Houston Environmental News Update February 1, 2018

Vote early, vote often!*  

This year, local voters might have the opportunity to participate in three elections (designated as uniform election dates) and potential runoffs.

  • March 6: Primary Election
    • February 5: Last day to register to vote
    • February 20 – March 2: Early voting
  • May 5: Uniform Election Date (local election)
    • April 5: Last day to register to vote
    • April 23 – May 1: Early voting
  • May 22: Primary Runoff Election
    • April 23: Last day to register to vote
    • May 14 – May 18: Early voting
  • November 6: Uniform Election Date (national election)
    • October 9: Last day to register to vote
    • October 22 – November 2: Early voting

In statewide primaries, registered voters will decide the candidates that will face off in various state and federal elections. All seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 U.S. Senate positions will ultimately be decided by voters in November. Contests include all 150 seats in the Texas House of Representatives; statewide positions such as governor, attorney general, railroad commissioner, and agriculture commissioner; U.S. representatives; and a U.S. senator. Voters may also weigh in on ballot propositions.

Visit your county’s election webpage to learn more about the election process and view comprehensive sample ballots. You can learn more about voting and registration at votetexas.gov.

If you need some inspiration on why voting is important for our environment, you can learn more from the League of Women Voters of Houston, the Texas League of Conservation Voters Educational Fund, the Environmental Voter Project, and the Annette Strauss Institute For Civic Life at UT.

* Only one election at a time!

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.


CEC NOTES

VOX Culture: Launch Event and Beer Summit for 2018 ‘Homegrown’ Initiative on Environment
VOX Culture will be opening the new year with a special event to introduce it’s focus on tackling the topic of environment in Houston. The advocacy organization will be hosting its second annual VOX Beer Summit at Eureka Heights Brew Co. the evening of Friday, February 9th from 6:30PM to 8:30PM. The event will be the formal opening for the organization’s 2018 theme addressing environment, called ‘Homegrown’.

The Vox Beer Summit will provide a chance for guests to meet VOX Culture’s community partners for the year: HoustainableHouston Sierra ClubCitizens’ Environment Coalition, and Air Alliance Houston. The organizations will present information to the audience pertaining to their work, the current environmental challenges Houston faces and what is or needs to be done, innovative solutions that can have a positive impact on environment, and the push for a proper environmental policy for the City of Houston. Guests will also have a chance to network individually with the groups to inquire about their work, ask environmentally related questions, and potentially sign up for future volunteering or fundraising opportunities with these groups. Towards the end of the presentations, guests will be welcome to come express and talk about either the challenges or positives that they see in their neighborhoods and/or Houston overall, on the subject of environment, and voice what they would like to see done in Houston.

Entry is free but limited. Please select and print your ticket to reserve your spot at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vox-beer-summit-ii-tickets-42116111423

A beer selection from Eureka Heights will be available for guests wanting to purchase beer. Soft drinks and water will also be available to purchase by guests, together with a food selection provided by a food truck on location.

The latest updates can be found by visiting the VOX Culture page on Facebook.


COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES


We have tried to confirm the events listed below, but not all organizations have updated their websites. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

  1. Deadline: Applications for Energy Journalism Initiative Seminar
    The Center on Global Energy Policy is holding its 2nd annual Energy Journalism Initiative seminar from June 12-15, 2018. EJI’s mission is to promote quality journalism in the energy sector by educating and sensitizing journalists about the multiple disciplines at play in key energy debates and stories, including policy, markets, finance, climate change, technology and geopolitics. The Energy Journalism Initiative invites applications from print, online, and broadcast journalists who are relatively new to covering energy: with five or fewer years of experience on the beat. In particular, the Initiative will look for reporters whose coverage appears in national and local newspapers, wire services, trade press, and internet/new-media outlets. The deadline for applications to participate in the Initiative is Feb. 2, 2018. For more information, visit their website or contact [email protected].
  2. SES National Solar Tour by the Houston Renewable Energy GroupImage result for ASES National Solar Tour by
    The ASES National Solar Tour is the largest grassroots solar event in the nation and, on Feb. 3, 2018,  Houston will be a participant in 2018 as it has been in years past. The Solar Tour gives you the opportunity to see and learn firsthand about Solar Systems on the homes of Houstonians who have already taken the step towards clean energy. Solar installers, homeowners, and volunteers are available at each home location to discuss benefits, cost, and any other questions regarding solar energy and green technologies. The Solar Tour is free and open to the public. Following the tour, the after party is at The Bearded Fox Brewery, where attendees can have a few beers, talk solar, and listen to some live music from the Boomerays. For more information, visit houstonrenewableenergy.org.
  3. Citizens’ Climate Lobby 3rd Coast Regional Conference
    Image result for Citizens’ Climate Lobby 3rd Coast Regional ConferenceThe Citizens’ Climate Lobby 3rd Coast Region–Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi–will gather this year in Houston, the major energy hub of CCL’s region and a city that has faced many climate change enhanced disasters in these past three years. CCL will gather to share their support for policies which will manage carbon emissions and help our region transition to the clean energy capital of the country. The 2018 CCL 3rd Coast Regional Conference will be held at the University of Houston on Saturday Feb. 3, 2018. It provides an opportunity for newcomers and experienced CCL members to gather to learn, practice skills, inspire each other, and strategize in moving our country toward climate solutions. For more information, visit donate.citizensclimateeducationcorp.org.
  4. Project Wild Workshop
    Sat., Feb. 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center. This workshop highlights ecology and wildlife education using fun, hands-on activities. Receive a TEKS curriculum and activity guide. TEEAC & SBEC accredited. Bring a lunch and wear comfortable shoes and clothing. All formal and non-formal educators welcome. Material’s fee $30. Registration required by Mon., Jan. 15, 2018, at tpwd.texas.gov.
  5. Deadline: EPA Accepting Applications for 15th Annual P3 AwardsP3 Teams Header
    EPA is requesting applications for the 15th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet. EPA’s P3 Program is a unique college competition for designing solutions for a sustainable future. This competition promotes the use of scientific and engineering principles in creating innovative projects to address challenges and develop real-world solutions. For the first phase of the competition, teams are awarded a $15,000 grant to develop their idea. They showcase their research in spring at the National Sustainable Design Expo. Successful Phase I teams are eligible to compete for a Phase II grant of up to $75,000 to implement their design in a real world setting. The application period is open through Feb. 7, 2018. For more information, visit epa.gov.
  6. Climate Stories Project Seeking Houston Residents and Students
    Would you like to share your experiences with the recent flooding in Houston and to reflect on how extreme weather may be linked to the changing climate? Often, we are reluctant to share our thoughts and feelings on this topic because we feel that we lack scientific expertise or that it is impossible to link extreme weather with global warming. However, more and more of us are making connections between the increasingly unusual weather in our hometowns and the changing climate. Climate Stories Project (CSP) is an educational and artistic forum for sharing these personal reflections about climate change.The Director of CSP, Jason Davis, collects people’s stories about the intersections between their lives and the changing climate, and with participants’ permission, share the stories on the CSP website. CSP is not an activist organization, nor does CSP seek to convince anyone of the reality of climate change. Rather, Mr. Davis aims to provide a space for people to express their thoughts and feelings about our rapidly changing world. Learn more at www.climatestoriesproject.org. Interested participants may contact Mr. Davis at [email protected].
  7. Save the date: Faith Climate Action Week
    Religious communities around the country use the week from Apr. 14 to 22, 2018, to focus their attention on ways to green their facilities and homes, take action locally, and advocate for state and local governments to move towards a sustainable, 100% renewable energy future. Faith Climate Action Week will encompass the week leading up to Earth Day and will focus on how communities can take action to protect our climate. This year the theme is “Charged with Faith: Leading the way to a clean energy future.” Pre-registration for community engagement packages are now open.
  8. Houston Parks Board’s Hogg Bird Sanctuary Project
    Hogg Bird Sanctuary at Memorial Park is an oasis in the bustling City of Houston, the home to many animal and bird species, and a fly-over stopping point for migratory birds. In 2016, the Houston Parks Board was asked to conduct a study on the site’s existing habitat and bird activity. Their ultimate commitment is to make the sanctuary ecologically healthier, enhance the habitat’s resilience, improve drainage and carefully make places for people to visit and observe. In the coming days, the Houston Parks Board will begin limited selective removal and mulching of invasive plants that are choking out native forest south of the parking lot. Throughout the reforestation process, the site will undergo a series of changes that may temporarily alter the appearance of the sanctuary. These are necessary steps to enhance the long-term health of the sanctuary. Later in the spring, following the initial removal process, they will begin planting native trees throughout the project area to start the reforestation process. Additional work in the spring includes drainage improvements, trails and a new pollinator garden hosted by the Garden Club of Houston. Stay updated with the Hogg Bird Sanctuary project at houstonparksboard.org
  9. Carbon Footprint of Texas Suburbs Found to Counter Efforts of Urban Areas
    (Randy Lee Loftis, Texas Climate News, Jan. 5, 2018)
    According to the 2014 Population Division records by the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston is respectively the 61st and 63rd largest urban areas in the world. Unsurprisingly, these large metropolitan areas are “regions of long commutes. That means the suburbs have high climate impacts from transportation – almost always the biggest factor – plus electricity and natural gas for those suburban manses and carbon costs of food, goods and services.” In efforts to develop a more climate-friendly inner city, Houston planners desire to reform transportation and provide more housing in the downtown area. However, a “2014 study found that nationwide, suburbs’ higher climate impact was wiping out the benefits of more carbon-friendly city centers. It wasn’t the suburbs’ lower housing density, but the total energy use per household – transportation, power and others – that made the difference.” Two zip codes from Houston, Harris County, were listed as having the top five highest median carbon dioxide emissions per household. Read more at texasclimatenews.org.
  10. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife
    Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 p.m. each Saturday and on municipal access cable channels in Baytown, Deer Park, Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Nassau Bay, Pasadena, Seabrook, Sugar Land, and on HCC TV. More info on the TPWD website (* indicates a segment about the Houston area). For a preview, visit TPWD’s YouTube Page.

    • West Texas Wetlands: In the driest region of Texas, meet some ingenious landowners who created their own desert oasis’. From Presidio to Balmorhea, new man made wetlands are attracting not only birds but some excited birders. And if you head to one particular oasis you’ll see one of the rarest hummingbirds found in the United States.
    • Lone Star Land Steward: Solana Ranch: Solana Ranch near Salado, Texas has been in the Michaux family since 1950. Through the family’s cattle and hunting operations, they’ve held this special piece of property together in the face of development pressure in one of the fastest growing areas of the state.
    • Cave People: Who knows what darkness lurks deep in the heart of Texas? Cavers know! There are thousands of known caves in Texas and more yet to be discovered. Join some modern day cave explorers as they duck, climb, crawl, and squeeze their way through the dark and mysterious world that exists beneath our feet.

Additional Upcoming Events


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