Saturday, October 19, 2019
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Where There Is No Vision, the People Perish (Proverbs 29:18)

This piece will be appearing soon in newspapers in my very "conservative" congressional District (VA-06). ************************ With times as dire as these are -- with dark...

Tell Gov. Bob To Veto The Hybrid Tax

Delegate Scott Surovell and Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Awesomeness) have created a petition to urge Governor McDonnell to "Veto the Hybrid Tax"!  The immediate goal is to get the governor to use his line item veto to remove this anti-clean energy provision from the transportation bill.

Whether this works or not, keep in mind the equally important goal of demonstrating the power of those who support clean energy and sustainability policy -- of which Virginia remains one of the most backward states, and not getting any better.  Unless we speak up now, we -- and future generations -- will continue to be ignored.

As Del. Surovell summarizes the reasons to kill the green car tax, in an email to supporters

This is bad policy.

The Hybrid Tax punishes saving energy. Virginia needs to create incentives to encourage energy conservation so America can be energy independent. Most states are giving tax credits for hybrid purchases, not punishing owners.

A Cost Worth Bearing: Sustainability and the Democratic National Convention

At this year's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, considerable efforts have been made to "green" the event . From low-toxin paints to increased recycling, the convention and its organizers have taken on the immense challenge of putting their money where their political mouth is.

But as is sometimes the case, going green isn't easy logistically or financially. When asked about the additional costs incurred by greening the Democratic Convention, Chief Operating Officer Theo LeCompte responded that "moderate" additional costs were created.  

For those of us who don't believe the earth has an infinite amount of resources, additional costs are not a major deterrent. For many on the conservative side though, "additional costs" related to efforts at sustainability are unacceptable and a further indication that the "libs" are attempting to bankrupt the U.S.

Until the present, many advocates of sustainability have gone on the defensive, claiming that up-front costs of going green will be trumped by the long-term economic payoffs. Unfortunately, this argument in particular hasn't appeared to win over the hearts or minds of conservative nay-sayers.  

Park(ing) Day Will Blow Your Mind

Think about your neighborhood. Think about how much of it taken up by parking spaces - not just marked parking spaces, but streets that are wider than they need to be for traffic so cars can park on one or both sides.

Now think about how many of those parking spaces are filled, even at peak usage times. If you're in an urban core, parking's probably pretty efficiently used. But if you're in Warrenton or Danville or even a more residential part of a place like Arlington, there are vast amounts of land taken up by little-used parking areas - land that could be used in myriad other ways.

Now think about what you could do with that unused land if it wasn't parking. Could you build a playground? Plant a garden? Put in some shade trees to make summer walks a bit cooler? Open space for an off-the-charts adorable scene like this?

That's what Par(king) Day is all about. GreaterGreaterWashington.org has more pictures & video from celebrations around the region.

Best Way To Make Positive Change On Sustainability: Ask.

Having grown up in Boston, one of my favorite shows is NPR's Car Talk. Nothing gets Tom & Ray madder than when people call with a critical problem that they've been driving around with for six months. "You've waited six months - and even then you don't take it to a mechanic, you call us? You're lucky you're not lying in a ditch somewhere after your wheel flew off!"

I have a similar issue when people relate their green problems to me. The first thing I say when people tell me about their problems is, "Have you asked your landlord/boss/whoever to address it?" Invariably, they haven't. (Also, I keep trying to get people to write their problems on the back of a $20 bill and send them to The Green Miles Plaza with no luck.)

Roosevelt Towers, my new apartment building in Falls Church, had a trash bin but not a recycling bin in the mail room. Every day the trash bin would be overflowing with junk mail. So I emailed the leasing office to see if they'd consider adding a recycling bin, a small step that would keep hundreds of pounds of paper out of the landfill every month.

Roosevelt Towers wrote back right away: