Montgomery County, MD passes legislation enabling on-farm food scrap composting, plus 25 things we should do to help save the planet after the pandemic. A new study reveals the health benefits of climate action, and in our “climate and culture” segment, we meet The Climate Stories Project.
Maryland County OKs On-Farm Food Scrap Composting, 25 Must-Do Post Pandemic Climate Saving Tips, Climate Stories Project, Fighting Climate Change Actually Improves Health!
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD PASSES LEGISLATION ENABLING ON-FARM FOOD SCRAP COMPOSTING OPPORTUNITIES
Back in 2011, when my wife and I went searching for a full-service food scrap compost company in the Washington, DC area–that is one that composted all organic matter–bones, meat as well as vegetable matter. We couldn’t find one. So we decided to start our own. We considered buying farm or partnering with a farmer to do on-farm composting in the DC-adjacent Maryland Montgomery or Prince George’s Counties. Alas, farms were prohibitively expensive, or county regulations were so prohibitive, farmers didn’t want take the risk of being violated. We ended up partnering with a gentleman who was doing commercial food scrap composting on a farm in Aberdeen, Maryland, four counties north of DC/
Finally, nine years after we started and grew our food scrap composting business- our neighbor, Montgomery County, MD County Council has finally unanimously passed legislation making it easier for farmers to add food scrap composting to their revenue streams. The idea is to create a greener local economy by increasing the amount of materials farmers can use on their property to produce and manufacture compost and mulch. Oh, and taking a positive step in advancing our climate goals.
This is important because Montgomery County currently produces 147,000 tons of food waste per year. 147,000 tons. That’s 294 million pounds. That waste is the largest contributing factor to the county’s waste stream. By increasing the amount of off-site material that farmers can use in the manufacturing of compost and mulch from 20 percent to 50 percent, the legislation creates opportunities for local farmers and local green entrepreneurs to partner, leading to a greener environment and economy. Councilmember Craig Rice who voted yaay on the legislation said, “This is good for our farmers, our small businesses, our residents and the planet.” Having set this precedent, perhaps other counties in MD and in surrounding states, like PA, VA and WV will use this legislation to expand the ease and prevalence of on-farm food scrap composting.
DEEPER DIVE: Montgomery County Council
NEW STUDY REVEALS HEALTH BENEFITS OF FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
A new study by the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change shows significant health benefits of climate action. The study brings over 120 scientists and health experts to track the relationship between health and climate change across key domains and indicators. Reported by Positive News, the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change is an annual assessment on the health benefits of reaching climate targets in nine countries, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S. – which, all together, represents 50% of the world’s population and 70% of the world’s emissions.
Across the nine countries examined, the study reveals Paris-compliant policies save 1.2 million lives due to cleaner air, 5.8 million lives due to better diet and 1.2 million lives due to increased exercise. The study also suggests implementing more ambitious health objectives within the Nationally Determined Contributions, otherwise known as NDCs, could result in a further reduction of nearly one million annual deaths attributable to air pollution, diet and physical inactivity, respectively.
In a press release, lead author Ian Hamilton said, “the message is stark. Not only does delivering on Paris prevent millions dying prematurely each year, the quality of life for millions more will be improved through better health.”
DEEPER DIVE: Positive News, Lancet Countdown on Health and Change, The Lancet Planetary Health special issue
CLIMATE AND CULTURE: THE CLIMATE STORIESPROJECT.ORG
Back in 2005,Bill McKibben the founder of 350.org an organization dedicated to building a future that’s just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of climate change. once lamented that while we knew about climate change, we didn’t really know about it; it wasn’t part of the culture yet. “Where are the books? The plays? The BLEEPING operas?” he asked.
Why does codifying climate change in popular culture matter? It matters because meaningful change in any society does not just happen by making a convincing intellectual argument. It’s about making the emotional argument, too. And the fastest, best way to a human’s heart is through art, music, literature.
Sixteen years after McKibben posed those questions, plenty of art, books, choreography and music has been made around climate change. One man and two women are rapidly increasing the body of work designed to tug at our heart strings have created The Climate Stories Project.
The project weaves crowd-sourced personal and community responses to climate change with wonderful, original musical compositions. The Climate Stories Project is an educational and artistic forum focusing on personal oral histories.
Director of the project, Jason Davis, is a musician and environmental educator. He says his goal in co-creating the Climate Stories Project is to create a “living artistic documentary that engages audiences to share and listen to personal responses to climate change.
He’s joined by Kelly Hydrick is a historian, visual artist, and a graduate student in Archives Management at Simmons University, and project manager Berenice Tompkins. Prior to joining CSP, Berenice participated in the Great March for Climate Action, and founder of the Climate Story Caravan project. Surf on over to climatestoriesproject.org and prepare for a spine-tingling experience. You might even become a Climate Stories ambassador.
DEEPER DIVE: Climate Stories Project, naaee.org
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ISSUES 25 THINGS WE SHOULD DO POST-PANDEMIC TO SAVE THE PLANET
The world wasn’t prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have the opportunity to recover and build a better world sustainably. To kick things off, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, otherwise known as OECD, issued 25 things we should do to help save the planet after the COVID-19 pandemic. The international organisation works with governments, policy makers and citizens to help build policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being.
Reported by the World Economic Forum, the OECD’s list focuses on five key emitting sectors around the world – agriculture, buildings, electricity, industry and transport – and uses five policy levers: investment, regulation, tax & subsidies, leadership by example, and information & education.
Here are just a few points on the list:
- Improve agricultural productivity in sustainable ways that lower emissions and allow us to feed a growing global population.
- Focus investments on green energy generation and sustainable power distribution networks.
- Increase research and development into new low-carbon industrial processes.
For the full list, visit www.OECD.org.
DEEPER DIVE: World Economic Forum