The Color of Money and Your Utility Bill: What Is and What Can Be

Watch the archived presentation of Harrison Wallace’s talk on October 28, 2020, posted to the Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club Facebook videos page. Thanks to Jonathan Stewart!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 | 7PM

A Zoom presentation by Harrison Wallace, Director of Programs for the Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund; formerly Virginia Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network; and a JMU graduate.

Hosted by the Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club and the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

People with limited money pay a bigger part of their incomes for electricity than those with bigger incomes.  Why is this and what can be done about it?  This environmental justice issue affects many people in very difficult ways.  Listen in and learn what we can do here in the valley and in Virginia.

Harrison Wallace, a native of Waynesboro and a JMU graduate, lobbied in Richmond several years for Chesapeake Climate Action Network and is now the Director of Programs for CCEEF – Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund.  He brings passion and knowledge to this important topic.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Wake up Virginia!!!

Find our recap, and media coverage of this event HERE.


Wake up Virginia!!! Mobilizing for Our Climate Crisis
A panel discussion featuring experts on state climate legislation

Wednesday, March 20 | 7-8:30PM
Community Room
Entrance C
Rockingham County Administration Center
20 E Gay St, Harrisonburg
All welcome!

… [C]limate change is running faster than we are – and we are running out of time.” – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, December 3, 2018

A recent report to the United Nations from the world’s leading climate scientists indicates the humanitarian crisis and scale of ecological devastation to come has seen no precedent in human history. Likewise the scale of needed intervention requires an unprecedented, united will and effort. Are we up for it?

The Harrisonburg-based Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) has invited three regional experts in Virginia climate legislative initiatives for a panel discussion focused on current efforts and next steps needed to turn the tide of the climate crisis and slow our sinking ship! The program, “Wake Up Virginia!!! Mobilizing for Our Climate Crisis,” will be held on Wednesday, March 20 at 7PM at the Rockingham County Administration Center in Harrisonburg. In addition to looking at efforts now underway, it will explore options and possibilities, including the hope, scope and promise offered of a Green New Deal, and concrete actions for audience members.

“Wake up Virginia!!! Mobilizing for Our Climate Crisis” will feature Karen Campblin of Fairfax, Co-Chair of the Green New Deal Virginia Coalition, and Environmental and Climate Justice Chair for the Virginia NAACP; Bob Shippee of Richmond, Legislative and Political Chair of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter; and April Moore of Shenandoah County, member of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network Board of Directors.

CAAV is encouraging all citizens to attend! There will be a drawing for some great door prizes after hearing from the guest panelists and an audience question and answer segment.

Door Prizes include:

  • Certificate for 4 adults to have refreshments and a home and garden tour in Bridgewater. (The home has 8.3 kW rooftop solar, solar tubes, and a densely planted landscape of native plants and edibles.)
  • owlprintsnipBoxed set of two exterior solar spotlights
  • Hand crafted earrings of fused glass in climate-friendly green
  • Print of a Great Gray Owl created by local artist Karen Lee for The Defenders project

The event is co-sponsored by the Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

About our invited panelists:

Karen Campblin.250Karen Campblin of Fairfax is Co-Chair of the Green New Deal Virginia Coalition, and Environmental and Climate Justice Chair for the NAACP’s Virginia chapter. Green New Deal Virginia’s co-founder, Delegate Sam Rasoul of Roanoke, says that environmental, economic and social justice cannot be separated. A Green New Deal, he believes, would give Virginia a way to greatly reduce poverty and bring economic prosperity by “creating tens of thousands of good paying jobs in clean energy”.

BobShippee.250Richmond resident Bob Shippee is Legislative and Political Chair of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter. As Legislative Chair, he tracks legislation, does lobbying, leads the chapter’s legislative committee and collaborates with them to develop position papers. Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country.

April Moore Portrait.250April Moore is a climate activist, organizer, and author, who lives in Shenandoah County.  She is a board member of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) and a member of CAAV’s speakers’ bureau. Her long-running blogsite,, offers “to nourish and inspire people who love the earth.”

CCAN’s website says its major successes, since its founding in 2002, include cleanup of coal-related mercury in Wise County, cleanup of three dump sites of coal ash in Maryland, an anti-fracking law and strong carbon cap in Maryland, and the groundbreaking Clean Energy DC Act of 2018 in Washington D.C., the strongest climate law in the country.

Contact Karen Lee: karenrlee [at] gmail [dot] com

Please share this event with friends, family, and community groups! Printable flyer is HERE.

Dissent as Defense of Our Forests and Future

ThePowerofDissent.10.24.18.cropBig thanks to our Oct 24 presenters Case Watkins and Kendall Sellars (both in photo at right), and the Nov 17 speakers Chris Bolgiano and Kate Holcomb, for all their great presentations for this two part series!

Below are resources recommended by Kate Holcomb of the Dogwood Alliance:

  • the Stand4Forests website that goes over the ideals the platform is founded on.
  • resources on U.S. forests on the Dogwood Alliance website
  • biomass economics in the southeast paper
  • wetland logging investigation
  • the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Dominion issue brief, and here are more NRDC resources
  • Southern Environmental Law Center Biomass Energy in South
  • the film Burned


We cherish our forests for many things, their beauty, their grandeur, and for all our memories of special childhood, youth and adult experiences there. They give us oxygen, plants, animals, healthy soil, clean water, beauty, peace, and re-creation in the fullest sense.

Are forests essential for our future? What action, if any, do we need to take to protect our forests? The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley, invites the public to explore these questions in a two-part education series titled “Dissent as Defense of Our Forests and Future”. It will be held at the Rockingham County Administration Building, Entrance A, at 20 E. Gay Street, Harrisonburg, 7pm, on these two Wednesdays: October 24 and November 14.

Part one, “The Power of Dissent” is a lecture by Dr. Case Watkins, October 24 at 7pm. Watkins, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at James Madison University (JMU), will talk about the importance and necessity of dissent for social change. His focus while teaching at JMU has been to realize and integrate social, global and environmental justice. He draws on experience in New Orleans, Portugal and Brazil to understand these issues, especially for rural communities and communities of color.

To add the perspective of a current activist, Watkins is joined by Kendall King from Virginia Student Environmental Coalition (VSEC). VSEC works with campuses around the state to empower Virginia students and other youth for climate action. They explain, “We are a group of young people striving to build a new world, one in which people are free to express themselves and find community. We fight because people’s needs aren’t being met and we don’t think it’s accidental.”

Part two, the second lecture, on November 14 is “Forests Are Our Future” by Chris Bolgiano, who will explain the national campaign, Stand for Forests. See A Wild Virginia representative joins her to speak on “What Can We Do Now?”.

Bolgiano, now Emeritus Faculty from JMU, refers to herself as a “mildly amusing nature writer.” However, she has written or edited six books, several receiving literary awards, and has authored many articles on nature and travel for the New York Times, Washington Post, the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and others. Harvard ecologist, E.O. Wilson, known worldwide, says of her 2011 book, Southern Appalachian Celebration: In Praise of Ancient Mountains, Old-Growth Forests, and Wilderness, “No book of my experience has ever caught the natural beauty and richness of southern Appalachia with greater exactitude.”

Both events are free and open to the public, and there will be time for questions.

Facebook event page here.

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.”