This letter, and a list of all signatories, will be sent to all Members of House Environment and Transportation Committee, and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee during the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session. To learn more about this legislation, click here.
Amendments to Maryland's Forest Conservation Act
- Task Force Bill (Bill numbers pending)
- Fee-in-Lieu Adjustments (HB 272, SB 234)
- No Net Loss Definition (HB 120, SB 203)
As people of faith who respect the sanctity of the Earth and the whole web of life, we are asking you to support the suite of three bills designed to improve Maryland's Forest Conservation Act.
Children once played easily in trees in their back yard, at a park down the street, or at Grandma’s house. But, today, forests are hard to find – when was the last time you spotted a child climbing a tree?
We are literally stealing trees from the next generation. From 2009 to 2017, over 14,000 acres of forest have been lost due to development. That's equivalent to 11,000 football fields! Forests play a crucial role in stabilizing soil, improving air and water quality, offering important mammal habitats, and reducing ambient air temperatures with cooling shade.
The suite of three bills will:
- Create a task force made up of broad stakeholders to examine historical forestry data and make recommendations for how to protect our forests.
- Fix the broken fee-in-lieu system that is currently failing to replace lost forests acre-for-acre.
- Redefine "No Net Loss" in the Act so that forested land is protected at the level it existed when the Act was first implemented in the 1990s, as originally intended.
At this time when the world is warming and trees are God's natural way of retaining balance to an ecosystem, the last thing we should be doing is allowing unfettered destruction of forests.
We shall not steal trees from the next generation. Please fight to protect our forests by supporting this bill.
This letter, and a list of all signatories, will be sent to all Members of House Environment and Transportation Committee, and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. To learn more about Ban on Foam legislation, click here.
Ban on Polystyrene Foam Containers
House Bill 109
Senate Bill 285
We people of faith respect the Earth and the web of life, and strive to be good shepherds of the Earth's resources. We are grateful for the ways the Maryland Assembly worked to protect our environment, but more needs to be done. Maryland is ready to ban foam.
Polystyrene food containers may be convenient and cheap for food services, but when they are discarded they become an eyesore in our neighborhoods, streams and streets. This non-biodegradable material persists indefinitely in the environment and accumulates over time.
Foam never breaks down. Instead it but breaks up into increasingly small particles that absorb toxics due to their carbon-based makeup. Fish and wildlife consume the pieces mistaking it for food. This bio-accumulation of toxicity is a risk to the food chain.
Foam waste is particularly oppressive to low-income, under-served communities. Foam is more commonly used in takeout restaurants, which are disproportionately present in food deserts, increasing the frequency of exposure to harmful chemicals to individuals within food desert areas, and the likelihood of foam litter to impact the mental health of those residents when improperly discarded. Studies have also shown the presence of microplastics in fish, birds and other marine life, tap and bottled water, table salt, and beer. In 2018, the first study examining human stools found the presence of microplastics. This risk is even greater for low-income neighbors who rely on subsistence fishing to supplement their diet.
Polystyrene is a polymer plastic derived from petroleum. Its production uses non-renewable resources and contributes to atmospheric pollution. There are perfectly good packaging alternatives available now that are lightweight, biodegradable, safe for consumers and have good insulating properties to keep food and drinks warm or cold.
We understand that this ban would require that cafeterias in our places of worship no longer serve food in foam containers. We embrace this change and stand willing to do our part to help our congregations adapt to this legislation.
God calls us to continually renew ourselves and improve our behaviors to be more mindful of future generations. This is important legislation that will reduce trash, drive innovation to alternative materials, and cut down on fossil fuel consumption.
Please support the Ban on Foam.
William Breakey wants to volunteer 2017-10-30 13:11:06 -0400
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Trees for Sacred Places - -Trees are God’s cure-all. See how your congregation can get involved with this wonderful project. Even if your grounds are not big enough to plant trees we can find a place for your volunteers to help. Your congregation can get FREE trees, tools, planting plans, and educational/spiritual workshops. IPC is seeking congregations throughout Maryland and particularly in Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties. Click HERE to read our media release with program highlights. Contact Bonnie at firstname.lastname@example.org. See more on our program page HERE.
Blue Water Congregations is still available for communities of faith in Baltimore City and County. But the spots are filling fast. Help your congregation save money on their stormwater utility fees while healing God’s creation. Through this program several congregations have secured thousands of dollars in grant funding to fulfill their stewardship missions. Contact Bonnie at email@example.com See more on our program page HERE.
The Chesapeake Bay and its vast watershed face many ecological challenges. Here are some of the main issues. To read more, or to link to more sources of information, click on the paragraph headings.
Our faith traditions teach us that as God loves us, God loves future generations also. For them must act sustainably. We now see more clearly that it is our responsibility to think ahead and to conserve precious resources in ways that ensure they will last.
Many of the Bay’s problems are caused by the visible and invisible substances that flow into it from its many tributaries. Nutrients are those substances that stimulate growth of plants and algae. When this happens excessively, and the tiny plants die in the water, their decay process uses up oxygen in the water. Sediments and toxic chemicals further threaten living creatures and the natural cycles of life in the water.
Addressing the problem of pollution from “non-point sources” is very challenging. These sources include water that naturally flows off streets, gardens, fields, forests, playgrounds, parking lots, rooftops, backyards, septic drain fields and everywhere that rain falls.
Agriculture is a main industry in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, essential to provide food for the millions who live here. Farmers, large and small, are of fundamental importance to our economy and our well being. Farmers are the primary caretakers of our land. Its fertility and its sustainability are entrusted to their expert management. Farmers are increasingly aware that they can and must take steps to protect the water, to keep the streams clean, for it is this same water that provides for the thirst of their neighbors and themselves and ultimately provides for the needs of the entire watershed and the Bay.
Experts have determined Total Maximum Daily Loads for pollutants and sediments (TMDLs). This is the maximum amount of pollutants that can be permitted in order to restore health to the rivers and the Bay. Local governments are to establish Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) to outline how they will achieve their TMDLs.
Hydraulic Fracturing as a method for extracting natural gas from shale rock formations is controversial. The environmental arguments against this process, apart from the harm to local infrastructure and impact on the rural communities involved, mostly are concerned with the use of large volumes of water, and polluted discharges into streams.
Too much of the waste we generate in the Chesapeake Bay watershed becomes trash and a lot of trash ends up in our waterways. Non-biodegradable trash first of all is ugly, and spoils the natural beauty of our streams and coves. Old tires, discarded appliances, toys, bottles, cans, pallets and all manner of junk accumulates. The most pernicious floating objects, however, are the plastic bags and containers that are carelessly dropped into storm drains or thrown into streams.