Solutions to Save Us: Educate for the Earth



The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV), is devoting series of forums to 5 of the top 100 climate change solutions Paul Hawkens and his fellow researchers enumerate in the new book, “Drawdown.” (You can read more about this research at

CAAV continues the spring 2018 series, “Solutions to Save Us” with a forum on how women & girl’s access to education and family planning can solve our climate crisis.

The Drawdown research calculates that educating girls is the 6th most promising solution to solving the climate crisis, while access to family planning comes it at 7th. However, when combined, these two strategies beat the top ranked solution, with the ability to reduce nearly 112 Gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2050.

This event, “Solutions to Save Us: Educate for the Earth” will be a chance for community members to learn more about the barriers to these two solutions and how they can promote them worldwide.

Featured speakers will include:

-Dr. Laura Desportes, College of Education, James Madison University
-Dr. Andrea Knopp, School of Nursing, James Madison University

We hope you will join us on Thursday, March 29 at 7PM in the Fire & Rescue Training Room at the Rockingham County Administration Center, 50 E. Gay Street, Harrisonburg.

Past “Solutions to Save Us” Event:
– “Eat for the Earth,” (February 28), focused on reduced food waste (Solution #3) and plant-rich diets (Solution #4).

Future “Solutions to Save Us” Event:
– “Cool it for the Earth,” (early May), focused on Refrigerant Management (#1 solution).

Explore the complete list of 100 solutions to climate change at



Solutions to Save Us: Eat for the Earth


All are invited to come to a public presentation by James Madison University Professor of Anthropology, Megan Tracy, to discuss the impacts of meat-based diets and food waste on global warming. Listed as the third and fourth most impactful actions in the solutions list in Paul Hawkens’ book, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, curtailing food waste and switching to plant-based diets offer significant reductions in carbon emissions to control climate change.

Wednesday, February 28 | 7PM
Community Development Public Meeting Room, Entrance C
(note change from previously advertised Fire and Rescue Training Room)
Rockingham County Administration Center
57 E. Gay St., Harrisonburg

A representative of the Friendly City Food Coop will join us with samples of meatless meats! Incorporating meat substitutes into meals can be helpful in transitioning to eating less meat.

This is the first of a three part series hosted by the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley to examine Solutions to Save Us.

“Plant-rich diets reduce emissions and also tend to be healthier, leading to lower rates of chronic disease. According to a 2016 study, business-as-usual emissions could be reduced by as much as 70 percent through adopting a vegan diet and 63 percent for a vegetarian diet, which includes cheese, milk, and eggs. $1 trillion in annual health-care costs and lost productivity would be saved.

The food we waste is responsible for roughly 8 percent of global emissions. Losing food to one waste heap or another is an issue in both high- and low-income countries. In places where income is low, wastage is generally unintentional and occurs earlier in the supply chain—food rots on farms or spoils during storage or distribution. In regions of higher income, willful food waste dominates farther along the supply chain. Retailers and consumers reject food based on bumps, bruises, and coloring, or simply order, buy, and serve too much.” – Drawdown

In March we’ll look at solutions 6 and 7, Educating Women and Family Planning, and in April we’ll learn about the surprising top solution, Refrigerant Management.

Population Matters! Presentation

This presentation was covered by Daily-News Record reporter Ellie Potter. Her article was published on September 20, 2017: 7.5 Billion’s A Crowd. Thanks for this great article Ellie!

“The reality is this, that the earth has become so overpopulated that its survival is at risk,” (Dr. Michael Glagano) … said, “and its survival is tied to things like its ability to produce food, clean air, clean water.”

Education is one way to help with population control, by teaching families how to plan their families. Educated women tend to be more career-driven, marrying and starting families later in life, he said.

But combating the problem across the globe is challenging when each country addresses its population growth differently.


Solving the climate change crisis is all about getting off fossil fuels, right? Install solar, switch to LED lighting, eat less meat, recycle, carpool and use alternative transportation. You’ve heard this over and over.

Yet, there’s an “elephant in the room” not getting the attention it deserves. Humans have achieved unprecedented population levels. From about 1.5 billion in 1900 to currently 7.5 billion and projected to reach 10 billion by 2050. Fossil fuels have propelled unparalelled growth and success of the human species. It is the Anthropocene after all. Sustainability will take more than changing our energy source.

History Professor Michael Galgano teaches global population issues at James Madison University. We’ve invited him to address how our sheer human numbers factor into the race to preserve enough natural resources for our continuing success.

Please join the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley at the Harrisonburg Downtown Massanutten Regional Library on Tuesday, September 19 at 6:30 PM for this critical discussion.

Fighting Climate Change in the Courts


US Marshalls like Wyatt Earp helped clean up the lawless old West—can Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) lawyers help clean up the chaos of climate change? Can a small group of kids (Our Children’s Trust) and their lawyers demand their, and our, right to a livable planet?

We can meet, we can march, we can lobby, write letters, sign petitions, and put up solar panels. But when it comes right down to it, we live in a nation governed by the rule of law, “of the people, for the people, by the people,” and when laws are unjust, or when just laws are attacked by special interests, we also have recourse through the courts.
The “SELC believes that everyone in this region deserves to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in a healthy environment. This nonprofit organization gets consistently impressive results because we know how to work effectively in all three branches of government—and at the national, regional, state, and local levels—to create, strengthen, and enforce the laws and policies that determine the beauty and health of our environment.“

Speaker Will Cleveland has worked on Virginia’s Clean Power Plan, uranium mining, solar power, retiring outdated coal burning plants, biomass energy, and the power of energy efficiency among other issues, in his years at SELC so he can address almost any problem you’d like to bring up.

Our Children’s Trust elevates the voice of youth to secure the legal right to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere for the benefit of all present and future generations …”
Recently U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken declared “Exercising my ‘reasoned judgment,’ I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.”

“The decision means that the youth, age 9-20 and from all over the U.S., now have standing because their rights are at stake, and now their case (Juliana vs U.S.) is headed to trial.”

See short films about the case and some of the youth involved and learn the background and current status of this groundbreaking lawsuit.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
6:30 – 8:00PM
Massanutten Regional Library
174 S. Main St., Harrisonburg

Hosted by the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

Global Warming, Global Perspectives

Thanks to Marites Cortes, Francis Lopaka and Diana Tovar for their perspectives on changes in their countries due to global warming! We hope to keep the conversation going.


Personal Stories of Climate Change

The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley presents speakers from the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Colombia on Monday, November 28th at 7:00pm, Simms Center Auditorium, to share their experiences of climate change with us.

People around the world are being affected right now by extreme weather events, ocean acidification and droughts made much worse by climate change.  All but the richest countries are struggling to improve the lives of their citizens with more electricity, better transportation, and greater industrialization. All of these increase CO2 emissions if done with fossil fuels.  It is even more important now with the Paris accord under attack that you join us so that we can all begin to understand the immensity of the problem and the necessity for working together to solve it.

Marites Cortes, Francis Lopaka, and Diana Tovar will be speaking.

Facebook event page here.

1 on 1: CAAV Events and Education Committee Chair Joni Grady with Bob Corso on WHSV Monday, November 21 discussing this upcoming event:


VA General Assembly 2016: Energy

Moving the Ball Forward: Update and Strategy for Virginia’s Energy Future

Hannah2.22.16Hosted by the Shenandoah Group of the Virginia Sierra Club (rescheduled from January 26)

Date: Monday, February 22, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Room 117, Ice House, 127 W. Bruce St., Harrisonburg

Parking is available one block away at the Water St. parking deck, or the municipal lot behind City Hall.

Get the latest in-depth info on what’s happening in Richmond’s General Assembly this year that affects solar, efficiency, Dominion Power and pipelines. The speaker is Hannah Wiegard, Virginia Campaign Coordinator with Appalachian Voices. There will be time for discussion of what we can do in the valley and questions from the audience.

Wildfire Presentation at MRL

wildfires2Thanks to Alan Williams for an interesting and informative presentation with lots of amazing photos! And thank you for your dedication to this difficult work.




The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley presents the inside story on fighting western forest fires, from training to living in camp to the actual hard and very dirty work of controlling a wildfire, from Shenandoah National Park’s Alan Williams.

Alan Williams is an Ecologist/Data Manager for Shenandoah National Park (SNP). He works on projects including water quality, aquatic invertebrate monitoring, native trout monitoring, non-native plant monitoring, forest health, rare plant monitoring, and Peregrine Falcon restoration. He is also a member of the park’s technical rescue team and wildfire fighting crew.

On Monday, October 26 at 6:00 PM at the Harrisonburg Downtown Library, Alan Williams will share with us his experiences working western wildfires as well as what firefighting means at SNP.

Alan pix.300

Alan Williams is an ecologist and wildfire fighter with the Shenandoah National Park.

Come to watch “Unacceptable Risk: Firefighters on the Front Lines of Climate Change.” Produced by The Story Group, this short video “focuses on the people battling to save lives and property in a rapidly changing environment.” Then hear Alan present about training for fighting wildfires, life in a fire camp, working western wildfires, and wildfires and the Shenandoah National Park. We will have time for questions following the presentation.

All welcome!

Top photo credit: from The Story Group’s video “Unacceptable Risk: Firefighters on the Front Lines of Climate Change.” 

The Impact of Climate Change on Peace and Security

Schirch2.500On September 15, 2015, the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley will present a public talk by Dr. Lisa Schirch on the Impact of Climate Change on Peace and Security. Schirch is Director of Human Security at the Alliance for Peacebuilding, and Research Professor at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.

Dr. Schirch will talk about how climate change is not only going to affect our world in terms of environmental impacts, but also in economic, social, political, peace, and security areas. She says, “What I’ll do here is to link the different impacts together, because climate change itself does not cause conflict. It operates within a complex dynamic system.”

The talk won’t go into the settled science but will instead go over the impacts of climate change, seeing how the different impacts are related, and looking at the world as a community so that we can collectively address and conquer this major threat.

In addition, John Eckman, Executive Director of Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, will discuss the issue as it may more narrowly impact the Valley.

Please join us for this presentation on Tuesday, September 15, 6:00PM, at the downtown Harrisonburg library, 174 S. Main St., Harrisonburg.

“On the Chopping Block” with Brian Bellew


Please join the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley for a public presentation by Friends of Blackwater Climate Outreach Coordinator Brian Bellew: “On the Chopping Block: Climate Change and the Allegheny Highlands – What’s at Stake, What’s at Risk, and What Are Our Choices?”

Tuesday, May 19, 6:00 PM, Massanutten Regional Library, 174 S. Main St., Harrisonburg

The Allegheny Highlands includes on its eastern edge Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park – and the magnificent Monongahela and George Washington National Forests, and much more. For generations, an intricate web of life based on the Highlands’ high-mountain climate has been central to the region’s vibrant forestry, agricultural, recreation, and hospitality economy.

But we can no longer take the Allegheny Highlands’ historic climate for granted.
Climate change impacts are already affecting temperatures, precipitation, weather, growing seasons, streams, forests, plants, animals and humans – and future impacts will be severe, unless global warming is reined in.

Today, the distinctive Highlands ecology and economy — that have enriched so many generations of residents and visitors — are “on the chopping block.”

Brian Bellew, staffer with Friends of Blackwater, an environmental and conservation organization headquartered in Davis, W.V., will present a program that highlights the scientific research that was presented at a June 2014 conference at Blackwater Falls State Park featuring a dozen experts.

Les Grady, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley member, will also talk about the effects of climate change on our bird population.

Contact Joni Grady at 540-209-9198 for more information.

Friends of Blackwater is a non-profit conservation organization working effectively in the Mid-Atlantic Appalachian Highlands with a mission to protect key landscapes and watersheds, natural and human communities, and to support economic development that maximizes biodiversity and outdoor recreational opportunities for future generations. 

The Highlands region straddles the Appalachians’ highest peaks — including parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. Hundreds of thousands of people live and work in the Highlands, and each year thousands of visitors come to enjoy the distinctive highmountain climate. But unless the pace of global warming and climate change is slowed, the future of the ecology and economy that have enriched so many generations of residents and visitors is on the chopping block.

Friends of Blackwater is leading an Allegheny Highlands Climate Change Impacts Initiative highlighting the growing, dangerous impacts and risks from global warming and climate change to the Highlands’ economy and ecology.

Friends of Blackwater Climate Outreach Coordinator Brian Bellew is doing community presentations about their new Report, “On the Chopping Block – the Impacts of Climate Change on the Mid-Atlantic Allegheny Highlands.” You can read and download a copy of the Report here.

Advocacy Workshop for a Resilient Valley


Thanks to all the participants, presenters, and organizers for a successful Advocacy Workshop for a Resilient Valley held on January 17 at the Massanetta Springs Conference Center!

When: Saturday, January 17, 2015 8:30 AM- 5:30 PM Where: Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center, 712 Massanetta Springs Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801 You are invited by the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) and the Virginia Sierra Club to attend a workshop to share and sharpen the skills we all need to help mobilize our friends and neighbors to influence environmental policies at every level of government. The rising pressures on Virginia and the Valley are two-fold: (1) from the fossil fuel industry dumping CO2 into the atmosphere for free and old-fashioned electrical utilities building pipelines and discouraging wind and solar power, and (2) from the impacts of the climate disruption they cause.  We may not feel our climate change as much as other areas but we will certainly feel higher food prices for livestock and for ourselves, a growing influx of people moving from more vulnerable areas, and natural ecosystems increasingly stressed not only by rising temperatures but habitat loss if development isn’t carefully managed. We must be aware of these pressures and be prepared to meet them before they overwhelm all that we value here: the beauty of mountains and streams filled with healthy wildlife and a resilient regional economy, both agricultural and non-farm, based on clean, renewable energy. Agenda items include:

  • The Big Picture – Our common goals
  • Messaging and Audience: Having good conversations about the challenges facing us
  • Introduction to Advocacy: Engaging local public officials
  • The EPA’s Clean Power Plan–Carbon Reduction Goals for Virginia
  • Earning Media Attention: How to get local press coverage of your actions and results
  • Building an Effective Team
  • Developing Action Plans: Exercises to put into practice what you have learned

Presenters will include Dr. Les Grady of CAAV’s Speakers Bureau and Kate Addleson, Conservation Director for Virginia Sierra Club and state lead for the Climate Action Campaign in Virginia. Lunch (and dinner, if you choose to stay for it) will be provided by Virginia Sierra Club.  Dinner will also be held on site starting at 6 pm. Space is limited to 35 participants:  pay your $10.00 registration fee now at our EventBrite page to save your place. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet other people working for what you believe in and to become a powerful advocate for a resilient and sustainable future for the Valley. For more information contact Joni Grady, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley, or 540-209-9198