Then-Mayor Martin O’Malley at an Earth Day Planting at Gilmor Elementary in 2005
Before I came to work at WYPR, I worked at a documentary company called Soundprint. While I was there, they were working on a series of stories about urban forests that delved into the unique environmental issues that cities face. For the documentary Watershed 263, we attended an Earth Day planting ceremony at Gilmor Elementary in Baltimore. Gilmor was one of a dozen schools in Baltimore that had converted their parking lot into a garden. Things like parking lots and roads are terrible for the environment. When it rains, the rain gathers up all the oil and other pollutants that have been sitting on the pavement and then whooshes it all into a storm-water drain. That all ends up in the Chesapeake, of course, where it wreaks havoc. A garden, on the other hand, keeps that water right there, and puts it to good use. It’s a lot of fun for the kids, too, to get a day out of class to get their hands dirty and have a beautiful spot to play.
The purpose of that whole long story was to tell you that on that day, then-Mayor Martin O’Malley was at that school, and ceremoniously planted the first flower in the soil. I remember being impressed that he would find time in a busy schedule to visit a school, make a speech, plant a flower, and hang out with the kids for awhile. I left with the feeling that he cared about the environment.
The impression I was left with would please the now Governor, and those who work to craft his image. He has very purposefully cast himself as a “Green Governer“. But what does that term really mean? As the environmental crisis in the Bay and beyond seems to grow more urgent, how does the criteria for being an environmental politician change? What is the gold standard in environmentalism for a politician? What is the leading edge-and is O’Malley on it?
We’ll discuss this today with people who all care deeply and have devoted their lives to the environment. Join us, to share your thoughts on what you would like to see happen in Maryland.
Here are some pictures courtesy of one of our guests today, Gerry Winegrad. His descriptions are below: