“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.


Kathryn Davis

Grade 11


Haley Dove

Grade 11

All Talk

Madison Ecroyd

Grade 11


Alea Jean-Mina

Grade 11


Alisha Kirtley

Grade 12

Trash fish

Trevor Krepps

Grade 11

The Wave

Jessica McDonaldson

Grade 12

Recycled Reef

Christopher Michael

Art Teacher


Natalie Morris

Grade 12

Oil Spill

Zope Ramos-Beck

Grade 11


Patrick Stapleton

Grade 10


Riley Stepp


Parris Ward

Grade 12


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.

“The Story of Plastic” Free Screening and Community Talk Back

If you didn’t get to watch the “Talk Back” event live, watch the recording here:


If you didn’t get to watch The Story of Plastic for this event, click here for ways to see it.

Harrisonburg’s Earth Day Every Day, with help from the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley, is hosting at-home screenings of the newest Story of Stuff Project film: The Story of Plastic. Film viewing can be accessed between June 1 and June 8. This watching period will be followed up with a short live panel discussion of the film on the evening of Monday, June 8.

Get the links needed to watch the film and panel discussion by registering through the Eventbrite page here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-story-of-plastic-free-screening-and-community-talk-back-tickets-106520411418

Watch a free virtual screening of ‘The Story of Plastic’ and join our community conversation to help stop plastic pollution!

About this Event

We applaud you for your interest in ending plastic pollution! A big welcome to the two parts of our free public event:

Part 1: Watch the Film! You have a full week to watch a remarkable 96-minute film, The Story of Plastic.

Part 2: Talk Back! On the last day of film watching, June 8 at 7pm, you are invited to see (via a zoom link) our hard-working moderator and panel members respond to the plastic pollution crisis and field your submitted questions.

Earth Day Every Day (EDED) is celebrating its first birthday on June 8! This event is a way to thank all who had a hand in this successful first year, and to have all of you “join the party”! Please honor the birthday, and our earth, by joining us for this special virtual event. It is completely free and open to the public.

About the Film (Watch the Trailer Here)

Produced by the Story of Stuff Project, The Story of Plastic takes a sweeping look at the man-made crisis of plastic pollution and the worldwide effect it has on the health of our planet and the people who inhabit it. Spanning three continents, the film illustrates the ongoing catastrophe: fields full of garbage, veritable mountains of trash, rivers and seas clogged with waste, and skies choked with the poisonous emissions from plastic production and processing. The Story of Plastic features interviews with experts and activists on the front lines of the fight, revealing the disastrous consequences of the flood of plastic smothering ecosystems and poisoning communities around the world, and the global movement that is rising up in response. With engaging original animationarchival industry footage beginning in the 1930’s, and first-person accounts of the unfolding emergency, the film distills a complex problem that is increasingly affecting the planet’s and its residents’ well-being.

“Talk Back” Panel Discussion on Monday, June 8, 7PM via Zoom

W A N T E D ! We really want your questions for the Talk Back. Little or big ones! Please email your questions by 4pm, Sunday, June 7 to contactcaav@gmail.com.


Moderator: Dr. Bob Bersson, JMU professor of art 1980-2003, artist, author of two art textbooks, community organizer and, in 2016, founder of the Interfaith Initiative for Peace and Justice in Harrisonburg, and currently coordinator of EMU’s Center for Interfaith Engagement spring film series.

Dr. Les Grady is a licensed environmental engineer, studying climate science and global warming in his retirement. He has taught at Purdue and Clemson, and consulted for the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting company. He currently authors the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley’s (CAAV) Weekly Climate News Roundup, presents for CAAV speakers bureau and teaches in JMU’s Lifelong Learning Institute.

Virginia Healy is a science and history teacher at Skyline Middle School helping students learn how to reduce waste and to help the next generation to do even more. She is a member of the EDED leadership team.

Elly Swecker is founder and chair of EDED and a presenter on plastic pollution and achieving zero waste. She formerly worked at the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board, and is past executive director of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic.

Art Fovargue is an avid citizen recycler. Trained as an engineer, he is retired from many years as laboratory manager for the Department of Physics & Astronomy at JMU. He is currently active in the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Rockingham Bird Club, and is co-coordinator of CAAV’s Community Compost Drop-off project.

News Media Coverage!

Kathleen Shaw wrote about the event for the June 4, 2020 edition of the Daily News-Record. A pdf of the article is here: Environmental Activist Groups Partner to Share Plastic’s Polluted Plot

Bob Corso interviewed EDED’s Elly Swecker on June 5 for WHSV TV’s 1on1: 1on1: Free screening of the film “The Story of Plastic”

Harrisonburg Climate Strike Pt. 2

Calling all CAAVers!!

Please see the information below for details and come to Court Square tomorrow, Friday.  You can also join the JMU students on the Quad at 11:30 and march with them to Court Square.

The strike event last Friday was great.  The community really turned out.  Hopefully we can repeat and better our success.  If you believe the world has a climate crisis, please make your concerns known by showing up.  And, please spread the word.

Here’s what the organizers have told us:

The Global Climate Strike Young people have woken up much of the world with their powerful Fridays for Future school strikes for the climate. As we deal with devastating climate breakdown and hurtle towards dangerous tipping points, young people are calling on millions of us across the planet to disrupt business as usual by joining the global climate strikes on September 20, just ahead of a UN emergency climate summit, and again on September 27. Together, we will sound the alarm and show our politicians that business as usual is no longer an option. The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we.

James Madison University 50 by 25 Clean Energy Call to Action

  • We are in a climate emergency.
  • We are all affected, but the poor are hurt first and worst.
  • We all need clean energy, clean air, and clean water.
  • We must act now.

The Demands of the James Madison University Students

  1. We ask the JMU Administration to:Adopt a solar and wind energy requirement of 50% by 2025 and 100% by 2040.
  2. Place a moratorium on all future construction of parking decks and parking lots associated with the school.
  3. Divert a student-agreed upon amount of funding from the JMU comprehensive fee to green initiatives on campus, without raising said fee.

The Official September 27th Harrisonburg Climate Strike Order of Events


11:30 AM-Meet at the Quad

• Sign building materials for students/faculty to make signs or grab a sign/poster/drop cloth to hold.

12:00 PM- JMU Student and Faculty* Speeches


12:30 PM- Begin our march to Court Square.

1:00 PM- Convene at Court Square with Harrisonburg High School, EMU, and all other communities, organizations, and individuals wishing to participate.

1:10 PM- Court Square Order of Events

• Welcome Speech: Nidhi Vinod (Renew Rocktown)
• Student Speech: Spencer Spears (HHS Student)
• Student Speech: Wade Banks (EMU Student)
• Student Speech: Silas Benevento (HHS Student)
• Labor Speech: Michael Snell-Feikema (Occupy HBurg)
• Faith Communities Speech: Pastor Lauren Eanes (Muhlenberg Lutheran Church)
• Closing Remarks
Speeches should not take more than five minutes apiece. A brief amount of time will be given between speeches, to allow each speaker to prepare.

2:00 PM Official Event will end at this time

Give Solar


Give Solar, a new local project, has launched in Harrisonburg. This effort grew out of the successful Gift & Thrift “solar barn raising” (video here) in November of 2016.  Community support from crowdfunding and volunteer labor for the solar installation made the solarizing of Gift & Thrift possible.  Three additional solar barn raisings, two in Harrisonburg and one in Ephrata, PA, have since been completed.

Give Solar helps local nonprofits go solar with no out-of-pocket expenses for the organizations.  This works through a combination of grant funding (Merck Foundation), affinity group funding, and crowd-sourced funding.

Harrisonburg nonprofit organizations will own the solar system outright from the day it is turned on. Reducing overhead expenses allows these local organizations to better carry out their missions. These projects also contribute to the long-term resilience and sustainability of our community.  Helping nonprofits go solar requires our community’s financial and volunteer support.

In the next year, Give Solar will install solar electric systems at two local nonprofit organizations. Our Community Place was selected for the first installation.  In November, Green Hill Solar will coordinate a solar barn raising on the roof of OCP.  The 17.4 kW solar system will eliminate 75% of OCP’s electric bill, saving them over $3000 each year. These savings will help OCP to better carry out their outreach to people who are experiencing homelessness and other adverse life circumstances.

Please partner with Give Solar to provide OCP its solar electric system. With your individual donation of $20-30, we can raise $10,000 to insure 100% of the costs are covered without any financial burden to OCP.

Give Solar strives to get community members involved through:

  1. direct participation – either donating your time or money (or a little of both!)
  2. raising awareness about renewable energy
  3. by informing the community about the mission of the partner nonprofits.

Please tell your friends & family and share our website, Give.Solar on social networks.

To contribute to the project, click here: PayPal.  Donations are being directed through New Community Project, better known in Harrisonburg as Vine and Fig.  The Give Solar project is operating under the nonprofit umbrella of Vine and Fig.  All PayPal contributions go directly to the Our Community Place solar project.  All donations, either by check or through PayPal, are tax deductible.

Lastly, please consider joining the Thousand Forward campaign. Give Solar is building a critical mass of 1000 solar advocates in the Harrisonburg area.  Please join us in advocating for renewable energy in our community by joining a Thousand Forward!

givesolarlogoThank you for your support!

Jeff Heie, October 2018
Give Solar Project Coordinator

PS:  There are opportunities to become a sponsor of this effort through a larger contribution.  Sponsorship will give your business, civic group, or foundation a prominent display of your logo on the Give Solar website as well as the Give Solar promotional documents. Current sponsors can be found at the bottom of the Give Solar homepage.

November 9, 2018 – Megan Williams of the Daily News-Record covered Give Solar’s “solar barn raising” on Our Community Place that took place the day before:
Going Green – Give Solar Installs $25,000 In Panels At Our Community Place

All about GiveSolar’s Solar Seed Fund and news items covering this effort here: https://climateactionallianceofthevalley.org/2021/03/25/give-solar-launches-solar-seed-fund/

BXE Video Series

Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) is launching a series of educational videos about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the dangers it poses to our communities and climate. They are meant to engage the public on issues related to FERC, fracking and extreme energy.

Check out their first video: Are Oil and Gas Pipelines for the Public Good?


Energia Solar Por Puerto Rico


Friday, April 20, 2018, 7-9pm
Community Mennonite Church, 70 S. High St, Harrisonburg

You are invited to a FUN EVENING!
Energia Solar Por Puerto Rico, a benefit concert featuring local artists:

  • Doug Hendren, environmental songwriter
  • blues duo Bobby Driver and Trudy Cole, and
  • salsa band Trio Enka.


  • Short slideshow of Puerto Rico before & after Hurricane Maria.
  • Party finger foods and sponsor displays at intermission.
  • Salsa music and dance instruction complete the evening.

All proceeds go to Resilient Power Puerto Rico to provide solar power systems to hurricane victims. Pay what you can.  Info: 540-820-1219.


concertsnip3Sponsored by 8 local groups:

• Climate Action Alliance of the Valley
• Community Mennonite Church
• Harrisonburg Co-Housing
• Harrisonburg Unitarian Universalists
• Renew Rocktown
• Salsaburg
• Valley Friends Meeting
• Voluntary Gas Tax

See Daily News-Record reporter Justin McIlwee’s story about the event as published on April 13 here: Salsa and Support: Fundraiser to Benefit Puerto Rico

2017 Virginia Solar Congress


All about the 2017 VA Solar Congress including notes, PowerPoint presentations, photos and more from Solar United Neighbors of Virginia here.

Join solar energy enthusiasts from across Virginia for the 2nd annual Virginia Solar Congress, hosted by our partner organization, Solar United Neighbors of Virginia (formerly VA SUN). RSVP here to attend.

2017 Virginia Solar Congress
Saturday, October 14
9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
James Madison University – ISAT-CS Building
701 Carrier Dr., Harrisonburg, VA 22807

The Virginia Solar Congress is a free public conference that brings together solar supporters from across the state to learn and discuss the current state and future for solar energy in Virginia. The day will include presentations about solar technology and policy topics as well as ways to get involved with growing solar in Virginia. We will also hold a participatory open forum discussion for all attendees to discuss the priorities that solar supporters in Virginia should focus on in the coming year.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to attend!

RSVP here to attend.

We’re excited to announce that we’ve finalized our agenda for the 2nd Annual VA SUN Solar congress in Harrisonburg on October 14th.

You’ll see from the agenda below that this year’s conference will have something for everyone! We look forward to seeing you there!

9:30 to 10:00 – Registration, breakfast refreshments

10:00 to 10:35 – Opening Remarks

10:45 to 11:45 – Workshops – Session 1

1. Solar 101 Information Session
Learn the basics of how solar works on a home or small business, the economics behind solar, and the incentives available to you. If you are new to solar or considering going solar, this is the session for you!

2. Growing Solar in Your Community
Solar homeowners will share their experiences spreading the word about solar in their community, from hosting solar open houses and solar tours to writing articles in local papers and tabling at community events. You’ll leave this session with tangible ways to share your experience going solar and bring more solar to your community.
Facilitated by Climate Action Alliance of the Valley member Joy Loving

3. Electric Vehicles and Solar
Learn why electric vehicles are the perfect match for solar. The presentation will focus on technology, costs, charging and other practical considerations so that you can ‘fuel your vehicle with solar’. The session will also cover information for business owners interested in installing an EV charger at their business.

12:00 to 1:00 – Lunch and informal networking – lunch will be served

1:15 to 2:15 – Workshops – Session 2

1. Solar Jobs in Virginia
The expanding solar industry is creating new opportunities for the Virginia workforce. Learn about the range of solar jobs in Virginia, the skill sets needed to be successful in the industry, training opportunities, and how to break into the field.

2. Case Study: Local DIY Solar and Barnraising Initiatives
Learn about how a group of community members in Harrisonburg took solar into their own hands by creating and implementing multiple non-traditional models for solar, including a pool of community resources for several DIY solar installations and a ‘barnraising’ crowdfunding initiative to solarize local non-profit, Gift & Thrift.

3. Solar and Energy Storage
Learn the latest on battery storage for residential, commercial and municipal solar installations. A panel of experts will discuss emerging technology, costs and the applications for battery storage in Virginia.

2:30 to 3:30 – Participatory Open Forum Discussion:
Discuss and weigh in on practical policy steps we can all take to expand access to rooftop solar in Virginia.

3:30 to 3:40 – Closing remarks

4:00 to 5:30 – Post-congress Happy Hour at Three Notch’d Brewing Company

We hope you will consider attending this exciting event!

Facebook event page here.

The Burden


Free showing! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at 7:30PM.
Auditorium (Room 4110), Memorial Hall, 395 S. High St., James Madison University

The cost is high. The risk is great. Why the U.S. military is leading the fight for clean energy.

THE BURDEN is the first documentary of its kind to tell the story of our dependence on fossil fuels as the greatest long­‐term national security threat confronting the U.S., and how the military is leading our transition away from oil. The troops are crying out, in the words of Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, “to unleash us from the tether of fuel.” But is Congress listening? Will it listen once Gen. Mattis is in the cabinet?

georgekralovec_63After the film we will hear from Lieutenant Colonel George Kralovec, USMC (Ret). He is a veteran of a career as a Marine F-4 “Phantom” pilot. His 26 years with the Marines included 213 combat missions in Vietnam, two tours as an advanced flight instructor, two tours on Pentagon staff, and four operational command assignments in the U.S. and East Asia.

Following retirement in 2010 George completed a two year program for certification as a Sustainability Professional. He is in his fifth year as a volunteer with the American Association for the Advancement of Science STEM Senior Scientist and Engineer (SSE) Program, joining over 150 other retired scientists and engineers to provide weekly assistance to science teachers in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia public schools.

George joined Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) in March 2014, and is currently leader of the VA Fairfax chapter, liaison for Virginia District 11, DC Director for CCL’s Conservative Caucus, and DC Coordinator for CCL’s Climate and National Security Action Team.

There are many reasons to unleash the military. Here are just two of them:

Putting Our Troops in Harm’s Way — The US military uses more oil than any other organization in the world. Everything from tanks to fighter jets to humvees to generators use oil. Delivering that oil on the battlefield is a dangerous job. In Afghanistan, every 1 in 24 fuel convoys ended with a casualty.

Fossil Fuels Exacerbate Natural Disasters — Fossil fuel consumption is linked to an increase in extreme weather events that directly impact our military readiness. Our military is the best first responder in the world, receiving a foreign disaster relief request every two weeks, which comes at great cost to U.S. taxpayers. Limiting the environmental challenges linked to carbon emissions will save money and place less stress on an already over-extended military.


Hosted by the:
Shenandoah Group of the VA Sierra Club
JMU Climate Justice Coalition
JMU School of Media Arts and Design
Climate Action Alliance of the Valley.

All welcome to attend!

Trump defence secretary favourite “gets climate change”, The Guardian

Vehicle Donations for Virginia Clean Cities

vccgraycarVirginia Clean Cities is a Harrisonburg nonprofit housed at James Madison University working statewide to improve vehicle efficiency and pave the way for clean fuel vehicles.  If you have a vehicle that you need to be rid of, and want a tax-deduction for it, they would love to take it off your hands!

Here’s how it works: You spend a few minutes filling out a simple online form.  Virginia Clean Cities will contact you to arrange pick up of the vehicle at no cost to you. That’s it. Pretty simple, right?

The best part? You get to empty your parking lot, help fight climate change by using cleaner vehicles, boost our local economy, AND get a tax deduction all at once, just by spending a few minutes of your time filling out some paperwork. Everyone wins!

And don’t worry. If you don’t have a car to donate, there are plenty of other ways you can help support Virginia Clean Cities. With as little as $8 a month you can make a difference! Visit our membership page http://www.vacleancities.org/about/join-us/ to take a look at how you can join us in fighting climate change and creating a more sustainable, stronger Virginia.

More information is available at http://www.virginiacleancities.org  or by contacting Alleyn Harned,  Virginia Clean Cities executive director, at (540) 568-889 or by email at aharned@vacleancities.org