Dannielle Lipinski, Author at Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund

About Dannielle Lipinski

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So far Dannielle Lipinski has created 169 blog entries.

Celebrating Black History Month: Advocating for Environmental Justice in Black Communities

Written by Kyle Bryant, Chesapeake Conservation and Climate Corps Intern

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the rich heritage and monumental contributions of African Americans; at the same time, it also serves as a reminder that America’s struggle toward true equality is far from over. In every facet of our lives, the effects of racial injustice play a role, and that includes environmental sustainability. 

Maryland LCV and Maryland LCV Education Fund are committed to addressing the environmental injustices disproportionately impacting Black communities within our state. This month, we not only celebrate the rich heritage and monumental contributions of African Americans, but also amplify the pressing need for equitable environmental policies.

The Legacy of Environmental Injustice

For decades, particularly since the mid-20th century, Black communities have been on the front lines of environmental injustice. In the Baltimore metropolitan area alone, a myriad of environmental issues exist that disproportionately affect the Black population. In Baltimore City, Black children are often exposed to lead paint, resulting in lead poisoning which causes permanent neurological damage during their cognitive development. Coal dust from Curtis Bay’s CSX Transportation coal export terminal has infiltrated residential neighborhoods, increasing the potential for asthma and other respiratory diseases. The Road to Nowhere, an unfinished expressway for which Black neighborhoods were razed, is only just starting to be addressed, with proposals to demolish it and repurpose the area for the benefit of the impacted communities. 

Across Maryland, many Black communities face similar challenges. This is not coincidental but rooted in systemic racism and historical policies that have marginalized Black Americans, confining many to areas with poor environmental conditions and creating many health disparities. 

The Call for Action

Addressing these profound challenges requires more than acknowledgment; it demands action. Maryland LCV advocates for legislation that not only tackles environmental degradation but does so with a lens of racial and social justice. We work with communities, elected leaders, and government agencies to ensure Maryland is implementing policies aimed at reducing emissions, ensuring clean water, and transitioning to renewable energy sources, all of which also account for and address the historical and ongoing inequities faced by Black communities.

Recent policies enacted with the intent of creating a more equitable future include both legislation in Maryland and administrative action from the White House. Maryland’s Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 sets ambitious goals for reducing our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. This act also specifically codified the terms “overburdened” and  “underserved” into law for the first time, providing a metric by which to discern which communities are most in need of help, and supporting future policies and actions that prioritize these communities. In addition, the Biden Administration is implementing the Justice40 Initiative, an Executive Order President Biden issued mere days into his term, to address long-standing environmental injustices and promote equitable climate action. The cornerstone of this initiative is the commitment that 40% of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate, clean energy, and infrastructure will go to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. This includes investments in clean energy, energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, and more. 

Your Voice Matters

Achieving environmental justice requires the engagement of all sectors of society. It’s about dismantling the structures perpetuating inequality and building a sustainable future where everyone, regardless of race, has the right to a healthy environment. Maryland LCV Education Fund is committed to this mission, working alongside community leaders, advocates, and policymakers, to drive meaningful change. 

As we reflect on the importance of environmental justice during Black History Month, it’s crucial to remember that change begins with us—through our actions, big and small. Here’s how you can make a difference:

  • Volunteer with Local Environmental Justice Initiatives: Across Maryland, numerous organizations are working tirelessly to address environmental injustices and improve the health of our communities. By volunteering your time, you can help these initiatives achieve their goals while also gaining a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. Here’s a few places in Maryland:
  • Support Black-Led Environmental Groups: Amplify the efforts of Black-led organizations that are at the forefront of the fight for environmental justice. These groups bring invaluable perspectives and solutions to the table. Consider donating, volunteering, or simply spreading the word about their work. A few we work with are:
    • Follow: Black Girls Vote. Founded by Nykidra “Nyki” Robinson, Black Girls Vote seeks to bring change through advocacy, outreach, and building strength in numbers.
    • Follow: Black Legislative Caucus and their 2024 legislative priorities The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Inc. is an American political organization composed of African Americans elected to the Maryland General Assembly. 
  • Educate Yourself and Others: Knowledge is power. Educate yourself about the history and ongoing challenges of environmental injustice in Black communities. Then, share what you’ve learned with friends, family, and through social media. Awareness is the first step toward change. Here’s some resources to start:

These are only a few ways in which you can contribute to the fight for environmental justice. By advocating for equitable environmental legislation and amplifying the voices of those who have been historically marginalized, we can pave the way for a more just and sustainable world. 

2024-02-19T11:10:44-05:00February 19th, 2024|Categories: Blog, DEIJ|Tags: , |

Virtual Webinar: Democracy and Election Protection on 2/16 at Noon

Friday Digest

Virtual Friday Digest
Topic: Democracy and Election Protection
Friday, February 16, 2024 12:00 PM –  12:30 PM ET

As the election draws closer, there is increasing conversation about election security and the importance of every vote. Maryland is one of the smallest states in the country, however, this year’s election will have national significance. How do Maryland elections work, how do they affect environmental and conservation policies, and how do we fit in the national story?

During this webinar, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from Maryland LCV Education Fund on:

  • Understanding the importance of voter protection laws and the connection to environmental and conservation priorities
  • Learn about the status of current legislation and what comes next
  • Hear insights from our guest speakers involved in this issue, discussing the impacts for our communities, the legislative process, challenges, and the path forward.
  • Discover what the next steps are for democracy protection and how you can get involved.

Zoom details will be provided following your registration.

REGISTER HERE!

 

2024-02-14T12:36:18-05:00February 14th, 2024|Categories: Blog, MDLCV|

Employment Opportunity: Development Manager (Hybrid)

Maryland LCV Team Members

Development Manager (Hybrid)

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) and the Maryland LCV Education Fund, two environmental state-wide, nonpartisan, nonprofit  organizations, are seeking a fundraiser to join our team as the Development Manager.

The Development Manager will be primarily responsible for managing and growing the new donor and mid-level giving program which is focused on raising funds from individual donors giving up to $5,000 annually and securing corporate sponsorships and donations of the same amount. The position will design and manage a giving program for current donors and prospects via a multi-faceted approach to donor relationship-building that includes emails, phone calls, meetings, events, and direct mail.

Full description

2024-02-14T12:37:27-05:00February 14th, 2024|Categories: Blog, MDLCV|

Community Solar Webinar: Recording Available

Discover how Community Solar can open the door for everyone to reap the benefits of solar energy, even those who can’t install panels on their rooftops!

This webinar covered:

  1. What Community Solar is and how it works
  2. Various types of Community Solar projects
  3. Benefits you can expect as a consumer
  4. The sign-up process
  5. The future landscape of Community Solar

Community Solar is like a shared garden, where instead of sowing seeds and harvesting crops, you receive a portion of electricity from a local solar farm. This opportunity allows you to power your home with renewable energy and cut your electricity bill by 5-30%. And the best part? There are no solar panels required on your property, no costs for joining or canceling, and your utility company remains the same.

This is an excellent opportunity for the 75% of Maryland households that can’t accommodate rooftop solar due to a variety of constraints. Watch the webinar to learn how you can get involved in community solar programs right here in Maryland. Together, we can harness the power of the sun for a brighter, cleaner, and more sustainable future!

For more information and to see Community Solar providers near you, go to www.marylandconservation.org/community-solar

2023-09-07T11:34:29-04:00August 9th, 2023|Categories: Blog, Education Fund, MDLCV|

Chispa Maryland Celebrates its First Promotores Graduates from Baltimore City and Baltimore County

2023 Promotores Graduates

In late June, Maryland LCV Education Fund’s Chispa Maryland program celebrated its first-ever class of grassroots leaders, or promotores, from Baltimore County and Baltimore City. The 18 graduates are now trained to work with their community to promote key environmental issues, including advocating for clean, electric school buses that protect the health of their children and the air we all breathe.

Since beginning its promotores training program in 2016, Chispa Maryland has graduated 143 grassroot community leaders. The recently graduated promotores from Baltimore City and Baltimore County attended six weeks of classes with Morena Zelaya, the organizing manager for Chispa Maryland, and Eliseo Magos Gonzalez, Chispa’s community organizer. Their weekly sessions focused on the basics of climate justice, civic engagement, advocacy, and community organizing. 

“Our lessons were really about our rights,” said Morena. “Our right to clean air, clean water, and a safe climate for us and our children. And now these incredible volunteers have the tools to advocate for the environmental rights that are so important to our communities.”

Morena and Eliseo will continue to work with the promotores to create comités (committees) in both Baltimore County and Baltimore City to facilitate their long-term organizing and broader community participation.

“It is so inspiring to see the enthusiasm and leadership displayed by these new promotores,” said Eliseo. “And it’s wonderful to know that we’re not just training 18 promotores, but also helping create a new generation of Latino community advocates who will work for climate justice.”  

If you would like to support the Chispa Maryland program and help train grassroots leaders throughout our state, please donate at https://www.marylandconservation.org/donate

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About Maryland League of Conservation Voters:
We use political action and education to fight for clean water, healthy air, and climate resilient communities for everyone in Maryland. Our programs strengthen and build the power of the environmental community, and they expand, deepen, and activate a base of conservation-minded voters around the state.

About Chispa Maryland of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund:
Chispa Maryland is a key program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund that works to ensure Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice in protecting our air, land, water, public health, and communities. 

 

2023-07-03T16:18:07-04:00July 3rd, 2023|Categories: Blog, CHISPA, Education Fund|Tags: |

Chispa Maryland and Maryland LCV Statement on EPA Clean School Bus Program Funding for Baltimore City Public Schools

For Immediate Release
October 26, 2022

Chispa Maryland/Maryland LCV Statement on EPA Clean School Bus Program Funding for Baltimore City Public Schools 

Annapolis, MD –  Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the recipients of the inaugural, $965 million Clean School bus Program rebates. The program, created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, will invest $5 billion over five years in clean school buses. The 2022 rebates will fund approximately 2,400 new school buses for nearly 400 school districts across all 50 states, 30 tribal nations and multiple U.S. territories, with the overwhelming majority of funds going to electric school buses. 

In Maryland, Baltimore City Public Schools will receive $9,425,000 to purchase 25 electric school buses. Baltimore City Schools currently uses more that 200 buses, both contracted and owned. In response to the announcement, Ramón Palencia Calvo, Chispa Maryland Director and Maryland LCV Deputy Executive Director, issued the following statement: 

“Investing in electric school buses is an investment in clean air and  most importantly, our school children. These buses have the potential to be transformational for Baltimore City Public Schools, eliminating toxic chemicals in the air that our children and communities breathe and providing quieter rides, better health, and fewer school absences due to preventable respiratory illnesses. 

“Other Maryland school districts also have new opportunities on the horizon: They will be able to apply for another round of EPA grants next year, and Maryland is creating a new Electric School Bus Pilot Program to allow participating school districts to receive funds for electric school buses. Chispa Maryland and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) have been working with eligible school districts to ensure they take advantage of these opportunities. 

“In Maryland, more than 650,000 kids ride school buses. We and our partners remain committed to getting many more electric school buses on the road with the goal of pollution-free communities for all Marylanders. We are calling on school boards and elected officials across Maryland to put the health of our youth and communities first by transitioning the state’s school bus fleet to clean, zero-emission electric school buses.” 

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2023-07-24T13:17:53-04:00October 26th, 2022|Categories: CHISPA, Media|Tags: , , , |

Thank you for joining us

Your Vote. Our Future

We envision a Maryland where all residents and regions have a strong voice and opportunities to make the state a national leader in implementing effective environmental protections and achieving meaningful environmental justice.

Here’s how we’ll achieve that vision:

  • Increase Voter Turnout. Through non-partisan education, volunteer engagement, digital organizing, and coalition building, we will register new voters and get out the vote. We will train, empower, and activate Marylanders in targeted priority regions to use their vote and political voice to elect pro-conservation leaders that advance equitable access to clean air and water and safe and healthy communities.
  • Broaden the Conservation Voter Movement. Maryland LCV Education Fund will continue its leading role in educating and activating potential voters from underrepresented communities. Our Chispa Maryland program’s power-building efforts will include launching a new online leadership training program.
  • Hold Leaders Accountable. Our accountability work demonstrates to elected officials that their votes on key issues impact how their constituents view them. We will strategically leverage our relationships and programs – and create opportunities to deploy our growing advocate base – to ensure elected officials are aggressively advancing our policies and acting on the issues that our communities care about, including fair transportation systems, equitable voter access, and clean air and water.

Although Maryland successfully passed a landmark climate bill in 2022, the implementation of the legislation will require challenging adjustments to state agencies and budgets. Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (Maryland LCVEF) is positioned to play a key role in ensuring these transitions are effective and strategic, making our work more urgent than ever. 

Stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved.

Kim Coble, Executive Director




2023-01-03T14:54:29-05:00October 18th, 2022|Categories: Education Fund, Your Vote. Our Future|

“Best in Nation” Climate Bill Highlights 2022 Legislative Session’s Many Environmental Achievements 

Press release from Maryland League of Conservation Voters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 11, 2022

Contact: Kristen Harbison, 410.952.8100 Emailkharbeson@mdlcv.org                                                                                                     

“Best in Nation” Climate Bill Highlights 2022 Legislative Session’s Many Environmental Achievements 

Annapolis, MD – After struggling for several years to reach consensus on a comprehensive bill to address climate change in Maryland, the 2022 Legislative Session closed tonight with passage of the Climate Solutions Now Act. The momentous bill commits the state to net-zero climate emissions by 2045 and requires a 60 percent carbon reduction goal by 2031, the strongest near-term goal in the country.

The Climate Solutions Now Act passed the General Assembly on March 31 and became law when Gov. Hogan chose not to veto the bill.

“The Climate Solutions Now Act is a huge step toward a brighter future for our public health, budgets, and communities,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “It is major news that Maryland is leading the fight against climate change. We are enormously grateful the Maryland General Assembly had the courage and vision to vote for a healthy future for Marylanders, and that the Governor chose not to stand in the way of progress.”

The Climate Solutions Now Act also incorporated many provisions that traditionally would have been included in stand-alone bills.

The Act requires emissions reductions from large buildings and creates a 15-month study to determine steps needed to electrify new buildings.

The bill also includes an electric school bus pilot program in which utilities partner with school boards to purchase electric buses and use them for electricity grid storage. It creates the first in the nation mandate that school buses purchased after 2024 be zero-emission and requires all state passenger and light-duty vehicles to be zero-emission by 2031 and 2036 respectively.

Coble also celebrated environmental justice advancements in the bill.

It codifies the definition of “overburdened” and “underserved” to ensure equitable treatment of communities and sets goals for state clean energy investments in overburdened communities. And it will make the benefits of solar energy more accessible to low- and moderate-income (LMI) households by exempting solar on rooftops, parking garages, and brownfields from property taxes if it provides more than 50% of the energy to these households.

“Along with our community partners, we are still pushing Maryland to create a comprehensive policy framework to achieve environmental justice in the state, based on community-driven solutions,” said Coble. “Although the state still falls short of that paradigm shift, the 2022 legislative session delivered significant equity advances to communities that are disproportionately harmed by  environmental and public health problems.”

Several bills supported by the environmental community did not pass, including the FUTURE Act, which would have mandated a transition to zero-emissions for Maryland’s State University System, and the Clean Truck Rule, which would have signed Maryland onto the Advanced Clean Truck Rule to drive electrification of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. A grant program for medium and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles within the Clean Cars Act (HB1039), however, does take positive steps in this area.

“On the whole, the successes of the 2022 legislative session provide a valuable reminder that to achieve meaningful, lasting environmental victories, we need to elect conservation-minded candidates,” said Coble. “We are enormously grateful to our legislative leaders who delivered for Maryland’s environment and communities this session. It’s crucial that Maryland’s next governor builds on the victories of this legislative session to advance the state towards 100 percent clean energy and truly equitable environmental policies.”

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2023-01-03T14:54:46-05:00April 12th, 2022|Categories: CHISPA, Education Fund|

LEGISLATIVE SESSION WRAP-UP WEBINAR 4/12

Tune in via ZOOM on Tuesday, April 12 at noon for a candid rundown of the key environmental bills that made it and those that didn’t in the 2022 General Assembly.

Executive Director Kim Coble will provide updates and insights into the why’s and why-not’s, and how the outcomes will impact us all as we work to combat climate change and environmental inequities.

Fresh from a face-to-face meeting with the Hogan administration, Kim will also shed light on what’s ahead as we wait to see which bills the governor signs into law and which he vetos.

You do not want to miss this insider view into the state of some of the most critical climate legislation in the nation. REGISTER NOW

2023-01-03T14:54:46-05:00April 8th, 2022|Categories: Education Fund|