Houston Environmental News Update November 25, 2020

Turkey Vulture=Cleansing Breeze. BIG Fall Meeting, Digital Now for Resource Professionals, Bays and Bayous Symposium, Sampling the City Bike Rides, Region 4 Science Conference, Green Jobs, and more

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last year for Thanksgiving, we brought you the vegeturkey. This year: the Turkey Vulture, because don’t we all need help with cleaning up? 

Turkey vultures eat carrion almost exclusively, using their sense of smell to find sustenance. Despite their association with stink, Turkey Vulture’s scientific name, Cathartes aura, means “cleansing breeze” or “purifying wind,” from the Greek words cathartes (catharsis or cleansing purification) and aura (breeze).

If you want to learn more about Turkey Vultures, including why they defecate on their legs, the potency of their stomach acids, midnight regulations and protections for migratory birds, and how to distinguish Turkey Vultures from Black Vultures, read on: 

Next week, we will share more bird content, with information about Christmas Bird Counts. 

In addition to thoughts of birds, this holiday makes us thankful for you, our readers, who care enough about the environment to read a weekly newsletter with an almost excessive amount of information about environmental opportunities in the region. 

We are also grateful to our supporters who have given time, talent, and treasure to help CEC connect our environmental community. 2020 has been a year full of disruptions—from the pandemic to the global call for social justice. With your support, we have been able to continue our work publishing this newsletter, curating content for our website and social media, producing two film festivals showcasing local films, providing professional development to hundreds of teachers, and hosting dozens of interns and volunteers. Thank you!

The photo above, Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura, Photo 87148935, by Thaddeus Charles Jones, is licensed under CC BY-NC. You might also see Spreading His Wings. Cathartes Aura (turkey vulture) by RS2Photography on flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


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


CEC NOTES


Houston Climate Action Plan Educational Outreach Partners Workshop

On Dec. 11, 2020, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., join CEC and the City of Houston to leverage community resources and create strategic opportunities for Houston-area youth to engage in civic conversations and actions around climate resilience. This virtual, collaborative planning workshop is for all Houston informal educators and community engagement coordinators. Details and free registration via eventbrite.com.


Virtually Wild! Field Trips

CEC is excited to partner with Houston Community Partnerships & Engagement and the National Park Foundation to deliver Virtually WILD! Join Student Conservation Association intern Emma Wilson every Tuesday and Urban Ranger Felice Yarbough every Wednesday from a different regional location. Meet the wildlife that live there, and the people working to protect them. Corresponding activities and videos for students, as well as a full schedule, are available at hereinhouston.org.


EarthShare of Texas and AnthepLife fundraising partnership

EarthShare of Texas is excited to announce a new fundraising partnership with AnthepLife, a handmade apparel company based in Texas. AnthepLife will contribute 10% of its holiday profits to EarthShare of Texas and its participating organizations, including CEC. EarthShare of Texas is a
501(c)(3) nonprofit federation, raising and distributing funds to qualifying member charities. Check out AntepLife and start shopping. The fundraising partnership only lasts until January 31, 2021.


Old CEC Newsletters?

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, CEC does not currently have access to our archive of old newsletters, which are maintained at the University of Houston and the Houston Public Library. Until we are able to access our archives, we are looking for copies of newsletters from 1970-1985, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006. Our records are incomplete in 1994, 1996, 2002-2004, 2007, 2008. If you have any newsletters from these years, please email [email protected]


Wild About Houston Green Film Festival

The CEC was proud to host the third annual Wild About Houston Green Film Festival. You can watch all the films again, and then vote for the Fan Favorite! Watch the 2020 October and November programs on the CEC YouTube page. Then, vote for your favorite film to be included in the CEC virtual presentation of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour on January 29, 2021. Vote via Google Forms by #GivingTuesday (December 1), and remember to renew your support for CEC.


PUBLIC PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITIES

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


Dec. 3, 2020: H-GAC Public Meeting on Regional Transportation Issues

H-GAC will hold a virtual public meeting to discuss important new updates affecting transportation such as the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan, updates to the agency’s process to mitigate congestion and the Public Participation Plan. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2020. H-GAC experts will present on the meeting topics, after which attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and make public comments. The public comment period for these topics opens on Nov. 23 and will close on Jan. 7, 2021. Find more information, including how to access the meeting, at h-gac.com.


Public Meetings on Coastal Texas Study

The United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office recently released plans for the Draft Feasibility Report and Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study, also known as the Coastal Texas Study. Public meetings are scheduled on Dec. 3, and Dec. 8, 2020 (beginning at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day). The 45-day public review period continues through Dec. 14, 2020. Find the documents and information on how to access the public meetings at swg.usace.army.mil. NOTE: Several area environmental groups have created a petition to extend the public comment period. Find the petition at seaturtles.org.


Through Dec. 9, 2020: North Houston (I-45) Highway Improvement Project MOU

The Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council is seeking feedback on the Memorandum of Understanding between the key cooperating entities on the proposed North Houston (I-45) Highway Improvement Project. For more information, visit ih45northandmore.com or h-gac.com. Comments will be accepted until Dec. 9, 2020.


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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CEC Welcomes Deneane Farley as an Accounting Intern

Deneane is currently a senior studying at the University of Houston-Downtown campus. She was born and raised in Houston. She is pursuing a degree in finance, and will graduate with her bachelors degree in summer 2021.

Before becoming a student at UHD, Deneane attended Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. While pursuing her education part time and changing career goals and majors, Deneane worked full time and gained extensive experience in customer service.

She re-enrolled June 2020, and feels it’s been the best decision she’s made for herself the past seven years!

In her spare time , Deneane likes to walk or ride her bike with her dog Lola, gardening, and she absolutely loves to watch horror/mystery films/documentaries/series! She also spends time with family and friends whenever possible, because they bring great vibes and positive energy. As an intern at CEC she would love to know more about what CEC does for the environment and community and how she can contribute.

Houston Environmental News Update November 18, 2020

World Toilet Day, Protect Our Pipes, Deeper Dive with Buffalo Bayou, Equity in Climate Action, Coastal Barrier Public Forum, Keep Houston Beautiful Fall Sweep, Net Zero Home Tour, Green Jobs, and more

Hurricane Harvey flooding wastewater facilities

Happy World Toilet Day!

Climate change is getting worse.

Flood, drought and rising sea levels are threatening sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants. These incidents, which are becoming more frequent as climate change worsens, cause public health emergencies and degrade the environment.

Everyone must have sustainable sanitation that can withstand climate change and keep communities healthy and functioning.

World Toilet Day is a United Nations Observance that celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. It is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

Floods happen more frequently than we might want in the Houston region (learn more in the City of Houston’s Climate Impact Assessment), resulting in less-than-clean water. However, problems with our sanitation systems–from toilets to treatment plants–happen all too routinely. You can make a difference!

Houston Public Works Need Public’s Help in Preventing Sewer Overflows

The main cause of sanitary sewer overflows in Houston is clogged pipes from fats, oils and grease poured down sinks and wipes flushed down toilets. These items block our wastewater lines and cause overflows into our streets and homes that harm our environment and health. City of Houston is launching its new “Protect Our Pipes” campaign to remind the community to dispose of fats, oils, and grease in the trash and to only flush the “3 Ps”. You can dispose of leftover cooking waste with these easy steps: pour it in a jar, can, or bag, cool it, and once full, toss it in the trash. Houston Public Works also reminds residents that only the Three P’s – pee, poo, and (toilet) paper belong in the toilet. Everything else should go in the trash. Learn more at ProtectOurPipes.org.

In case you want to recycle all the fats and grease from Thanksgiving (fried turkey, anyone?) rather than tossing, you can find a grease repository near you on Galveston Bay Foundation’s Cease the Grease page or the City of Houston’s Solid Waste Department’s grease page.

For extra credit on World Toilet Day, learn more about toilet troubles from Patty Potty, who wants no wipes in the pipes.


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


CEC NOTES

Wild About Houston Green Film Festival

The CEC was proud to host the third annual Wild About Houston Green Film Festival. You can watch all the films again, and then vote for the Fan Favorite! Watch the 2020 October and November programs on the CEC YouTube page. Then, vote for your favorite film to be included in the CEC virtual presentation of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour on January 29, 2021. Vote via Google Forms by #GivingTuesday (December 1), and remember to renew your support for CEC.


Environmental Educators Virtual Meet-Ups

Environmental educators (EEvengers) are invited to connect, collaborate, and share in these upcoming meet-ups: Nov. 20 with Sarah Coles (Texas Children in Nature) and Jacey Tosh (Texas Forest Service). Join us from 9 – 9:30 a.m. with this Google Meet Link (or email Alicia Mein-Johnson to be added to the reoccurring Google Calendar invitation). This is a partnership with the Texas Association for Environmental Education and Texas Children in Nature.


Houston Climate Action Plan Educational Outreach Partners Workshop

On Dec. 11, 2020, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., join CEC and the City of Houston to leverage community resources and create strategic opportunities for Houston-area youth to engage in civic conversations and actions around climate resilience. This virtual, collaborative planning workshop is for all Houston informal educators and community engagement coordinators. Details and free registration via eventbrite.com.


Virtually Wild! Field Trips

CEC is excited to partner with Houston Community Partnerships & Engagement and the National Park Foundation to deliver Virtually WILD! Join Student Conservation Association intern Emma Wilson every Tuesday and Urban Ranger Felice Yarbough every Wednesday from a different regional location. Meet the wildlife that live there, and the people working to protect them. Corresponding activities and videos for students, as well as a full schedule, are available at hereinhouston.org.


Support the environment through workplace giving

If you work for employers such as the City of Houston, the State of Texas, or HISD, among many other public and private workplaces, remember that the fall is campaign season for most employee workplace giving programs. Employees are offered the chance to select from many charitable organizations to support through payroll contributions. You can give to CEC via EarthShare of Texas, as one of 60 local, regional and national environmental organizations supported by EarthShare of Texas. You can designate individual organizations or let EarthShare of Texas divide it equally among their participating organizations. A complete list of participating workplaces is available at www.earthshare-texas.org. For more information about EarthShare of Texas, including information about how your organization can offer workplace giving, please visit www.earthshare-texas.org or call 800-GREENTX. Look for the the CEC’s code number under the EarthShare of Texas heading in workplace giving campaign literature at all state agencies (035569), at HISD (0111) and at the City of Houston (1413). Please consider CEC in your workplace giving program!


Old CEC Newsletters?

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, CEC does not currently have access to our archive of old newsletters, which are maintained at the University of Houston and the Houston Public Library. Until we are able to access our archives, we are looking for copies of newsletters from 1970-1985, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006. Our records are incomplete in 1994, 1996, 2002-2004, 2007, 2008. If you have any newsletters from these years, please email [email protected]


PUBLIC PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITIES

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

Extended through Nov. 20, 2020: Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Resiliency Study Interim Feasibility Report

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, along with the Harris County Flood Control District, has released an Interim Feasibility Report for the Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Resiliency Study. The purpose of the study is to evaluate alternatives with the goal of helping to reduce flooding under a range of flood events. The deadline for public comment has been extended to Nov. 20, 2020. Learn more at usace.army.mil.


Through Dec. 9, 2020: North Houston (I-45) Highway Improvement Project MOU

The Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council is seeking feedback on the Memorandum of Understanding between the key cooperating entities on the proposed North Houston (I-45) Highway Improvement Project. For more information, visit ih45northandmore.com or h-gac.com. Comments will be accepted until Dec. 9, 2020.


Public Meetings on Coastal Texas Study

The United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office recently released plans for the Draft Feasibility Report and Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study, also known as the Coastal Texas Study. Public meetings are scheduled on Dec. 3, and Dec. 8, 2020 (beginning at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day). The 45-day public review period continues through Dec. 14, 2020. Find the documents and information on how to access the public meetings at swg.usace.army.mil. NOTE: Several area environmental groups have created a petition to extend the public comment period. Find the petition at seaturtles.org.


Dec. 3, 2020: H-GAC Public Meeting on Regional Transportation Issues

H-GAC will hold a virtual public meeting to discuss important new updates affecting transportation in our region. Experts will present on proposed amendments to the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan that would add 27 regionally significant projects to help improve air quality in the region and better align transit projects with the MetroNext Plan. They will also discuss updates to our agency’s process to mitigate congestion in the region and updating the Public Participation Plan to include virtual engagement as a component. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2020.. H-GAC experts will present on the meeting topics, after which attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and make public comments. The public comment period for these topics opens on Nov. 23 and will close on Jan. 7, 2021. The meeting can be accessed through this Zoom link. Meeting ID: 971 2022 6719 Passcode: 099178


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