Behavior Change and Plastic Bag Legislation

plastic bag nightmare 006 (Photo credit: Zainub)

Baltimore is one of a growing number of U.S. cities considering either imposing a tax on plastic bags, or banning them outright. Baltimore City Council has been debating the issue for almost 10 years now, most recently proposing adding a 10 cent tax. If the tax passes, Baltimore will join around 100 communities nationwide that have banned plastic disposable bags or banned them outright. But what would happen if this bill passed?

The Environment

Bag the Ban, a campaign to stop the taxes and bans nationwide that is run and paid for …read more

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

26th Street, Baltimore, MD. Landslide aftermath.

Yesterday, May 1st, 2014, a huge amount of rain fell in Baltimore and caused a 120 year old retaining wall to collapse, sending cars, streetlights and sidewalk tumbling 75 feet down onto CSX rails. Thankfully no one was hurt, although houses on the block were evacuated. As the debris was being cleared up and more stories and videos of the collapse emerged, I was left with one burning question. Where did all this rain come from? Was it a freak occurrence, or should we be expecting more of the same?

Apparently Baltimore was …read more

Celebrating Earth Day

Cartoon by KAL, published in The Baltimore Sun

This past Tuesday, April 22nd, we celebrated 2014’s Earth Day. This global event first began in 1970, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson. It was designed to rally support for increased protection of the environment, giving citizen the opportunity to express their concerns and put pressure on politicians.

Today, it is an occasion both to rally support and take time to consider our environmental impact, as individuals, nationally, and globally. Local initiatives here in Baltimore have included Baltimore Green Week, including talks, forums, volunteer events, and culminating in EcoFest on Saturday, 26th …read more

From Vacants to Vegetables: How do I build a garden?

As reported in my last post, I obtained rights to build a community garden on a vacant lot from the City of Baltimore. But I have never actually gardened, and had no idea how to build a garden from scratch. After doing my homework, and looking into examples of urban gardens online and around the city, I had a better idea of where to start. So this is what I had to start with (see above). Not so great in the natural light department, but at least there wasn’t any trash to clean up!

The lot. 414 E 26th …read more

From Vacants to Vegetables: You Got Your Garden Plot, Now What?

414 E 26th Street, Baltimore, MD. Here is the vacant property I adopted. Not too big, but a good amount of space to get started.

So I got my plot, pictured right, exactly one month after applying. Now what do I do? How do I go about turning a vacant city lot into a vegetable garden? Let’s start off with what I can’t do, and what I have to do.

According to the license agreement with the city, I can’t install “permanent landscaping,” such as an orchard or a tree farm. This is due to the fact that at …read more

From Vacants to Vegetables: So You Want to Garden in the City?

Urban blight turned into gardens (Photo credit: Bob Elderberry)

Almost one year ago, I moved from rural New Hampshire to urban, post-industrial Baltimore. I had lived in cities for most of my life, but always felt a visceral connection to the “great outdoors”. I also love to cook and am a big fan of anything DIY. This past summer I bought several herbs and vegetables for my apartment to cook with. Window space quickly disappeared, but my desire to grow did not. It became clear that I needed more space; I needed an urban garden.

But, how does one …read more

Harboring Hope

The Waterfront Partnership has proclaimed the goal of making the Baltimore Harbor Swimmable and Fishable by 2020. Specifically, they intend – along with support from local nonprofits, business leaders, city officials and harbor advocates – to turn the currently polluted and trash strewn Harbor into a place where marine life thrives, the water is clean enough to swim, and the public health threat is removed.

The Value of Knowing Where You Are

The Waterfront Partnership released the most comprehensive report ever on the harbor’s water quality – the grade was a C-, admittedly with a large curve, indicating water …read more

Really Simple Ways To Go Green


Inspired by Real Simple magazine’s readers sharing the “little ways they’ve gone green,” I collected my friend’s and family’s day-to-day efforts to be more environmentally-responsible:

Demetria Barrett – Limits the amount of garbage she produces by scrutinizing items going into her trash can. Rob Dickerson – Eliminates disposable take-out containers by not taking restaurant leftovers home. Transforms and revitalizes second-hand furniture documented on her blog, Decorum DIYER. Erin Drumgoole – Shares that her family’s “Paperless Kitchen,” exhibited in her Getting Greener blog post, is still going strong! Kristy Gizinski – Reuses bags, bottles and plastic containers. Kathleen Holmes – Repurposes …read more

A Dime for Change

Photographed by Daniel Case 2006-01-25 on a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up in Michigan, the state with the highest bottle deposit in the country, and I had no idea how lucky I was. Just like a fish who fails to realize he’s surrounded by water, I failed to understand the value of the deposit until I was in a state without one. My first glimpse of this was on family trips to Cedar Point or King’s Island where I would watch my cousins discard bottles and cans willy nilly while my sister and …read more

Ballpark Tomatoes

Tomato Plants (Photo credit: kendra e)

Homegrown tomatoes are one of the great joys of summer. Fortunately for the apartment or small space gardener, there are a number of breeding advances that make it possible to grow at least one tomato plant in even the smallest space.

It’s been said that once planted, it’s hard to prevent tomatoes. That’s close to true, but not entirely. Tomatoes do have needs to be met.

Tomatoes need sun – lots of sun. If you can’t find a place that provides sun for a minimum of six hours a day, preferably eight, than …read more