Annapolis Green is a different type of environmental nonprofit. Rather than focus on one issue, or one watershed we work to bring the people together with a vision of a healthy, beautiful and vibrant Greater Annapolis community. We are not primarily a shovels-in the-ground organization. What we do is promote sustainability by bringing issues to light, educating the public and moving them to take action for the greater good.
Our mission is to connect, educate, and inspire Greater Annapolis to protect our environment and beautify our surroundings for a strong and thriving way of life. We engage the public in in person and online to connect, inform, and inspire Annapolis residents, organizations, and businesses to change habits to improve the environment and mitigate the effects of Climate Change in areas such as single-use plastic pollution reduction, advocating for electric vehicles, promoting environmental legislation, recycling and composting. We have been working in the Annapolis area for over 14 years.
Climate Change is our focus, whether we bring this information to the public by advocating for driving electric, planting trees, growing food in our home gardens, reducing plastic waste, composting, and saving energy and water. All of our programs are related to moving people to take grassroots actions to mitigate the effects of Climate Change.
Annapolis Green is known for its Green Drinks gatherings that pull the community together as no other networking event does. Pre-pandemic, each month, some 200 people gathered at the area’s hottest, sustainably operated spots for Green Drinks Annapolis.
Drawn by a shared concern over the impacts of Climate Change and a desire to mitigate them, academics and government officials, business owners and nonprofit leaders, staff and volunteers, students, homemakers, artists and everyday people have joined together for the past 14 years for a lively and informal evening of socializing and learning about serious issues while having fun.
Cocktails are available (yes, they are occasionally green) along with local culinary specialties and nonalcoholic beverages. Each gathering is themed, providing current knowledge on everything from driving electric to the effects of rising seas on Annapolis to sustainable building materials. stormwater management, forest conservation, and local agriculture.
Friendships and business relationships are kindled in these unique face-to-face events.
What a perfect time to read! Join Annapolis Green for our environmental book club, Annapolis Green Reads, to grow your appreciation for the environment while benefiting from the collective wisdom of many authors who write about our natural world and to connect with others!
All you need is an interest in reading books (or listening to the audio version) about our environment and our place in it. No expertise on these issues is necessary, although we welcome those who have some to participate and contribute.
Why is an environmental organization like Annapolis Green advocating for driving electric? We do so because driving electric eliminates pollution on the road — right where you are breathing. About 80% of the carbon load on our atmosphere comes from the transportation. Driving electric is one thing almost everyone can do to combat the effects of Climate Change that threaten our planet, and life as we know it today.
Electric Vehicles that run on batteries (without a back-up gasoline engine, as some have) produce no noxious emissions. There is no choking pollution coming out of a tailpipe. In fact, there is no tailpipe. An electric car gives you a nearly silent drive that does not harm the lungs of the people behind you — or you, for that matter.
Added benefits: EVs are less expensive to operate and fuel than gasoline-powered vehicles, promote local jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Annapolis Green has planned and executed EV showcases for the past eight years, connecting EV drivers and the public. Our next event will be in April – EVED or Electric Vehicles Earth Day – which we call Kick Gas!. This event visibly connects clean transportation to Climate Change.
We also drive home the point (pun intended!) that solar energy equals “Driving with the Sun.!” This makes people who power their cars from solar even better stewards of the environment.
Plastic Free Annapolis and Beyond
Now, more than ever, people are seeking out and engaging in important environmental initiatives. Plastic pollution is one of the most important environmental threats we face today. By replacing single-use plastic products with high-quality reusable and compostable products, business owners and individuals can lead by example, educating and empowering their customers to make a real difference. We designed Plastic Free Annapolis to make this transition easy so they can play a pivotal role in reducing plastic pollution and achieve recognition as leaders in environmental stewardship.
Annapolis Green has contacted all sorts of businesses including hoteliers, proprietors of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, and charter boat owners. Many are already on the path of significantly reducing the volume of plastic threatening our waterways. More than 40 establishments are taking concrete steps to reduce plastic. We are now taking what was a City of Annapolis-only campaign beyond city limits and into Anne Arundel County.
Responsible Events & Festivals (The Green REF)
We began the Green REF program in 2013 seeing that home recycling habits were not translating to special events. Eight years on, our program has made a huge difference in our community assisting event organizers, sites and attendees be more responsible while out having fun. The educational component is a mandatory part of this effort.
Prior to the pandemic, we assisted 20-25 events annually and have acquired and created a wealth of resources such as our eye-catching, branded Eco-Stations (dual recycling/landfill or composting bins), signage, and compostable service ware (plates, cutlery, cups, etc.). We also have a library of messaging/communications materials, agreement templates, sponsorship forms, and vendor messaging.
Six years ago we added composting to the program, refined our messaging, and now make events Zero-Waste, meaning that all waste is either recycled or composted with nothing going to the landfill. Two years ago we added our portable, distinctive outdoor water refill stations, the “NAPTOWN TAPs,” (see below) enabling events to provide water from the tap and not from single-use plastic water bottles thus reducing their plastic footprint – another environmental benefit.
We know this program has an impact on the entire community, not only from the congratulations we receive but from the large number of requests we field from event planners – pre-pandemic. Our events range from small church events of 100 people to our largest, the 2500-person Annapolis Rotary Crab Feast.
Our Biggest REF Event — When we first approached the Annapolis Rotary Crab Feast planners, the event’s waste stream consisted of some recycling and everything else going to the landfill. Working with Rotary on operational and purchasing decisions, a of the 2019 crab feast, we composted almost 15 TONS of waste (food waste and compostable service ware), recycled 500 pounds of bottles and cans, and nothing went to the landfill. The event is now be billed as the “World’s Largest Zero-Waste Crab Feast,” with REF an entrenched part of this iconic, 75-year old, end-of-summer community event that represents the region’s diverse demographic. In 2020 the event was take-away only and we were unable to implement the program.
Our second largest event is The Brick Companies’ Classic golf tournament whose 488 golfers now see sustainability as a natural extension of the sport.
We have developed unique expertise, not only on the job, but also via continuing education at conferences and through webinars. We work closely with recycling and composting providers to stay current on best practices.
Bottled water typically costs a staggering 2000% more than tap water. (Would you pay $200 for a $10 sandwich?) And much of it actually comes from a tap! Tragically, there is no coastline on Earth—no matter how remote—that is not littered by plastic. And that plastic breaks down into microscopic, toxic particles that fish mistake for food, contaminating both them and those of us who eventually eat those fish. Microplastics and microfibers are not only contaminating the oceans, but also the Chesapeake Bay. So pervasive is plastic (more than eight million tons of it wind up in our oceans each year) that scientists estimate it will soon be more plentiful than plankton. Plastic beverage bottles are some of the most-found plastic litter everywhere in the world. The NAPTOWN TAP is part of our greater plastic reduction campaign.
Here We Grow
Here We Grow is a new program that speaks to our times and dovetails with our Take Root initiative that informs and inspires people to plant trees – the best way to drawdown CO2 from our atmosphere. With Here We Grow we will introduce a modern-day Victory Garden project to encourage people to value the land and nature by installing, developing or updating their gardens to provide beauty, food, and pollinator habitat. This meets our overall organizational mission and will resonate with many people who are doing two things during this crisis: gardening and cooking. This is important because:
Over the last few years our garden has been a beautiful example of urban gardening – fueled by our “secret ingredient,” the compost we sell comprised of waste from many of our Responsible Events and Festivals. It only makes sense to have our garden serve as the centerpiece and demonstration garden.
An unusual initiative is our natural cork collection program. Community members bring Annapolis Green wine corks – a renewable resource – for recycling. The corks are sent to a company that repurposes them into shoe soles, flooring and yoga blocks. It’s a fun initiative that brings results for the environment. We’ve recycled 121,429 corks so far! That’s 1104 pounds!