Put a Price on Carbon

This letter was available for signing at the CAAV booth at the International Festival in Harrisonburg on September 28, 2013.

Dear Senators Warner and Kaine:

Warner Kaine video all.of.the.aboveWe at Climate Alliance of the Valley have watched your recent YouTube video titled – Bill to Expand Offshore Energy Leases- and are responding to your invitation for citizen input.  Although this would not take effect until 2020, we feel it is misdirected in light of the science explaining the chemistry and physics of climate disruption.

This plan may have been justified when the former Senators Warner and Webb first introduced this but we are better informed now.  We know now that to help protect future Virginians it is imperative that we leave all fossil fuels deep in the earth and not put them in the atmosphere to cause excessive heating of our beautiful blue-green ball, with the only  known existence of life as we know it.

If you have read the science, and we feel both of you at least understand what is happening, there is no other choice than trying to get off of our fossil fuel addiction. You have both sponsored and supported some very important energy legislation. It is really difficult for the alcoholic not to take that next drink.  It is time now to take the next step. Put a Price on Carbon.

It is easy to understand where you are coming from politically in this video and we would like to see you re-elected unless someone else is more willing to step up and support legislation to preserve life as we know it.

If you have read the science and know the facts, how can you do other than step forward and put some kind of price on carbon.  What will your children or grandchildren say in 20-30 yrs if you don’t do what you can now?

We are supporting some form of Fee and Dividend (S-332, Saunders-Boxer Bill or several house bills etc). Citizens Climate Lobby has done a lot of work on this.  We feel it is the only kind of bill that has a chance of passing and will do the job of reducing our carbon usage.  We know all the arguments against this pushed by the fossil fuel industry and we know what is going to happen if we don’t soon get started.  Therefore, we are asking you both to become leaders in trying to stop us from destroying ourselves.

International Fest 2013

International Festival 2013.400CAAV invited Harrisonburg International Festival 2013 attendees to contribute stickers to our board listing things we do to reduce our carbon footprint. This September 28 event held at Hillandale Park attracted over 8000 people to enjoy an afternoon of music, dance, food, crafts and non-profit displays in celebration of “our community’s rich intercultural diversity.”

In addition to placing stickers on the carbon footprint board, we also invited signatures on a letter to Senators Kaine and Warner asking for their support of legislation to curtail carbon emissions.

CAAV Invests in … Dems Dinner, VNO, Wild VA Film Festival

The CAAV steering committee has opted to lend some financial support to an interesting mix of investment opportunities available this fall.

The 2013 Harrisonburg/ Rockingham County Labor Day banquet held Sunday, Sept. 1 at the JMU Festival Conference & Student Center raised funds for the state democratic party while entertaining diners with presentations from the 2013 state democratic ticket candidates: Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam and Mark Herring.

Thanks DEMS.400In hopes of keeping climate change issues fresh on the democrats’ agenda, CAAV submitted this ad image for a looping slide show:

Knowing that one of the most significant personal actions one can make to minimize their carbon footprint is to reduce or eliminate animal products in their diets, CAAV supported the second annual Vegan Night Out held in downtown Harrisonburg the evening of Tuesday, September 17. VNOFeaturing discounted vegan meals at various local restaurants, activities and a free motivational presentation and movie at Court Square Theater, this event offered camaraderie and inspiration for devout vegans and the vegan-curious alike.

Finally, there is nothing like a vivid documentary to evoke a response. Charlottesville based Wild Virginia, dedicated to preserving wild forest ecosystems in Virginia’s National Forests, is hosting a night with eight short environmentally themed movies at Court Square Theater on Thursday evening, Sept. 26 at 7:30 pm. CAAV is one of several local sponsors for this Wild Virginia Film Festival, other versions of which were held in Staunton and Charlottesville last spring.

Wild VA Film FestThe Wild and Scenic Film Festival brings together a selection of films that tell stories about our planet, our beautiful and precious wildlands, and the people of the communities who love them, play in them and defend them. They open our eyes and hearts to fantastic experiences in remarkable places. They inspire a sense of wonder, beckon us towards action, highlight issues, and provide solutions.

– Misty Boos of Wild Virginia

Energy, Innovation, and Stewardship on Valley Farms

Joni's Oct. forum flyer2.400While some urban dwellers can avoid going outside for days if necessary, the Valley farmer is outdoors facing the elements every day of the year, rain or shine, drought or flood, snow or heat wave.  And when he/she comes inside, it’s to plan how to reduce the risks and uncertainties of not only the weather but the markets, government regulations, the cost of energy, and the changing climate, with better ways to improve resiliency and productivity.

The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley is hosting a forum to address these issues on Tuesday, October 15th at 6:00 pm at the Massanutten Regional Library, 174 S. Main St, Harrisonburg.  Well acquainted with the problems Valley farmers face, our speakers will include Eric Bendfeldt, Extension Specialist in Community Viability with the Virginia Cooperative Extension; Dr. Maria Papadakis, ISAT professor at JMU; and Mike Phillips, a farmer and a soil conservation technician with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Council.  Bendfeldt will talk about the innovative ways farmers are working as good stewards of the land to keep agriculture a viable part of Valley life, everything from growing forage radishes and drought resistant feed crops to co-ops and the Produce Auction.  Papadakis will speak about Valley farms, energy, and climate change: how energy conservation can help with greenhouse gas mitigation, and the increased demands on energy consumption that Valley farmers will face adapting to a changing climate. Phillips will offer us his point of view as a farmer and government worker implementing best management practices.


See the Daily News Record‘s October 17, 2013 coverage of the forum here by Alex Rohr. (Note that Firefox’s built-in PDF renderer might not display this correctly; right click here and choose “Save Link As…” to download it instead.)

Les introducing Mike Phillips _Converted
Les Grady introduces Mike Phillips with a screen photo including Mike’s father as a young plowman in the background.
Joni with Mike and Eric
Joni Grady with presenters Mike Phillips and Eric Bendfeldt
Maria Papadakis
Maria Papadakis fields a question from the audience
lush forage crops.500
Lush forage crops planted by Mike on August 10, 2013, harvested October 15.
post forum discussion
Post forum conversations

Fossil Fuel Zombies on Parade

CAAV members paraded as Fossil Fuel Zombies for the Carnival de Resistance Power Down/ Lift Up! parade in downtown Harrisonburg on September 19, 2013. This is the story of the fossil fuel zombies:

zombie comic
This picture was created by Rebecca Laura for CAAV.

CAAV chairperson Les Grady joined representatives of the New Community Project,  the International Festival, Friends of Shenandoah Mountain and Occupy Harrisonburg with the delivery of this public witness statement at Court Square following the parade:

Climate scientists tell us that only a limited amount of carbon dioxide can be added to the atmosphere if we are to keep global warming within safe levels.  If we continue with “business as usual” we will reach that limit in 15 years.  Scientists also tell us that the more carbon dioxide we add, the warmer Earth will be.  A warmer Earth will have more severe weather, with negative impacts on agriculture, ecosystems, and people.  A warmer Earth will have more disease, more famines, and more conflict.  A warmer Earth will have a higher sea level, with adverse effects on coastal communities and the people in them.  There are no positives associated with a warmer Earth!  The only way to limit the warming is to limit carbon dioxide emissions.  The only way to limit emissions is to stop bringing long-dead plants and animals, fossil fuel zombies, back to life.   Instead, we must leave them in the ground!  We must switch to alternative energy systems.  This will not be easy.  This cannot be done overnight.  But, it must be done.  We must start now.  This is the transformation we are called upon to make.  Keep fossil fuel zombies in the ground!

Fossil Fuel ZombiesIMG_0732 (Copy)
“On the steps of the Courthouse …Les spoke of the urgent necessity to leave the fossil fuels in the ground and not allow Big Oil to reanimate them.  At which point we zombies disrobed, planted an RIP tombstone on the zombie remains and left flowers.” – Joni Grady

Find more photos of the fossil fuel zombies taken by Diana Woodall in this Picasa web album:

Fossil Fuel Zombies on Parade Sept. 19, 2013

Eastern Mennonite University’s Chris Edwards documented some of the Carnival’s 10 days of activities in Harrisonburg here.

Governor’s Commission on Climate Change Action Plan 2008

Kaine's Climate report 2008In 2007 Governor Kaine assembled a commission of over 3 dozen Virginians representing a broad spectrum of interests and areas of the state to develop guidelines to address climate change in Virginia.

According to the report, the group was asked to:

“1. Inventory the amount of and contributors to
Virginia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and
projections through 2025.
2. Evaluate expected impacts of climate change
on Virginia’s natural resources, the health of its citizens, and the economy, including the industries of agriculture, forestry, tourism, and insurance.
3. Identify what Virginia needs to do to prep are for the likely consequences of climate change.
4. Identify the actions … that need to be taken to achieve the 30% reduction goal of Commonwealth greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 set by the 2007 Virginia Energy Plan.
5. Identify climate change approaches being pursued by other states, regions, and the federal government.”

After a year of study and discussion, the commission’s report was issued in December 2008. A Virginia wetlands advocacy group Wetlands Watch out of Norfolk has ensured public access to this report after it was removed from the state Department of Environmental Quality’s website in 2012.

Commission member and Wetlands Watch executive director Skip Stiles summarized the commissions findings and recommendations here.

The entire report can be accessed here on the site maintained by Wetlands Watch.

JMU’s Lifelong Learning Institute Class on Climate Change this Fall

five Cs updatedDelve deeper into the issues surrounding our human population’s foremost challenge! Sign up for this class taught by CAAV’s steering committee chairperson Les Grady.

F13B11 – The Five C’s of Climate Change: Causes, Consequences,Communication, Conflict, and Choices

Thursdays, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
October 17, 24, 31; November 7, 14
Room 201, National College, 1515 Country Club Rd., Harrisonburg

Description: Global temperatures are increasing, ice is melting, sea level is rising, and weather patterns are shifting and becoming more erratic.  Climate change is the greatest challenge ever faced by humankind, yet the response to it has been inconsistent with the probable consequences.  We will explore why by first examining what science tells us about the causes and how our collective response can shape the impacts on both human and natural systems.  We will then examine how our personal values and reaction to alarm influence our individual responses to the message science is sending, leading to possible conflict.  Finally, we will investigate potential solutions to the problem of climate change and ways they might be implemented.
Instructor:  Leslie Grady Jr., draws from his long career as an environmental engineer and scientist in academia and industry, and from years of climate change study, to offer clear, graphic explanations and insights into the “Five C’s of Climate Change.”  Since moving to Harrisonburg in 2010, he has been an active member of the speakers’ bureau of the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley.

Find registration information here.

Find our facebook event page for this here.


five cs cover slideThe Five C’s of Climate Change class slides

October 17 class slides are here: Oct 17 – Causes – 6 slides per page

October 24 class slides are here: Oct 24 – Causes – Continued – 6 slides per page

October 31 class slides are here: Oct 31 – Consequences – 6 slides per page

November 7 class slides are here: Nov 7 – Conflict and Communication – 6 slides per page

November 14 class slides are here: Nov 14 – Choices – 6 slides per page

Christian Science Monitor on-line article: Energy efficiency: How the Internet can lower your electric bill

(to make slides larger on your screen, pressing the “Ctrl” key and “+/=” key simultaneously may help)

CAAV Members Attend Biden Rally in Richmond 6/29/13

CAAV at Biden Rally 6.29.13
CAAV members Carl Droms, Charlie Strickler, Adrie Voors, Cathy Strickler, Dennis Atwood and April Moore all contributed to the rally organized by CCAN and 350.org.

Press Release from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network 6/29/13:

Keystone XL Activists Greet Vice President Biden in Richmond

Richmond, VA — As Vice President Biden arrived in Richmond tonight to address a Democratic Party of Virginia fundraiser, climate activists greeted him with one message: “No Keystone XL pipeline.” Biden, who will deliver the keynote speech at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner, was met by anti-pipeline yard signs on his route to the Convention Center and his motorcade drove directly past about 70 climate activists lining the streets outside of the venue. Protesters called on the Obama administration to reject the tar sands oil pipeline in order to protect Virginians from rising seas, extreme weather and other intensifying climate change impacts.

Photos from the event can be accessed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/chesapeakeclimate/sets/72157634395068673/

President Obama committed in a major speech this week to reject the Keystone XL pipeline if it will increase the carbon emissions causing climate change, which the nation’s leading climate scientists conclude it will. President Obama’s speech arrived on the heels of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine’s announcement that he’s opposed to the pipeline, published in a Washington Post op-ed on June 21. As Senator Kaine’s car drove into the event tonight, he gave a friendly wave to the activists.

“Folks in Norfolk and Virginia Beach are already seeing the effects of climate change at their doorsteps. Rising temperatures cause rising seas and more severe storms to flood coastal homes and small businesses,” said Keith Thirion, Virginia Field Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “Burning through more and more polluting sources of energy, like Canada’s tar sands, will only increase the risks for coastal Virginia.”

Carrying banners that read, “Virginians Against the Keystone XL Pipeline,” and chanting, “Joe Biden raise your voice, reaffirm your keystone choice,” the rallyers worked to grab the Vice President’s attention as his motorcade drove into downtown. Several local citizens spoke at the rally, calling on Vice President Biden to reaffirm a comment he shared with a Keystone XL fighter at a South Carolina fish fry when he replied to her question regarding his stance on the pipeline, “I’m with you, but, I’m in the minority.”

Young Democrats inside the dinner also voiced their disapproval of the pipeline by wearing “No KXL” buttons.

April Moore, a local activist who spoke at the rally, highlighted the significance of the event: “President Obama just made a commitment to us this week that if Keystone will contribute to climate change, he will reject it. We are here today to make sure the Administration knows that the pipeline would have disastrous effects on our climate, especially here in Virginia. We hope Vice President Biden will bring back our message to the White House: Virginians want to stop the Keystone pipeline.”

Over the last two years, Virginians have contributed to the national movement to stop Keystone XL pipeline by holding more than a dozen events highlighting the climate risks the commonwealth faces. The fight against the pipeline has energized millions of Americans who see the issue as a test of the Obama administration’s commitment to dealing with the climate crisis. For the past several months, activists have met President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary Kerry at nearly all of their public events and demanded that the President keep his promises on climate change by rejecting the permit for the pipeline.

Saturday’s rally was organized by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Energy Action Coalition, and 350.org.

Cathy beside another rally participant
Cathy beside another rally participant
Carl and April at Biden Rally 6.29.13
Carl and April take a turn on the “pipeline”
Dennis and April at Biden Rally
Dennis and April

Walk For Our Grandchildren

Tipping Point (2013 Walk For Our Grandchildren) from Jay Mallin on Vimeo.

Featured in this video, CAAV founder Cathy Strickler participated in the 60 mile Walk For Our Grandchildren from Harpers Ferry, WV to the White House July 22- 27.


walk.2CAAV members Cathy and Charlie Strickler will be among the 100 concerned climate activists walking 60 miles from Harpers Ferry, W.V. to the White House July 22-27 “to tell President Obama and other policy makers that enough is enough. We must keep the majority of fossil fuels in the ground. We demand climate action now! ” Please consider joining them for all 6 days or any single day of the walk.

from Greg with the Walk For Our Grandchildren organizing group:

I admit it’s a bit odd. Climate change is daunting—rising temperatures, extreme weather, powerful political and economic forces which work against finding solutions—and I’m proposing to do something about this by taking a walk? It wouldn’t surprise me to have someone point and laugh, but there’s more going on with this Walk For Our Grandchildren than meets the eye.

I used to be isolated. I’d sit in front of a computer screen and read scientists’ predictions about the consequences of carbon pollution and I’d feel so low, not just because the predictions were depressing, but also because it seemed no one was paying attention. It was difficult to talk about, to be that guy who brought it up to friends and family, at work or at church. Good, otherwise emotionally healthy people have filters in place to screen the stuff that is depressing or scary, and especially if they feel like there’s nothing they can do about it, anyway. For a long time, climate change was simply getting caught in the filters.

But that’s been changing. At some point in the last few years I feel like the tiny little trickle of awareness I had about the enormity of the climate challenge became one tributary to a gathering river of people. These folks aren’t just worried or wringing their hands, either. Like any good river, they’re moving. We’re taking action. I’ve even learned how to do it myself and it’s actually not so hard. You just empty your hands, setting aside a few parts of your life for a moment to ready yourself for work that needs doing. Then you think about what you love and want to protect, you roll up your sleeves, and you wade in.

I’ll be walking on this Walk with one of the things I love, my fourteen year old daughter, Anna. She and my son, Will, are reason enough to make any sacrifice I need to make in order to know they’ll live lives safe from catastrophic climate disruption. But the reasons I’ll walk don’t end there. I’m a public school teacher who just completed his first year in the classroom. Unlike my own kids who’ve grown up with a daddy who rambles at the dinner table about Keeling curves and ocean acidification, my students are as yet largely and blissfully unaware of such things. And I don’t begrudge them that. I love it when they shyly tell me of their dreams of becoming a marine biologist, a nurse, or a chaplain. It didn’t take many days in my new job for me to realize that the least part of my calling is teaching them algebra. My real job is leaving them a world in which such dreams as they have can still come true.

Here, to me, is the meaning of this Walk:  it’s not about what will be said by us, or about us, or how someone important will pay attention and do what we ask with respect to the Keystone XL, or how our voices may get lost in the clamor of the moment. It’s that I’m marking a moment in my personal history when my intentions began to align themselves with my knowledge and my convictions. It’s about marking a larger historical moment, based not on wishful thinking but rather on mounting evidence, that a critical mass of my fellow citizens are on a similar path. Protest is a word that doesn’t even begin to capture the seriousness of my intent. I am walking because I mean to leave behind a time when I was the willing and pliant accomplice to corporate ecocide. I and those I’ll be walking with intend much more than what our sweaty, sunburned faces will suggest we’re capable of.  Using the proven power of nonviolence in action, we aim to dismantle those institutions and petty, profit-grubbing kingdoms which entertain such insanity as part of their agenda.

We’re not fools. We know it won’t happen on July 27, 2013 when we reach the White House. But our journey doesn’t end at the White House. Yet neither will it extend far into some far flung, quasi-mythical future of human perfection. Because we understand somewhat the physics of greenhouse gases on a warming planet, we also understand the rules of this game. Like the fossil fuel mega-corporations which are the principal architects of our climatic ruin, we know we’ll be going all in. Win or lose, we’ll be laying down our cards very soon. So that’s why I’m walking. I’m building the hand that we’re going to play.


walk meetingHello All,

As climate activists, it’s easy to feel hopeless in the face of reality.  The saving grace is that we don’t know what future developments will be and how they will affect the climate crisis.  Our job is to push the public into activism, just like us.  To do that we need to increase the strength of our work.

There is a place and plan where we can do this.  You may have already heard of the Walk for Our Grandchildren that is planned for July 22nd-27th, going from Harpers Ferry to DC, 60 miles. (A small group will have already walked from Camp David to Harpers Ferry but that leg of the walk can’t easily accommodate a large number of hikers).

This event is being sponsored by CCAN and 350.org and is very well organized with lots of support built in.  CAAV thought it would be helpful to have a local meeting of those who like the idea but who are wondering if the logistics are too complicated and so might decide not to attempt it.

By getting together we can all look at the plan and see how we may want to participate and possibly team up with others for a one or more day hike.  Even one day will help swell the numbers.

Gandhi had his 240-mile salt march to the sea in 1930 for Indian independence from Britain.  This event is for energy independence from the strangle hold the fossil fuel companies have on our grandchildren.

The Walk for our Grandchildren organizational meeting will be Tuesday, July 2nd at the Massanutten Regional Library, downtown Harrisonburg at 7:00 PM.

We hope you can come.  Many of us marched in Harrisonburg when Sen. Warner was here.  Now it’s time to take all the energy we have to march to Washington, many steps in an even longer journey.

Find more details about the walk including route and registration information here.

Following the meeting, please join us as we cross the street to watch a 16 minute segment of the movie A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet at Clementine’s Ruby’s Lounge. We look forward to finding some inspiration in this short review of the climate change movement and how far it has come.

With gratitude,

Legislative and Elections Committee


Meet Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s Todd Akin

critical choiceby Josh Israel, Thinkprogress.org December 3, 2012

Virginia’s Republican Party appears poised to nominate state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to be its candidate for governor in 2013 — embracing a man whose extreme political views bear striking resemblance to those of unsuccessful 2012 Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO).

With his fervent anti-science, anti-choice, and anti-LGBT, anti-federal government activism, Akin’s extreme positions were well known long before his infamous August pronouncement that victims of “legitimate rape” are unlikely to become pregnant helped derail his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign. Cuccinelli’s views closely mirror Akin’s in all of those areas.

Over seven-and-a-half years as a Virginia state senator and three years as the commonwealth’s attorney general, Republican Ken Cuccinelli II has been, in the words of the Washington Post’s editorial board, “the most overtly partisan attorney general in Virginia’s history.” Though he claims he is “best known for his efforts to preserve liberty and defend the US Constitution,” it is his opposition to liberty for women and LGBT Americans and his frequent court losses based on his flawed constitutional theories that have defined his political career to date.

While perhaps not as careless as Akin with his rhetoric, Cuccinelli has embraced many of the same extreme positions:

3. He is a climate-change denier. As part of his efforts to cast doubt on climate-change science, he used his position to launch an inquisition against a former University of Virginia climate scientist. Citing possible “fraud against taxpayers,” Cuccinelli demanded the university provide him with a wide range of records relating Dr. Michael E. Mann’s grant applications. A circuit judge and then the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the Attorney General was incorrect in believing he had the legal authority to undertake such a fishing expedition. He blasted the ruling, newspapers blasted him for wasting Virginia tax dollars. He also failed in his federal lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas — a unanimous appeals court upheld the agency’s regulations as based on an “unambiguously correct” reading of the law. Since his legal efforts for climate-change denial failed, he often relies on mockery, asking audiences to exhale carbon dioxide in unison, during his speeches, to annoy the EPA. …

Please find Josh Israel’s entire piece here:

via Meet Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s Todd Akin.