Houston Environmental News Update November 28, 2018

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, Just in case you missed the news, on Black Friday, November 23, 2018, the federal government released Volume 2 of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, required by law every four years.
The report, focusing on the severe environmental and economic consequences to the nation of climate change, is derived from the work of 13 federal agencies and followed last year’s Volume 1, which laid out the science in meticulous detail. It breaks out impacts by the nation’s regions, one of which is the Southern Great Plains, including Texas. That section included a special breakout on Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the Houston region in 2017.
“Based on past trends and recent sea surface temperatures, the heaviest rainfall amounts from intense storms such as Harvey are about 5%-7% greater now than what they would have been a century ago,” the report states.
As reported by the Texas Tribune, the assessment states Texas “is vulnerable to increasing temperature, extreme precipitation and continued sea level rise, particularly as infrastructure ages and populations shift to urban centers.” You can read and download the full report at nca2018.globalchange.gov.
Many scientists, economists, and policymakers favor a carbon tax or fee as a means of addressing climate change. Last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced on the House floor a bill, called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act , as reported by The Hill. The bill is supported by the nonpartisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which has several area chapters. You can find the group’s information about the bill hereNOTE: The CEC does not have a position on either a carbon tax or the proposed legislation, but we include the information so you can learn more about the issue.
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.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens and Jesse Allen, using Suomi NPP OMPS data provided courtesy of Colin Seftor (SSAI) and VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Used in the Fourth National Climate Assessment


Supporting CEC

Did you know your purchases can make a difference? AmazonSmile donates to Citizens’ Environmental Coalition when you do your holiday shopping at smile.amazon.com/ch/74-1692204.

Houston Green Film Series: Living the Change

Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, the Rice Media Center, and additional partners on Nov. 28, 2018, for Living the Change.

The film explores solutions to the global crises we face today – solutions any one of us can be part of – through the inspiring stories of people pioneering change in their own lives and in their communities in order to live in a sustainable and regenerative way. (Watch the trailer).

6:30 p.m. conversation, networking, and a light meal, followed by the screening at 7 p.m.. Free to the public, though donations are kindly appreciated. For more information, see the Facebook event.
Sign up for information about this event and other green film news at constantcontact.com.
And be sure to mark your calendar for January 30 & 31, 2019, when we’ll be hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour. No film in January.


We have endeavored to confirm the events listed below. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

  1. Public Meetings on Coastal Barrier Project

    On Oct. 26, 2018, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a Coastal Barrier Project (popularly known as the “Ike Dike”) as its preferred choice for protecting the Texas coastline from future storm surges (see coverage in the Houston Chronicle and the Texas Tribune). The Corps is hosting a series of public meetings in which community members are invited to review the plan and make comments. Four will be held in the Houston-Galveston region in December:
    • 12/11/18 – Winnie Community Center, Winnie
    • 12/12/18 – Galveston Island Convention Center, Galveston
    • 12/15/18 – Crenshaw Elementary and Middle Schools, Crystal Beach
    • 12/18/18 – Bay Area Community Center, Seabrook
    Public comments can also be mailed to USACE, Galveston District, Attn: Ms. Jennifer Morgan, Environmental Compliance Branch, Regional Planning and Environmental Center, P.O. Box 1229, Galveston, TX 77553-1229; or emailed to [email protected]. Comments must be postmarked by January 9, 2019. For more details on the meetings, visit coastalstudy.texas.gov.
  2. Take Care of Texas Video Contest for Students
    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality invites students in grades 6-12 to enter the annual Take Care of Texas Video Contest. The contest deadline is Dec. 14, 2018. The Take Care of Texas Video Contest is a fun way for young people to learn about protecting the environment and come up with creative ways to share this knowledge with others. Student videos should be 30 seconds long and portray positive ways Texans can help keep air and water clean, conserve water and energy, or reduce waste. For more information, visit takecareoftexas.org.
  3. Youth Video and Poster Contest
    Students in grades K–12 are invited to participate in a national recycling awareness contest sponsored by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and JASON Learning. The theme of this year’s contest is “Recycle to Rebuild”. The challenge, through a video or poster, is to imagine using recycled materials to support the rebuilding of infrastructure enabling reduced cost, the use of fewer natural resources, decreased energy requirements, and cleaner air and water. All entries must be submitted by Dec. 15, 2018. For more information, visit jason.org.
  4. Preview of 86th Texas Legislature Water Issues
    On Nov. 29, 2018, beginning at 1:30 p.m., the Water Efficiency Network of the Lone Star Ground Water Conservation District will present Dr. Ken Kramer, retired director of the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, who will share his insights from past legislative sessions and his knowledge of the political climate in Austin to provide a forecast of what to expect in the world of water as the state legislature tackles all facets of the critical issue. The meeting will be held in the offices of the Houston-Galveston Area Council, 3555 Timmons. For more information, visit cechouston.org.
  5. American Lung Association’s 2nd Annual “Sip & See”
    On Nov. 29, 2018, from 7;30-8:30 p.m., the American Lunch Association in Texas will hold its 2nd Annual Sip & See cocktail party and silent auction, featuring a historical collection of Christmas Seals, at Kindred Hospital in the Heights, 1800 W 26th St. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com.
  6. “Climate Justice” presentation at Rothko Chapel
    On Nov. 29, 2018, beginning at 7 p.m., Rothko Chapel will present “Climate Justice: The Time is Now, The Place Is Here,” featuring Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE, in conversation with Bryan Parras, co-founder of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (T.E.J.A.S.) and dirty fuels Gulf organizer with Sierra Club. For more information and to register, visit rothkochapel.org.
  7. “Spring Creek and the San Jacinto River: How’s the Water?”
    On Nov. 29, 2018, beginning at 7 p.m., The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. is sponsoring a Going Green Sustainability Lecture titled “Spring Creek and the San Jacinto River-How’s the Water?” at the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), 8801 Gosling Road. Steven Johnston, a senior planner in the Community and Environmental Department of the Houston-Galveston Area Council, will discuss the current quality of water in Spring Creek and the West Fork of the San Jacinto River watershed. For more information, visit thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.
  8. Bird Identification Seminar
    On Nov. 29, 2018, from 7-9 p.m. the City of Seabrook will present Houston Audubon’s Stennie Mead in a Bird Identification Seminar at 1100 Red Bluff Road. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  9. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary seeking Advisory Council members
    The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is still accepting applications for two seats on its Advisory Council, a community-based group of individuals that provide advice for sanctuary management. The two remaining seats are for Education and Recreational Fishing.The deadline for submission is Nov. 30, 2018. Find more information and application instructions at flowergarden.noaa.gov.
  10. HREG Solar Workshop
    On Nov. 30, 2018, at TX/RX Labs, 205 Roberts St., the Houston Renewable Energy Group will host a Solar Workshop addressing all issues related to installation and operation. The event is ideal for those with a technical background or DIYers in need of guidance or troubleshooting with their solar installation project. Hands-on experience will be provided with the installation of a ground-mount system. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  11. Informational Town Hall on Coastal Texas Study
    On Dec. 1, 2018, from 1-3 p.m. an Information Town Hall on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recently released Coastal Texas Study will be held at Joe’s Cajun Steakhouse, 1021 Highway 87, Crystal Beach. The discussion will include the process of final plan selection, authorization and appropriation of funds works, concerns about the effectiveness of the plan for coastal protection, and what it means for the community and the entire Galveston Bay. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  12. Cigna Sunday Streets: Main Street Holiday Edition
    On Dec. 2, 2018, from 4-8 p.m., Cigna Sunday Streets will host the Main Street Holiday Edition in downtown Houston. The route will be anchored by Market Square Park in the Historic District and Discovery Green at Avenida Houston with plenty of fun along the route. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  13. Registration for Galveston Island’s FeatherFest open Dec. 3
    The Galveston 2019 FeatherFest, hosted by the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, will be held April 11-14, with pre-festival trips beginning April 9. Registration for the festival will open on Dec. 3, 2018 at 8 a.m. For a sneak peak of the festival offerings, visit galvestonfeatherfest.com.
  14. Texas Environmental Data Jam
    On Dec. 3, 2018, from 5:30-9 p.m., the One Breath Partnership and Sketch City will host a Texas Environmental Data Jam at TX/RX Labs, 205 Roberts Street, featuring access to Houston-area air pollution data. The event will host lightning talks covering a variety of data and technology projects, as well as a Google Streetview Car equipped with air pollution monitoring equipment. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  15. Leveraging the Power of Cities to Lead on Sustainable Development Goals
    On Dec. 4, 2018, from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, HARC, the Ecologic Institute and partner organizations will host a conference on how cities are at the forefront of sustainable development, both in terms of their exposure to pressures, but also as an enabler for solutions. Among the goals that will be discussed are responsible consumption and production and climate action. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
  16. UH Sustainability Meetup: Urban Beekeeping
    On Dec. 4, 2018, from 5-6 p.m., the UH Office of Sustainability will host a public Meetup with local bee expert Shelley Rice, who will discuss the vital role pollinators play in the modern world and how we can help them. The event will be held at the UH Student Center Skyline Room. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  17. Bayou Land Conservancy Strategic Conservancy Plan meeting
    On Dec. 4, 2018, from 5-7 p.m., the Bayou Land Conservancy will hold a public meeting seeking input for its Strategic Conservation Plan. Discussions will be around the unique habitats in the area. The meting will be held at Houston Advanced Research Center, 8801 Gosling Road, The Woodlands. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
  18. UH Clear Lake presents “Earthrise”
    On Dec. 5, 2018, beginning at 6 p.m., the UH Clear Lake Bayou Theater, 2700 Bay Area Blvd. will present a screening of the documentary Earthrise, which tells the story of the famous image of Earth captured by the crew of Apollo 8 in 1968 (watch the trailer). This iconic image had a powerful impact on the astronauts and the world, offering a perspective that transcended national, political and religious boundaries. Fifty years later, Earthrise compels us to remember this shift and to reflect on the Earth as a shared home. The film will be followed by a Q&A with director Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee and scientists from NASA.. For more information, visit cechouston.org.
  19. “A More Beautiful World” book discussion
    On Dec. 5, 2018, from 6-8 p.m., the City of Houston’s Green Building Resource Center, 1002 Washington Ave., will host a discussion of books on sustainability and climate science with GBRC program director Steve Stelzer and Donna Mosher. For more information and to RSVP, visit codegreenhouston.org.
  20. Citizens’ Climate Lobby Houston Holiday Sweater Party
    On Dec. 6, 2018, from 6-9 p.m., the Houston chapters of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby will hold a Holiday Sweater Party featuring an appearance by the organization’s executive director, Mark Reynolds, who will discuss a pending carbon tax bill in Congress. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com. NOTE: The CEC does not have a position on either a carbon tax or the proposed legislation, but we include the information so you can learn more about the issue.
  21. Texas Children in Nature Summit and Champions Luncheon
    On Dec. 6-7, 2018, Texas Children in Nature will host its annual Summit and Champions Luncheon at at the Holiday Inn Marina in Corpus Christi. The Summit will bring together leaders from the health, education, conservation, faith and built-environment for two days of learning and turning inspiration into action. For more information and to register, visit texaschildreninnature.org.
  22. Architecture Center Houston’s Gingerbread Build-Off
    On Dec. 8, 2018, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Architecture Center Houston will host the 10th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at City Hall’s Hermann Square. Competing teams will create their masterpieces using 100% edible materials. More than 4,000 spectators are expected to attend and cheer on the teams, play in the kids’ construction zone, and see Santa! All of that entertainment is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  23. Mercer Holiday in the Garden
    On Dec. 8, 2018, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., the Mercer Botanic Gardens will host “Holiday in the Gardens,” a family-oriented event offers a holiday market, winter plant sale, and a Children’s Corner.  Entrance is free, and children’s activities are available while supplies last. Food, drinks, and holiday gifts are available for purchase. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  24. Holiday with the Cranes
    On Dec. 8-9, 2018, the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council will host “Holiday with the Cranes,” celebrating the return of the island’s wintering Sandhill Cranes, with indoor and outdoor nature activities combined with the ambience of historic Galveston Island. For more information and to register, visit galvestonnaturetourism.org.
  25. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife
    Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3 p.m. each Saturday and on municipal access cable channels in Baytown, Deer Park, Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Nassau Bay, Pasadena, Seabrook, Sugar Land, and on HCC TV. More info on the TPWD website (* indicates a segment about the Houston area). For a preview, visit TPWD’s YouTube Page.

    • Making Austin’s new central library a green building
    • Oystermen work to strengthen Texas’ bays
    • Tyler State Park offers some of Texas’ best mountain biking
  26. Additional Upcoming Events