World Environment Day & Biodiversity, State of the Mobility, Lady Bird Wildlife Center, L.A.N.D.S. Outreach Teacher Workshops, Flower Garden Banks webinars, Green Jobs, and more
The theme for World Environment Day, June 5, 2020, is biodiversity — a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of the natural world.
The W.E.D. website contains a wealth of information, including practical guides to what organizations, businesses, cities, governments, schools and faith groups can do; global news articles (including stories about relationship between biodiversity and COVID-19); and photos of African savannas, coral reefs in the South Pacific, South American rain forests, antarctic penguins, European arctic foxes, and Asian snow leopards, among other things.
The website highlights the fact that one million plant and animal species risk extinction, largely due to human activities. “If current trends continue, by 2050 the global urban population is estimated to be 6.3 billion, nearly doubling the 3.5 billion urban dwellers worldwide in 2010,” writes the Convention on Biological Diversity in its report Cities and Biodiversity Outlook. “More than 60 percent of the area projected to be urban in 2030 has yet to be built. Most of this growth is expected to happen in small and medium-sized cities, not in megacities.”
In this respect, the Houston region is no different than other cities around the world. Biodiversity is threatened–by urbanization, pollution, pesticides, habitat loss, and degradation, climate change, overhunting and overfishing–in our forests, prairies, and marine habitats. But dire circumstances are not the only news in biodiversity in the Houston region.
A good news example? Just last month, the Houston region was a participant in the City Nature Challenge. Because of COVID-19, this year wasn’t an actual competition, but we still have a great deal to crow about. Well over 1,000 participants identified 3,359 species in 27,853 observations–breaking records in all three categories. As pointed out by Jaime González of The Nature Conservancy, Houston is part of the North American Coastal Plain, designated as one of only 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.
As I mentioned earlier, the World Environment Day website (and partner sites such as TED’s Earth School) contains many photos and videos about biodiversity, but few are specific to our biodiversity hotspot. iNaturalist’s City Nature Challenge has many photos from our region, but we’d like to challenge YOU to create a short video about biodiversity in our region–perhaps a riff on short biodiversity films featured on TED Earth School. Can you create an example of diversity in our region that could replace the example of the Amazon rainforest used in the into video with a local ecosystem such as the piney woods, coastal wetlands, or prairies?
Please scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community.
Superpowers Sessions for environmental educators
Join fellow environmental educators in Houston on Fridays for short, “superpowers” sessions, organized by the CEC. Network, learn and share resources, and walk away with new knowledge and new friends. Open to any educator. Ten-minute presentations on local topics, are followed by 15 minutes of Q&A and community-building time. The sessions are offered at two times on the same day (10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) to ensure smaller groups and more opportunity to connect with fellow environmental educators in Houston. May 29: Tech Tools 2.0 used by Teachers,” hosted by Lisa Gianukos and Amanda Brown of Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation; June 5: “Beekeeping in the City,” hosted by Kevin Kohli of Alveole. Details and registration on this Google Form.
CEC Volunteer Info Session June 30 will be held online
CEC seeks individuals who might be interested in volunteering to help with our website and newsletter, plan events, design graphics, serve on one of our committees (programs, communications, finance, fundraising and development, membership, and governance) this year, or possibly joining our board of directors in January 2021. The next info sessions will be held June 30. For more information, please email [email protected], or join us online at Google Hangouts.
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