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Green Living

       A healthy future for Maryland begins with healthy kids. Those kids are at risk when the buses and cars taking them to and from school churn out pollution in the drop-off and pick-up lanes.        Under a new program from the Department of the Environment and the Department of Education, those arrival and departure areas will become idle-free.
Ban bills return to Anne Arundel, Maryland 
      Another domino has fallen in the war on plastic, toppling close to home.        A bill banning polystyrene, the chemical that gave us Styrofoam, has been introduced for the second year in the Anne Arundel County Council. If passed, it will prohibit the use of food-service polystyrene products in the county by next January.

Conservation groups combine powers

      Just two weeks after the South River Federation and the West/Rhode Riverkeeper began their unified partnership as the Arundel Rivers Federation, two more regional watershed groups have tied the knot.          The Severn River Association and the Back Creek Conservancy have merged their operations into one watershed organization. Both will operate under the Severn River Association masthead.

Bay Trust honors local Irish restaurateurs

       When Irish natives Michael Galway and Anthony Clarke aren’t serving authentic Irish fare, they’re helping keep Chesapeake Country green.          Every year, the Chesapeake Bay Trust — a nonprofit grant-making organization — honors local environmental stewards with awards or scholarships. Galway and Clarke won this year’s Commercial Stewards Award for their outstanding environmental work throughout Chesapeake Country.

Magothy River Association teaches its ­ecosystem on placemats

     “Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” –Winston Churchill         It’s a scientific fact: If learning isn’t fun, it won’t be effective.          The creative folks of the Magothy River Association believe fun has a permanent place in environmental education.

PSC: More EVs for RPs (Ratepayers, in utility lingo)

      That sense you get pumping gas — that it could be time for an electric vehicle — is shared by many of us, and we soon could see fewer worries about powering up. But things aren’t moving as swiftly as some folks would hope.          The Public Service Commission last week authorized utilities to install 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations around Maryland, about four times as many as exist now, mainly in the Baltimore and Washington suburbs.

Maryland’s behind the curve

      Maryland earns a less-than-satisfactory grade of C– for progress in adopting clean energy and putting the brakes on global climate change. At the head of the domestic class are California, Massachusetts and Oregon. Internationally, the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden are setting the pace.          Top among the things we could do better is developing a clean energy economy.
From electric to plug-in to hybrid, there are more ways than ever to drive clean
    By now, we all know about the ­Toyota Prius.     I’m talking about the world’s best-selling gas-electric hybrid: a car that uses both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. You can drive it just like any other car yet use much less fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that today’s Prius gets 52 miles per gallon in a mix of city and highway driving, compared to 32 miles per gallon for the similarly sized, similarly powerful, gas-fueled Toyota Corolla.
Only 2 of 13 indicators improve for a high D 
      Record rainfall increased pollution and reduced water clarity in the Chesapeake Bay, decreasing the score in the State of the Bay report, put out by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The score dropped one point to 33, equivalent to a D+.       “Heavy rains caused extended high flows in the Susquehanna River, which flushed debris, sediment and other pollutants into the Bay,” reports Alison Prost, CBF’s Maryland executive director. 

Each of our Christmas ­evergreens tells a story

      Early Americans celebrated a long Yuletide from December 15 to Epiphany on January 6. Europeans started earlier on December 6, Saint Nicholas Day. In every tradition, evergreens have been part of the celebration.      Why do we decorate our homes with boughs of pine and holly?