Residents Supporting Sustainability

earth

Earth

As residents of Riderwood Village we yearn for our children and grandchildren to have an earth home that survives global warming and climate change.  We believe that it is important for us to take responsibility in supporting green initiatives at Riderwood and learning about and actively influencing the broader issues of sustainability of the earth.

This is a virtual group. There are currently no regular meetings. All are welcome to join. Send your email address to David Nation (listed below) if you would like to be added to the group and informed of upcoming events. We have a steering committee (listed below) to decide what projects to pursue.

As our first project in 2015 we co-sponsored with the Unitarian Universalists at Riderwood the documentary filmCowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret This groundbreaking feature length environmental documentary follows an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industries facing the planet today – the agricultural livestock and dairy industries.  He investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations have been too afraid to talk about it in the past; they are just beginning to incorporate this information into their mission and goals.  Many residents who saw the film were surprised to learn that eating meat and dairy was contributing much more to global warming than all of our carbon based use of energy in the transportation sector.  In order to address this concern we worked with the Riderwood Dining Staff to identify and increase the number of vegetarian and vegan options.

Since that time we have shown other documentary films and sponsored programs to help inform Riderwood residents of other sustainability issues.  Many of these films were co-sponsored by the Unitarian Universalists at Riderwood, the Circle Fellowship Church and the Democratic Club.  The BBC Planet Earth II series was co-sponsored by the Riderwood Earth Day Committee.

  • Mass Extinction: Life at the Brink. This was a Smithsonian film that documents the groundbreaking scientific detective work that has been done to discover the causes of past extinctions and raises the question of whether homo sapiens might create another mass extinction.
  • This Changes Everything. This film is an unsettling but ultimately encouraging documentary about global warming and grassroots activism.
  • The Human Experiment. This documentary was about the effects of chemicals on our life.
  • Planet Ocean. This documentary was about living in harmony with the ocean ecosystem.
  • Before the Flood. This was another excellent documentary on global warming and climate change.
  • Chasing Ice. This was a National Geographic film documenting the shrinking of the glaciers on earth.
  • Groundswell Rising. This documentary was about the effects of fracking.
  • BBC Planet Earth II, 6 Episodes. These magnificent documentaries were extraordinary filming of the animals (and their habitats) that share the earth with us in six different venues.
  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.  This documentary is the sequel to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth that highlights what has happened in the past ten years as we have addressed climate change.
  • What the Health.  This documentary connects the food we eat with our health.  Some people who have seen this have decided to change their eating habits and eat only a plant-based diet.
  • Atomic Homefront.  This documentary looks at the effects of nuclear waste from atomic bombs on a community.
  • Reinventing Power: America’s Renewable Energy Boom.  This program was co-sponsored with the Prince Geroge’s Sierra Club Group.  Al Bartlett from the Sierra Club facilitated discussion of the film produced by the Sierra Club to underscore the nation does not have to sacrifice jobs for a clean environment.

In 2019 we have decided to have a documentary film or a program on each second Tuesday of the month in Encore Theatre.  So far the following documentaries and programs have been shown or are scheduled to be shown:

  • 10 January 2019 – The New Fire: the case for a new generation of nuclear plants.
  • 14 February 2019 – A Plastic Ocean: the careful documentation of the effects of plastics on our oceans, sea life, and us.
  • 14 March 2019 – Drawdown: a program presenting a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming.
  • 11 April 2019 – State of the Bay: a program as part of our partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation reporting on the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • 9 May 2019 – Joyce Tuten presents a program that explains the science of climate change from the perspective of a science teacher.
  • 12 September 2019 – Matt Dernoga from the Maryland Sierra Club will present a program Beyond Coal Conservation.

During the Spring and Summer months 2019 Residents Supporting Sustainability will cosponsor with Science and Technology eight episodes of Our Planet.

During Fall, 2016, at the showing of Groundswell Rising, petitions were signed to support legislation in Maryland to permanently ban fracking.  Subsequently Residents Supporting Sustainability joined the coalition Don’t Frack Maryland to support this legislation.  The advocacy was successful as Maryland became the first state with viable fracking opportunities to permanently ban fracking.

For the past three years we have participated in the Riderwood Village Earth Day. The Earth Day events give the whole Riderwood Community the opportunity to learn what is happening here at Riderwood in our sustainability efforts (like the huge savings in energy by the installation of LED lights) and to connect with the issues outside Riderwood Village.  We participated again this year at the 2019 Riderwood Village’s 19th Earth Day emphasizing the theme: Protect Our Species.

In September, 2016, a campus-wide Riderwood Sustainability Committee was formed composed of six staff and six residents.  Gary Hibbs, Executive Director, and Jim Henkelman-Bahn were the co-chairs the first year.  Mickey Thaxton, Associate Executive Director, and Jim Henkelman-Bahn were the co-chairs for 2017-18.  For 2018-19 Mickey Thaxton and Dick Dowd are the co-chairs.  This ongoing effort of staff and residents is important to achieving our vision.

In 2017 Riderwood Village entered into a partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  Several educational presentations have taken place.  During the 2018 Maryland Legislative Session a busload of residents went to Annapolis to work for the passage of the legislative agenda (Improving the Forest Conservation Act) of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  During the 2019 a group of residents went to Annapolis to encourage passage of bills for two of the filters for the Bay – Forest Conservation on land and Oyster Restoration in the Bay.

The heightened visibility to sustainability is moving Riderwood Village toward being a leading retirement community in the nation in sustainability.

You may contact one of the members of the Steering Committee for Residents Supporting Sustainability through the information listed below:

Jim Henkelman-Bahn, Convener, OP 109, jameshenkelmanbahn@gmail.com

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