Roland Park Civic League

Sustainability Initiative


Mike McQuestion and...


...Rita Walters

are the co-chairs of the

RPCL Sustainability Initiative.

(Click thumbnails to enlarge. Photos: D.P. Munro.)


Initiative Aims to Reduce Local Energy Consumption, Promote Green Activities

Mike McQuestion

February 12, 2011

Looking around Roland Park, one can't help but appreciate the beauty of the place. Neighbors chat,
people walk their dogs, children play under leafy canopies. But look closer. Will Roland Park look like
this 100 years from now? This is the sustainability question. Are there things we could be doing now to
safeguard and enhance our green spaces? Reduce our energy consumption? Live healthier lives? The
Roland Park Civic League has been taking on these and other issues through its Sustainability Initiative,
which officially took off on August 5, 2009.

Among other topics, Sustainability Initiative volunteers are exploring how to make bicycling and
pedestrian walkways more accessible. They're considering ways to reduce home energy consumption,
develop alternative energy sources, improve recycling and eliminate chemical runoff into the
Chesapeake Bay.

On 23-25 October 2009, the Committee organized Roland Park’s first Seven Generations
Weekend. “Seven generations” refers to the Great Law of the Iroquois, “In every deliberation, we
must consider the impact on the seventh generation.” It is a founding principle of the sustainability
movement. Activities included a walk/bike to work or school day (Friday), a teach-in that attracted
twenty sustainability-related exhibitors (Saturday) and Baltimore’ first ciclovía (Sunday). From Northern
Parkway to Cold Spring Avenue, southbound Roland Avenue was opened exclusively for pedestrians,
cyclists and skaters. By popular demand, the Committee organized a second ciclovía on 31 October
2010. Again, turnout exceeded a thousand. We are currently planning Seven Generations II, which will
take place on 14-15 May 2011.

Our Sustainability Initiative has attracted the city's interest. In 2010, Roland Park became one of nine
pilot neighborhoods participating in the Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge (BNEC). Through
this federal stimulus-funded program, our volunteer "captains" have convinced scores of Roland Park
homeowners to measurably reduce their home energy usage by using compact fluorescent light bulbs,
insulating water heaters and adopting other simple practices. Roland Park continues its BNEC work
through 2011. In 2011 we began work with Blue Water Baltimore (http://bluewaterbaltimore.org/). Our
aim is to promote community greening, home rain gardens, the use of rain barrels and other steps we
can all take to protect the Jones Falls Watershed.

If this sounds like something you'd like to be part of, or if you want more information, please contact
our Sustainability Initiative Coordinator, Rita Walters (443-610-3403, rwalter7@jhu.edu) or Mike
McQuestion (410-243-9151, mike.mcquestion@gmail.com) for more details.



Downloadable documents and new updates may be found below. Please scroll down.



Seven Generations Weekend I and II

Visit the Seven Generations page for the announcment of Seven Generations Weekend II in2011, and a recap of Seven Generations Weekend I in 2009... (read more).


    Initiative Library


Sustainability Initiative

Sustainability Media

Sustainability Portal


Baltimore City Program

Roland Park Initiative




BNEC Overview (2 pp.).



City Sustainability Plan (134 pp.).





RP initiative pledge form. Please print this form, fill it in and hand it in at the Oct. 24 sustainability teach-in at the RP library. Alternatively, download it, fill it in and e-mail it as an attachment to Mike McQuestion at mike.mcquestion@gmail.com.


Sustainability Initiative press release, Oct. 7, 2009.



At left is the event organizers' official report on the wildly popular Oct. 25, 2009 ciclovia along Roland Avenue, which was closed for a morning of cycling, strolling and conviviality. Click the PDF icon for the report.