Roanoke Environmental Group Hands Out “Cool” Awards

Winners of this year’s Cool Citizen Awards pose with their plaques.

by Gene Marrano

The Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, which promotes alternative energy technologies and greener ways that can reduce carbon footprints – thus keeping the valley cooler – handed out its annual Cool Citizen Awards at the 2012 Affiliates Conference last week. More than 250 local businesses, individuals and non-profit groups are affiliated with Roanoke Valley Cool Cities, which was founded by Dr. Diana Christopulos and Mark McClain.

Roanoke Mayor David Bowers and City Council members Court Rosen and Bill Bestpitch were on hand at the Claude Moore Education Complex – a building renovated to LEED energy-saving standards – for the breakfast meeting last week. Also attending was Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Flora, who recently cast the deciding vote when the county decided to keep paying its $1,200 ICLEI dues for the coming year. The citizens-led RC Clear group in the county is an affiliate of ICLEI; an international organization that promotes greener energy.  Flora handed out the final special achievement award.

McClain, the Cool Cities Coalition director, said Bowers had “helped us tremendously,” in getting the organization off the ground. The mayor praised Cool Cities for a program that gives low-energy CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs to low income families. Bowers also made it clear where he stands on green issues: “there is such a thing as global warming,” said the mayor, who urged those in attendance to “think globally [but] act locally. That’s what you folks are doing here today.”

For Christopulos the mission is simple: “we want to reduce greenhouse gases [that warm the earth]. I like sustainability. I think that’s a good word. Let’s be courageous about it [and] keep a constructive attitude.” Christopulos mentioned RC Clear’s Save-A-Ton education program, which has just been rolled out to show residents how they can reduce their household carbon footprint by a cubic ton per year.

“This is smart work to do. It’s not that hard and it’s good for the valley,” she noted. The Save-A-Ton campaign, which includes a website and advertising, recently netted several ADDY awards for the Thomas Becher Agency (tba) that designed it.

Keynote speaker Dr. Melissa Booth, who has studied life forms in the oceans from Antarctica to the North Pole, said global warming is melting the ice caps, which affects the salinity and the temperature of water. “This is a fact, this is happening,” said Booth, offering evidence as to how that affects everything from the health of coral reefs to the size of fish. “We’re playing a game by entering all of this CO2 into the atmosphere,” warned Booth, who lives on an island off the coast of Georgia.

There are already “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay, oxygen-deprived patches where fish no longer thrive, according to Booth. Rising sea levels, earlier spring seasons and ocean acidification are other harmful side effects of global warming. She urged politicians to stop delaying decisions on climate change and also had a related wish: “get corporate money out of politics [on environmental issues].”

Booth urged localities to encourage buildup within cities when it comes to development – not build out – in order to reduce urban sprawl and longer commute times that also mean more carbon emissions from motorists. “We have to make [these changes] now and work together by all means,” said Booth, alluding to the politically charged atmosphere when it comes to topics like global warming and green energy.

Cool Citizen Award winners included Brandon Oaks, the retirement community that was designated a “Cool Green Biz” by the Cool Cities Coalition, for an addition that was built to higher energy saving standards. Other honorees included Suzi Fortenberry of Benchmark Builders, which is constructing energy efficient houses in Roanoke County; Mark Jackson of the New River Center for Energy Research and Training; Roger Holnback, recently retired as executive director of the Western Virginia Land Trust, which works to preserve open space from development  – and Gene Marrano, cited for balanced environmental reporting in a variety of venues, including the Roanoke Star-Sentinel.

Janet Scheid, a member of the RC Clear committee, was honored for “showing courage by speaking out publicly in support of the county’s ICLEI membership, in the face of hostile opposition,” according to the written introduction for her in the awards program.

Doug and Mary McCallum were also recognized as individual Cool Citizens for erecting a small energy-producing wind turbine on their property after overcoming opposition “from radical non-environmentalists,” according to presenter Rupert Cutler, a former Roanoke City Council member and a past Cool Citizen winner himself.

Mary McCallum cited Roanoke County supervisor Charlotte Moore for helping them obtain the permits needed. “Keep spreading the word,” said McCallum. Moore has also voiced support for the proposed wind turbine farm on Poor Mountain.

The final Special Achievement award went to the Roanoke Valley-Allegheny Regional Commission, which has spearheaded efforts like RIDE Solutions, to encourage alternative means of transportation. The Regional Commission, a quasi-governmental agency that encompasses eleven local jurisdictions, has also offered free energy audits and the Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley – which promotes environmental quality. Executive Director Wayne Strickland said that focus is nothing new: “we’ve been working on environmental projects [since that 1970’s] … we have a lot of projects going on.”

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  1. Roanoke T partiers once again fail to provide scientific proof from any SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATION that supports their denial of fact.

    There is good reason for this, No large group of credentiled scientist would support the bizaar rantings of contrarian denial without the benefit of scientific proof.

    T cups: STILL Waiting…………………. You cannot provide scientific data that supports your misguided denial of scientific fact. Please find a new pony to ride, this one has no legs.

  2. #SImon The burden of proof is on the groups you mention to support their THEORY. That is the way science works. Take off your Joseph Goebbels hat, go track down your scientist friends and have them respond to the latest data that invalidates the hockey stick theory. Then we can have a conversation about the science, instead of trading barbs.

  3. Simon, All of the organization name dropping by you proves nothing. Please provide LINKED STUDIES or ARTICLES where these organizations are named. What study can you guys produce to counter the fact that 12+ years of CO2 increases have been accompanied by flat to decreasing global temperatures. Its really counter to what the organizations you listed claim should have happened.

    Do you guys have a study that quantifies the human CO2 component in global warming amongst the natural variability components? Please provide a link to that if it exists. I bet you can’t.

    The IPPC computer models called for the formation of a hot spot 6 miles over the tropics because of moisture buildup trapping more greenhouse gas heat; no attempt to find it has been successful.

    So, whats up with the IPCC computer model?

  4. We have provided reference data from the American Academy of Science, Union of Concerned Scientist, NOAA, EPA, et al.

    The best the T baggers can come up with is FOX (faux) NEWS, a foreign owned joke with questionable agenda.

    Stll waiting…….and waiting, for any validation of Traitriot Party denial of SCIENTIFIC FACT from any SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATION.

    STILL WAITING………………………………………………………………………….

  5. “China, where most of the coal would go, is building the equivalent of two 500-megawatt coal-fired plants each week. Although it produces twice as much coal as the United States, it has gone from a net coal exporter in 2008 to a net importer today.”

    So, as the US uses less coal, China and other countries are snapping it up. Supply and demand. Cheaper for China to buy that much more coal from us. Looks like US coal’s better days are actually ahead as China builds the equivalent of two 550 MW coal-fired plants a week.

  6. Simon, You guys are the ones claiming man-made sources of carbon dioxide are causing climate change and, because of this, there is a overwhelming crisis that everyone must change their behavior to fix as soon as possible, right? So, the onus is really on you (scientific method) to provide scientific data showing that man-made sources of carbon dioxide have produced an identifiable and significant impact on global temperature. Prove your claims with the best scientific data you’ve got and allow for us to debate the data. Explain how global temperatures haven’t risen since 1998 and have been in a recent decline. Explain why Envisat shows a two year long decline in sea level:

  7. Once again, the T baggers FAIL to provide documentation for their denial of scientific fact from any SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATION.

    If and when you can provide validation from a SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATION that supports your contrarian beliefs, we are all ears.

    Waiting………..Still waiting……..Still got nuthin? Almost a month now, and you still cannot provide any documentation from a legiment SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATION! T cups, find another Pony to ride.

  8. Chip: Yes, you and fellow T baggers have swallowed the bait, all your reference material is without validation from any scientific organization.
    You have not and can not provide any evidence to support the strange beliefs and denial of scientific facts you espouse. The fact that your small misguided group continues to refute science is inexplicable to me.

    Your prayers are appreciated although your fellow deniers may need your thoughs in hope to open their minds to the truth.

  9. Yada, Yada, Yada,
    Same old story from the T cups. Fox news is your friend and is owned by foreign interests who have an agenda opposite of True Americans.
    Hitler used the same scare tactics and scape goat menu to control the opinion of the masses. Today society can see through your actions and claims of Liberty lovin, while attempting to trounce the freedom of the majority.

    T bags- you are truely pathetic and nobody cares to hear your crazy conspiricy theorem. LOL

  10. #Simon. Why? Since most of the time we are correct on issues and since you and your friends can’t win an argument on the facts, you call us tea bagging, racist, homophobic, Nazis.

    You know the formal name of the Nazi party was the national socialist party right? The evil of Communism and Naziism are closely related. Tea Party groups usually stand for individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, small government and following the Constitution. Many of us are Christian in our orientation.

    All of those ideals Socialists, Communists and Nazis all hate. We believe that all men are created equal. Nazis and Communists all believe that there are superior and inferior peoples. We want the government out of lives. Communists, Socialist and Nazis all want government control of your life. We beleive in individual liberty. Socialist, Communists and Nazis all subvert the individual to the “common” good. (Defined by the smart people for the masses)
    We believe that rights are natural and come from the creator. Communists, Socialists and Nazis all beleive they can create and alter rights at their whim because they have placed themselves in the place of God.

    Based on what little I know of your personal and political philopsophies Simon, I would say you have a lot more in common with the Nazis than we do. In fact our entire political philosophy is totally opposite of National Socialism.

    So you lost the argument and can’;t answer what we put forward. So… lets just call Bill a Nazi tea bagger.

    Joseph Goebbels would be proud of your tactic to demonize a group just because you can’t win an argument. It worked in the 1930s and sadly for some…it still works today.

  11. “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring about?” – Maurice Strong, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Environment and Development—best known as the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 June to 14 June 1992 where UN Agenda 21 was born

  12. Simon: “Why do all the web sites referenced by Bill and his comrads have a neo-nazi agenda?”

    Simon, Are you implying the statements in those articles are false and made up? Or could it be that you deny the existence of the Rio +20 UN Executive Summary and all that it implies? Perhaps we should just ignore it like it doesn’t exist? Hey, everyone who enjoys their current standard of living in the US, please don’t educate yourself about what will be coming out of the Rio+20 gathering this summer. Something like that?


    A percentage of climate change scientists deny the man made global warming theory, too, Simon. Does that mean they are wrong? No. It does not. It means they see things differently and haven’t conformed to the popular concensus. A popular concensus that is apparently a driving force to current and future wealth redistribution on a global scale (Rio+20 UN Executive Summary). Here’s a suggestion: Why don’t you and your friends give up your standard of living to others across the globe in the name of UN social and economic justice and leave the rest of us alone?

  13. Really?! Come on Green Police. Stop the soft tyranny:

    ” The EPA has instituted new rules and regulations to control greenhouse emissions by farm animals. During this tough economic time, it is unfair and irresponsible to levy such a tax on family farms, according to conservatives.

    Under Title V of the Clean Air Act, farmers would pay a hefty permit fee for animals that emit 100 tons of greenhouse gasses annually, affecting the vast majority of the nation’s livestock operations. Any farm with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs would have to obtain a permit to operate, which, according to the United State Department of Agriculture, would cover 99 percent of New York dairy production, 95 percent of its hog production and 90 percent of beef production.

    According to one organization, the New York Farm Bureau, the new permits would cost farmers well over $110 million a year, dramatically impacting the agricultural sector and economy. The tax is estimated at $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 per hog. The added financial burden on already-struggling farmers could force many family farms out of business and lead to a raise in food prices.”

  14. Simon says, Dr. C. Tarbucket, Phd, environmental science, molecular biology, chemical science, political science, and professor emeritus of grammar and macro economics: never fails to amaze or amuse.

    Stick to your on-line games, you may have some success there!

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