Sunday, May 31, 2009

Scene from the Sidewalk: Mini Lion

I was knocking on doors in Alcova Heights and spotted this cat sporting the lion look -- a close-cropped cut except for its tail tip, legs and of course a long mane:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Size Matters: Standing Firm Against I66 Expansion

It took exactly three posts into my blogging at The Green Miles to make my feelings clear on I66: I'm against expanding it. Three years later, my position is unchanged -- our precious transportation dollars would be better spent on Metro and our existing roads and bridges, which remain in desperate need of maintenance funding. On top of that, Arlingtonians shouldn't have to pay the price in higher pollution to smooth (and encourage) commutes from distant sprawling suburbs.

It's important for Arlington's leaders to take a strong stand. Heavy pressure to capitulate comes from representatives of places like Fairfax and Prince William, both in Richmond and on Capitol Hill, who don't much care about more pollution in Arlington or a wider I66 crowding out adjacent trails -- those problems will impact Arlington, not them.

That's why in my run for House of Delegates, I'm being crystal clear about my position on I66. If the delegate from the 47th district won't stand up for Arlington, who will?

It's become a major issue in the Democratic primary race:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Remembering an Arlington Environmental Leader

Just learning some tragic news. Earlier this month, former Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment board member Erik Bluemel was killed in a bike accident in Denver. He was just 32 years old.

The Denver Post details Erik's commitment to environmental protection:

Bluemel's research interests included environmental federalism, climate governance, international administrative law and environmental rights, said Chase Squires, spokesman for the University of Denver. [...]

He served as a staff attorney and teaching fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center's Institute for Public Representation, where he represented dozens of national and local groups on administrative, environmental and public-land issues.
The University of California Alumni Club is hosting a memorial gathering for Erik tonight from 6-9pm at Sign of the Whale (1825 M Street NW), all are welcome to attend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Protesters Arrested Outside Rep. Boucher's Office

Any minute now, the House Energy & Commerce Committee is expected to pass the American American Clean Energy & Security Act (HR 2454), also known as Waxman-Markey.

Earlier today, 15 protesters were arrested outside the office of Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), who's been working to weaken the bill. Grist has more on the protest:

“It’s really a statement about Boucher and the leadership he has assumed in gutting the bill and giving billions of dollars to polluters,” CCAN communications director Anne Havemann told Grist after the protest.

Boucher has been very open throughout the process about his talks with coal companies about the bill. “In the course of conducting other negotiations, I have had continued conversations with coal companies, both locally and nationally, including the chief executive officers of CONSOL ... which operates the largest mine in Southwest Virginia, and Michael Quillen, the chief executive officer of Alpha, which is our region’s largest coal producer,” Boucher said recently. “I have been in discussions with Mike Morris, the chief executive officer of AEP, and Tom Ferrell, who is chief executive officer of Dominion, which is Virginia’s largest electricity supplier.”

But Boucher hasn’t made himself quite so accessible to foes of coal, prompting the sit-in today. “He doesn’t meet with groups like us,” said Havemann. “We’ve tried for months.”

Wouldn't it be nice if Rep. Boucher could join the fight for a clean energy future and green jobs instead of protecting the dirty coal industry and its rapidly dwindling number of mining jobs?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rep. Moran: Responsibility to Act on Global Warming

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency held a public forum on its recent finding that global warming poses a threat to public health & welfare under the Clean Air Act. For my day job with the National Wildlife Federation, I covered a news conference of environmental groups praising the EPA's decision and calling on Congress to pass comprehensive climate & energy legislation this year.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) joined the event, with Rep. Moran delivering an especially forceful call to action:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Video: Miles Grant on Virginia's Energy Policies

We shot this video at Potomac Overlook Regional Park, which has installed solar panels over its performance stage. Learn more about my run for House of Delegates and sign up for campaign email updates at!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Scene from the Sidewalk: Ballston Birds

I was canvassing in Ballston yesterday when I came upon this house on Columbus Street near Washington Boulevard. It had a small pond with a fountain out front and two Mallards were happily swimming in it.

When I knocked on the door, I was less interested in pitching my campaign than I was in hearing about the yard. Were the ducks regular neighborhood nesters?

"They nested last year, but the eggs didn't hatch," the homeowner told me. "I think it was their first time. She didn't seem to have the hang of it yet."

Ballston Birds

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sunday: Grand Re-Opening at Potomac Overlook

If you're a fellow fan of Potomac Overlook Regional Park (or even if you've never been), here's a cool event to check out on Sunday:
Join the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority on Sunday, May 17, 1:30-3:30 p.m. for the grand re-opening of the Potomac Overlook Nature Center in Arlington, VA. The renovated nature center features the “Energerium” – a new exhibit on energy in living systems, including human systems. This exhibit examines nature through the lens of energy, drawing attention to the central role that energy plays in our lives. The afternoon will also feature tours of the renovated facility and lots of fun activities for all ages, including live music, a juggler, games, door prizes and more.
The Green Miles' suggested Sunday itinerary -- go to Taste of Arlington in Ballston at noon (wearing your MG09 organic cotton t-shirt, of course), then go to Potomac Overlook at 1:30pm to walk off the calories.

MG09 Signs Rated Tops Among Keen Observers

Now that the Democratic primary for Virginia House of Delegates is fewer than 31 days away, Miles Grant for Delegate volunteers have put up signs on median strips across the 47th district. Given that I'm The Green Miles, we asked volunteers to be especially careful about not placing signs in parks or flower beds and planting signs deep so they wouldn't blow away.

Our signs got some nice recognition over at Blue Virginia:
I got an email about the quality (not quantity) of the signs from a ... let's call him a keen observer of Arlington Democratic politics.

Ranked by ease of visibility and clearness in telling us who the candidate is:

1. Miles Grant
2. Alan Howze
3. Andres Tobar
4. Adam Parkhomenko
5. Patrick Hope
If you live in Arlington and would like an MG09 yard sign, email us!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Seed Paper: Fail

Last summer I planted some seed paper (see: Island of Misfit Green Toys) and told you I'd let you know how it did.

Nearly nine months is more than enough time to render a verdict. Not a single sprout:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Method Man

The Green Miles doesn't have a washer-dryer in his apartment. Especially in the winter, I dread the one-block trek to my complex's laundromat. Not only do I have to schlep my clothes, I have to bring detergent, giving me a choice of bringing the whole big box/jug or trying to pour some into a smaller container, always a messy proposition.

But I've been able to solve at least part of the problem by switching to Method's concentrated detergent. The
container is small enough to carry. Plus, I get the benefits of Method's natural cleaners:
Coconut oil soap, a concentrated blend of naturally derived and biodegradable surfactants, and active cleaning enzymes provide the non-toxic cleaning power. the triple concentrate provides a nice eco-innovation: by taking out most of the water, this product saves packaging plastic and shipping energy, not to mention all that water. (oops, we mentioned it.)
More details on laundry detergent from Grist's Ask Umbra:
The No. 1 ingredient to avoid is the surfactant nonylphenol ethoxylate. NPE breaks down into NP (nonylphenol, please don't make me spell it any more), an endocrine disruptor (and estrogen mimic) that has been seen to affect male fishes. Since detergent goes out in household wastewater, and NPEs are quite difficult to remove during sewage treatment, we should avoid putting NPE into the water in the first place.
And as Treehugger recommends, wash your laundry in cold water whenever you can.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Exclusive Video: Inside the MG09 War Room

We host Thursday volunteer nights here at Miles Grant for Delegate Campaign Headquarters (a.k.a. my apartment). Here's a look at the craziness of a dozen people phone banking, entering data and assembling yard signs:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Green Dilemma: The Lime in Your Beer Bottle

Grist's "Ask Umbra" says don't sweat the citrus ...

Scene from the Sidewalk: Green Home in Westover

While I was walking through Westover asking voters for their support in my race for House of Delegates, I noticed an open house at this green home for sale. The house was packed and the realtors told me they expected hundreds of visitors that day. Definitely not in my price range though, listed at $1,295,000. You can learn more about Arlington's green home choice program here.

Westover Green Home

Friday, May 1, 2009

Something Tells Me I Won't Get This Endorsement

The candidate questionnaires are coming in at a rate of about one a day race for the Virginia House of Delegates here in Arlington's 47th district. Here's the first one I've gotten that I strongly disagree with.

It's from the National Right to Work Committee, which spends millions of dollars every year on anti-union activities. Most recently, it made headlines for trashing President Obama's Labor Secretary nominee, Hilda Solis.

Given that I'm pro-union, somehow I don't think I'll be getting this endorsement:

Anti-Union Questionnaire