave of environmental legislation, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Clean Water Act. You can learn more about the history of the environmental movement here.

Here are a few events hosted by local organizations to celebrate the moon landing:

  • On Saturday, July 20, the George Observatory, located in Brazos Bend State Park, will host activities from 1-11 p.m., including speakers and stargazing. More information can be found at hmns.org.
  • The Houston Museum of Natural Science is hosting a special exhibition, “Moon” by Luke Jerram, to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Visitors will be able to explore the moon’s surface and the International Space Station by using immersive virtual reality technology.
  • Discovery Green will host a special event on Saturday from 6-10 p.m. Activities will include musical performances, interactive exhibits provided by NASA, and a screening of the documentary Apollo 11. See more of the schedule at discoverygreen.com.
  • On Saturday, from 1-4 p.m., the Lunar and Planetary Institute will host a special family-friendly event called “Apollo 11: Looking Back to Move Forward.” For more details, visit lpi.usra.edu.
  • Sugar Land Town Square will host a celebration on Saturday from 7-10 p.m. featuring a special prerecorded video message from the International Space Station and a short documentary recounting the historic moon landing and Houston’s role in the historic event. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  • Of course, the biggest celebration will take place at Space Center Houston. On July 20, there will be a full day of activities, counting down to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. The event will include an outdoor concert, Apollo-era flight controller presentations, pop-up science labs, and NASA tram tours. Find more information and purchase tickets at spacecenter.org.

CEC NOTES

Greater Houston Environmental Summit: Friday, August 2, 2019

Please join us for our annual Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 2, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the United Way of Greater Houston’s Community Resource Center. In addition to excellent presentations, we will again offer small-format table talks. Details and registration will be available soon. The theme this year is the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. Early registration through July 26, 2019. Register on eventbrite.


Houston Green Films: Ay Mariposa

The Houston Green Film for August 21 will be “Ay! Mariposa!”, a documentary film about two women and a rare community of butterflies standing on the front lines in a battle against the US-Mexico border wall. We will be joined by the director of the National Butterfly Center. Upcoming films: September 18–“Hot Grease“, October 16– Wild About Houston Green Film Festival.


Environmental Educators Exchange: Pearland’s New Delores Fenwick Nature Center

The next quarterly meeting of the Environmental Educators’ Exchange will be on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. (Note different time.) Location: Pearland’s new Delores Fenwick Nature Center. Free registration on Eventbrite.


Earth Day Houston

Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020.


Candidate Forums and Questionnaires

7 days of being engaged in the community

Are you organizing a candidate forum or questionnaire for the November 2019 election? CEC is gathering information about election-related activities within our environmental communities. Let us know what you are planning, and we’ll keep you in the loop. CEC is interested in either hosting, coordinating, and/or supporting the efforts of local environmental nonprofits leading up to the election. Send your comments to [email protected] Note: the filing deadline for the November City of Houston elections is August 26, 2019. We have heard that CEER Houston will be hosting a mayoral candidate forum on Saturday, September 21, 2019.


Interested in serving on the CEC Board or a Committee?

CEC is seeking individuals who might be interested in joining our board of directors in January 2020, or volunteering to serve on one of our committees starting this year. Over the next few months, we are hosting information sessions for prospective board and committee members to learn more about the commitment and opportunities. Upcoming sessions include the evenings of July 29, September 23, and October 15. For more information (including directions to our top secret world headquarters), please email [email protected]


Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter, which includes a green job listing.

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Houston Environmental News Update July 10, 2019

CEC’s 48th Anniversary, Green Film: Thirst for Power, Houston Central Solar Co-Op, Tropical Symposium, Green Jobs, and more


The Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is an integral part of the Houston area environmental community, connecting the many environmental groups with one another and bringing the community together. The CEC’s work is crucial to strengthening Houston’s environmental movement. It does this by publicizing and spreading awareness of its member groups and being a trusted source of information for the general public.

CEC is celebrating its 48th Anniversary on July 14th of this year. In recognition of our 48 years of service to the community, we have set a goal of $2304, or 48 donations of $48. Please join us in moving toward our goal. We welcome donations of all sizes, be it $48 or $4.80! We at CEC are extremely grateful for your support, and look forward to hearing from you soon. 

You can donate securely through Paypal Giving Fund, at Network for Good (which makes it easy to set up recurring donations), or on Facebook. As always, you may send a check (payable to Citizens’ Environmental Coalition) to PO Box 702, Houston, TX 77001.

CEC NOTES

Save the Dates: Green Films, Greater Houston Environmental Summit, Environmental Educators Exchange, Earth Day


Houston Green Films: Thirst for Power

Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, the Rice Media Center, and additional partners on July 17, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. for conversation, networking, and a light meal, followed by a film at 7 p.m. and panel discussion at 8 p.m. This month’s film is Thirst for Power, based on the book by University of Texas professor Dr. Michael E. Webber (see the trailer). Free to the public, though donations are kindly appreciated. Sign up for information about this event and other green film news at constantcontact.com. Events are held the third Wednesday of each month. Upcoming films: August 21–“Ay! Mariposa!” with the Director of the National Butterfly Center, September 18–“Hot Grease“, October 16– Wild About Houston Green Film Festival.


Greater Houston Environmental Summit: Friday, August 2, 2019

Please join us for our annual Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 2, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the United Way of Greater Houston’s Community Resource Center. In addition to excellent presentations, we will again offer small-format table talks. Details and registration will be available soon. The theme this year is the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. Early registration through July 26, 2019. Register on eventbrite.


Earth Day Houston

Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020.


Environmental Educators Exchange

The next quarterly meeting of the Environmental Educators’ Exchange will be on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at 4:30 p.m. Location TBD.


Candidate Forums and Questionnaires

7 days of being engaged in the community

Are you organizing a candidate forum or questionnaire for the November 2019 election? CEC is gathering information about election-related activities within our environmental communities. Let us know what you are planning, and we’ll keep you in the loop. CEC is interested in either hosting, coordinating, and/or supporting the efforts of local environmental nonprofits leading up to the election. Send your comments to [email protected] Note: the filing deadline for the November City of Houston elections is August 26, 2019. We have heard that CEER Houston will be hosting a mayoral candidate forum on Saturday, September 21, 2019.


Interested in serving on the CEC Board or a Committee?

CEC is seeking individuals who might be interested in joining our board of directors in January 2020, or volunteering to serve on one of our committees starting this year. Over the next few months, we are hosting information sessions for prospective board and committee members to learn more about the commitment and opportunities. Upcoming sessions include the evenings of July 29, September 23, and October 15. For more information (including directions to our top secret world headquarters), please email [email protected]


Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter, which includes a green job listing.

Continue reading

Houston Environmental News Update July 3, 2019

Fourth of July, Texas Environmental Excellence Awards, Smart Cities: How Smart is Houston?, Tropical Symposium, Green Jobs, and more


This Thursday, July 4, we celebrate America’s independence with public or private displays of pyrotechnics in a hopefully clear sky. Although these events can create wholesome family experiences, it’s important to note their impact on the environment as well. 

In 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report on the impact of fireworks on air quality. The national study found that fine particulate matter (PM) increased on average, 42%, starting at 8 p.m. on July 4. Fine particulate matter can cause coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks, and it can aggravate some heart conditions. People with heart and lung disease and children are at most at risk to be affected by PM. Burning fireworks can also release other pollutants like sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, which act as greenhouse gases.

Fortunately, individuals and communities can use environmentally-friendly fireworks that replace perchlorates with nitrogen-based fuel and require less metal salts to produce brightly colored flames.

If you are curious about local air quality, we’d like to suggest several resources for you:

  • Air Alliance Houston– Conducts research to understand air pollution, how to prevent/minimize it, and its impact on public health. AAH also provides education on issues and promotes advocacy within local communities.
  • Environment Texas– A citizen-based environmentally advocacy project that raises awareness about environmental issues and promote solutions. Read more about what they are doing concerning clean air here.
  • Houston Advanced Research Center– HARC provides independent research on energy, air, and water issues and creates a hub for many scientific organizations to collaborate. Read their most recent report on air pollution in Harris County.
  • One Breath Partnership– This consortium of local organizations provides a platform for academics to voice their findings on air pollution and a platform for local residents to share their stories on how air pollution is affecting their lives.
  • American Lung Association publishes an annual State of the Air report (in the most recent report, the Houston area received an F for Ozone and a C for particulate pollution).
  • At Airnow.gov, you can view EPA’s air quality monitoring data.
  • Neighborhood Witness allows people to monitor and report air pollution violations.
  • It appears that the EPA’s Village Green air quality monitoring station in Houston is no longer active, but EPA has posted instructions on how to build your own. If you want to help crowdsource air quality data, a number of companies provide air quality monitors that you can install yourself, including Purple Air and Gaia Earth Sensing Labs; the collected date can be viewed on the internet. The date in the map below shows air quality data in Houston, including from a sensor near CEC’s office in the Old Sixth Ward earlier today.

(The image of downtown Houston above is from the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress.)

CEC NOTES

Save the Dates: Green Films, Greater Houston Environmental Summit, Environmental Educators Exchange, Earth Day

  • Houston Green Films: Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, the Rice Media Center, and additional partners on July 17, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. for conversation, networking, and a light meal, followed by a film at 7 p.m. and panel discussion at 8 p.m. This month’s film is Thirst for Power, based on the book by University of Texas professor Dr. Michael E. Webber (see the trailer). Free to the public, though donations are kindly appreciated. Sign up for information about this event and other green film news at constantcontact.com. Events are held the third Wednesday of each month. 
  • Greater Houston Environmental Summit: Friday, August 2, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the United Way of Greater Houston’s Community Resource Center. In addition to excellent presentations, we will again offer small-format table talks. Details and registration will be available soon. The theme this year with be the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations.
  • Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
  • The next quarterly meeting of the Environmental Educators’ Exchange will be on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at 4:30 p.m. Location TBD.

Candidate Forums and Questionnaires

7 days of being engaged in the community

Are you organizing a candidate forum or questionnaire for the November 2019 election? CEC is gathering information about election-related activities within our environmental communities. Let us know what you are planning, and we’ll keep you in the loop. CEC is interested in either hosting, coordinating, and/or supporting the efforts of local environmental nonprofits leading up to the election. Send your comments to [email protected] Note: the filing deadline for the November City of Houston elections is August 26, 2019. We have heard that CEER Houston will be hosting a mayoral candidate forum on Saturday, September 21, 2019.


Interested in serving on the CEC Board or a Committee?

CEC is seeking individuals who might be interested in joining our board of directors in January 2020, or volunteering to serve on one of our committees starting this year. Over the next few months, we are hosting information sessions for prospective board and committee members to learn more about the commitment and opportunities. Upcoming sessions include the evenings of June 24, July 29, September 23, and October 15. For more information (including directions to our top secret world headquarters), please email [email protected]


Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter, which includes a green job listing.

Continue reading