George Hirschmann

GeorgeHirschmannGeorge Hirschmann (I) is retired from working at WHSV television station as their Chief Meteorologist. He is running for reelection to the Harrisonburg City Council after first being elected in 2016. According to a WHSV news report, “if re-elected, he will continue to focus on elderly and homeless needs in the city and the needs of teachers and schools,” among other goals. Find more about Mr. Hirschmann on his City Council webpage.

See his response to CAAV’s Questionnaire below the list of questions:

1) Do you support the 50×25 campaign?

2) How would you implement the 3 goals of the 50×25 campaign?

3) What would you do to increase or facilitate the adoption of renewable energies or solar in City and School buildings?

4) How would you prioritize city and state resources for addressing environmental justice concerns, specifically energy efficiency for low income housing?

5) What do you think about recycling?

6) Is there anything Harrisonburg can do to reduce transportation emissions, the largest sector of climate change emissions in VA and the United States?

I believe in science and the fact that humans have an effect on the environment. As your Councilman I support recycling, the efforts the Harrisonburg Electric Commission is making for solar, and I support improving connectivity within the city for waking and bicycle use. We must continue to clean Blacks Run and the Shenandoah River. I believe we should continue working with JMU and innovators at the University to combat pollution and Climate Change. Rain barrels have popped up across the city which has helped with saving water and sustainable gardening. 

During my four years on council I am proud of my Independent record and ability to work with all groups in the city to make Harrisonburg a more inclusive community with equity for all. Please visit my website for more information and contact me directly. Please remember social distancing and to wear a mask to protect our vulnerable community members. 

It is an honor to serve you and the people of Harrisonburg,

Councilman George Hirschmann 

Kathleen Kelley

KathleenKelleyKathleen Kelley (R) is a medical doctor practicing integrative and alternative medicine who is running for Harrisonburg City Council. According to an article in the Daily News-Record, she would like to help “make the city ‘crisis-proof'” by expanding business and education opportunities in the city, among other goals.

CAAV has submitted its questionnaire to Dr. Kelley’s campaign in hopes of discovering and sharing her opinions on these issues. We will post her responses once we receive them.

Climate and Energy News Roundup 7/3/2020

Special Event: Chautauqua Institution

The theme at the Chautauqua Institution this week was climate change.  Because of COVID-19 all of the lectures and other activities were moved online, instead of in-person.  If you go to https://assembly.chq.org/ you can start a 90-day free trial, which provides plenty of time to see what happened this week, as well as what will be going on this summer.  Once you are in, go to the Assembly and then scroll down to “Weekly Themes” where Climate Change will be the first one.  Click on it to go to the video library.  The main lectures are “Government, Economics, and the Climate”; “The Ocean and the Climate”; “How to Reduce Greenhouse Gases” (which was super); and “The State of Global Environmental Action.”  There are lots of other videos from the week to explore.  Enjoy the Chautauqua experience virtually.

Politics and Policy

Carbon Brief has updated its tracker of government “green stimulus” measures launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Preliminary findings from a study by 14 research groups showed that as of 1 July, more public money commitments in response to COVID-19 went to fossil fuels than to cleaner energies in the U.S. and several others.  The 36 countries that sit on the council of the International Civil Aviation Organization agreed to postpone the date airlines have to start paying for carbon credits to offset a portion of their climate impact. 

Prominent environmentalists and Democratic activists said Facebook is “allowing the spread of climate misinformation to flourish, unchecked” and urged the company’s external oversight board to intervene.  At her blog, climate reporter Emily Atkin described the actions of the natural gas industry when trying to defeat the all-electric housing plan of the town of San Luis Obsipo, CA.  The group claiming status as a ratepayer advocacy group in its attempt to get FERC to override state net-metering rules has finally revealed the identity of one of its members.

On Thursday, Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, said in a statement that “The message is very clear: in the absence of much faster clean energy innovation, achieving net-zero goals in 2050 will be all but impossible.”  House Democrats’ “Climate Crisis Action Plan” lays out a blueprint for moving the U.S. toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  At Vox, David Roberts discussed its twelve policy “pillars”.  House Democrats passed a $1.5 trillion green infrastructure plan that would increase funding to repair the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges while setting aside funds for broadband, schools, and hospitals.  In response, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “Naturally this nonsense is not going anywhere in the Senate.”  In an essay in The Guardian, Columbia University professor and Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz argued for investing in the green economy.  Ireland’s new coalition government has set an ambitious goal to deliver steep greenhouse gas emission cuts every year to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.  The collapse of oil and gas prices has had a major negative impact on countries that depend on the industry for a large percent of their income, providing a preview of what can happen as the world moves away from fossil fuels.  In The Atlantic, the former U.S. Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs argued that the international community must be prepared to manage the fallout from such change in those countries.

The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication has issued a new series of maps that compare the views of Democrats and Republicans on several aspects of climate change.  In a commentary for the Orlando Sentinel, the president of Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship argued that conservatives should follow the example set by President Reagan, who, when faced with the destruction of the ozone layer, listened to the scientists, weighed all the facts, and chose to act.  Top House Republicans are backing a climate policy framework, the “American Climate Contract”, outlined by the American Conservation Coalition, a conservative youth climate group.

Climate and Climate Science

Recently, I’ve provided links to articles noting that many of the newest climate models project higher future warming than older models.  A frequently offered explanation lies in how they incorporate clouds.  Now, CBS News Meteorologist and Climate Specialist Jeff Berardelli has examined clouds and why they are so complex at Yale Climate Connections.  At Carbon Brief, climate scientist Zeke Hausfather has provided an explanation of how the rise and fall of atmospheric CO2 levels influenced the ice ages.

Climate change will make it much harder for tropical plants around the world to germinate, with temperatures becoming too hot for the seeds of 20% of them by the year 2070.  Also, a new study in the journal Science found that with medium-level climate change, by the end of the century the world’s oceans, rivers, and lakes will be too hot for about 40% of the world’s fish species when in their spawning or embryonic life stages.

Miami just experienced its hottest week on record, rounding out its warmest first half of the year ever observed.  Two out of every three days this year have featured a broken record of some sort somewhere in South Florida.  Also, a potentially historic heat wave is expected to hit more than two-thirds of the continental U.S. in the first several weeks of July.  The Northeast U.S. is the fastest warming region among the contiguous 48 states.  An examination of temperature reconstructions during the Holocene Epoch (the last 12,000 years) revealed that Earth started cooling about 6,500 years ago, but all of it has been erased by the warming since 1850.

An exhaustive report released Monday by the First Street Foundation shows that nationally, there are at least 6 million households that are unaware they’re living in homes that have a 1% chance of flooding each year.  Furthermore, the chance is increasing each year due to climate change.

Scientists said on Monday that the South Pole is one of the most rapidly warming places on Earth, with surface air temperatures rising since the 1990s at a rate that is three times faster than the global average.

Energy

At Inside Climate News, Dan Gearino took issue with Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette’s op-ed about coal in the Harrisburg, PA, Patriot-News.  Two more utilities, in Arizona and Colorado, are moving to accelerate closure of coal plants and replace them with renewable energy backed by batteries, joining a broader push in both states to shift to more cost-effective clean energy.

During the first half of this year, solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric generation together produced 55.8% of Germany’s electricity.  German lawmakers have finalized plans for the country’s long-awaited phase-out of coal as an energy source, which will make them the first major economy to phase out both coal and nuclear energy.  Battery manufacturer Varta will receive $338 million of German government funding to develop large format lithium-ion cells.

Utilities that are transitioning away from coal are starting to view the creation of a natural gas “bridge” to renewable energy as an unnecessary step.  The assumed useful life of utility-scale solar projects now averages 32.5 years, up from 21.5 years in 2007, thereby helping lower the levelized cost of energy from them.  More than 500 residential energy storage batteries will be aggregated into a virtual power plant by utility Portland (Oregon) General Electric.

The UK business secretary gave the green light on Wednesday evening to the 1.8 GW Norfolk Vanguard windfarm project, which will be more than 40 miles off the Bacton coast of England.  Meanwhile, in the U.S., Dominion Energy and its partner Ørsted have completed installation of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot located 30 miles off Virginia Beach.

Norwegian oil firm Equinor plans to build a plant in Britain to produce hydrogen from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage, so-called blue hydrogen.  With the EU set to announce its long-term hydrogen strategy in mid-July, one question has emerged at the heart of the debate: Should blue hydrogen be excluded from the plans?  China has developed its latest draft of the regulations that will govern the storage and transportation of hydrogen for powering vehicles.  The Economist published a very clear-eyed evaluation of the potential role of hydrogen in a carbon-free economy.

Potpourri

In her “Climate Curious” column at the Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan addressed the link between climate change and racial justice.  The Economist has a new series of “The world if” articles, focusing on climate change.  Each of the eight pieces is fiction, but “grounded in historical fact and real science”.  In a video at Inside Climate News, author James Edward Mills addresses the idea that access to nature and outdoor recreation are critical, underappreciated environmental justice issues.  Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau’s film 2040 has been called the “most upbeat documentary about climate change” in several years.  It is available for pay-for-view streaming until the end of July.

Closing Thought

How two nuns helped Southern Co. wake up to climate change.

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

Climate and Energy News Roundup 6/26/2020

Politics and Policy

In an opinion essay in The New York Times, Paul Bodnar and Tamara Grbusic of the Rocky Mountain Institute warned that the government’s spending on climate-related disaster recovery is a “rapidly rising fiscal threat”.  Also in the Times, John Schwartz examined the question of whether the Supreme Court ruling on gay and transgender rights will strengthen the argument for using the Clean Air Act to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.  In an interesting article at Vox, David Roberts examined the latest poll of public opinion on climate change and clean energy by the Pew Research Center.  Because of a quiet decision by Facebook, the CO2 Coalition and other groups that attack consensus climate science can share content that climate scientists have labeled as misleading because Facebook will consider it “opinion” and therefore immune to fact-checking.  A tug of war between preserving living-wage, unionized coal jobs and addressing climate change is playing out across the country at every level of government, pitting environmental and clean energy interests against unions and fossil fuel companies.    

The state of Minnesota sued ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and three Koch Industries entities on Wednesday over climate change, claiming they knew about the impacts fossil fuels would have on the environment and misled the public.  On Thursday, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine sued ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, asserting that they have engaged in a multimillion-dollar campaign over decades to deceive District consumers about the effects of fossil fuels on climate change.  

On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously to adopt a new Advanced Clean Trucks regulation that requires everything from small delivery vans to 18-wheelers to transition away from diesel engines to less polluting electric motors powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells, beginning with the 2024 model year.  Nevada will be the latest state to adopt California’s low-and zero-emission vehicle rules following similar announcements by Washington in March and Minnesota and New Mexico in September.  President Trump’s Interior Department has approved about half as many wind and solar energy projects on federal lands as the Obama administration had at the same point in its first term, according to a report published on Thursday by the Center for American Progress.  Over the past five years, more U.S. cities have started setting and acting upon renewable energy goals by signing deals that move their own municipal operations away from fossil-fueled electricity and toward renewable energy.    

Joe Biden further consolidated the support of mainstream environmentalists by scoring the endorsement of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Action Fund on Wednesday.  A report released Tuesday by a think tank founded by Stacey Abrams, the Southern Economic Advancement Project, offers a road map for the South to catch up to the rest of the country in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Also on Tuesday, Environment America unveiled an effort to establish residential solar mandates, similar to the requirement that went into effect this year in California, in 10 states across the country.  A working paper from the University of California, Berkeley’s Energy Institute at Haas found that, when controlling for year, income, household size, and city of residence, Black renters paid $273 more per year for energy than white renters between 2010 and 2017; Black homeowners paid $408 more.  A national coalition to address the challenges of the working poor released a sweeping legislative platform in a three-hour virtual rally last Saturday, including proposals to address mass incarceration, health care, wealth inequality, and climate change.  A “green bank” is a nonprofit institution that uses public money to help businesses invest in solar panels, wind farms, and energy-efficient building retrofits.  Although several states have developed state-level green banks, there is renewed interest in establishing a national one to help stimulate the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Climate and Climate Science

The thermometer hit 38°C (100.4°F) in the Russian Arctic town of Verkhoyansk on Saturday, a likely record.  Such warming has several impacts, as discussed by Matt Simon at Wired

Although 90% of the U.S. public is in favor of planting trees to fight climate change, two new studies published this week show how misplaced hopes for tree-planting have been.  Jeff Goodell examined those studies and reviewed the history of the tree planting idea at Rolling Stone.  A study published in Nature Geosciences, explored the consequences of more than 80,000 land purchases by private companies made from 2000 to 2018 across 15 countries in South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia, finding that they accelerated tropical deforestation.

With rising temperatures, the world’s food supplies are at risk, with decreasing yields in key staple crops.  Researchers and innovators are looking at more resilient crops and farm animals — from heat-resistant wheat, to drought-resistant rice, to Naked Neck chickens that stay cooler.  Somaliland is drying out faster now than at any time during the past 2,000 years.  As a result, pastoral life has failed, forcing hundreds of thousands of people off the land and into makeshift camps for Internally Displaced People.

According to research published in the journal Global Change Biology, droughts across the mountains and plains of Wyoming can cut the spring growing season from four months to two.  That dries up nutrient-rich green grasses and shrubs, just when they are needed most by migrating mule deer to replenish body fat after the winter and to rear their young.

Research published in Geophysical Research Letters suggests that the use of aerosols to reflect sunlight and cool the planet could weaken storm tracks in the temperate latitudes in both hemispheres, thereby reducing the severity of winter storms but also stagnating weather systems in the summer, which could lead to more intense heat waves, increases in air pollution, and changes in ocean circulation.

Energy

Amazon.com said on Tuesday that it will launch a $2 billion venture capital fund that will focus on technology investments to reduce the impact of climate change and support sustainable development.  David Iaconangelo at E&E News addressed the question of whether this will really help clean energy.  Amazon also said that activities tied to its businesses emitted 51.17 million metric tons of CO2 last year, the equivalent of 13 coal-fired power plants running for a year.  That’s up 15% from 2018, when 44.4 million metric tons were emitted.

Satellites are becoming increasingly popular for detecting methane leaks from pipelines and other natural gas infrastructure, and they are finding significant leaks all over the world.  British power company Drax is partnering with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to test solvents developed by MHI for their ability to capture CO2 from the flue gas from power plants burning biomass.

On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co. announced a new goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.  A paper in the journal Joule provided a comprehensive estimate of fuel costs during the 15-year life of an EV compared to a gasoline model car, with specifics for each state.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has pledged $100 million in funding for the development of an industry-ready, heavy-duty, hydrogen-powered, fuel-cell truck.  Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a new direct borohydride fuel cell that achieves an operating voltage twice that of hydrogen fuel cells, thereby widening the number of possibilities that could be powered by fuel cells.  A new report released by The Brattle Group this week established that there could be anywhere from 10 to 35 million EVs on the road by 2030, and the U.S. electric power sector would need to invest between $75-125 billion to be able to serve 20 million.

The U.S.’s three separate power grids largely operate independently and exchange very little power, thereby preventing all sorts of efficiencies.  Last week, an effort was launched to address that: the Macro Grid Initiative, which seeks to expand and upgrade the nation’s transmission network.  With fewer and fewer fossil generators left in the UK generation mix, and with more and more renewables, the grid is under strain.  But more than 100 large wind farms are now providing grid services to balance out the variable nature of renewables.

China has nearly 250 GW of coal-fired power plants now under development, more than the entire coal power capacity of the U.S., a new study said on Thursday, casting doubt on China’s commitments to cutting fossil fuel use.  Oil and gas giants, mining interests, and coal-fired power plants have all received financial and regulatory relief as governments around the world enact pandemic recovery plans.  These moves threaten to create a dirty, high-carbon legacy that long outlasts the current crisis.

Potpourri

The authors of a new paper published in WIREs Climate Change explained the actors and factors behind online misinformation and why social networks are such fertile ground for misinformation about climate change to spread.  The coronavirus pandemic and climate change are both collective action problems; unfortunately, some Americans have trouble accepting the actions required to deal with such problems.  At Yale Climate Connections, SueEllen Campbell provided links to a number of articles about the common ground shared by activists for a livable climate, racial justice, climate justice, and environmental justice.  At the same site, Michael Svoboda brought together twelve books for our armchair travel this summer.  At Burning Worlds, Amy Brady interviewed poet Susan Barba about her new book, Geode.  A team from James Madison University earned first-place honors in the “project development” category at this year’s DOE’s Collegiate Wind Competition.

Closing Thought

This week, listen to a 17 minute conversation between Vicki Robin and Bill McKibben.

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

Climate and Energy News Roundup 6/19/2020

Politics and Policy

Researchers at the University of Oxford surveyed 80,000 people in 40 countries to learn what they think about climate change.  In cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, the International Energy Agency (IEA) launched its Sustainable Recovery Plan in a “World Energy Outlook Special Report.”  The report lays out a series of measures that the agency says would ensure 2019 was the “definitive peak” for global emissions.  The Guardian quoted Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA as saying “This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound.”  If you’re curious about what the rest of the world is doing to promote a “green recovery” from the economic slowdown associated with the coronavirus, you might want to check out Carbon Brief’s new interactive tracker, which will be updated on a regular basis.

A very thought-provoking opinion piece at The Hill outlined a strategy that the U.S. could follow to meet the triple challenges of the slow demise of the post-World War II international order; America’s massive inequality, poor public health, and economic insecurity; and climate change.  House Democrats unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan Thursday that includes $70 billion for clean energy projects.  In addition, a group of 180 Democratic lawmakers wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) asking for congressional action to help the “decimated” clean energy sector.  Ignoring objections from coastal residents, politicians, and government agencies, the Trump Administration is moving forward with its intent to conduct seismic tests for oil off the Atlantic Coast.  The American Council on Renewable Energy and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid on Wednesday launched a campaign to build support for a stronger U.S. electrical transmission system, including upgrades to interregional lines and the development of a nationwide, high-voltage direct current network.  The Democratic National Committee’s council on climate change irked party leadership when it published policy recommendations this month that ventured beyond presidential candidate Joe Biden’s plan, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Never heard of the Transportation Fairness Alliance?  Then you should read this piece at DeSmog that discusses them.  Mississippi’s House and Senate have passed legislation placing new penalties on protests against fossil fuel infrastructure, making them the 13th state to do so in the past three years; the governor is expected to sign the legislation into law.  Efforts to undermine climate change science in the federal government, once orchestrated largely by President Trump’s political appointees, are now increasingly driven by midlevel managers.

One impact of all of the things that have been happening lately is an increasing awareness of environmental justice issues.  For example, the National Black Environmental Justice Network is relaunching.  In a Q&A at Inside Climate News, Robert Bullard, often called the father of environmental justice, said he is more hopeful about the future of environmental justice than ever.  Still, from New York to Los Angeles, Minneapolis to the Gulf Coast, people of color are suffering disproportionately from pollution, callous government, and climate change.

Climate and Climate Science

Following a May that tied for the hottest on record, the U.S. is heading into a potentially blistering summer, with hotter than normal temperatures expected across almost the entire country into September, NOAA researchers said on Thursday.  This raises the question of how cities will cope with the dangerous combination of high temperatures, COVID-19, and high unemployment.  Meanwhile, wildfires are raging across parts of the desert Southwest and California, where scant rainfall, sweltering temperatures and wind are combining to create ideal conditions for rapid fire spread.  A prolonged heatwave in Siberia is “undoubtedly alarming”, climate scientists have said.  The freak temperatures have been linked to wildfires, a huge oil spill and a plague of tree-eating moths.

As reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, scientists have discovered that summer sea ice in the Weddell Sea area of Antarctica has decreased by an area twice the size of Spain in the last five years, with implications for the marine ecosystem.  In addition, around the world, glaciers are melting.  Consequently, climatologists and chemists are collecting and storing ice core samples for future analysis.

Americans are growing increasingly concerned about health risks linked to global warming, according to a newly released survey from Ipsos alongside Yale and George Mason researchers.  People living in the world’s tropical forest regions, from Brazil to Indonesia, face heightened risk to their health this year from a potentially deadly combination of forest fires and the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists warned on Wednesday.  According to research published Thursday in JAMA Network Open, pregnant women in the U.S. exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to have children who are premature, underweight or stillborn, and African-American mothers and babies are harmed at a much higher rate than the population at large.  Columbia Journalism Investigations and the Center for Public Integrity investigated the CDC’s “Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative” to determine what they have done to help localities prepare for and respond to the impacts of increasing temperatures on citizens’ health.  Jeff Goodell at Rolling Stone reported on their investigation.

In the coming decades, the Arctic Ocean will absorb significantly more CO2 than has been predicted by climate models, according to new research published in the journal Nature.  The increased rate of ocean acidification, combined with other rapidly changing chemical conditions, could ultimately disrupt the entire Arctic food chain.

According to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, climate change models have underestimated the amount of CO2 that will be emitted from thawing permafrost by as much as 14% because they don’t account for photomineralization of the released organic matter.

Energy

BP has released the 69th edition of its annual “Statistical Review of World Energy”, covering calendar year 2019.  Carbon Brief’s examination of the report revealed that renewables were the largest source of new energy in 2019, although there were still record highs for oil and gas consumption, and for CO2 emissions.  Gains for wind and solar, combined with a fall in coal output, meant that low-carbon electricity generation matched coal-fired generation for the first time.  On the other hand, the IEA warned that next year the world’s oil demand could climb at its fastest rate in the history of the market, and may reach pre-crisis levels within years, unless new green policies are adopted.  To the surprise of scientists studying them, global CO2 emissions have rebounded very quickly as countries have opened up their economies after the shutdowns in response to the novel coronavirus.

At BBC “Future Planet”, Lowana Veal examined a number of techniques being used in Iceland to remove CO2 from their industrial processes, many spurred by the unusual geology of the island.  Without major new subsidies from the American public, technologies for capturing heat-trapping CO2 from coal- and natural gas-fired power plants will remain uneconomical.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced plans Tuesday to develop a port and staging area to construct wind turbines for installations along the Eastern Seaboard.  The governor’s goal is for New Jersey to be the focal point for the off-shore wind industry in the mid-Atlantic region.  However, according to an interview with Dominion Energy’s vice president of generation construction, Mark Mitchell, Norfolk, VA, hopes to fill that role.  One day, someone will want to build U.S. offshore wind farms with floating turbines, in which case they may well use 3-D printing to build the anchors.

On Monday, the Supreme Court removed one hurdle for developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), but the natural gas project remains in legal limbo as a host of other obstacles stand in the way of construction.  Nevertheless, on Tuesday Dominion Energy asked FERC for two more years to complete the ACP, which the company now expects to enter service in early 2022.  In a special report, Reuters catalogued a litany of horror stories about methane leaking from abandoned oil and gas wells.  On a positive note, Dominion Energy is investing in systems to capture methane and other gases from the digestion of manure on dairy farms, clean it, and use the resulting green methane in natural gas systems.

Green-energy investing will account for 25% of all energy spending in 2021 and, for the first time ever, surpass spending on traditional fuel sources like oil and gas, Goldman Sachs predicted in a Tuesday note.  According to a study from the California Energy Commission, hydrogen prices in the U.S. are headed downward and could be as affordable as gasoline within the next five years.  Decarbonizing hydrogen will take time, thought, and investment, but Europe’s industry says it is committed.

Potpourri

Peter Sinclair has a new “This Is Not Cool” video at Yale Climate Connections, this one about the flooding events that have occurred around the country recently as a result of increased rainfall intensity.  High school students from the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn were among the grand-prize winners in the NPR Student Podcast Challenge for their episode about climate change and environmental racism.  “At War with the Dinosaurs” is a new documentary that explores the future of hydrogen fuel cells.  You’ve probably heard of “Climate Stripes”, created by climate scientist Ed Hawkins using annual temperature anomalies (the difference from long-term average).  Now, Climate Central has made them available for all 50 states and many cities.

Closing Thought

I’m ending this week with Bill McKibben’s column from The New Yorker, which provides a ray of hope as well as a shot in the arm from his interview with Jane Fonda about her weekly series of civil-disobedience actions that she calls Fire Drill Fridays. 

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

CAAV Endorses Sally Newkirk for SVEC Board

Sally Newkirk is running for a seat on the SVEC board.

The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley endorses Sally Newkirk’s bid for a seat on the board of the Shenandoah Valley Electric Co-op (SVEC). A 27-year Shenandoah Valley resident, Sally will work to expand SVEC’s use of renewable energy, bring reliable broadband to the many residents of our area who lack it, and will work to help residents who are having trouble paying their electric bill.

Co-op members will have the opportunity to vote for Sally, using the ballot that will be enclosed in the upcoming July issue of COOPERATIVE LIVING. In the meantime, you can learn more about Sally by visiting her website: newkirkforsvec.com. You can also follow her on Facebook here.

Black Lives Matter Resolution

At their June 16, 2020, meeting, the steering committee of the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley voted unanimously in favor of supporting Black Lives Matter with this resolution:

Resolved that the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley stands in support of Black Lives Matter, that we support a redirection of tax dollars away from policies that enable police brutality, and toward policies that meet community needs and link environmental and social justice.

Metamorphosis: Artist Statement by Charlotte Shristi

Metamorphosis by Charlotte Shristi. Metamorphosis was submitted by Charlotte Shristi for the “Visions of a Sustainable Valley” show at OASIS Fine Art & Craft over April and May 2020.

Artist Statement on Metamorphosis by Charlotte Shristi

In the process of finding photographs of downtown Harrisonburg and painting a fairly realistic imagined scene of court square in the future, the global COVID-19 pandemic unfolded.  My painted vision of Harrisonburg’s downtown included buildings with roof-top gardens and solar farms, light-rail train, reforested pedestrian mall surrounding the square, open-air farmers’ market and café seating and a park with children playing on the shore of a small pond.

However, this painting wasn’t finished no matter how much I played with the details!  Two additional images wanted to become focal points for the painting.  The details of what a sustainable future looks like, became secondary to the how, of that transformation!

I had recently read an article* about the pandemic (and other crisis) offering an opportunity to be understood as a portal leading to transformation… a chrysalis.  The pandemic has exposed the ways our society and our belief systems fail so many people, often the most vulnerable.  Can we reimagine a social structure that includes and cares for all people as well as the planet whose life-support system makes our existence possible?  What would this metamorphosis look like?

The other image comes from a number of prophesies of Indigenous American Nations.  The Eagle and the Condor flying together represents the coming together of different people groups who need to share their knowledge and work together.

“When the Eagle and Condor once again fly wing tip to wing tip, it will herald a time of partnership, love and healing, and the Earth will come back into balance.  When the People of the Eagle help the Condor soar again, they will cease making the choices that are destroying the Earth, and their own sense of isolation, unhappiness and stress will vanish.  Together, they will make a new design for the children and for future generations, for the good of all life everywhere”**

The national/international mobilization to end police racism and brutality had not yet happened, but I see this vision of Eagle and Condor being relevant….calling forth transformation of systems of power and exploitation.  The same domination world view leads to both the oppression of peoples and exploitation of the planet.  We are in desperate need of a shift to a partnership world view where the well-being of the whole is valued, where black and brown lives are valued. Those struggling for a livable future, should also be struggling for a livable present and vice versa.

*What if the Virus is the Medicine? By Jonathan Hadas Edwards & Julia Hartsell, March 13, 2020

**Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet By Carol Schaefer


“Visions of a Sustainable Valley” Retrospective

OASIS Fine Art & Craft, an artists’ co-operative with a storefront gallery in downtown Harrisonburg, helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020 by featuring a collection of original art created in response to a call for works reflecting on “Visions of a Sustainable Valley.”

With the encouragement of local grassroots environmental organizations Earth Day Every Day Harrisonburg (EDED) and the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV), Barbara Camph, OASIS artist and EDED team member, and Karen Lee, of EDED and CAAV, took up the challenge of creating this invitational show. Their efforts, combined with other OASIS artists, gave rise to a remarkable and diverse collection of creative works meant to inspire, educate and help viewers imagine a way toward resiliency in the face of growing environmental and societal threats.

EDED, formed in 2019, is bringing local attention to the crisis of plastic pollution and the waste inherent in single use plastic. CAAV members are working on promoting the 50by25 campaign, urging more renewable energy and increased energy efficiency in Harrisonburg. Members of these two groups felt our area artists could offer a valuable means of instilling efforts like theirs into the fabric of our community. And be a great way to honor Earth Day.

“Visions of a Sustainable Valley” was generously sponsored by James McHone Jewelry, Earth Day Every Day Harrisonburg, Hess Financial, Eugene Stoltzfus Architects, and Steven Toyota. The works were judged and prizes awarded to three winners and a “People’s Choice” award pick.

Additionally, Barbara worked with art teacher Christopher Michael at East Rockingham High School late last year to have his advanced art students illustrate the harmful effects of plastic waste. Their works served as an inspiration for a “Plastic Waste Blues” public art mosaic for downtown Harrisonburg. OASIS displayed the students’ work along with those of the artists contributing to “Visions of a Sustainable Valley.”

The 23 works by 10 local artists comprising “Visions of a Sustainable Valley” and 15 works by 14 art students for “Plastic Waste Blues” were displayed at OASIS throughout April and May 2020, but because of COVID-19 shutdowns, few people were able to see the art in person. Thanks to OASIS and EDED efforts, these works were available for virtual viewing on Facebook including an opportunity to vote for the “People’s Choice” award. The opening reception planned for April’s First Friday had to be canceled and with it the means of publicizing and giving the project the recognition and attention it deserved.

We acknowledge OASIS Fine Art & Craft for the fine work of its organizers. Just putting on an invitational show is a feat in itself–a major effort with lots of steps and coordination. They responded to CAAV’s invitation and pulled it all off beautifully, including inventing Harrisonburg’s first virtual art exhibit in the pandemic! 

Karen Ryder Lee, Earth Day Every Day, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley, and contributing artist

In hopes that these works can be more widely viewed and appreciated for their contributions to the sustainability conversation, photos of the “Visions of a Sustainable Valley” projects, together with commentary from some of the artists, are featured below. Please find photos of the student works and more about the “Plastic Waste Blues” project here.

CAAV is working to broaden our own, and our community’s, understanding of the importance of resiliency on an individual and a collective basis. Resiliency includes sustainability, adaptation, and mitigation. Education is critical for needed action. Art is a wonderful way to do that and we sincerely thank OASIS for their role. We believe what follows helps illustrate useful concepts and ideas.  Enjoy!

Joy Loving, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley liaison for the 50by25 campaign


Artists were asked to create art which depicted our valley in the future. Some chose to show valley scenes which are beautiful and hopefully will remain so. Some chose to show sustainable practices which will maintain the beauty in our valley.  –   OASIS


Windmills

Janet Kuller

1st Place Winner


Four Seasons in the Valley

Natalie Darling

2nd Place Winner

My thoughts when deciding to create this piece for the show:
Things that we often take for granted but shouldn’t. Like the beauty of the changing seasons in our valley. Keep it green and keep it clean, that we, and future generations, may continue to enjoy the seasonal changes and renewals in the Shenandoah Valley.

Natalie Darling
Four Seasons in the Valley
Second Place Award


Solar Power for ALL!

Barbara Camph

3rd Place Winner


Afton Mountain

Pam Tittle

People’s Choice Winner


Fertility

Bahir al Badry


Protest

Bahir al Badry


UNFCCC

Bahir al Badry


More Wind Power Please!

Barbara Camph


Autumn in the Valley

Natalie Darling


Crystal Clear

Natalie Darling


Augusta County from Ravens Roost Overlook

Laurence Heine

On a gorgeous sunny and cool spring day we went on a ‘field trip’ to visit some places of interest in Nelson County and take some pictures. On the way home, we drove north on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at the Ravens Roost Overlook to view the scene.

I have always been attracted to the many folds in the Blue Ridge Mountains and this was a great location to photograph them.

This image is an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image made from three separate photographs taken at three different exposures.

Photograph date: 6/21/2019
© 2019 – Laurence G. Heine


Lacey Spring Sunrise

Laurence Heine

We enjoy numerous sunsets near our home but usually we are not up early enough to see summer sunrises. On this day I woke early. When I looked out the front windows I grabbed my camera and ran into our front yard to capture this sunrise. I had photographed an almost identical sunrise two years earlier.

Photograph date: 7/7/2018
© 2018 – Laurence G. Heine


Threatening Clouds

Laurence Heine

My wife and I were out for a drive one sunny afternoon and we saw a dark cloud with ominous-looking wisps descending from it. We drove toward it for about 15 minutes looking for a place to stop and photograph it. The picture was taken in Rockingham County along Sky Road, near Greenmount.

Photograph date: 5/7/2017
© 2017 – Laurence G. Heine


Bowl with Bears

Kathy Kavanagh


Cherish the Valley I

Kathy Kavanagh


Cherish the Valley II

Kathy Kavanagh


No Higher Task Than Building Living Soil

Karen Ryder Lee


Zero Waste Dream

Karen Ryder Lee


Tenacity II

Jessica Martinkosky


Victory Garden

Jessica Martinkosky


Metamorphosis

Charlotte Shristi

“When the Eagle and Condor once again fly wing tip to wing tip, it will herald a time of partnership, love and healing, and the Earth will come back into balance. When the People of the Eagle help the Condor soar again, they will cease making the choices that are destroying the Earth, and their own sense of isolation, unhappiness and stress will vanish.  Together, they will make a new design for the children and for future generations, for the good of all life everywhere.” – Carol Schaefer, Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet

Excerpted from Charlotte’s artist statement about this work. Read her complete statement here.


Natural Chimneys

Pam Tittle


Ravens Roost

Pam Tittle



Take a virtual tour of the artwork as it was installed at OASIS during April and May 2020. Click on the image above to find a link to the tour.

Please find photos of the student works also featured at this show and more about the “Plastic Waste Blues” project here.

“Plastic Waste Blues” Art

OASIS Fine Art & Craft partnered with Earth Day Every Day (EDED) to create a public art mosaic. The theme of the mosaic is the damage caused by single use plastics.

We started the process by meeting with the East Rockingham High School Advanced Art class on October 7, 2019.  Elly Swecker, founder of EDED, presented the students with a summary of damage done by single use plastics, as well as alternatives to the plastic.  Christopher Michael, teacher of the class, and Barbara Camph, OASIS artist, asked the students to create art work representing either concept. 

The students and Mr. Michael produced fabulous, unique and imaginative pieces of art.  The students’ art work was created in October and part of November, and used by Barbara Camph and other OASIS artists as inspiration for the mosaic design.  Note that the students’ art work was displayed at OASIS Fine Art & Craft for two months.

In January 2020, the actual mosaic was started in the upstairs mezzanine of OASIS. The majority of the mosaic is art glass but also incorporates plastic waste. The mosaic was grouted and protected with a UV coating.

The mosaic is framed with a black steel frame fabricated by Excel Steel. It was installed in May 2020 on the East Market Street side of the Newman-Ruddell building with permission from the building owners, Diane and Jim Orndoff. 

– Barbara Camph, OASIS artist, Earth Day Every Day leadership team member


In hopes of giving these creative works continued attention and impact, the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley is pleased to feature photos of Christopher Michael’s East Rockingham High School Advanced Art student pieces below.


Snack

Kathryn Davis

Grade 11


Stuck

Haley Dove

Grade 11


All Talk

Madison Ecroyd

Grade 11


Home

Alea Jean-Mina

Grade 11


Baggage

Alisha Kirtley

Grade 12


Trash fish

Trevor Krepps

Grade 11


The Wave

Jessica McDonaldson

Grade 12


Recycled Reef

Christopher Michael

Art Teacher


Deep

Natalie Morris

Grade 12


Oil Spill

Zope Ramos-Beck

Grade 11


Dinner

Patrick Stapleton

Grade 10


Pretty?

Riley Stepp


Plastics

Parris Ward

Grade 12


Turtle

Olivia Wright

Grade 12


City of Trash

Sierra Wright-Kennedy


These works were displayed at OASIS Fine Art & Craft in April and May 2020 along with an invitational show on “Visions of a Sustainable Valley” in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. More about “Visions of a Sustainable Valley” along with photos of the collection here.