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Cool Cities’-sponsored “Growing a Greener World” to air in October and November

September 16, 2014

Joe Lamp'l(ROANOKE, Va.)— Blue Ridge PBS will broadcast national television series, Growing a Greener World’s episode showcasing Roanoke, in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, on Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 1:30 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 24 at 12 noon. The show features the Roanoke City Market area, local restaurants and the green roof at Center in the Square. In addition, interviews with Jon Bryant, Natural Foods Co-op, and Mark Powell, Association of Community Gardens, will highlight Roanoke’s community gardens and the programs’ success. Local sponsors of this episode are Blue Ridge PBS, Center in the Square, City of Roanoke, Cool Cities Coalition, Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau and Sheraton Roanoke.


Growing a Greener World is an award-winning TV show appearing on national Public Television featuring organic gardening, green living and farm-to-table cooking. Each episode focuses on making a positive impact on the planet through gardening and shares DIY information that we can all use at home. Currently in its fifth season, Growing a Greener World covers everything from edible gardening, urban homesteading and hobby farming to seasonal cooking, canning and preserving the harvest.

James Baum, president and CEO of Blue Ridge PBS says, “We’re happy that our good friend, Joe Lamp’l, brought Growing a Greener World to Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge to highlight the wonderful horticultural happenings in this area.”

NOTE: Growing a Green World is broadcast in 96% of the top 50 market areas in the US. Blue Ridge PBS is pleased to have sponsored the show’s original television season.

Blue Ridge PBS is the winner of multiple regional Emmy Awards for documentaries and community service. Founded in 1967, Blue Ridge PBS is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving portions of five states. As the region’s storyteller, Blue Ridge PBS offers outstanding informational, educational and cultural programming, along with an award-winning local production team devoted to regional issues and interests.

Solarize Roanoke brings affordable clean energy to the region

August 11, 2014

Solarize Roanoke 2014If you own a home and live in zip codes 24011, 24012, 24013, 24014, 24015, 24016, 24017, 24018 and 24019 – this could be the time to invest in solar. Sponsored by the City of Roanoke, the 3-month effort enables people to get into solar for about $7,500 up front, a far cry from costs of the past.

Check it out here:

ICLEI once again on Roanoke County agenda

January 27, 2014
Agenda 21 hydra

On Tuesday, January 28, 2014 the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors will once again (for the third time in two years) examine the $1,200 expenditure for membership in ICLEI, Local Governments for  Sustainability, a membership that enables the use of software to measure, track and plan the reduction of municipal and community greenhouse gas emissions. In addition the membership allows the county to easily network with hundreds of other communities in the U.S. and elsewhere that are members of ICLEI.

The tea party and other groups with ties to the fossil fuel industry have targeted ICLEI membership in the past few years, spinning tales of vast United Nations conspiracies such as this bizarre statement on the John Birch Society’s website: “ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. Agenda 21 seeks for the government to curtail your freedom to travel as you please, own a gas-powered car, live in suburbs or rural areas, and raise a family. Furthermore, it would eliminate your private property rights through eminent domain. Agenda 21 can be stopped at the local level by organizing and informing others to encourage local government officials to end their community’s membership in ICLEI and to repeal any of the Agenda 21-related ‘sustainable development’ laws and ordinances they have enacted.”

In reality, Agenda 21 was part of the Rio de Janeiro Summit in the 1992, where 178 nations, including the United States, voted in favor of an entirely voluntary program for sustainable development in the 21st century.

You can send a letter to the entire Roanoke County Board of Supervisors using this email address

Below is the letter sent on behalf of the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition:

January 26, 2014

Dear Roanoke County Supervisors,

I am writing on behalf of the 273 affiliates (businesses, individuals, and organizations representing over 25,000 citizens) of the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, most of whom live, work or do business in Roanoke County. See a complete listing here:

We are dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy conservation, energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable energy.

I urge you to support the fine work of RC CLEAR and to continue the county’s inexpensive membership in ICLEI, a membership that allows the county to easily measure its own efforts and to benchmark those efforts against other localities in Virginia and across the country.

Using less energy means burning less coal, diesel and gasoline, producing cleaner air and cleaner water for the Roanoke region.

It is disappointing to see that, for the third time in 2 years, the County is revisiting a very small expenditure of funds for a software vendor, especially when that same vendor is in wide use in Virginia, including the nearby localities of Harrisonburg, Abingdon, Blacksburg and the City of Roanoke.

In the scientific community, human-caused climate change is not a “belief” that requires a leap of faith. It is a demonstrable fact accepted by over 97 percent of climate scientists. Just as state and local health departments rely on the germ theory of disease to deal with influenza and other transmittable diseases, climate scientists rely on their studies to understand the causes and likely effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions on the earth’s atmosphere.

Will the questioning of “beliefs” held by county staff and community volunteers extend beyond established science into other areas such as political preferences and religion? This seems like dangerous territory indeed.

RC CLEAR’s work focuses on ENERGY CONSERVATION and ENERGY EFFICIENCY, both in local government and for local citizens and organizations. This can be seen very clearly on the award-winning Save a Ton website, which provides tools for citizens to measure their energy savings and dollar rewards for conservation and efficiency. Save a Ton is collaboration among four local governments (Roanoke County, City of Salem, City of Roanoke, Town of Blacksburg) and local businesses and organizations.

A recent Virginia Tech survey showed that Roanoke Valley residents have two overwhelmingly important priorities for the region: economic development/jobs (92%) AND clean water/clean air (85%). They want both, as do many businesses that visit the region with plans for potential creation of new jobs.

Air pollution and water pollution present serious threats for our region:

  • Current threats to human health (especially asthma and heart disease)
  • Potential threats to economic development (such as the decision by Sierra Nevada not to locate here)
  • Ongoing threats to the joy of living in such a beautiful area (poor air quality days, warnings not to consume fish caught in local rivers, streams and lakes).

It is so encouraging when local citizens use their precious time to help the county and their fellow citizens. And it is equally disappointing to see ideological extremists make harsh and undeserved attacks on the members of RC CLEAR, a volunteer committee appointed by unanimous vote of the county supervisors.

Members of RC CLEAR have given hundreds of hours to help the county and its citizens, and the only thanks they can hope for is the feeling of a job well done and appreciated. Extremist critics offer no constructive advice, simply a chorus of negative opinions and bizarre conspiracy theories manufactured by sources like the witch-hunting John Birch Society, a remnant of the 1950s McCarthy era.

It seems likely that success in attacking RC CLEAR and ICLEI would only besmirch the region’s reputation as a desirable place to live and work while emboldening these “patriots” to attack something else.

Who is writing such extremist messages to encourage the waste of energy, and who can possibly benefit? Certainly not local homeowners and businesses.


Dr. Diana Christopulos, President

Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition

907 Greenbrier Court, Salem, VA 24153


Political, Environmental, Business leaders will urge action on Climate Change at Grandin Village event

August 24, 2013

What: Climate Action Rally in the Roanoke Valley

When: Wednesday, August 28, noon

Where: Amphitheater at Virginia Heights Baptist Church (next to Roanoke Natural Foods Coop at Grandin & Memorial, Roanoke)

Who: This event is sponsored by Environment Virginia, with additional sponsorship by Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition and Organizing for Action. See flyer below for confirmed speakers as of this date

Why: We need action now on climate change, both to reduce carbon pollution that is causing the earth’s temperature to rise and to mitigate the effects of climate change that we are already experiencing

Click the link below to access a flyer that can be printed or distributed by email

Aug2013 climate rally

Cool Cities Affiliate Honors Sen. John Edwards with “Legislator of the Year” Award

July 4, 2013



Pictured (L to R): Mark McClain, Dan Crawford, Sen. John Edwards, Diana Christopulos
Rupert Cutler, Freeda Cathcart

Cool Cities president Diana Christopulos and director Mark McClain were on hand when local Sierra Club Chair Dan Crawford presented the award (made from recycled glass). They were also joined by legendary environmental advocate and former Roanoke City Councilman Rupert Cutler, and political and environmental activist Freeda Cathcart, a Sierra Club-endorsed candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates. Meeting with Sen. Edwards in his Roanoke office, the group enjoyed a genial visit with this veteran legislator, who has been a steadfast supporter of good environmental policy. The Sierra Club distributed the following announcement to media statewide:

July 3, 2013 (Richmond, VA):

Richmond, VA — For the first time, the Virginia Chapter Sierra Club voted to recognize members of the General Assembly with awards lauding their work in the Legislature. The Chapter’s Legislative Committee voted unanimously to honor Senator John Edwards with the Legislator of the Year Award to recognize his outstanding public service.

On receiving his award on July 3, Senator Edwards offered the following quote, “I am honored to receive this award from the Sierra Club, an organization I admire. Like the Sierra Club, I am interested in developing clean energy, improving the environment, protecting our outdoors and preserving our natural heritage.”

The Senator from Roanoke is receiving the Legislator of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding record of public service and commitment to his constituents and welfare of our Commonwealth. In addition to the leadership he has provided over the years on the Commerce and Labor Committee, in 2013 Senator Edwards patroned a bill that allows customers of Dominion Virginia Power to install solar projects as large as 1 megawatt using a power purchase agreement (PPA) financed by private companies. The law’s significance cannot be understated, as the PPA model has been the driver for most solar projects around the country in recent years, making solar energy available with low risk and minimal upfront cost.

“Senator John Edwards has been an unfailing friend to the environment and to the citizens of Southwest Virginia. His intelligence, combined with curiosity and courage, make him a real champion for the entire state,” said Dr. Diana Christopulos, a dedicated Sierra Club member.


18 inch sea level rise predicted for Virginia coastal communities “in our lifetime”

June 25, 2013

Hampton Roads, already judged to be the second most at-risk area in the US for rising seas, now faces some of the first consequences: dramatically increased insurance costs for homeowners, if they can get insurance.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science recently published a study about the effects of recurrent flooding from sea level rise. Commissioned by the General Assembly, the study confirmed that Virginia’s coastal communities should plan for water levels to increase by at least a foot and a half in our lifetime.

Hampton Roads localities are scrambling to address the issue, which currently leaves local governments on the hook for flooding of coastal sprawl development.

A New York Times report in late 2012 showed that inaction on climate change would produce permanent flooding in 39% of Newport News, 99% of Virginia Beach, and 100% of Norfolk.

All areas in blue would be submerged if nothing is done to reduce sea level rise.

All areas in blue would be submerged if nothing is done to reduce sea level rise.


See more details here

SIERRA CLUB announces charter bus to Feb. 17 Climate Rally

February 9, 2013

A bus has been chartered to transport local residents to the February 17 Climate Rally (details in previous post, below). Cost for the round trip is only $37.92. CLICK HERE to be transported to the signup page for bus reservations.