Blog Posts - Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund

Maryland’s Renewable Energy Landscape (Part Two of our 100% Clean Energy Blog Series)

Maryland’s Renewable Energy Landscape

Governor Wes Moore has committed to achieving 100% clean energy by 2035. Achieving this goal ensures our state is helping lead efforts to keep our planet within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) target of limiting global warming to 1.5-2°C above pre-industrial levels, while improving air quality and creating economic opportunities here in Maryland.

A transition toward a 100% clean energy economy is already underway in Maryland and across the globe. This transition will mitigate the impact of climate change and fossil energy infrastructure. It also provides an opportunity to provide restitution for past harms, support clean jobs, and secure a livable environment for future generations of Marylanders.

The Need for Renewable Energy

The move toward a more sustainable economy presents an opportunity to ensure a cleaner and more equitable future. This is often referred to as a just transition (see a few different definitions of a just transition here). We can ensure the clean economy and infrastructure we build to mitigate and adapt to climate change better suits everyone – regardless of where they are from, their family background, or current circumstances.

This blog provides a brief overview of Maryland’s renewable energy infrastructure landscape and just transition progress to date. I’ll discuss where we are in terms of renewable energy deployment and the policies that have gotten us here. 

Solar

The 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act set a 14.5% carveout for solar energy in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). And while solar and wind energy projects represent the majority of new renewable power installations, Maryland is currently behind its solar goals.

To date, utility-scale solar has deployed at slower rates than small-scale solar in Maryland. Small-scale solar  – which includes community, ground-mounted, pole-mounted, and rooftop solar systems generating less than 1 MW – made up 60% of Maryland’s solar generation in 2022. In 2015, Maryland’s Community Solar Program was established as a pilot program, and was made permanent in 2023 through House Bill (HB) 908, with 40% of the projects in the program allocated to benefit low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities. Because it’s still difficult to install rooftop solar for those of us who rent, community solar is especially beneficial for renters. Community solar also supports the energy justice goal of more community-owned generators. Rooftop solar panel adoption remains challenging for LMI and other historically marginalized households because of the upfront costs and other requirements, like high minimum credit scores.  As a sector, though, rooftop solar has expanded and now just 0.8% of solar-viable rooftops in Maryland get all or part of their energy from rooftop panels. For utility-scale solar, Maryland is currently transforming a former coal mine and brownfield site in Garrett County into what will be the largest solar project in the state. 

Solar represents a workforce opportunity, and last year, 6,865 Marylanders were employed in the solar industry, representing 2% of the U.S. solar workforce and 0.2% of Maryland’s workforce.

Wind

Maryland’s utility-scale land-based wind capacity is very small, with almost all  potential concentrated in Western Maryland. The four projects online include a total of 76 turbines with 190 MW rated capacity. Maryland’s commitment to wind energy development is largely materializing offshore, with the 2023 Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources (POWER) Act setting the state goal of 8.5 GW of offshore wind by 2031 and state-sponsored offshore wind supply chain grant and training programs. Two projects, Momentum Wind and MarWin are currently under development. Simultaneously, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has identified and proposed two Wind Energy Areas (WEAs), totaling 277,938 acres, for leasing in the Central Atlantic Call Area. A third lease area, closer to Maryland, was unfortunately scrapped from the final proposal but may be included in a 2025 lease area sale. 

We anticipate the 2024 lease area sale process to begin in the coming months when there will be opportunities for support and advocacy for this important industry. Our state is demonstrating leadership in the North Atlantic region through the revival of the Sparrows Point Steel facility in collaboration with United Steelworkers, U.S. Wind agreements with local unions, and serving as the homebase of the leading offshore renewable industry member-organization, the Oceantic Network.

Hydropower

Hydropower is the longest standing form of renewable energy in the state and the most common in the world, and until last year when it was exceeded by solar generation, hydropower generated the most annual net generation of all renewable power in the state. The largest hydroelectric plant, the Conowingo Dam, has been key to renewable energy targets as other forms have lowered in cost over the years. Despite this, as you may also know, the Dam has also been the center of several environmental (read: Clean Water Act) violations/controversy.

Geothermal

Maryland was the first state to add geothermal to its RPS. In the 2024 legislative session, Maryland passed the WARMTH Act, a bill that will create a networked (neighborhood-scale) geothermal pilot program similar to the New York state pilot. Though networked pilot programs will be new to our state, geothermal has been adopted in several buildings in the state. As of August 2022, Maryland had 3,268 residential and commercial systems. Geothermal can provide households with energy savings potential of 25-50%. Baltimore Gas and Electric’s (BGE) Multi-Year Plan relies on geothermal adoption in its territory.

Storage

Most renewable energy sources are intermittently available, thus making storage critical to the just transition. Storage can include batteries, fuel-cells, pumped hydro, and mobile batteries (including electric vehicles). Hybrid power plants site renewable energy generation near or alongside storage – this type of plant is growing in interest to developers. Last year, Maryland established an Energy Storage Program and the Public Service Commission convened a Workgroup that is set to establish guidelines for the program by 2025. This group is currently focused on outlining program eligibility both by storage type and, ultimately, some alternative metric to determine if a project qualifies for meeting a storage deployment target.

What Next?

Despite progress, there remains an urgent need to decarbonize the electricity sector. Maryland still has to displace the 18,863,000 MWh of fossil-based generation in the state in order to meet our climate goals, aid in avoiding climate catastrophe, and clean up our air and waterways. Decision-makers could show a stronger commitment to ensuring no Marylander is left behind in efforts to mitigate climate change, and there remains a need to commit funding to and implement renewable energy policy goals. Continued use of principles and the practice of the just transition can guide us to 100% clean energy by 2035.

For more information on Maryland’s renewable energy landscape, you can find a fact sheet on our state’s key renewable energy policies here.

2024-05-13T16:50:10-04:00May 13th, 2024|Categories: Blog|

100% Clean Energy Campaign Blog Series: Introduction

While the Maryland General Assembly’s 446th session recently came to a close, the work continues for Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ campaign for 100% Clean Energy by 2035.

To celebrate the exciting work ahead for this campaign, Earth month, and the end of a session that addressed several climate, justice, and clean energy issues – we’re launching this blog series about where our state has been and where we still have to go in order to achieve our climate goals.

About the Writer

Alexandra Grayson

I’m a third-generation Baltimorean, and I lived in Maryland my entire life until graduating from Baltimore City College. I moved down the street to Washington, D.C. to pursue my undergraduate degree from Howard University – and in 2022, I received my Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Environmental Science from Howard, in what is now the Department of Earth, Environment and Equity (E3).

I am now a graduate student in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California Berkeley but have been in the trenches in Annapolis for the last few months with the team at Maryland LCV as the Climate Policy and Justice Fellow. 

Both sides of my family have been in the Chesapeake Bay area for at least 5 generations. The future of Baltimore, Maryland, and our region is important to me so that there can be at least 10, 20, 30+ more.

This role with Maryland LCV has provided me with an opportunity to advocate for a clean and just future for all Marylanders, which has been really rewarding.

MDLCV’s Climate Policy and Justice Fellowship

Like many others also in Generation Z, my relationship with my climate optimism (and often pessimism) is complicated. Our vision for a just, net-zero future, where all can enjoy the benefits of a cleaner economy and healthier spaces to live, work and play, has yet to come to fruition.

Policy is a great – and in my view, one of the only – tool to effect systemic change that would make this vision possible. The Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ policy advocacy has played an integral role in getting Maryland’s environmental policy to where it is today.

Maryland has led the country with climate targets most in alignment with global emissions reduction targets. Our state’s implementation and enforcement of the Clean Energy Jobs Act and Climate Solutions Now Act provides a great opportunity to lead on climate beyond our appropriate goal setting. As an extremely proud Marylander, I’d love to see our state’s implementation also position us as a global climate leader.

In the upcoming blogs, I’ll discuss Maryland LCV’s 100% Clean Energy Campaign. This campaign represents one of the most exciting aspects of the fellowship: collaborating with fellow Maryland advocates to shape the state’s implementation of passed policy. It was exciting to come into the fellowship while the Maryland Department of Environment was finishing their plan for implementing the Climate Solutions Now Act – the Climate Pollution Reduction Plan – and while the planning for Maryland’s Energy Storage Program was taking place.

Playing a small role in helping pass new legislation was also extremely rewarding. The fellowship gave me the opportunity to conduct research to support advocacy for a bill that would ensure manufacturers have a role in meeting state greenhouse gas reduction goals. This bill, HB 990, ultimately passed both chambers and is being considered by the Governor to sign into law. The session, along with several wins, tends to not come without disappointments for all involved. For example, two years post-Maryland’s Climate Solutions Now Act, which defined overburdened and underserved environmental justice communities, it was disappointing to see HB24 pass the House without the addition of air permits. Maryland LCV is committed to rooting a clean energy campaign in justice and equity, with community-informed policies and outreach as core tenets.

I’ve learned so much during the fellowship about advocacy for an equitable and sustainable future. I enjoyed getting to meet, reacquaint myself with some, and work with Maryland’s climate advocates. The work is rewarding because we’re playing a role in building a just, clean future for our state.

100% Clean Blog Series

I’m excited to share some of what I’ve learned will be important to political climate action during this fellowship, and how MDLCV supporters can contribute to the 100% Clean Energy Campaign. You’ll also see some special guest posts and voices from colleagues at Maryland LCV as this blog series continues throughout the year.

You can expect to read about:

  1. The Cost of Climate Change in Maryland
  2. Maryland’s Renewable Energy Landscape
  3. Environmental Justice
  4. Maryland’s Climate Pollution Reduction Plan
  5. What 100% Clean Energy Policy Looks Like
  6. How You Can Get Involved!
2024-04-29T10:24:04-04:00April 26th, 2024|Categories: Blog|

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|

Supporting Environmental Justice: Federal Initiatives and Opportunities for Maryland

By Rianne Nickerson

In July, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Coppin State University in Baltimore to announce a $20 billion competition to advance a clean energy financing network, with the aim to substantially reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions nationwide. She spoke of underserved communities, a term that holds weight in Maryland having been defined and enshrined into law in the Climate Solutions Now Act. At the federal level, the Biden-Harris administration has taken action to prioritize environmental justice and create opportunities, directing funding and resources to those communities long burdened by environmental inequities. New policies are being adopted and grant programs are emerging to address injustice and put us on a path to a clean energy transition that is inclusive and equitable.

Under the Justice40 Initiative and the Inflation Reduction Act, the Federal Government and federal agencies have created several grant opportunities that local governments, organizations, communities, and tribes can take advantage of to create Environmental Justice programs or initiatives that help overburdened, underserved, and disadvantaged communities. The Environmental Protection Agency has created the Climate and Environmental Justice Block Grants to provide $3 billion in competitive, 3-year grants to states, tribes, municipalities, and community-based nonprofit organizations for financial and technical assistance to address clean air and climate pollution in disadvantaged communities.

The EPA has also created the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program. This program is a competition to select Grantmakers to reduce the barriers to the federal grant application process that communities face and to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the awards process for environmental justice grants. Alongside the Grantmaking Program, the EPA has created the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers Program. This program establishes technical assistance centers providing technical assistance, training, and related support to communities with environmental justice concerns. These technical assistance centers will ensure that deserving projects receive funding and project outcomes are successful for local communities.

These initiatives by federal entities are an important step in the fight for environmental justice. By understanding what options are available, Maryland’s local governments and community organizations can use these programs to directly address climate and pollution challenges, benefiting communities across the state. To that end, Maryland LCV Education Fund met with state and local government officials in August alongside the Maryland Association of Counties annual conference to share this packet of information about these environmental justice grant opportunities and how they fit into the efforts to map and understand environmental justice needs in Maryland: check it out here.

2024-02-14T11:34:27-05:00October 20th, 2023|Categories: Blog, Education Fund, 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 asks Baltimore County to Transition to Electric School Buses

CHISPA team photo in front of the Baltimore County Public Schools office.

Chispa Maryland staff and volunteers, including Lucia Islas (third from left) and Eliseo Magos (right), at the June 13 Baltimore County Board of Education meeting.

Chispa Maryland asks Baltimore County to Transition to Electric School Buses

On June 13, Chispa Maryland staff and volunteers testified at the Baltimore County’s Board of Education meeting to encourage the county to move from polluting diesel buses to clean electric school buses.

“Today I am joined by mothers of students from Baltimore County who are concerned about the air their children are breathing,” testified Eliseo Magos Gonzalez, a community organizer with Maryland LCV’s Chispa Maryland Program. “They know that diesel school buses emit dangerous pollutants that kids breathe into their developing lungs, and that these pollutants can cause respiratory illnesses and aggravate asthma.”

According to Chispa volunteer Lucia Islas, a mother of a Baltimore County eighth-grader, “…a child riding in a diesel school bus may be exposed to up to 15 times the level of toxic diesel exhaust as someone  riding in a car. For Black and Latino children – who are more  likely to have asthma than their white peers – riding in diesel  school buses is especially harmful.”

Lucia and Eliseo encouraged the school board to commit to transitioning its entire fleet of school buses from diesel to electric, and to take advantage of existing and emerging funding opportunities to speed that transition, including the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program and Maryland’s Electric School Bus Pilot Program.

You can help protect the health of Maryland’s school children by encouraging your local school board to make the transition to clean, electric school buses. Check here to see if your county has the opportunity to take advantage of the EPA’s 2023 Clean Bus Program – and if so, please take action today!

2023-06-21T16:04:13-04:00June 16th, 2023|Categories: CHISPA|

Chispa Maryland Rallies Advocates in Baltimore County and Baltimore City

Eliseo (front row, second from left) and Morena (front row, third from left) at a recent meeting of Chispa Maryland volunteers in Baltimore.

Every day, more than 650,000 children in Maryland ride to school on a school bus powered by diesel fuel, which exposes children to toxic exhaust that increases their lifetime risk of respiratory illnesses and even cancer. Approximately one in 10 of these young bus riders suffer from asthma — a leading cause of school absenteeism — and this asthma rate is higher among minority groups.

In Baltimore City and Baltimore County, parents are increasingly rallying in support of both their children and cleaner air, thanks to Chispa Maryland. Chispa, which means “spark” in Spanish, is a program launched in 2014 by Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Chispa Maryland ensures that Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting our air, land, water, public health, and future.

The Chispa Maryland team has been engaging and connecting with concerned mothers through canvassing, community house meetings, tabling at events, and PTA meetings. The immediate goal, says Morena Zelaya, the organizing manager for Chispa Maryland, is to encourage these new advocates to push their school boards to commit to transitioning their school bus fleets to zero-emission electric school buses that will protect the health of children and their communities.

The response has been extremely encouraging, says Morena. She and her partner, Chispa Maryland Community Organizer Elíseo Magos González, are now training a new group of 20 Baltimore County volunteer promoters – or “promotores to be leaders on environmental issues that are important to the community, and several of these promotores have already reached out to their school boards about the advantages of electric school buses. Through their work in the Baltimore region, Morena and Eliseo have also established a strong partnership with another Latino-outreach group, Comité Latino de Baltimore.

Health concerns are a driving theme for much of their Latino audience, says Morena. “Several of our new promotores are mothers whose children have asthma. They care about the electric school bus issue and about climate justice because they want better health outcomes for their children, and a better future.”

“Many of the community members we support haven’t had the same education or opportunities that Morena and I have,” says Eliseo. “But they are eager to learn and advocate. I’m confident they will continue to pass the information along and soon we will have a better environment.”

Although the bulk of Chispa Maryland’s work is with Maryland’s Latino communities, the group welcomes support from anyone in Maryland who is interested in advocating for environmental justice locally and statewide. In fact, says Morena, Chispa’s efforts just received a significant boost from a non-Latino PTA president, Rachel Lemus, who offered to advocate for electric school buses at an upcoming Board of Education meeting, and another community leader who is using her Facebook page to promote Chispa and electric school buses.

“We plan to continue to expand the program to communities throughout Maryland, and everyone is welcome,” says Morena. “We need all the help we can get!”

To learn more or to get involved with Chispa Maryland, please contact Eliseo via email at emagos@mdlcv.org or via phone at 240-705-6865.

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2023-06-21T16:08:39-04:00May 30th, 2023|Categories: CHISPA|