Houston Environmental News Update January 20, 2021

Presidential action, Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Lake Mark Kramer, Flower Garden Banks Expansion, Again, Together film discussion, Climate Justice Workshop, Arbor Day at Houston Arboretum, #teamtrees, Green Jobs, and more

The Front Lawn of the White House with Squirrel and American Flag in Washington, DC.

Tuesday’s Houston Chronicle, on the front page above the fold, proclaimed “Biden puts climate at top of list.” Among his 17 planned executive actions for the first day in office, President Biden intended to sign a petition to rejoin the Paris climate accord. However, with the political turmoil and civic unrest in the nation’s capital, we wondered whether we would be able to celebrate such an action today–and what we would write about if his plans were foiled. 

Happily, we did not have to resort to talking about Squirrel Appreciation Day.*

Mr. Biden’s activities today included several executive orders to address the “immediate priorities” relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic relief, climate change, racial equity and civil rights, immigration, and America’s standing in the world. The third order that he signed was to accept the article and clauses of the Paris Climate Agreement. (Other environmental actions pertain to public health, science, Keystone XL pipeline, oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, construction of the border wall, equity–and more to come.) We look forward to seeing more environmental actions and initiatives from the current administration.

* Squirrel Appreciation Day is January 21. Did you know fox squirrel, gray squirrel, and flying squirrel are all found in the Houston area? If you are in need of an anodyne to recent events (and most of 2020), check out this squirrel video by Mark Rober, Youtube sensation and co-founder of #teamtrees environmental fundraiser, which has raised money to plant 20 million trees in partnership with the National Arbor Day Foundation and others.

Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.


CEC NOTES

Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour

Tickets are on sale now for the Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour, hosted by CEC, on Jan. 29, 2021. Preview the film lineup on our website. The program features local winners from the Wild About Houston Film Festival: City of Pearland, SETSVN and Native Prairies Association of Texas. Special thanks to our sponsors: McMac CX and Veritex Bank. The Silent Auction is also back by popular demand; bidding is now open on this Google Form. Purchase festival tickets at eventbrite.com.  


Virtually Wild! Field Trips

Need a virtual lesson, activity or field trip about Houston’s environment for your students? Send an email to SCA Americorps Intern Emma Wilson ([email protected]) to book and create a free, custom program that aligns to any of the TEKS. She is available any date and time from now until March. Or participate in a scheduled program with the USFWS on Wednesdays. Details at hereinhouston.org/virtual-field-trips. 


Environmental Educators Exchange

Join CEC for the Environmental Educators Exchange on Jan. 29, 2021 from 9:30 – 10 a.m. January’s meetings feature tips on collaborative social media practices from Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, and updates from TAEE and TCIN. Email [email protected] for the meeting link.


CEC Educators Survey

CEC wants to hear from our formal and informal educators. What are your professional development needs in 2021? Please take this brief survey to help us help you in the new year. Google Form: https://forms.gle/iJLBtxGNj5GzTQsr7.


PUBLIC PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITIES

Learn more about public participation opportunities at cechouston.org/public-participation-opportunities/

Houston-Galveston Area Council TPC Meeting on I-45 Project

On Jan. 22, 2021, beginning at 9:30 a.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council will hold a virtual meeting on the proposed I-45 expansion project. The meetings is open to the public. Find the full agenda at information on how to access the meeting at h-gac.com.

Activities of the Texas Legislature: Pre-filed bills in December

Bills pre-filed in December relate to energy efficiency goals, the establishment of the Texas Environmental Justice Advisory Council, aggregate production operations, utilities, air quality permits, and more. Red more at cechouston.org.

COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

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 Environmental News Update January 13, 2021

Texas Legislature, MLK National Day of Service, Climate Justice, Volunteerism, Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Every Penguin in the World, Arbor Day Celebration, Day of Service at the Big Thicket, Sustainability through Equitable Communities, Green Jobs, and more

Since the mayhem last week, much of our attention has been focused on Washington D.C., and likely will continue to be until things have calmed down in the capitol. A little closer to home, however, the 87th Texas Legislature Regular Session began yesterday without quite the same excitement as the certification of the election of the President and Vice President last week. Nevertheless, our state legislators have been busy, pre-filing more than 1400 bills and resolutions before the Legislature convened.

Pre-filed bills pertaining to the environment from November (we’re still working on December) relate to air contaminant emissions, hydrofluorocarbons, renewable energy, fuel, groundwater, above ground storage tanks, aggregate mining, pipelines, property taxes, seismic monitoring, solid waste facilities, and concrete batch plants. Learn more about the bills that have been filed, key dates for the session, and interim activities at cechouston.org.

While we may not agree with the positions of all of our elected officials, we can appreciate the people who serve our community as elected officials. If you would like to serve your community (perhaps without the side of politics), now is a great time to start.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is on Monday, an opportunity to honor his service and commit to his vision of equity, peace, justice, nonviolence, and neighbors working together to build a better future.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

The time is always right to do what’s right.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In our newsletter, we do our best to share opportunities to work toward a better future. We’d like to highlight a few that we think are especially aligned with MLK Day of Service:

CEER Climate Justice Trainings Series

CEER is excited to launch a training series focused on climate justice, starting later this month. The series will be offered as three workshops focused on Past, Present and Future. The curriculum features environmental experts, the lived experiences of residents and core elements of an interrupting racism training. It will be a dynamic training space full of storytelling, music, power building and piquing curiosity.  These trainings merge an interrupting racism curriculum with a climate justice curriculum. Our goal is to create space that brings in more folks to shape the narrative about what climate justice is, what it means for Houston and how we achieve it. The audience will be a mix of impacted community members, the general public, advocates, health equity experts and city and county folks implementing solutions around the climate crisis in Houston. The full series of workshops will take place virtually on the following dates and times. Each workshop is offered twice and will be held on Saturdays from 10am-2pm CT. The workshops will be bilingual (English and Spanish). Learn more on the CEER Facebook event page or at ceer.org.

“Again, Together: The Cumulative Impacts of Environmental Racism in Houston” online film screening and panel discussion

Join One Breath Partnership on Jan. 21, 2021, for an online screening and panel discussion. The film, created in partnership with Ronald L. Jones, brings together stories from communities across Houston that have been impacted by environmental racism — namely redlining, segregation, underinvestment, exposure to pollution, gentrification, inequitable disaster recovery resources and freeway development. Panelists include Dr. Denae King, Dr. Bakeyah Nelson, and Keith Downey. Learn more and register at onebreathhou.org.

Volunteer Houston & Houston Together

Volunteer Houston is a great place to find volunteer opportunities. It has also stepped up its support for volunteer coordinators. Case in point: Houston Together, an annual volunteerism event (virtual in 2021, April 21-24) that supports nonprofits. Early registration is now open for nonprofits. Register by February 5 for a chance to win an annual subscription to the Leaderosity Learning Library (L3). On VolunteerHouston.org, you can find opportunities with CEC and several of its member organizations, including Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy, Mercer Botanic Garden, TWRC Wildlife Center, Memorial Park Conservancy, Nature Discovery Center, Recipe for Success, Armand Bayou Nature Center, BikeHouston, Galveston Bay Foundation, Hermann Park Conservancy, and the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas.

Local environmental groups in the Houston region offer a vast array of opportunities to volunteer and to serve our community. Not sure where to start? In addition to finding volunteer opportunities here in our newsletter, check out these resources for finding local environmental volunteering opportunities:

  • VolunteerMatch.org–Many organizations, including most of the above, also post opportunities on this national site, where you can search for both local and virtual opportunities.
  • Allforgood.org, a service of the Points of Light volunteer organization.
  • EarthShare of Texas provides, among other things, suggestions for corporate volunteer groups.
  • CECHouston.org–Volunteer with CEC! In 2019, dozens of volunteers contributed almost 2000 hours of their time helping with everything from this newsletter to selecting films for our upcoming film festival to board service.
  • Serveforgood.org–A resource developed by local teens for teens.

Among our favorite calls are inquiries about volunteer opportunities; with a community of almost 150 member organizations, CEC can suggest great volunteer opportunities for everyone. If you are new to town or new to environmental volunteering, please get in touch.


Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.


CEC NOTES

Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour

Tickets are on sale now for the Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour, hosted by CEC, on Jan. 29, 2021. Preview the film lineup on our website. The program features local winners from the Wild About Houston Film Festival: City of Pearland, SETSVN and Native Prairies Association of Texas. Special thanks to our sponsors: McMac CX and Veritex Bank. The Silent Auction is also back by popular demand; bidding is now open on this Google Form. Purchase festival tickets at eventbrite.com.  


Virtually Wild! Field Trips

Need a virtual lesson, activity or field trip about Houston’s environment for your students? Send an email to SCA Americorps Intern Emma Wilson ([email protected]) to book and create a free, custom program that aligns to any of the TEKS. She is available any date and time from now until March. Or participate in a scheduled program with the USFWS on Wednesdays. Details at hereinhouston.org/virtual-field-trips. 


Environmental Educators Exchange

Join CEC for the Environmental Educators Exchange on Jan. 15 and 29, 2021 from 9:30 – 10 a.m. January’s meetings feature tips on collaborative social media practices from Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, and updates from TAEE and TCIN. Email [email protected] for the meeting link.


CEC Educators Survey

CEC wants to hear from our formal and informal educators. What are your professional development needs in 2021? Please take this brief survey to help us help you in the new year. Google Form: https://forms.gle/iJLBtxGNj5GzTQsr7.


COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

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).

Continue reading

Houston Environmental News Update January 6, 2020

Wild & Scenic, Zoo Lights and Dunes Day, 10 years on Facebook, H3AT Map results, Debris Management Workshop, TEAA Providers’ Meeting, Trees of Houston Giveaway, Faithful Resilience, Green Jobs, and more

“Zoo lights waterway” on flickr by John Stephen Chandler
Zoo Lights waterway was photographed by John Stephen Chandler and is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0.

Last week, we looked back at 2020, and shared our reader’s thought about the most significant environmental accomplishments, controversies, issues, news, and events in the greater Houston region in 2020.

CEC is especially grateful to all of our readers, members, donors, and volunteers who have helped us connect our environmental community. You remind us that we are not alone and that together we can make our world a better place. THANK YOU!

This week, we ask you to try to predict the future. How do you see the environment and our community changing in 2021? And, perhaps more importantly, how will you be part of that change? Please take our survey.

Today’s banner photo, of Houston Zoo Lights, was photographed by John Stephen Chandler and is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0. We’re sharing this photo to remind you of recycling opportunities for both Christmas lights and trees. (Speaking of recycling, check out the notice, below, from the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling.)

Trees


Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.


CEC NOTES

Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour

Tickets are on sale now for the Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour, hosted by CEC, on Jan. 29, 2021. Preview the film lineup on our website. The program features local winners from the Wild About Houston Film Festival: City of Pearland, SETSVN and Native Prairies Association of Texas. Special thanks to our sponsors: McMac CX and Veritex Bank. The Silent Auction is also back by popular demand; bidding is now open on this Google Form. Purchase festival tickets at eventbrite.com.  


Virtually Wild! Field Trips

Need a virtual lesson, activity or field trip about Houston’s environment for your students? Send an email to SCA Americorps Intern Emma Wilson ([email protected]) to book and create a free, custom program that aligns to any of the TEKS. She is available any date and time from now until March. Or participate in a scheduled program with the USFWS on Wednesdays. Details at hereinhouston.org/virtual-field-trips. 


Environmental Educators Exchange

Join CEC for the Environmental Educators Exchange on Jan. 15 and 29, 2021 from 9:30 – 10 a.m. January’s meetings feature tips on collaborative social media practices from Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, and updates from TAEE and TCIN. Email [email protected] for the meeting link.


CEC educators survey

CEC wants to hear from our formal and informal educators. What are your professional development needs in 2021? Please take this brief survey to help us help you in the new year. Google Form: https://forms.gle/iJLBtxGNj5GzTQsr7.


CEC Celebrates Ten Years on Facebook

On January 6, 2011, CEC created its Facebook page, more than a year before Facebook enrolled its one-billionth user. CEC posted its logo, but, from what we can tell, little else until later in the year.


PUBLIC PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITIES

Learn more about public participation opportunities at cechouston.org/public-participation-opportunities/.


Comment Period Extended to Jan. 13, 2021: Coastal Texas Study

The United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office recently released plans for the Coastal Texas Study. Learn more and submit comments at swg.usace.army.mil. NOTE: Several area environmental groups have raised concerns about the draft reports. Watch a recent discussion on the study by those organizations here.


COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

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).

Continue reading