1st Annual Harrisonburg “Green Friday”

Please join us to beautify downtown Harrisonburg. Rain or Shine. Touchless check-in. Families welcome. We will be set up outside Pale Fire Brewery, 217 N. Liberty St. We will provide trash bags, safety vests and guidance on where to go. Participants should wear masks, social distance, dress appropriately with proper footwear and protective gloves. Bring your own snacks and water. Prize drawings at info table.

CO-SPONSORS: Earth Day Every Day of Harrisonburg VA and Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

Facebook event page here.

Event photo by Cathy Strickler

1st Annual Harrisonburg “Green Friday” in the News

Green Is The New Black: Environmentalist Groups Swap Consumerist Tradition For Eco-Friendly ‘Green Friday’
By Kathleen Shaw, November 25, 2020
Daily News-Record

One Minute for Earth Video Series

BLUESTONE COMMUNICATIONS
Jamison Crenshaw
crenshjn [at] dukes [dot] jmu [dot] edu
804-316-4971

EARTH DAY EVERY DAY AND CLIMATE ACTION ALLIANCE OF THE VALLEY TO PRESENT EDUCATIONAL VIDEO SERIES BEFORE ELECTION DAY

One Minute for Earth video series event will invite diverse speakers to share their stories of environmental care.

HARRISONBURG, Va.—One Minute for Earth-Giving the Planet a Voice on November 3rd is a collaboration hosted by Earth Day Every Day of Harrisonburg (EDED) and Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) to share local citizen perspectives on issues related to the environment.

The video series, held through EDED’s Facebook page, allows community members to view videos from speakers and contribute their own personal “One Minute for Earth” video. EDED encourages anyone interested in speaking in their own video to reach out to EDED using the contact information at the end of the release.

Karen Ryder Lee, a member of both EDED and CAAV, proposed the project to the two groups. A volunteer team spearheaded the project with a goal of collaborating with a diverse group of more than 40 speakers from the community.

“We want to mobilize eco-minded people to register and vote,” says Lee. “By presenting down-to-earth people everyone can identify with, telling their stories of environment care and its impact on their candidate evaluation, we know we can encourage the valley to vote for the issues they care about.”

“The campaign is on its way to exceeding hopes,” adds Lee. “We expected the community speakers to touch as many as 2,000 people in presenting the case for electing pro-environment leaders into office across all levels. As of October 13, there have been 7,800 views for the 27 videos posted to date.”

Each speaker’s video offers quick access to a page with links to the official election information one needs, all in one place, for Augusta, Rockingham, Page and Shenandoah County areas. Links to the candidates’ sites are given so that voters can easily research their environmental platforms.

“The mission of the campaign,” EDED founder Elly Swecker says, “is to remind viewers why environmental issues are so important, encourage them to educate themselves about the candidates, and vote for those who make environment and climate change a priority.”

Some of the speakers sharing videos through the series include: Georgi Tomisato (farmer and president of Shenandoah Green based in Augusta County), Clymer and Kurtz (a Harrisonburg-based songwriting and performing duo) and Scottie Pendleton (physicist and faculty member at JMU).

Earth Day Every Day of Harrisonburg is a nonprofit environmental organization with the goal of reducing plastic waste in the Harrisonburg, VA community. Founder Elly Swecker began the initiative in 2019 in an effort to educate individuals about environmental sustainability practices and empower them by providing practical events and resources.

Contact: ellyswecker@gmail.com or 540-810-1929

EDED Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/EarthDayEveryDayHarrisonburg/

CAAV is a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting climate change mitigation in the Shenandoah Valley. For more information on CAAV, visit: https://climateactionallianceofthevalley.org/caav-mission-vision-and-goals-statements/

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One Minute for the Earth in the News

Activists Team Up To Put Climate Awareness On The Ballot
By Calvin Pynn, October 30, 2020
WMRA

“Climate activist groups in the Shenandoah Valley have teamed up for a project collecting video testimonials. It’s an effort to urge voters to consider the environment as they vote in this election season. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.”

With success from video series, environmental coalition looks to future activism
By Sukainah Abid-Kons, November 24, 2020
Harrisonburg’s The Citizen

“A Harrisonburg-based coalition that focused on environmental issues during this fall’s political campaigns is now harnessing momentum from its “One Minute for Earth” video campaign and is shifting its focus to future activism. “

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:

https://jmu-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMoc-2opzsvH9zv-m7qTXnDy9dh0ONMaZdz

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

Letter to Mark Herring & Next Steps

Earlier this month, CAAV signed onto a letter to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring:

Dear Attorney General Herring,

Thank you for standing up to protect our Commonwealth from the current administration’s attempts to erode our democracy and pollute our environment. In July you filed a lawsuit to challenge the current administration’s undermining of the Clean Water Act. Now we need you to protect Virginia’s water and endangered species at risk within our borders by considering taking the following actions:

● Suing the Trump administration for rolling back the protections Congress passed in the Endangered Species Act.

● Providing guidance to the State Water Control Board to add the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) update to their September 24 meeting agenda. The board needs to address MVP’s pollution of Virginia waterways that provide habitat for endangered fish. It is the board’s responsibility to enforce the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act regulations.

See the complete letter as a pdf here.


Freeda Cathcart, Leader for the Gas And Pipeline Coalition, who helped organize this effort sent this follow-up on September 21, 2020:

“Thank you for signing onto the letter for AG Mark Herring. Thirty-three organizations signed the letter, representing over 335,000 people! 

It’s already bringing results! I received confirmation today that it has been forwarded to the State Water Control Board. Previously the staff at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality had ignored repeated requests for information about MVP’s continuing pollution of the waterways that are the habitat for endangered fish to be forwarded to the board. 

The next step is an easy one thanks to Mothers Out Front’s portal for individuals to be able to send an email directly to the State Water Control BoardIt only takes a couple of minutes and people can add to or change the suggested text. Please use this social media post to encourage others to sign and share. 

Working together we will defeat the Mountain Valley Pipeline while protecting our water and endangered species!”

From Mother Out Front – Roanoke and New River Valley:

It’s easy to send an email to the State Water Control Board to demand they protect our water and endangered fish from MVP’s continuing pollution. Just click on this link to a portal that will generate one for you:
http://va.mothersoutfront.org/tell_virginia_department_of_environmental_quality_to_protect_our_water_and_public_health

Action and Elections in Virginia: What Would Rachel Carson Do?

Watch Bob Musil of the Rachel Carson Council’s presentation from September 17 on YouTube by clicking the image above. You can also find it on Facebook here. Thanks to the Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club’s Jonathan Stewart for facilitating this event and making the recording available!


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Online from 7 PM – 8 PM

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

Robert K. Musil, PhD, MPH, President and CEO of the Rachel Carson Council, will join us to talk about Organizing, Advocacy and Elections, and how it is related to the work at the Rachel Carson Council.

All welcome! See below for registration information.

You can learn more about Bob Musil here:
https://rachelcarsoncouncil.org/about-rcc/about-president-robert-k-musil/

And you can learn more about how his work relates to the legacy of Rachel Carson here:
https://rachelcarsoncouncil.org/presidents-message/

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0qdu-rrzwuHtOlgdQlepQvYLACZ7iNIhFw

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


In addition to having served as President of the Rachel Carson Council since 2014, “Dr. Musil is also a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, School of Public Affairs, American University, where he teaches about climate change and American environmental politics. He also has been a Visiting Scholar at the Churches’ Center for Theology and Public Policy, Wesley Theological Seminary, where he taught about religious responses to global warming and security threats.

From 1992-2006, Dr. Musil was the longest-serving Executive Director and CEO of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), winner of the 1985 Nobel Prize for Peace. During his tenure, he nearly tripled PSR’s membership, budget, and staff.” – Rachel Carson Council website, about Robert Musil

The Rachel Carson Council works to build strong links between traditional environmental organizing, national advocacy, and the climate justice movement, which has led the effort to underscore that communities and countries exploited through racial and economic inequality are the most vulnerable to climate change. The Rachel Carson Council also aims to support and join the mobilization of communities most affected by climate change and to work to reduce income inequality by advocating for the creation of jobs in clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and energy efficiency.” – Rachel Carson Council website, Our Work


Share the Facebook event page here!

“One Earth” Book Donations

Kathleen Shaw of the Daily News-Record covered this project for the September 29, 2020, issue: CAAV Donating Books To Motivate Change  


CAAV Chair Jo Anne St. Clair at right with a Vine & Fig volunteer and one of the first recipients of a CAAV donated book to inspire young people of all backgrounds to become environmental leaders, on August 5, 2020. Photo by Cathy Strickler.

Black, indigenous and people of color take center stage in a new environmental project by the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV). Cathy Strickler, founder of CAAV, has been intrigued by the potential impact of an award-winning book released in April 2020, for ages 12 and up, titled One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet by conservation biologist Anuradha Rao. By gifting copies of the book, she hopes that CAAV can reach young people who are choosing what their own path will be.

One Earth: People of Color Protecting our Planet … profiles Black, Indigenous and People of Color who live and work as environmental defenders. Through their individual stories, the book shows that the intersection of environment and ethnicity is an asset to achieving environmental goals. The twenty short biographies introduce readers to diverse activists from all around the world, who are of many ages and ethnicities. From saving ancient trees on the West Coast of Canada, to protecting the Irrawaddy dolphins of India, to uncovering racial inequalities in the food system in the United States, these environmental heroes are celebrated by author and biologist Anuradha Rao, who outlines how they went from being kids who cared about the environment to community leaders in their field. One Earth is full of environmental role models waiting to be found.”

The seed money for the project comes from donations to CAAV’s anti-pipeline campaign. That effort created a large metal sculpture, The Defenders, which was installed at multiple sites adjacent to the proposed path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to amplify the voices defending lives, land, health, clean water and clean air from fossil fuel expansion. Jo Anne St. Clair, chair of CAAV and Karen Lee, who helped implement The Defenders’ project, agree with Cathy: “It is appropriate that seed money for future defenders comes from The Defenders’ campaign.”

Jo Anne and Cathy brought a dozen of these books to Vine & Fig in Harrisonburg’s north end on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, in support of New Community Project’s recently launched Rocktown Sprouts. Developed to teach local youth about nurturing land, water and their health through growing plants and composting organic discards, the One Earth books will find an attentive and receptive audience through this program.

Other copies of Anuradha Rao’s One Earth: People of Color Protecting our Planet will hopefully find good homes through local middle and high schools and/or other young people’s learning and service organizations.

Books purchased with the remainder of The Defenders funds were donated to Vine & Fig to distribute to educators and young people working to protect and enrich our community and world. Jo Anne presented two books to volunteers who have been tending the gardens and taking food to Waterman Elementary School and Our Community Place. She presented a third book to a JMU student organizer who will be working with Vine & Fig this fall.Cathy Strickler, August 5, 2020

– Karen Lee and Adrie Voors

Jo Anne gives Vine & Fig volunteers copies of One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet on August 5. Photo by Cathy Strickler.

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. Find out more about her campaign at the Kelley4Council website and Facebook page.

CAAV has made multiple attempts to receive responses to the questionnaire from Kathleen Kelley in hopes of discovering and sharing her opinions on these issues. As of the start of voting on September 18, she has declined to answer the questionnaire.

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 through ballots received in the mail. These can be mailed in or recorded online. In the meantime, you can learn more about Sally by visiting her website: newkirkforsvec.com. You can also follow her on Facebook here.

Elizabeth McGowan covered this election for the Energy News Network on July 15, 2020: Virginia co-op board challengers aim to nudge utilities forward on clean energy

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.