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Damani Eubanks - Blog - 21 March 2023

Reviewing New Maryland Governor Wes Moore's Environmental Policy Promises

Recently elected Maryland governor Wes Moore has already made notable history, being the first African American Governor of Maryland. Moore ran on a progressive platform, highlighting issues such as education, health care, social justice, and public safety. Moore also included a suite of ambitious climate proposals in his campaign promises. Here, I will review some of Wes Moore's environmental policy promises, and what progress has been made so far.

First, identifying some notable campaign promises regarding Environmental Policy

  1. Ensure Maryland generates 100% clean energy by 2035.
  2. Achieve 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2045.
  3. Expand solar, wind and battery storage in Maryland.
  4. Incentivize the electrification of personal and public vehicles.
  5. Prioritizing equity, labor, and justice in environmental policy.
  6. Promote sustainable agriculture and forestry practices.
  7. Mitigate effects of sea level rise.
  8. Reduce air pollution to improve health outcomes.
  9. Preserving the Chesapeake Bay and Inner Harbor Waterways.
  10. Investment in wastewater management and water treatment systems.

These promises have encouraged conservation groups that important environmental issues will be a focus of this new administration.

Now, just 2 months into his tenure as Governor, what actions has Moore taken to make good on these campaign promises? By most measures, the new administration is doing well. Since inauguration, Moore has announced Maryland joining the US Climate Alliance, with a $422 million investment into environmental programs, along with 67 new hires for the Maryland Department of the Environment. Additionally, Moore has pledged to phase out gas-powered car sales by 2035. Looking forward, local environmentalists will be keeping track of the Moore administration to see how environmental policy will be handled over the next 4 years.



Sydney West Maryland Forestry Foundation 18 February 2023

Maryland's invasive Japanese honeysuckle

Originally introduced to the shores of Long Island, New York in 1806, the Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) has become one of Maryland's most evident invasive species to impact forests and wildlife. The Japanese honeysuckle is a woody vine adorned with fragrant white flowers and spreads by intertwining trees, overlaying bushes, and encompassing sections of Maryland's forest floor (Maryland Invasive Species Council, 2005). Spreading over disturbed areas of land, roadsides, fields, and forests, the vine can survive in the colder winter months because of its semi-evergreen nature. Not only does the invasive vine block sunlight from trees and undergrowth, but it can also wrap tightly around trees, shrubs, and other natives, cutting off their nutrient supply and causing them to die (iNaturalist, 2023). Maryland's forests depend on native pollinators, plants, and animals for survival, but through the introduction of invasives, there is heightened competition for space, food, and sunlight (Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 2023).

Maryland's native biodiversity and forest integrity continues to be threatened by invasive species such as the Japanese honeysuckle so communities must take action to remove and cultivate the natural and native ecosystems. In terms of controlling the invasive spread, young vines can be uprooted to prevent further introduction to ecosystems, but all aspects of the plant (roots, seeds, runners) must be removed from the soil and trees to avoid new growth. Other methods of extermination include the use of foliar herbicides that can help eliminate extensive growth, but are most effective in the cooler months once native vegetation becomes dormant. Prescribed burns in the springtime can also help to slow the spread of the Japanese honeysuckle by burning the seeds and young growth (Evans, 2012). Communities can help slow the spread of this invasive species and are integral for maintaining the health and natural biodiversity of Maryland's ecosystems.


Evans, C. (2012). Japanese Honeysuckle.

Anti-iNaturalist. (2023). Japanese honeysuckle.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources. (2023). Maryland Plants & Wildlife. Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Maryland Invasive Species Council. (2005). Japanese Honeysuckle.

Sydney West - Blog - 20 October 2022

  Climate Change Impacts on Mangrove Forests:


Mangrove forests are instrumental ecosystems for tropical and subtropical coastlines and surrounding communities. Asia holds 42% of the world’s mangrove ecosystems, with 21% being found in Africa, and the remaining 38% dispersed widely through the tropical coastal regions of North, South, and Central America, Australia, and the various islands within Oceania (Earth Observatory 2010). 

Mangroves not only provide food and habitat for animals, but they are essential for sustaining biodiversity along coastlines, and they secure and trap sediments to reduce the long-term consequences of coastal erosion (Ewel 1998, 84).

These terrestrial and aquatic habitats have been shown to adapt to sea level rise over thousands of years because of peat formation and carbonate deposits located alongside the root systems. This, however, has changed drastically due to the influx of ocean temperatures and the rapid sea level rise occurring over the past century (Alongi 2015, 31).

Along the coasts of Louisiana, Texas, and southern Florida, seedlings of black mangroves have had difficulties adjusting to rising temperatures and have shown high rates of die-off within 39 and 40-degree celsius water.

It is unclear how rising temperatures affect established mangroves and their root systems, but it is believed that water temperatures ranging from 42 and 45 degrees celsius will have limiting effects on growth (Odum et al., 1982).

The concept of vulnerability is arguably impossible to measure because of its subjective nature, but it is undeniable that increased exposure to elements as a result of climate change has made negative impacts on these coastal mangrove ecosystems (Ellison, 2014).

Direct human pressures, alongside the impacts of climate change, have led scientists to hypothesize four potential changes that mangrove forests will most likely endure. Due to changing salinity levels, the first prediction states mangrove forests along coastlines will decline as the scarcity of freshwater increases.

The second and third predictions state that the forests will decline based on sea level rise, the lack of colonization space inland, and decreases in sediment yields.

The final prediction anticipates increased expansion of forest ecosystems throughout a greater latitudinal range in order to adapt to temperatures and salinity changes (Alongi 2015, 35).

Overall, mangrove forests are extremely valuable ecosystems, and their protection is required for continual sustainability and long-term health.  

Literature Cited:

Alongi, D. M. (2015). The Impact of Climate Change on Mangrove Forests. Current Climate Change Reports, 1(1), 30–39.  

Earth Observatory. (2010, November 30). Mapping Mangroves by Satellite. NASA Earth Observatory.

Ellison, J. C. (2015). Vulnerability Assessment of Mangroves to Direct Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise  

Impacts. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 23(2), 115–137.  

Ewel, K. C., Twilley, R. R., & Ong, J. E. (1998). Different Kinds of Mangrove Forests Provide Different Goods and Services. Global Ecology and Biogeography Letters, 7(1), 83–94.  

Odum, W. E., McIvor, C. C., & Smith, T. J. (1982). The Ecology of the Mangroves of South Florida: A Community Profile. The Service.  

Damani Eubanks Blog - 21 November 2022

Anti-Racism in Environmental Science and Conservation

I have had the privilege of being involved in ecology, environmental science, and conservation work for over 10 years. In this time, I’ve been able to work with many esteemed researchers across some of the most prestigious institutions in the country. My experience as a Black man in this field, is that most people within the scientific and environmental communities are NOT actively or openly racist. While this is a refreshing departure from some other fields within the United States, there is still much work to be done to fully address the legacy of inequity and institutional racism that permeates all aspects of our lives. It is not enough for the environmental community to just be non-racist; to truly attain the goals of protecting the planet’s resources, ensuring that all people have access to a sustainable lifestyle, and producing relevant and innovative science on a global scale, the field of environmental science and conservation must adopt the ideals of anti-racism.

Here, anti-racism means actively identifying and opposing racism in all its forms. Not just individual acts of racism and prejudice, but also institutional, structural, and environmental racism. Due to the all-encompassing effects of racism, anti-racism can look different across various settings and situations. Within academic settings, institutional racism can be addressed in the recruitment and training of students and acknowledging racist origins in many theories when teaching science history. At the level of environmental non-profits and research institutions, issues with hiring and retaining minority employees need significant improvement. To combat environmental racism at the structural level, there needs to be collaboration between researchers, policy makers, and governments to address major inequities at the local and international scale. Additionally, increased focus on anti-racism can increase awareness of other social issues within the field, such as misogyny and homophobia.

There isn't enough space within this blog post to truly address all the complexities and issues regarding racism and anti-racism in the field of environmental science, however, we must take every opportunity available to start the conversation. I've included several links to more detailed information on anti-racism work within science and other fields.

Literature Cited:

"Being Anti-Racist" - National Museum of African American History and Culture;

Anti-Racism Resources: Racial Bias in Scientific Fields - Harvard University

"Science has a racism problem" - Cell Journal Editorial

"To attract more blacks and Hispanics to STEM, universities must address racial issues on campus" - The Hechinger Report

"Is Science for Us? Black Students' and Parents' Views of Science and Science Careers" - Science Education

"The ecological and evolutionary consequences of systemic racism in urban environments" - Science