Despite our world's obsession with growth, the reality is we live on a planet with finite resources. Right now, we're faced with significant challenges, namely climate change and accompanying sea-level rise. Into this picture steps CBF's Brock Environmental Center based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
This week, the International Living Future Institute designated our Brock Center a "Living Building." From the ground up, Brock is the embodiment of sustainability. First, it was built on land that originally was slated for a massive condo complex. Saving this property from large-scale development not only was critical for the environment, it also preserved a public space for the community. Once construction began, only environmentally safe materials and low-impact building techniques were used. The building features many recycled and repurposed items donated by the Hampton Roads community, including old school bleachers, gym floors, sinks, lockers, and cabinets.
In operation, Brock is energy and water independent, producing twice as much energy as it consumes, and is the first commercial building in the continental United States permitted to capture and treat rainfall for use as drinking water. With an eye towards the future, Brock was built anticipating the effects of climate change, raised 14 feet above sea level.
Last but not least, Brock exemplifies its green roots through serving as the home to a new hands-on, field-based environmental education program. Not only do students explore the natural world surrounding Brock, but they explore the center itself, as the building serves as an inspirational model on sustainable living. One of the toughest building standards in the world, the Living Building Challenge certification demonstrates how buildings should be constructed given our finite resources.
This Week in the Watershed: A Living Building, Rainy Days, and a Failing Harbor
- CBF President Will Baker writes on how agricultural pollution must be addressed if we are going to Save the Bay. (Bay Journal)
- CBF's Brock Environmental Center, based in Virginia Beach, VA, was declared one of the world's greenest buildings, earning the elite title of a "Living Building." (The Virginian-Pilot--VA) Bonus: Daily Press--VA
- The onslaught of rainy days has local farms, including CBF's Clagett Farm in Upper Marlboro, MD, struggling to meet harvest quotas. (DCist)
- A report released this week found that oyster restoration projects in Maryland's Choptank River are finding success. (Star Democrat--MD)
- A new study suggests fish in the Chesapeake Bay and other estuaries face a greater risk from climate change than previously expected. (Bay Journal)
- Harry Campbell, CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director, writes on the important connection between soil health and clean water. (York Dispatch--PA)
- Environmentalists in Maryland are alarmed at the considerable downward trend in enforcement of environmental laws. (Bay Journal)
- For the third consecutive year, Baltimore's Inner Harbor posted failing grades in its water quality report card. (Baltimore Sun--MD)
What's Happening Around the Watershed?
- Norfolk, VA: The Blue Planet Forum is an annual, free environmental lecture series held in Hampton Roads. Its mission is to educate and engage the public on important environmental issues affecting Hampton Roads and the nation. In the next installment of this very popular series, the audience will be treated to presentations by an expert panel on the topic: Water, Water Everywhere: exploring how water inspires and influences us. The event is free, but space is limited, so registration is strongly encouraged. Click here to register!
- Baltimore, MD: Cruise the Inner Harbor aboard CBF's 46-foot workboat the Snow Goose as we explore the complex and fascinating relationship between the urban environment and the Bay's natural ecosystem. CBF staff will demonstrate the importance of this port as an economic lifeline for the state of Maryland and help participants appreciate the life cycles and needs of the thousands of birds, fish, crabs, oysters, and other organisms which share these waters. Click here to register!
- LaPlata, MD: Join CBF at acrucial public hearing on the future of Charles County. This is your opportunity to provide comment to the Board of County Commissioners on the planning board's recommended Comprehensive Plan, which does not adequately protect the Mattawoman Creek, clean water, healthy forests, or quality of life in the county. Click here to register!
- Shady Side, MD: Break a sweat and help Save the Bay--join CBF in cleaning the "homes" of the next generation of Chesapeake Bay oysters! Help restore the Chesapeake's native oyster population by cleaning oyster shells by shaking off the dirt and debris so baby oysters can successfully grow on them. This "shell shaking" event is a bit of a workout but a fun, hands-on experience. With lifting involved, it is not recommended for individuals with bad backs or other health concerns. A tour of our restoration center will follow the shell shaking. Click here to register!
--Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate