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:

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:

And you can learn more about how his work relates to the legacy of Rachel Carson here:

Register in advance for this meeting:


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.

SCC Must Extend Moratorium on Utility Disconnections

Update from the Virginia State Corporation Commission:

SCC Extends Ban on Utility Service Cut-offs to August 31

June 12, 2020

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has extended the moratorium on service disconnections for utility customers due to unpaid bills caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The SCC order extends the ban through August 31, 2020 and gives the General Assembly time to address the economic impact of the crisis on utility customers.
During the crisis period, electricity, natural gas, water and sewer utilities regulated by the SCC must offer extended payment plans with no late fees or reconnection charges to residential and small business customers whose unpaid bill amounts are the result of COVID-19 issues.

Read more here.

The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley has joined other organizations in calling on the Virginia State Corporation Commission to extend its moratorium on utility service disconnections during the pandemic from June 15 to the end of summer. Clean Virginia’s communication director issued this press release on behalf of all the groups involved:


Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications Director
cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

SCC Must Extend Moratorium on Utility Disconnections; Legislative Action Next Step
Environmental groups unite behind call for extension and data release from utilities

 June 5, 2020

Charlottesville — Eleven environmental and marginalized community advocacy organizations today joined statewide calls for the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) to extend its moratorium on utility disconnections during the COVID-19 pandemic. A joint comment submitted by the organizations questions the SCC’s assumption that a moratorium extension will harm ratepayers given the lack of available and relevant data from regulated public utilities including how many Virginia customers have unpaid utility bills, the reserves of each utility, and the amount utilities have overcharged customers in previous years.

The comment includes:

  • A request for the SCC to extend the mandatory moratorium on utility service disconnections until at least the end of the summer.
  • A request for the SCC to obtain weekly data from all regulated public utilities including how many customers have unpaid utility bills, the number of customers disconnected in the current year, and information regarding the financial strength and debt reserves of each utility.
  • A request for the SCC to solicit proposals from all affected utilities on steps those utilities can take to restart their energy efficiency programs or develop alternative programs that reduce consumption while protecting the health of all involved.

Virginia’s largest electricity provider Dominion Energy has declined to comment on how many residential and non-residential customers have unpaid bills or were disconnected in the current year. Dominion has overcharged its customers by $1.3 billion since 2015.

The SCC’s state order suspending disconnections is set to expire on June 15, 2020. Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Clean Virginia, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley, League of Conservation Voters Virginia, New Virginia Majority, Piedmont Environmental Council, Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, Southern Environmental Law Center, Virginia Conservation Network, and Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy signed the joint comment to the SCC, due today.

READ the joint comment to the SCC.

Quotes From Participating Organizations:

 Harrison Wallace, Chesapeake Climate Action Network – Virginia Director

 “It’s the SCC’s job to protect consumers, not corporations. But Dominion is planning to give their shareholders fat dividends during a time of economic turmoil and also planning to give out targeted grants in the name of justice. If they can do that, they can help struggling families keep the lights on and cool their homes during the hottest season of the year.”

Brennan Gilmore, Clean Virginia – Executive Director

 “Families should not face electricity disconnection while Dominion Energy unjustly transfers hundreds of millions in overcharges every year from Virginians to its top executives and shareholders. The State Corporation Commission should provide relief to struggling Virginia families and small businesses by extending the moratorium on utility disconnections and demanding transparency from utilities to better understand the scope of the problem.”

 Jo Anne St. Clair, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley – Chair

 “The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley believes that the SCC must be mindful that calamities like the current pandemic, and like the consequences of our ongoing climate crisis, usually burden those who are least able to adapt and recover quickly. The pandemic is not over; its negative economic effects will be with us all, especially the many Virginians who chronically have a serious burden meeting their utility bills. The SCC must consider this reality.”

Michael Town, League of Conservation Voters Virginia – Executive Director

 “We should not be debating whether or not to extend a moratorium on utility shut-offs in the midst of a global pandemic and economic depression that is especially devastating for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color,” said Michael Town, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. “The moratorium should remain in place until the pandemic is over and Virginia is able to implement just and fair utility reform to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are never put in this position again.”

Kenneth Gilliam, New Virginia Majority – Policy Director

“We are very much still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had greater economic and health effects, likely to be long-lasting, on low-income households and Latinx and Black communities in Virginia. The economic repercussions of the crisis are not equally distributed by race or income across the state; however, measures, such as the moratorium on utility disconnections, provides much needed fiscal relief to low-income customers who generally pay more for energy and are predicted to have greater loss of income throughout the rest of 2020, and well into 2021.”

 Kate Addleson, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter – Director

“The COVID 19 pandemic has thrown Virginia into a serious economic downturn with many families across the commonwealth facing job loss and financial strain. With Virginia’s hottest months still ahead of us, the SCC must extend the moratorium on utility shut-offs at least through the summer to ensure families and businesses aren’t subject to life-threatening heat. The commission should take steps to offer utility bill assistance and extended repayment programs during this difficult time.”

Will Cleveland, Southern Environmental Law Center – Senior Attorney

With the summer heat bearing down on us, we must do all we can to help people who, as a result of this pandemic, struggle to pay their utility bills. Expanded utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs, bill assistance and payment plans, and data collection are necessary to help all Virginians come through this difficult time.”


In the News

Augusta Free Press, June 5, 2020: Herring requests another extension on Virginia utility disconnection suspensions

“In his filing with the SCC, Herring notes that Gov. Ralph Northam has extended his state of emergency indefinitely and explains that ‘the existing moratorium should be extended to a point in the future after Virginia’s economy has had an opportunity to resume, allowing impacted citizens an opportunity to regain some financial footing.'”

Virginia Mercury, June 8, 2020, by Sarah Vogelsong: Should it stay or should it go? Little consensus on utility disconnection ban

“Little consensus has emerged from the welter of recommendations put forward by investor-owned utilities, 58 legislators, environmental and consumer protection groups, state electric cooperatives and the Attorney General’s Office as of the June 5 deadline for input set by the State Corporation Commission.”

There’s a serious threat to Net Metering—Urgent Action by Solar Advocates Needed!

Update July 16:
We just found out that FERC has dismissed the New England Ratepayers Association motion to attack net metering on the federal level. This is a major victory for solar rights. …
– Aaron Sutch, Program Director, Solar United Neighbors of Virginia

safe_imageA 501(c)(4) group called the New England Ratepayers Association petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to change the regulation of net metering compensation from the states to the federal government. If FERC approves, the result would upset the long-established system of state Commissions to regulate retail rates and net metering programs. Such a change could jeopardize existing and new solar customers.

The deadline to weigh in at FERC is June 15.

Solar United Neighbors, Vote Solar, and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) are urging those who value solar to let Virginia state officials and FERC know why FERC should not approve the petition.

You can do this in one of two ways:

  1. Access the Vote Solar/Solar United Neighbors (VS/SUN) grassroots advocacy website: http://www.savesolar.org. If you have solar or a solar business, or if you consider net metering an important way to enable solar growth and reduced reliance on carbon fuels, urge your Governor to direct state agencies to intervene at FERC to protect state’s rights. The site offers draft letters for solar owners and businesses. The letters sent to Governors will be compiled and sent to FERC with a cover letter from VS/SUN addressing states’ rights and energy choice.

Additionally, the Sierra Club is collecting “signatures” here to: “Tell FERC to reject this ill-conceived attempt to take away your state’s right to set net metering policy and give consumers clean energy choices.”

  1. Contact your Governor, State Agencies, and FERC directly to express your views. Below are links for VA officials and for FERC.

Below are some points you may find useful as you develop your message(s).

Time for commenting is short. We urge you to speak up in defense of states’ rights and in favor of net metering compensation.

– Joy Loving for the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

Contact Virginia Officials urging Virginia to intervene in FERC Docket EL20-42 and to oppose this attack on our state’s ability to set energy policy for its own residents. If our state agencies have already intervened, thank them for taking action.

Contact FERC to ask it to disapprove the petition docketed as EL20-42: https://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ferconline.asp
Search FERC’s docket (enter EL20-42 into the search box) to review comments and interventions already filed: https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/docket_search.asp

Possible Points you may find useful as you develop your message(s).

Tell your story.

  • Why/when you chose solar.
  • Details of your investment and your actual and expected return.
  • Role/value of net metering in solar decision and effect on your return.
  • Whether/why your solar system is grid-tied or not.
  • Your solar advocacy actions and opportunities.

Reasons for/benefits of going solar.

  • Reduce carbon footprint.
  • Improve personal resilience.
  • Exercise energy freedom of choice.
  • Care for environment.
  • Improve Energy Security.
  • Reduce Electricity costs.
  • Reduce Peak Demand and otherwise contribute to grid reliability and resilience.

Why regulation of net metering compensation should be by states and not federal.

  • One size doesn’t fit all.
  • Circumstances, conditions, and other factors vary greatly by states.
  • Existing approaches represent years of experimentation in 49 states with alternative models and methods, as well as focused oversight by state regulatory and legislative bodies.
  • Net metering is a retail transaction between solar producer and electricity provider, not a wholesale one.
  • Constant and frequent improvements in technology necessitate a nimble response relevant to effects on each state’s economy, market conditions, laws/regulations, and other changing conditions.
  • Value of solar must be determined in each state’s market based on its utility model(s) and existing law/regulation, and a national standard would be inequitable and inaccurate.
  • FERC not in a position to perform that kind of analysis to achieve equity among all states and all stakeholders.

Effects of federal takeover of net metering compensation.

  • There are 2.2 million families and 100,000 businesses who have invested tens of billions of their own dollars in solar energy.
  • Petition is by a group favoring fossil fuels, asking for a federal takeover of citizen solar rights.
  • FERC’s approval would hand over control of local energy policy to the federal government.
  • FERC has supported fossil fuels and their producers during its entire existence and is largely funded by them.
  • Should FERC accede, VA’s newly passed Clean Economy Act and the goals established in Governor Northam’s Executive Order 43 would be seriously jeopardized.
  • The right of energy choice that Virginians have under VA law/regulation would be extinguished.
  • There’s no rational basis for federalizing decisions that should rest with individuals and their states.
  • For almost forty years, states have appropriately had jurisdiction over solar rights. They have approached their stewardship in varying ways, some more successful and equitable than others. The election process and changing circumstances can cause states to revise their approaches. Neither of these remedies would be as easily exercised if FERC decided net metering compensation for every state.
  • The federal government should not impose its will on VA families and businesses that want to take control over their individual and collective energy future.

Circumstances of Petition.

  • It is disturbing and doubtless not accidental that attempts like this–to fast-track this anti-solar and anti-states’ rights petition during a global pandemic–are happening. Rather, the scope and timing are a blatant attempt at major anti renewable energy change to favor the antiquated US electric utility market and the incumbent electricity producers. Particularly now, as homes are increasingly our sanctuaries, local solar has given many greater peace of mind financially, enabling one way to safeguard families against the increasingly unreliable and unpredictable electricity grid.
  • Contrary to the often-expressed utility negative view of solar and net metering, solar owners are not the only ones saving with local solar. Local solar helps everyone save by reducing transmission costs, providing local peak energy resources, bolstering grid resilience, and more.
  • FERC cannot erode state’s right to offer energy choice to families and businesses that choose to invest in solar energy.

You can watch this archived webinar from Solar United Neighbors about how to diffuse the threat from the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA). It was recorded on May 28, 2020.

In May 2020, NERA — a secretive group with ties to monopoly utilities — petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to end net metering and treat solar homeowners as wholesale power generators.

We assembled an expert panel to discuss the implications and what you can do.

* The Energy and Policy Institute will talk about their research on “NERA: the New England Ratepayers Association,” the secretive group that has filed this petition to FERC.

* Vote Solar and Solar United Neighbors will explain the petition, potential implications, and opportunities to join us in fighting this petition with a deadline for actions of June 15th.

Speakers include Glen Brand and Liz Veazey from Solar United Neighbors, Nathan Phelps from Vote Solar, and Dave Anderson with Energy and Policy Institute.

Advanced Energy Economy, “a national association of business leaders who are making the global energy system more secure, clean, and affordable,” recorded this webinar on Net Energy Metering and State Authority: What’s at Stake for Advanced Energy in FERC Petition on June 3, 2020.

Webinar Overview: States have long had the right to design retail billing and rate policies to facilitate the adoption of distributed energy resources, but right now that’s under threat of federal preemption. Net energy metering and similar practices have long been an important tool for states, as well as municipal and cooperative utilities, to empower consumers to take control over their energy supply. A recent petition from a little-known group called the New England Ratepayers Association asks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to upend the status quo and expand federal regulatory authority over these policies and the customers that participate in them – with ramifications well beyond just net energy metering for rooftop solar. This webinar explained how FERC ruling the wrong way could impact existing and emerging state and municipal and cooperative utility approaches to supporting distributed energy resources in retail markets.

• Ted Thomas, Chairman, Arkansas Public Service Commission
• Hannah Muller, Director of Public Policy, Clearway Energy
• John McCaffrey, Senior Regulatory Counsel, American Public Power Association
• Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel, Advanced Energy Economy

From the Southern Environmental Law Center on June 23, 2020:
Southeastern groups join states and regulators in defending solar net metering programs

“Last week, over 50,000 individuals and 600 organizations, states, regulators, and elected officials submitted comments and petitions defending the ability for states to have authority over rooftop solar net metering programs. SELC filed extensive comments on behalf of Southeast public interest organizations, providing a regional perspective and describing how Southeast states and more than 40,000 rooftop solar customers rely on net metering programs each month across the region.” 

“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”