Mayor Reed on Earth Day 2018

Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed was invited to say a few words at the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley-hosted Earth Day Celebration, Picnic and Tree Planting in Purcell Park on Sunday, April 22, 2018. Thank you Mayor Reed for participating in the event and sharing your heartfelt and inspiring thoughts!

Thank you so much for having me to share a few words today as we have our “picnic in the park” and honor our Mother Earth. So we all know the history of today close to 48 years ago on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, suddenly realized they shared common values. On this day people will march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, clean up their towns AND as we will do today … plant trees. It is a wonderful day of being earth conscious.

Now since I have been elected I have come to appreciate and advocate for the environmental movement. But I have to be honest and I must admit I have not always been aware. I was one who didn’t care if we recycled or about going green or about global warming. But I can say now I do care. And I especially care now that I am Mayor. I’ve learned so much since I have been elected. I’ve learned that Climate change is real! We have snow in April and summer weather in February most of the time we can’t tell what season we are in. And along with that comes climate change health risk. According to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 48-year-old environmental organization.

The study, “Climate Change and Health in Virginia,” warns that as heat waves increase, the risk of heat-related illnesses and deaths in Virginia will grow. Allergy season is starting earlier and lasting longer, and asthma attacks are increasing in the southeastern United States. “Climate change is already affecting the health of Virginians, and it’s getting worse. The idea that we could be facing more intense allergy seasons is likely and that affects me personally. So how do we as a city get people like me involved about our earth. Well it starts with you. If you are here today then that shows that you are passionate and concerned about our environment. You are concerned about these issues that should be looked at. You know we need more efforts to cut carbon pollution, which drives climate change, you know we need to use wind and solar energy rather than coal, oil or natural gas. We need You to continue to educate us and be the voice for our community. I believe as a community we have made progress in our Environmental Initiatives. If you go on the city website you will see all of our initiatives, programs and organizations. However we have a lot more work to do. As Mayor, I would love to see Harrisonburg lead the way and be the example of promoting an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

So let me remind all of you that we have a very important local election coming up 2 seats for city council 3 seats for school board. We need to see where these candidates stand on sustainability. And let us continue to have community discussions so that we can progress toward a more sustainable future for Harrisonburg. And last Thank you to the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) for 10 years of dedication to climate change. Thank you for being the environmental compass of our community. Thank you so much for having me here today.

– Mayor Deanna Reed, April 22, 2018


Celebrating Earth Day with a Picnic and Tree Planting

Thank you to everyone who came out and participated in the Earth Day Celebration in Purcell Park on April 22, 2018!

Notably among the attendees was Daily News-Record reporter Kelly Clark. We found her nice work on the front page of the paper the very next day: An Earth Day Birthday: Group Planted Black Gum, Swamp Oak Tree.

We’d also like to thank Mayor Deanna Reed for graciously attending and sharing her thoughtful comments with us. We’ve posted her remarks here.

Harrisonburg Landscape Manager Mike Hott, with support of the Department of Parks and Recreation, did a wonderful job of facilitating the tree planting and guiding us on an educational tour of trees of Purcell Park. We hope to watch the pond-side swamp oak and black gum trees prosper for years to come!

Scroll down for photos of the event.


purcellparkmapsnipEarth Day Picnic in the Park
Sunday, April 22 from 12 noon to 2 PM

Purcell Park
Shelter #3 (near the pond)
41 Monument Ave, Harrisonburg

The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley invites you to celebrate Earth Day, Sunday April 22, with them.

Bring your picnic basket and come to Purcell Park, Shelter #3 close to the pond, at noon to eat and visit with friends. Stay to hear the comments by Mayor Deanna Reed and plant two new trees (holes already dug!) Then you can take a hike, go on a tree ID walk led by Mike Hott, certified arborist, play Frisbee, or check out the playground with your kids. Or you can just sit, soak up the sun, and enjoy Mother Earth on Her Day.


Click on a photo below to enlarge it and see a slide show version of these photos:

Solutions to Save Us: Cool It for the Earth



Reining in Refrigerants

The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley hosts the third and last public forum in a series based on the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming edited by Paul Hawken. Refrigerant management offers the number one most impactful action humans can take to prevent runaway global warming.

Tuesday, May 1st, 7PM
Fire and Rescue Training Room, Building A
Rockingham County Administration Center
20 E. Gay St., Harrisonburg

We’ll hear from Jay Monger of Excel Heating and Cooling and Wayne Teel, professor in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology at James Madison University.

New Delhi India will have temperatures in the triple digits this week. Phoenix AZ will reach 99 and a man running the London marathon last week died from the unusual heat. Climate change will only bring more and more extreme temperatures, and people and food will need more and more air conditioners and refrigerators.

If the current refrigerants, HFCs, spare the ozone layer but have 1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, we have a huge problem. Solving it should be one of our highest priorities.
Learn more about the issue and solutions from JMU Professor Wayne Teel and find out how it will affect us in the Valley from Jay Monger, CEO of Excel Heating and Cooling.

In October 2016, officials from more than 170 countries met in Kigali, Rwanda, to negotiate a deal to address this problem. Through an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the world will phase out HFCs—starting with high-income countries in 2019, then some low-income countries in 2024 and others in 2028. Substitutes are already on the market, including natural refrigerants such as propane and ammonium.

Scientists estimate the Kigali accord will reduce global warming by nearly one degree Fahrenheit. Still, the bank of HFCs will grow substantially before all countries halt their use. Because 90 percent of refrigerant emissions happen at end of life, effective disposal of those currently in circulation is essential. After being carefully removed and stored, refrigerants can be purified for reuse or transformed into other chemicals that do not cause warming.

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


Support Cap & Trade for VA Power Plants


The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley joins Sierra Club/Virginia Chapter, Appalachian Voices, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Virginia Interfaith and Light, and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network among other organizations, in urging you to raise your voice in support of the proposed regulations to establish a carbon reduction program for the Commonwealth. There are several ways you can make sure your concerns are heard.

1.      You can attend the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing at 4411 Early Rd, Harrisonburg, on March 14, from 5 to 7 pm and make your comments in person.

2.      You can go online and offer written comments to DEQ by April 9 or

3.      You can express yourself—and inform your Facebook friends:

4.      You can sign a petition:

5.      You can write a letter to the editor (LTE).

What’s very important is that you speak up—and do so SOON. The Clean Power Plan is pretty much dead for the next several years. There will likely be little if any effort at the federal level any time soon to lower carbon emissions and there will no doubt be federal actions to increase carbon emissions.  The VA General Assembly (GA) has declined to enact carbon reduction legislation that has been proposed during the last three sessions (including 2018). DEQ’s regulations represent the only viable avenue now available for Virginia to act.

Former Governor McAuliffe issued Executive Directive 11 ( ) in May 2017 directing DEQ to develop regulations that they issued in draft, for public comment, in Jan 2018 ( In brief, “ED11, or the VA Carbon Reduction Plan, is designed to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel-burning power plants by 30% by the year 2030, and give rise to a generation of clean energy jobs. ED11’s approach is the same one that is being successfully used in 9 other states that are a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).” [Sierra Club VA Chapter] The draft regulations provide a way “to ensure that Virginia’s regulation is ‘trading-ready’ to allow for the use of market-based mechanisms and the trading of carbon allowances through a multi-state trading program.” [Appalachian Voices, Lena Lewis]

To help you offer your comments, we’ve provided talking points, background information, a list of the areas DEQ wants addressed, and sample LTEs below. Be sure to include your own personal statement as to why you believe these regulations are needed–i.e., why and how reduced carbon emissions will benefit you and your family.


– Joy Loving
Chair, Legislative and Elections Committee
Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

Background information

Appalachian Voices Front Porch Blog: Virginia inches closer to a carbon market
By Lena Lewis, student in the Master of Public Policy program at the Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia, July 2017

The Daily News-Record‘s Nolan Stout covers the issue in this March 7, 2018, article: Carbon Emissions Hearing On Tap

This Augusta Free Press article from March 7, 2018, gives more viewpoints: DEQ public hearings to cut carbon in Virginia

Environmental journalist Chris Bolgiano lays out the case for why forest carbon offsets should be part of the VA cap-and-trade plan in the March-April issue of Virginia Wildlife Magazine: Seeing the Forest for the Carbon

Concerns that cap-and-trade plans promote fracking are described here: Don’t Let RGGI Frack Us Over

Carbon Cap-and-Trade Talking Points by Lena Lewis

Carbon Cap-and-Trade creates a financial incentive to reduce carbon dioxide pollution. Businesses that reduce their carbon emissions can earn revenue, while polluters have to pay.

How Cap-and-Trade Works

1. CAP: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sets a cap, or limit, on the total carbon emissions allowed by power plants.

2. ALLOWANCES: The DEQ creates allowances to emit carbon. Each allowance permits its owner to emit one ton of carbon dioxide. Then that allowance is used up.

3. ALLOCATION/DISTRIBUTION: The DEQ distributes allowances. In most cap-and- trade programs, this is done through an auction. The price determined by the auction is the “clearing price” which all bidders pay for their allowances.

4. TRADE: Allowance holders can buy and sell allowances. This creates an incentive to lower carbon emissions. If a power plant can reduce its carbon emissions, it can sell its allowances to increase revenue. If a power plant emits a lot of carbon, it loses profit because it has to buy more allowances.

5. LOWER THE CAP: Each year, the DEQ lowers the amount of emissions allowed and offers fewer allowances. This raises the price of allowances, and creates even more incentive for power plants to reduce their carbon emissions.

Virginia could reduce carbon emissions from our power plants by 30% over 10 years.

The nine member states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap-and-trade program have set a goal of reducing their power plant emissions by 30% of 2020 levels by the year 2030. If Virginia links with RGGI, we would lower our cap at the same rate as RGGI states.

RGGI states have already reduced their power plant carbon emissions by 30% since the program began in 2008. They have achieved this goal while their economy has increased faster than the rest of the country (25% economic growth in RGGI states compared to 21% in other states). RGGI states have also lowered their average electricity rates by 3.4% while the rest of the country’s electricity bills have increased by an average of 7.2%.1

Carbon Cap-and-Trade levels the playing field for zero-carbon and low-carbon energy sources.

Fossil fuels have so far had an unfair advantage in the competition with zero-carbon energy sources: they have not had to pay for the damages caused by their carbon pollution. Putting a price on carbon levels the playing field for solar, wind, and other zero-carbon energy sources.

Carbon Cap-and-Trade is simple and reduces the need for government intervention.

Carbon Cap-and-Trade works to lower carbon emissions without the need for further government regulation of carbon emitted by power plants. With a cap-and-trade program in place, we do not need a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to mandate that a certain percent of electricity be produced by renewable sources. An RPS would be redundant, because the incentive to reduce carbon is already created through cap-and trade.

Carbon Cap-and-Trade works to lower carbon emissions without mandating how revenue from allowances sales is spent. Though it is tempting to demand that revenue be spent on investment in zero-carbon energy, such mandates are not necessary to reduce carbon. Companies already have the incentive to invest in more zero-carbon energy because doing so makes good business sense.

Carbon Cap-and-Trade is not a magic solution for everything.

A cap on carbon emissions from power plants does nothing to limit carbon emissions from transportation and other sources. We need to work toward comprehensive limits on all sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Reducing carbon emissions has the additional benefit of reducing other types of pollution and environmental destruction caused by the fossil fuel industry. However, a cap on carbon may not be sufficient to limit those negative impacts. A cap on carbon does not excuse the power sector from limiting other pollutants and environmental degradation. Communities near power plants will not be harmed by carbon cap-and-trade, and will likely enjoy cleaner air as a result. Yet we need to remain steadfast in our insistence that these communities and others affected by fossil fuel extraction have the right to clean air and safe neighborhoods.

Allowances should be distributed based on energy output, not historic carbon emissions.

Creating carbon allowances turns something that was once free into something that can be sold. Carbon allowances become a valuable commodity and an additional source of revenue. If allowances are given to power plants based on historic carbon emissions, it will still achieve the goal of carbon emissions. But it will not provide a new source of income to zero-carbon energy generators. Instead, allowances should be distributed based on updated energy output. This method gives some allowances to zero-carbon energy sources, who can sell the allowances as a new source of revenue.
1 Source: Acadia Center. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Status Report. July, 2016

Written by Lena Lewis, who is researching carbon market policy while earning her master’s degree at the Frank Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Lena [at]

Sample Comment by Becca Summers, Virginia League of Conservation Voters

Background: Virginia is working on a plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants and invest in clean energy – the Clean Energy Virginia Initiative, commonly referred to as Executive Directive 11. Six public hearings are being held across the state, giving us an opportunity to make our voices heard for a clean energy future in Virginia.

We need to pack the house at these hearings to counter the influence of Virginia’s utilities, and show overwhelming public support for Virginia’s plan to cut carbon pollution from power-plants.

Suggested Language: ‘I’m writing today to voice my support of a regulation in Virginia that cuts carbon pollution from power plants and allows us to trade carbon allowances with other states.

With no help coming from the federal level in addressing climate change, it’s up to states like Virginia to act. By cutting carbon emissions in Virginia, we have the opportunity to protect public health and safety while also creating jobs in the carbon-neutral renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.

And because we’re joining up with a coalition of other states with carbon caps, action we take here in Virginia is greater than the sum of its parts.

I urge you to proceed with a strong regulation that shows Virginia is a leader in addressing climate change and takes its responsibility seriously.’

Burning fossil fuels has left a toxic legacy of pollution across Virginia’s land, air and water. Reducing carbon emissions from power plants and incentivizing renewable energy will lower electric bills, create jobs, improve air quality, improve public health and protect and preserve Virginia’s environment.

Sierra Club Guidance on What DEQ and VA Air Quality Control Board Want from Public Comments

Whether the initial Virginia CO2 Budget Trading Program base budget for 2020 should be 33 million tons or 34 million tons, and declining accordingly by 3% per year.
● Whether any fossil fuel power generating unit owned by an individual facility and located at that individual facility that generates electricity and heat from fossil fuel for the primary use of operation of the facility should be exempt from the requirements of the regulation.
● The potential for DEQ to directly auction carbon allowances in addition to the proposed consignment auction format.
● The costs and benefits of the proposal, the potential impacts of this regulatory proposal and any impacts of the regulation on farm and forest land preservation.
Impacts on small businesses as defined in § 2.2-4007.1 of the Code of Virginia. Information may include 1) projected reporting, recordkeeping and other administrative costs, 2) probable effect of the regulation on affected small businesses, and 3) description of less intrusive or costly alternative methods of achieving the purpose of the regulation.

Sample Letter to the Editor and LTE Talking Points
In the Daily Press, February 12, 2018

Follow Northam’s lead

As a native Virginian and former elected official who cares deeply about the impacts of global warming on our beautiful state, it was refreshing to see Gov. Ralph Northam, tweet about climate change during his first days in office:

“As a native of the Eastern Shore, a scientist, and a resident of Hampton Roads, I can tell you personally that, no matter what politicians in Washington say, climate change is real. Sea levels are rising. It affects us every day.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the southern Chesapeake Bay region is sinking, making it one of the most vulnerable in the nation to the rising seas. Gov. Northam clearly understands these problems.

He and his predecessor, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, proposed a legislative agenda that would enable Virginia to join a multi-state effort which has cut global warming pollution in half since 2005. This bipartisan partnership, led by five Republican governors and four Democratic governors, has cleaned up the air, invested billions in the clean energy revolution, and lowered utility bills throughout the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic regions.

Unfortunately, there are some lawmakers in the General Assembly who are attempting to derail climate process by thwarting the governor’s plans to link Virginia with this successful climate program. We need our elected leaders to follow Gov. Northam’s actions to cut the pollution that is putting our communities at risk.

Andrea McGimsey
Global Warming Director
Environment Virginia

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.

EPA and Sierra Club Hearings on the CPP


EPA hearing to repeal the Clean Power Plan, Charleston, WV
November 28 and 29, 2017
– Cathy Strickler

Climate change activists are fighting battles on many fronts.  There are 10 new pipelines on the East Coast alone, either proposed or under construction.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is in the hands of gas and oil supporters and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is run by a climate denier.  My husband Charlie and I went to Charleston, West Virginia, to attend the EPA’s public hearing on their proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) knowing it was a sham but reluctantly thinking it was the right thing to do to support the counter event, Hearing for Healthy Communities sponsored by the Sierra Club.  We went to both and as always, it is enlightening to be in the middle of people who care and speak out against the huge odds of overpowering money, greed and influence.

We were shuttled by Sierra Club representatives from the University Of Charleston where their hearing would start in the afternoon, across the Kanawha River to the gold-domed state capital where the EPA held its hearing.  We immediately came upon a press conference of the United Mine Workers of America with 20 members standing behind their legal team.  They are against the CPP stating that good jobs and pensions will be lost and jobs in the renewable energy sector will not be as high paying.  They acknowledge climate change and want a different CPP that would ensure the future of coal.  It was impossible for me to get the details of their proposals but I felt sad that they were seeing renewable energy as the enemy instead of the lack of a just transition that would protect their incomes.


Inside, three concurrent hearings were in process and we listened to one for about an hour. The PA system was poor but people methodically read their 3 minute prepared speeches.  A representative from the Natural Resources Defense Council told Charlie the next day that the testimonies were running about 80% against repeal.  People came from all over, even to the remote center of coal country.

We shuttled back across the river for a nice buffet lunch provided by the Sierra Club and then heard an expert panel tell of the health impacts of coal.  Two representatives from latino organizations started off stressing environmental justice issues.  One, from Green Latinos, stressed the importance of informal testimony that we all do every day and that people believe what they are told more than what they read.  The League of Latinos stated the projected cost of Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rica is $200 billion and that it is possible to have both a healthy environment and economy.

The next four panelists were a Georgetown University professor of Public Health Nursing, a representative from Healthy Downstream Strategies based in Morgantown, WV, the N.Y. Attorney General’s general counsel, an activist from Upshur County, WV, and a representative from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  The last, Jeremy Richardson, was a brother, son and grandson of WV coal miners.  Their points were that the CPP is doable as proven in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states, and necessary to lessen climate change; that the EPA needs to go further and address fracked methane gas which isn’t addressed in the CPP; WV has no large scale solar and is near the bottom of state rankings for energy efficiency and life expectancy; the UCS stance on nuclear is nuanced, based on each situation; the Rockefeller Fund has done good work with job retraining in coal communities.

Testimony from the public followed with 30-40 people stating the reasons repeal is repugnant, including a 12 year-old boy.  I am happy he is being taught to do public speaking at an early age.  I used to be critical of children speaking in similar settings but now think it’s important for their experience and for the rest of us to have a face of the future right there.

The next morning, all of the transcribed testimonies from the Hearing for Healthy Communities were delivered to the EPA representatives, after a woman from Harlan County, KY, gave her testimony on how coal has devastated her family’s health.  Another man, representing Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) which is supported by NRDC, stated the CPP is needed to fund programs that would be a lifeline for poor families and a smart investment that creates local jobs, eliminates the need for expensive new power plants, reduces pollution and saves money for taxpayers nationwide.

As we were leaving I had a conversation with an EPA employee who was working at the registration table.  She works at the EPA office in the research triangle in North Carolina.  We talked about the need of faster change and of thinking about how inside EPA information could be important in this.  She was not condescending and emphasized that there are many in EPA who ‘get it’ and are trying to strategize their effectiveness.

There were 100+ at the Hearing for Healthy Communities.  I applaud the Sierra Club for organizing this event that brought the press to educate the public and that gave courage to those who attended.


Sun Power for Puerto Rico

Thanks to everyone who participated in this fundraiser! Together we are supporting Resilient Power Puerto Rico with close to $3500.00!


Help Puerto Rico Recover with Solar Power
Proceeds to support the work of Resilient Power Puerto Rico

Saturday, November 18
The Golden Pony
181 N. Main St., Harrisonburg

For years the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley has championed bringing solar power to the Valley for people who could afford it. Now we want to help bring it to hurricane ravaged communities in Puerto Rico that can’t afford it but are still left in the dark without power after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. This fundraiser will raise money to give to the marvelous group, Resilient Power Puerto Rico (you can read all about them below).

Join us at The Golden Pony to lift a glass, eat some food (the Pony will donate 20% of your food and drink tab), and write a check to make a real difference. You might even win a door prize from The Sierra Club Shenandoah Group and others (all donors will be entered for the chance to win). You will also hear first-hand from a neighbor what her family in Puerto Rico has been facing during this difficult time period. Whatever you do, you’ll leave knowing you’ve made a real difference in the lives of American citizens who are facing a long road back to recovery.

If you cannot attend, please donate at You can also visit their website to read more about this organization’s work to steadily bring community-owned solar power to Puerto Ricans over a 4-year strategic plan.

Here’s some more information about Resilient Power Puerto Rico from

Architects Bring Solar to Hurricane-Battered Puerto Rico
October 27, 2017
James S. Russell, FAIA


Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, as a Category 4 hurricane. Photo by Staff Sergeant Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea, U.S. Air Force

On October 22, the Buena Vista community center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, switched off one of the many noisy generators that has become an inescapable part of life since Hurricane Maria devastated the country on September 20. For the first time in weeks, fans turned through the blessed silence. A refrigerator hummed and lights glowed.

This small miracle in an island staggering to recover was powered by a 5-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array. It was the first installation by an ambitious nonprofit called Resilient Power Puerto Rico that aims to rapidly restore electrical service by installing permanent solar arrays on the island, which lost almost its entire grid to the hurricane. Full restoration of the electrical system could take years.

Resilient Power Puerto Rico launched only a week after the hurricane, when the full extent of the tragedy became evident. …

The … (group is) targeting community facilities including health clinics, food kitchens, and nonprofit service providers, to increase each installation’s impact. The group raised $150,000 in days, permitting rapid deployment of solar panel and battery pack kits to the island.

At least five PV arrays are now in place, and the organization is ramping-up fundraising and training to bring 100 sites all over the island online in 100 days, …

Community centers in Puerto Rico, such as the long-established Buena Vista in the Caño Martín Peña area of San Juan, play a critical role in storm recovery. Each serves from 20,000 to 50,000 people. Volunteers share information, help storm victims apply for aid, and give out tarps, food, medicines, and other necessities.

The PV arrays charge phones and operate computers, water purifiers (since all the reservoirs are polluted), and refrigerators that store medicines and make ice. With battery packs supplied, … the centers can operate on three shifts if they want, … since volunteers are abundant.

The sun-drenched climate makes the island a perfect candidate for PV at large scale. People are being trained to mount the arrays atop the flat concrete roofs that top most nonresidential buildings. The arrays can resist 150 MPH winds, …

With donated labor and materials acquired at cost, the 5-kW solar arrays installed by Resilient Power Puerto Rico, cost around $25,000 each, less than half their retail value.*

(The partners behind Resilient Puerto Rico) expect the development of solar hubs to grow rapidly, linked together to form microgrids that could mix solar with other renewable sources. The road to energy independence could be a source of skilled jobs—sorely lacking before the storm—as well as a clean-energy alternative that can survive future hurricanes.

* Co-founder of Resilient Power Puerto Rico, Jennifer Bolstad offered this clarification on November 9: The initial sites cost around $6000 each, mostly due to transport costs, but the later work will be closer to the $25,000 mentioned since they’ll be hiring and training a labor force. She added that their crew of volunteers from here is already on the island, 79 additional sites have been scoped out and are ready to go, and two containers of supplies for the rest of the 1st phase has just landed. She was really excited and really appreciative of our efforts (and happy with the election returns).


CAAV Hosts CCL State Conference in Harrisonburg

ccllogosnipCitizens’ Climate Lobby Virginia State Conference
Saturday, November 18, 10AM-4PM
Fire and Rescue Training Room
Rockingham County Administration Building
20 E. Gay St., Harrisonburg

Please join the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) on Saturday, November 18th for the 2017 statewide Virginia Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) meeting. We’ll be building on recent CCL successes and on the growing support in Virginia and nationally for sensible nonpartisan climate policy. Get to know other CCL members from Virginia, share ideas, strategize, and change the political will on climate change!

The meeting agenda can be found here. It is built around our recent successes — the addition of two Virginia GOP Members of Congress to the CCL Climate Solutions Caucus and also the addition of new CCL groups in Blacksburg, Prince William County, Roanoke, Hampton Roads, and (in progress) Charlottesville.

We’ll share information and develop strategies together. How can we gain new members in Virginia? How can we increase support for carbon fee and dividend? How can we reclaim democracy by modeling respectful civic conversation? We are kindred spirits. If you attend this meeting, you’ll be among people you appreciate and enjoy.


Rockingham County Administration Building

There is no registration charge. A boxed lunch (including vegetarian options) will be available, at an estimated cost of $10-15 (you can pay at the door on Nov 18). The meeting will wrap up by 4:00 pm, so most of you will be able to make the drive home before dark.

Also consider joining CAAV members at the Golden Pony two blocks away immediately after the conference. The Golden Pony, CAAV and the Shenandoah Group of the Virginia Sierra Club are collaborating on a fundraiser to help Puerto Ricans rebuild some of their hurricane-ravaged power grid with solar energy through the work of Resilient Power Puerto Rico. More HERE.

Please let us know you are coming by RSVPing to Cindy Burbank cindy.burbank [at] by Monday, November 6.

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.