Climate Change Citizen Action
Kenneth R. "Ken" Plum
Al Gore was not the keynote speaker at the Environment Virginia 2008 conference recently, but he could have been. Virginia Burkett, Chief Scientist for Global Change Research at U.S. Geological Survey was the speaker. Her power-point presentation could well have been the source for some of Gore's materials including his charts and graphs. Burkett was a lead author on the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and was among the IPCC scientists who shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. She clearly presented the inconvenient truth that the climate of the earth is undergoing some basic changes as indicated by the research results of thousands of scientists worldwide, and humans are major contributors to those changes. As another speaker paraphrased the musical group Buffalo Springfield from the 1960's: "Something is happening here; what it is ain't exactly clear."
Earth Day takes on a greater sense of urgency this year. Celebrations of the earth, its natural beauty and great mysteries are always in order. What is needed is a greater commitment at the public policy level to cleaning up our environment and our atmosphere so that the earth can survive as we know it. But as we continue to think globally, we must act individually to conserve energy and to be responsible stewards of the earth's resources. I am privileged to serve on Governor Kaine's Climate Change Commission. This 40-person group of scientists, advocates, community leaders and policy makers is charged with coming up with the policies we should be implementing in the Commonwealth to help preserve the natural beauty and health of the planet and its inhabitants.
Many Earth Day Festivals will be held this weekend. Reston Association's festival is April 19, 1-5 p.m. at Walker Nature Education Center on Glade Drive. Among the activities will be on-site recycling of cell phones and home electronics. Fairfax County's Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration is also on April 19 on the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Just last week I attended the first U.S.-European Conference of Metropolitan Regional Councils that had as its theme developing joint action to address climate change.
As part of my weekly Virginia E-News I include suggestions for earth-friendly actions individuals can take and websites they can visit for further suggestions on public policies as well as individual actions to arrest climate change. If you do not yet receive my electronic newsletter, go to www.kenplum.com to subscribe.
Please send your favorite website address or actions you are taking on climate change. I will publish them for others to read. As Virginia Burkett made clear, climate change is a reality if we do not change our ways. That means nations, states, communities, and individuals must make changes. It is time for Climate Change Citizen Action!
A Virginia Municipal League-sponsored regional environmental forum will be held on Thursday, April 17, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Fairfax Marriott at Fair Oaks Mall, 11787 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Fairfax. The forum is an easy and convenient way to get up-to-speed on the issues related to "green government." For more information on VML's Go Green Virginia initiative, the regional forum, and the Green Government challenge, visit www.GoGreenVa.org.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to offer advertising space in certain County bus shelters and wishes to receive public comments about this plan at a public meeting on Saturday, April 19 at 10:30 a.m., Fairfax County Government Center, Conference Rooms 2 & 3. Sign up in advance to speak by calling Katharyn Rogers at 703.324.1120, TTY 703.324.1102 or sign up at the beginning of the meeting. For more information about the advertising plan visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot or call 703.324.1100, TTY 703.324.1102.
Attend the Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 19, at the Walker Nature Education Center, 11450 Glade Drive, Reston. Ongoing Festival activities are from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. featuring live animal shows, a native plant sale, games and hands-on activities for children, and canoe and kayak rentals on Lake Audubon. Entertainment begins at 1:15 p.m. and runs until 4:50 p.m. with the Mill Run Dulcimer Band, tree climbing demonstrations, a live animal show by Animal Ambassadors, and other enjoyable programming. There will be on-site recycling during the festival hours including free cell phone recycling by Sprint, home electronics recycling by Turtle Wings (computer monitors, CPUs, printers, microwaves, and stereos - $9 per item); keyboards, mice, cables, and speakers are recycled free. Service includes security cleansing and identity theft protection. No TVs will be accepted for recycling.
Fairfax County's 2007 Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration is being held at the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Saturday, April 19, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with the Awards Program beginning at 1:00 p.m.
Attend the Best of Reston Awards Gala and Dinner on April 24. The 2008 Best of Reston Honorees are John Coleman, The JBG Companies, the Volunteer Medical Providers of the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic, Ruth Overton, The Reston Garden Club, Tetra Partnerships, and VISTA Wealth Strategies & Judy Redpath. The Awards and Gala are produced in partnership by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Reston Interfaith. Last year’s Best of Reston event raised more than $300,000 for Reston Interfaith. Watch here for details about this important event.
The topic of Fairfax Futures' 4th annual School Readiness Symposium, to be held on Saturday, April 26 in Fairfax will be "Resilient, Resourceful and Ready: the Importance of Social and Emotional Competence for Young Children." Dr. Daniel Gartrell will be keynote speaker. For more information go to www.fairfax-futures.org.
Mosaic Harmony's 15th Anniversary Spring Celebration Concerts will be held on April 26 and May 3, 7:00 p.m., at the McLean High School Auditorium, 1633 Davidson Road, McLean. Tickets for the "Let it Shine" concerts are available now. Visit www.mosaicharmony.com or call 301.816.9220 for information and ordering. Find out more about Mosaic Harmony by emailing email@example.com.
IMAGINE 2008, the fundraiser for the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry, will be held at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria on April 26, 2008, 8:00 to 11:30 p.m. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Annual Benefit Concert of the Reston Community Orchestra will be “A Family Evening at the Pops” on Sunday, April 27, 5:30 p.m. in the newly renovated Sunset Hills Montessori School, corner of South Lakes Drive and Ridge Heights Road. RSVP for tickets and table reservations to 703.860.1328 by Thursday, April 24.
Attend an exclusive Festival Preview Reception sponsored by the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) on Friday, May 2, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Reston Midtown, Reston Town Center. Tickets cost $35 for members and $50 for non-members of GRACE. Reserve your tickets by calling GRACE at 704.471.9242 by April 25. The Preview Reception, an exclusive preview of works of artists participating in the 17th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in May, will include a live art auction with Delegate Ken Plum serving as auctioneer for the event.
Attend the 8th Annual Pet Fiesta on Saturday, May 3, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Reston Town Center. The event is a celebration of pets and pet ownership with a Tails on Trails dog Walk, Doghouse of Style Fashion Show of pet-wear, Paws-itively Fun Pet Contests, Super Pet Adoption, exhibitors of pet resources, and rescue groups. Family fun activities include face painting, caricature artists, and live entertainment. All on-leash pets are welcome; general admission is free. For more information, visit www.PetFiesta.org or www.RestonTownCenter.com.
The State Arboretum of Virginia Annual Garden Fair will be held May 10-11, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More than 80 vendors will offer unique plants for sale to help support the Arboretum that is located in Boyce, about 30 minutes west on Route 7. For more information, visit www.virginia.edu/blandy.
Join hundreds of bicycle commuters to celebrate Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 16, 6:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Reston Town Center. Each year since 2002, cyclists have gathered at the Town Center for a free breakfast, raffles of bike-related prizes, and bicycling information handouts including the new Fairfax County Bike Map to be unveiled on Bike to Work Day. Pre-registered riders also get a free t-shirt. Delegate Ken Plum and Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will greet the riders at 8:00 a.m. Register at www.waba.orga.
The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival sponsored by GRACE is May 17-18. More information is at www.restonarts.org.