Houston Environmental News Update August 12, 2020

Heat, Harvey, Hurricanes, Environmental Justice, CEC seeks fall interns, Virtual Film Nights, Exploration Green meeting, Rain Barrel Workshop, Health & Highways, Green Jobs, and more

Three years ago, as many of us were contemplating the solar eclipse crossing the US, a westward-moving, seemingly harmless tropical wave–not yet even a disturbance–began passage east from Africa. The system passed through the Caribbean Sea and into the Gulf of Mexico, devastating Rockport before arriving in the Houston region with record-setting rainfall. Hurricane Harvey was a game changer in this region, 17 years after Hurricane Katrina caused a wake-up call further east.

It may be hard to say how much these traumatic storms storms are connected to climate change, but warmer water temperatures tend to mean more-powerful hurricanes. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has cited warmer waters as one of the reasons this year’s hurricane season is forecast to be “extremely active.” Climate change is making hurricanes worse. Learn more and take the “Hurricanes and the Climate Crisis” quiz at climatereality.org. And storms like these will be exacerbated by rising sea levels along the Texas Coast; check out this sea level rise visualizer from NOAA.

In addition to making storms more dangerous, heat is the number one weather-related killer globally, causing more deaths each year than floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes (Yale 360). By late in the 21st century, if no reductions in emissions take place, our region is projected to experience an additional 30–60 days per year above 100°F than it does now, as reported in the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

Hurricanes, rising sea levels, and increasing temperatures–all related to the climate crisis–are also examples of situations in which inequity and systemic racism are becoming increasingly scrutinized. While rainfall, storms, and heat don’t discriminate, the least able to recover are low-income people, communities of color, and other vulnerable populations.

It isn’t all bad news. Many people, agencies, businesses, and organizations are working to reduce climate change, social vulnerability, and its impacts. Here are just a few initiatives in the Houston region, with more details below:

Please scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community.


CEC seeking fall interns

CEC is currently recruiting interns for the fall semester to help with projects, gain experience, and develop professional competencies. Interns will work in Communications & Marketing, Policy & Government Relations, Journalism, Digital Media, Event Coordination, Business, Education or design a custom program to fit their needs. If interested, please email a resume and cover letter to [email protected] and visit CEC Houston for detailed job descriptions.

Houston Environment in Review: Midyear Survey

What you think have been the most significant environmental accomplishments, controversies, issues, news, and events in the greater Houston region so far this year? Take two minutes to take our survey, and you can see what other people have submitted. We’ll check back in at the end of the year.

Virtual Film Night: A Look Back at Fan Favorites

With the Wild About Houston Film Festival coming up this October (see below), the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is taking a look back at some of our favorite films from festivals past. Join the environmental community for a fun evening of inspiring films on August 19, 2020. Find ways to get involved with our member organizations right here in the Gulf Coast region. Registration information and tickets available on eventbrite.

Call for submissions: Wild About Houston Green Film Festival

The CEC is proud to host the third annual Wild About Houston Green Film Festival on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. CEC hopes to use this festival to tell local environmental stories, highlight the work of CEC’s member organizations, and to inspire our residents and visitors to make a difference in the environment and our quality of life. The festival will be held virtually to protect the health and safety of our community in these times. We invite you to submit a film for consideration. Films should be specific to the environment in the Houston/Gulf Coast Region, should be no more than seven minutes long, and must be of suitable quality to be shown publicly. Find the Submission Guidelines here, and make submissions here.

Buffalo Bayou Cistern Tours

CEC Event Marketing Interns Riane Harris and Jennifer Truong recently participated in a Sound Healing Meditation at the Cisterns at Buffalo Bayou Park. They loved the quiet, dark, cool space in the heart of Houston. They enjoyed being immersed in a sound bath from the singing bowls and wind chimes, and said it was truly a mindful experience. Join BBP any Saturday at 9 a.m. in August for a similar experience; reservations required. For more information and to register, visit buffalobayou.org.

Environmental Educators Exchange

The next virtual meeting of the Environmental Educators Exchange (EEVENGERS) will be held August 14, 2020, from 9:45-10:15 a.m. All are welcome to join us and take a few minutes to share best practices for environmental education in the Houston region this fall. Based on lessons learned during summer programs, come prepared to discuss what is and what’s not working and questions for the EE community. Sing up on this Google form.

Environmental Issues Virtual Forum with Candidates for Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 3

On August 20, 2020, the Houston environmental community will host a virtual candidate forum with Tom Ramsey and Michael Moore, the two candidates for Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 3. We invite you to join as Houston environmental leaders ask questions. This informational forum is not affiliated with any party or candidate. Advance registration is required. After registering, you’ll receive a confirmation email with information on joining the ZOOM meeting. Tendremos un intérprete disponible para cualquier persona que desea escuchar en Español. Se proveera instrucciones cuando comience la reunión de Zoom. Advance registration is required at https://tinyurl.com/environmentalforum2020. After registering, you’ll receive a confirmation email with information on joining the meeting. Event co-hosts include:

Air Alliance Houston * Bayou City Waterkeeper * Bayou Land Conservancy *
Bayou Preservation Association * CEER  (Coalition for Environment, Equity and Resilience) * Citizens Climate Lobby * Citizens’ Environmental Coalition * Galveston Bay Foundation *
Houston Audubon Society * Houston Sierra Club * Houston Tomorrow * Katy Prairie Conservancy * National Wildlife Federation * Save Buffalo Bayou * THEA (Texas Health and Environment Alliance)


We have endeavored to confirm the opportunities listed below. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts, particularly in light of concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Houston Arboretum seeks Weekend Receptionist/Nature Shop Attendant

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is seeking a Weekend Receptionist/Nature Shop Attendant. This person will represent the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center by greeting guests, answering questions (both in person and over the phone), and aiding other staff members when necessary. This position is fun and invigorating, and requires an individual who excels at multi-tasking and customer service. For the full job description and application instructions, visit houstonarboretum.org.

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition seeks Fall 2020 Interns

CEC is currently recruiting interns for the fall semester to help with projects, gain experience, and develop professional competencies. Work in Communications & Marketing, Policy & Government Relations, Journalism, Digital Media, Event Coordination, Business, Education or design a custom program to fit your needs. Please email a resume and cover letter to [email protected] and visit CEC Houston for detailed job descriptions.