Houston Environmental News Update September 11, 2019

National Estuaries Week, Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza, Bill McKibben talk, State of the Park breakfast, Green Film: Hot Grease, Green Jobs, and more

Beginning this Saturday, September 14, and continuing through September 21, America celebrates National Estuaries Week, “a celebration of our bays and estuaries and the many benefits they provide to local communities.” Now in its 31st year, the event’s goals are to: create broad public awareness and support for the nation’s estuaries and coasts; encourage active engagement and participation with local estuaries through volunteer and educational events; and communicate the value and importance of our estuaries and coasts to key decision makers at the local and federal levels.

As noted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, “estuarine environments are among the most productive on earth, creating more organic matter each year than comparably-sized areas of forest, grassland or agricultural land. The sheltered waters of estuaries also support unique communities of plants and animals specially adapted for life at the margin of the sea.”

Of course, one of the nation’s most important estuaries is our very own Galveston Bay. As the Galveston Bay Foundation notes, the Bay is “where fresh water from the Trinity and San Jacinto Rivers and the extensive bayous and creeks of the ‘Bayou City’ and surrounding areas mix with the salty water of the Gulf of Mexico.” The Bay’s watershed, which stretches from the Oklahoma border to the Gulf, is about 24,000 square miles, and half of the state’s population lives within it. Galveston Bay is the most productive bay in Texas, the GBF notes, and is one of the most productive bays in the country, trailing only Chesapeake Bay, which is eight times its size.

Last month, the GBF and the Houston Advanced Research Center released the 2019 Galveston Bay Report Card, giving the Bay an overall grade of “C.” The Bay received a “B” for Water Quality, a “B” for Pollution Events & Sources, a “C” for Wildlife, a “D” for Habitat, a “C” for Human Health Risks, and a “C” for Coastal Change. Find the full PDF at galvebaygrade.org. (The GBF will discuss the Report Card at its quarterly membership meeting on September 19. See description below.)

The good news is, you can help. As one of the volunteer events across the nation, the GBF is partnering with the Texas General Land Office and Port of Houston on Sept. 21 for an Adopt-A-Beach cleanup of Morgan’s Point, and there’s plenty of time for you to register. It’s just one of the many cleanups along the Texas Gulf Coast in the annual Fall Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup (see description below).

The banner image is courtesy of the Galveston Bay Foundation.


CEC NOTES

Houston Green Films: Hot Grease

The Houston Green Film for September 18 will be Hot Grease (filmed in Houston), the surprising story of how the biodiesel industry is turning an ostensibly worthless raw material — spent kitchen grease — into a green energy source capable of fueling all the trains, ships, and trucks across the country (see this clip). Following the film, panelists will offer thoughts about the themes in the film and answer audience questions. Panelists include Dr. Jody Gibson from Energy Institute High School, Chris Powers, founder of Houston Biodiesel, Michael McClere from Dependable Cooking Oil, Alondra Hernandez with the Corral the Grease program through Houston Public Works and Ted Driscoll with the Cease the Grease campaign through the Galveston Bay Foundation. Socializing from 6:30 p.m., film at 7 p.m.


Wild About Houston: A Green Film Festival

Join CEC, the Houston GREEN Film SeriesRice Media Center and additional partners on October 16, 2019, for “Wild About Houston: A Green Film Festival.” We will showcase local short films that tell environmental stories. Please watch the contenders on the CEC YouTube Channel, and give a thumbs up to your favorites to see them on the big screen. Submit a film for consideration via our Google Form. Secure a ticket today, or register to host an exhibit table, via Eventbright.


Earth Day Houston

Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Opportunities to volunteer, sponsor, and exhibit will be available soon.


Interested in serving on the CEC Board or a Committee?

CEC is seeking individuals who might be interested in joining our board of directors in January 2020, or volunteering to serve on one of our committees starting this year. We are hosting information sessions for prospective board and committee members to learn more about the commitment and opportunities. Upcoming sessions include the evenings of September 23, and October 15. For more information (including directions to our top secret world headquarters), please email [email protected]


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.

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Houston Environmental News Update September 5, 2019

Urban Harvest Farmers Markets, Take Care of Texas campaign, Neches River Rally, Green Film: Hot Grease, Green Jobs, and more

Unless you are a long time reader or a farm-news fanatic, you might not realize that September is a big month harvest-related observances, such as:

In honor of these special days, we’d like to take a moment to recognize one of CEC’s member organizations, Urban Harvest, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Founded in 1994, longtime CEC member organization Urban Harvest works to address these problems and others by using fruit, vegetable, and habitat gardens to improve the quality of life in the greater Houston area. Among their programs are organic gardening glasses, farmers markets, a school and youth gardening program, and a community gardens program.

Urban Harvest is also celebrating the launch of its new Northeast Farmers Market at Kashmere Gardens Elementary School, 4901 Lockwood Drive. The market is open on 10 am – 2 pm, 1st & 3rd Saturdays, rain or shine. It joins the long-running Urban Harvest’s Saturday Farmers Market and the back-after-summer City Hall Local Lunch Market each Wednesday. In 2004, Urban Harvest’s Saturday Farmers Market started with just seven vendors, providing an outlet for community and backyard gardeners to sell fresh produce harvested directly from their own soils. Today, many of the original vendors – including Animal Farm, Atkinson Farms, and Pat Greer’s Kitchen – are now part of one of Texas’ largest farmers markets, today supporting over 70 local Houston farmers market vendors. All farmers and producers in our market come from within 180 miles of Houston, offering the freshest, local produce and meats available. The prepared and hot food vendors source 51% of their ingredients from local farms and growers, providing additional economic support to producers and building a more interconnected local food system.

Urban Harvest’s market is now just one of many markets in the Houston area listed on the CEC calendar. Let us know if we are missing any!


CEC NOTES

Houston Green Films: Hot Grease

The Houston Green Film for September 18 will be Hot Grease (filmed in Houston), the surprising story of how the biodiesel industry is turning an ostensibly worthless raw material — spent kitchen grease — into a green energy source capable of fueling all the trains, ships, and trucks across the country (see this clip). Following the film, panelists will offer thoughts about the themes in the film and answer audience questions. Panelists include Dr. Jody Gibson from Energy Institute High School, Chris Powers, founder of Houston Biodiesel, Michael McClere from Dependable Cooking Oil, Alondra Hernandez with the Corral the Grease program through Houston Public Works and Ted Driscoll with the Cease the Grease campaign through the Galveston Bay Foundation. Socializing from 6:30 p.m., film at 7 p.m.


TAEE Scholarships and sponsorship opportunities

Teachers can apply for a scholarship from the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition to the Texas Association for Environmental Education conference in Galveston on Sept. 27-28, 2019. Email [email protected] your request, including amount desired, current teaching position, and rationale, by September 6. Those interested in sponsoring a teacher at the conference for $150 should email [email protected]. Most teachers fund professional development (and pencils, and Kleenex, etc.) out of their own pocket. Houston, we can do better! Please contact [email protected] by September 6.


Wild About Houston: A Green Film Festival

Join CEC, the Houston GREEN Film SeriesRice Media Center and additional partners on October 16, 2019, for “Wild About Houston: A Green Film Festival.” We will showcase local short films that tell environmental stories. Please watch the contenders on the CEC YouTube Channel, and give a thumbs up to your favorites to see them on the big screen. Submit a film for consideration via our Google Form. Secure a ticket today, or register to host an exhibit table, via Eventbright.


Earth Day Houston

Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Opportunities to volunteer, sponsor, and exhibit will be available soon.


Candidate Forums and Questionnaires

7 days of being engaged in the community

Are you organizing a candidate forum or questionnaire for the November 2019 election? CEC is gathering information about election-related activities within our environmental communities. Let us know what you are planning, and we’ll keep you in the loop. CEC is interested in either hosting, coordinating, and/or supporting the efforts of local environmental nonprofits leading up to the election. Send your comments to [email protected] Note: the filing deadline for the November City of Houston elections is August 26, 2019. CEER Houston will be hosting a mayoral candidate forum on Saturday, September 21, 2019.


Interested in serving on the CEC Board or a Committee?

CEC is seeking individuals who might be interested in joining our board of directors in January 2020, or volunteering to serve on one of our committees starting this year. We are hosting information sessions for prospective board and committee members to learn more about the commitment and opportunities. Upcoming sessions include the evenings of September 23, and October 15. For more information (including directions to our top secret world headquarters), please email [email protected]


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.

Continue reading

Houston Environmental News Update August 28, 2019

Hurricane Harvey anniversary, Galveston Bay Report Card, Houston Arboretum renovations, Green Film: Hot Grease, Green Jobs, and more

Incredibly, it’s been two years since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and dumped an unprecedented amount of rainfall on the greater Houston region. For those of us who lived through the storm, the experience of spending nearly a full week in a deluge, with all of the attendant flooding, will remain unforgettable.

Since then there have been numerous efforts by local government, academic and nonprofit organizations, among others, to learn the lessons of Harvey and to make plans to mitigate against the worst effects of future storms. Among them are the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium, the Severe Storm Prediction, Education & Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, the Hurricane Harvey Registry, and the Harvey Memories Project (this list is by no means exhaustive).

Last year, on the first anniversary of the storm’s landfall, Harris County voters approved $2.5 billion in bonds to finance flood damage reduction projects in Harris County. This Tuesday, August 28, members of Harris County Commissioners Court narrowly approved a historic vote that these funds will be disbursed in a way that lifts up all residents, and especially those the county has historically left behind. The Coalition for Environment, Equity & Resilience (CEER) and many of its members advocated to make sure environment and equity were incorporated into the County’s strategy, Harris Thrives. Read more on CEER’s Facebook page.

This week, Hurricane Dorian is headed toward Puerto Rico, still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Maria, which struck the U.S. territory shortly after Harvey slammed Texas. As we mark our own somber anniversary, we send our hopes to our fellow citizens.

Today’s banner image courtesy of Glassock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University.


CEC NOTES

Houston Green Films: Hot Grease

The Houston Green Film for September 18 will be Hot Grease (filmed in Houston), the surprising story of how the biodiesel industry is turning an ostensibly worthless raw material — spent kitchen grease — into a green energy source capable of fueling all the trains, ships, and trucks across the country (see this clip). Socializing from 6:30 p.m., film at 7 p.m.

TAEE Scholarships and sponsorship opportunities

Teachers can apply for a scholarship from the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition to the Texas Association for Environmental Education conference in Galveston on Sept. 27-28, 2019. Email [email protected] your request, including amount desired, current teaching position, and rationale, by September 6. Those interested in sponsoring a teacher at the conference for $150 should email [email protected]. Most teachers fund professional development (and pencils, and Kleenex, etc.) out of their own pocket. Houston, we can do better! Please ontact [email protected] by September 6.


Wild About Houston: A Green Film Festival

Join CEC, the Houston GREEN Film SeriesRice Media Center and additional partners on October 16, 2019, for “Wild About Houston: A Green Film Festival.” We will showcase local short films that tell environmental stories. Please watch the contenders on the CEC YouTube Channel, and give a thumbs up to your favorites to see them on the big screen. Submit a film for consideration via our Google Form. Secure a ticket today, or register to host an exhibit table, via Eventbright.


Earth Day Houston

Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Opportunities to volunteer, sponsor, and exhibit will be available soon.


Candidate Forums and Questionnaires

7 days of being engaged in the community

Are you organizing a candidate forum or questionnaire for the November 2019 election? CEC is gathering information about election-related activities within our environmental communities. Let us know what you are planning, and we’ll keep you in the loop. CEC is interested in either hosting, coordinating, and/or supporting the efforts of local environmental nonprofits leading up to the election. Send your comments to [email protected] Note: the filing deadline for the November City of Houston elections is August 26, 2019. CEER Houston will be hosting a mayoral candidate forum on Saturday, September 21, 2019.


Interested in serving on the CEC Board or a Committee?

CEC is seeking individuals who might be interested in joining our board of directors in January 2020, or volunteering to serve on one of our committees starting this year. We are hosting information sessions for prospective board and committee members to learn more about the commitment and opportunities. Upcoming sessions include the evenings of September 23, and October 15. For more information (including directions to our top secret world headquarters), please email [email protected]


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.

Continue reading