Presenting the JustBlueGreen Baltimore Vision

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The Steering Committee of the Environmental Stewardship Summit hosted its third public event last week to unveil the results of our members’ Platform and Vision for a Blue, Green and Just Baltimore. The process was a continuation of our work from June, when 65 Baltimoreans gathered to brainstorm ideas to improve the air and water quality of our city, and reduce the inequalities that exist between our city’s richest and poorest neighborhoods.

Baltimore resident Arianna Koudounas asks about the proposed Platform and Vision.

At our June Summit, residents split into four groups to crowdsource solutions and opportunities along distinct areas: Air and Water; Land and Land Use; Climate, Resiliency and Justice; and Transparency and Accountability. The groups generated hundreds of ideas, and the Steering Committee met several times in the months since to categorize, refine and distill those ideas into a concise vision for our work.

The Steering Committee also crafted a draft Platform we will use to engage candidates in the upcoming primary in Baltimore City. We will offer our elected officials a bold, uplifting Vision for the future, and our Platform will prompt them to address our issues. It will also gives us a framework to hold them accountable once in office.

Jenn Aiosa, Executive Director of Blue Water Baltimore, skillfully presented the Steering Committee’s Vision and Platform.  You can view her presentation below, and read the full versions at the end of this piece.

This process isn’t finished. We received some incredible feedback during the Sept. 16 Summit, and we hope to incorporate that into a final version. If you have feedback or questions about the proposed Platform and Vision, send an e-mail to

Next Steps

Also during Monday’s summit, volunteers split into subgroups to begin planning the mayoral candidate’s forum in early 2020. We formed groups to discuss Planning, Communications, Outreach, Action and Research. These groups will help ensure we have the best representation at the event.

In the coming months, we’ll further our outreach efforts to find more Baltimoreans who share our desire for a Just, Blue and Green city. And, we’ll keep you in the loop about all of that. 

We’ve already secured a host location for the Mayoral Candidates Forum, and a notable broadcast journalist to serve as a moderator or co-moderator. Once plans for the Forum are finalized we’ll let you know.

Sharing Thoughts on Legacy

Niamh McQuillan, another member of our Steering Committee, asked our Summit attendees to think about their place in the community; how we all envision our work to improve the environment; and what we hope to leave as a legacy.

We then summarized those thoughts with a few words and phrases; these were submitted to Niamh and organized into the following word cloud!

Word cloud of the Environmental Stewardship Summit Shared Vision.
Word cloud of the Environmental Stewardship Summit Shared Legacy exercise.

Gwynns Falls Leakin Park Pipeline Update

Behind the curtain last year, Baltimore City and BGE cut a deal for the purchase of land in Gwynns Falls Leakin Park. By any measure, the finally negotiated purchase price was way under market value, (not to mention the damage to wildlife, destruction more than 700 mature trees, and damage to the park’s ecosystem).

As implied by Bridget McCusker’s announcement at the Summit, the Friends of Gwynns Falls Leakin Park’s (FOGWLP) lawsuit against the city is a case that motivates us in our quest for a Blue, Green and Just Baltimore City.  Jill Jones added that evening there’s more of this to come in future demolition/construction phases.

The FOGWLP’s lawsuit against the city has an upcoming hearing in its case against Baltimore City regarding the Granite Pipeline through Gwynns Falls Leakin Park. Your attendance would be a huge sign of support.

Hearing Information

  • Tuesday, October 2, 2019 at 11am – those intending to witness the proceeding must be in front of Room 236 not later than 10:30.
  • Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., Courthouse,
  • 100 North Calvert Street, Baltimroe 21202
  • In case of a possible change in courtroom assignment, please have handy Case No: 24 – C – 19 – 002271 OG.  The presiding Judge is Jeannie J. Hong
  • Directions/Parking information found at this link:

Our Vision

A Healthy Environment for Every Child

  • We envision a green, thriving, healthy and just city
  • Safe, nourishing green infrastructure that connects existing parks, forest patches, community gardens and farms, street trees and waterways
  • Every neighborhood be within a five-minute walk of community planned and well-maintained green space

Benefits of Green Infrastructure Proven

  • Philadelphia, Washington DC, and cities across the country have found that investing in green infrastructure provide a return-on-investment (ROI) exceeding costs
  • Benefits include improved health outcomes, reduced crime, leveraged investments in neighborhoods

Equity Is Central

  • Our most vulnerable neighborhoods deserve easy access nature and all the benefits of green infrastructure

Vision & Bold Action

  • Green infrastructure addresses multiple challenges simultaneously and positions Baltimore to attract significant outside investments

Our Platform

Climate and Resiliency

  1. Plant more trees everywhere, with immediate focus on low-canopy neighborhoods.
    • Increase tree planting by 20% year over year.
  2. Mandate Green Infrastructure as the design standard for all public and private development and redevelopment with equity as a primary goal.

Land and Land Use

  1. Limit the process for transferring ownership of derelict and vacant properties to no more than 8 months.
  2. Increase investment in green spaces and green infrastructure:
    • Care for and maintain what we have by increasing park maintenance fund by 25% over three years.
    • Dedicate at least $1M annually of the stormwater utility fee to community-based green infrastructure projects.
  3. Integrate and implement Baltimore’s existing Green Network Plan, 2019 Sustainability Plan, Climate Action Plan and neighborhood master plans by leveraging the state’s strategic demolition funds and similar resources and seeking major foundation and private support for large-scale projects.

Water and Air

  1. Accelerate the repair of existing water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure to improve the health of our streams and our communities before 2030.
  2. Invest in clean energy—not “green” incineration—for all city-owned schools and buildings.
  3. Realign the city’s stormwater and sewage construction plans to respect current forest conservation and erosion and sediment control best practices.

Transparency, Accountability, Inclusion and Communication

  1. Create a cabinet-level position in the Mayor’s Office, a Sustainability Director, dedicated to integrating various agencies’ goals and actions of green infrastructure implementation, ensuring forest, park and green space protection, and prioritizing community members ensuring they have a legitimate “seat at the table” on development, redevelopment, and all projects impacting our blue and green resources.
    • Hold quarterly meetings to facilitate community engagement, information sharing, and dispute resolution especially where decisions impact neighborhoods, parks, trees and streams.
  2. In advance of project approval, require city agencies use existing community meetings and events to share projects at project conception and then follow with regular and timely updates on plans, modifications, and progress.
  3. Reinstate the Baltimore City Parks Board