We don’t want Baltimore’s beauty hidden under the wrong narratives. We can end trash in our streets by hiring more people to pick it up. Careers in environmental conservation are our future. And yet, Baltimore City was shamed into paying its sanitation engineers a living wage during the pandemic. Moreover, unemployment in some Baltimore neighborhoods is in excess of 20%.
As your delegate, I would work to establish or expand a Conservation Corps for Baltimore. There is a Maryland Conservation Corps. But its impact is not yet felt on the neighborhood streets and alleys of Baltimore City,
A Conservation Corp with an expanded mission for Baltimore would be a state-funded program to put thousands of Baltimoreans, especially returning citizens, to work on projects with tangible environmental benefits for every household in the city. Franklin Roosevelt successfully did this for our country in 1933 after the Great Depression. His program provided the dignity of work and careers in environmental conservation for more than three million Americans. We can do it too. For Baltimore.
As your delegate I would also work to establish a bottle and can deposit program for the state of Maryland. The data says that bottle and deposit programs work to make cities cleaner. The Abell Foundation and Councilmember Odette Ramos have both called for it. And yet, the bottle industry has successfully fought against such programs in almost every state in which they have been proposed for the past twenty years. For the health and cleanliness of our city, we can win against national industries and trade association that don’t know Baltimore.
For a bottle and deposit program to work in Baltimore, redemption centers need to be easy to access with public transportation. Businesses should not have to take bottles back through their stores. They are not equipped to manage the costs and health risks associated with taking back used bottles.
- Action Item #1: Work with Maryland Conservation Corps to expand their mission to include Baltimore City streets and alleys and other systemic issues of environmental conservation in Baltimore City. Otherwise, establish a new Baltimore Conservation Corps.
- Action Item #2: Begin the work necessary to establish a bottle and deposit program for the State of Maryland.