Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rep. Perriello Evokes Dr. King

"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one it is right."
-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
That was today's quote in my Living Green Page-a-Day calendar. Funny coincidence since it reminded me of something I'd just read this morning. It was Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) talking about his vote in favor of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act:
“If I have to choose between national security and reelection, for me that’s easy. It’s national security,” he told POLITICO. “I can deal with losing reelection. I can’t deal with being a coward.
So if Virginia Congressmen like Glenn Nye, Rob Wittman and Frank Wolf weren't voting conscience when they voted against ACES, you have to ask -- were they voting cowardice or expediency?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Note to Self: Do Not Offer Finger to Bird of Prey

I was hanging out in the Red Loft before Tuesday's Nationals-Red Sox game when a friend arrived and said, "Did you see the owl???" At first I thought, "Oh, silly city dweller. So easily amazed by a non-sparrow." Then I looked around the corner and realized it wasn't some little stuffed bird to show off to the tourists.

No, thanks to the Earth Conservation Corps, this was a live Great Horned Owl. A real bad-ass one, too. I was about to do the Colbert with the owl for our picture, then looked down and it was giving my finger the "hold still for just one sec" look. Held my ground just long enough to get a picture in.

Miles Who?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Make Sure to Rinse Out the Fake Blood First

From The Green Girfriend:
In the season premiere of HBO's True Blood, Bill has a new vampire that is staying with him and he tells her his rules for his house which include recycling. The pic below is a screencap of the show where he explains that bottles of "true blood" go in the blue bin and paper goes in the white bin. Woohoo!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Green Miles with a Shade of Blue

I've joined the blogging team over at Blue Virginia! My posts there will still generally have an environmental focus, but I'll stray more into strictly political topics as well.

Here are my first posts:

Critical Climate Moment: Will Wittman & Wolf Step Up?

Nixon Crony Endorses McDonnell

Disgraceful: Wash. Post Dumps "White House Watch" Columnist

McDonnell's "All of the Above" is Really More of the Same

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scene from the Sidewalk: Cute Buns

Outside of Upton Hill Regional Park, I'd never seen a rabbit in Arlington. Until I started my canvassing for House of Delegates. At which time I realized we're in the middle of an silent, adorable invasion.

Seriously, north of Wilson Boulevard and west of Glebe Road, they're all over the place. And they could not care less about people (except for our gardens, which they do enjoy). They'd go hopping right by like I wasn't even there. At first I started to try to sneak up on this one to take a picture ... then I realized he didn't care I was there and walked right up to it:

Arlington Bunny
And I, for one, welcome our new bunny overlords.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

McDonnell to Hampton Roads: Drop Dead

The Republican Party of Virginia's candidate for governor is writing off Hampton Roads. Not in the next election -- permanently.

First, a quick review of the science. Few areas of the entire country are more vulnerable to sea level rise than Hampton Roads. The map at right shows what would happen under a 12-foot sea level rise scenario, leaving much of the metro area under water.

Here's the scary part: Thanks to increasing global fossil fuel use and accelerating global warming, scientists are now saying that's possible much sooner than previously thought. The latest research shows we could be looking at six feet of sea level rise -- not in some far-off scenario, but in the lifetime of a child born today.

Now consider that Hampton Roads is already vulnerable to strong storms. Scientists say rising sea levels could double the land vulnerable to a category 1 hurricane.

So what do scientists say we need to do? Simple -- start moving away from dirty, polluting fossil fuels and onto clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. Luckily for our economy, clean energy sources are more jobs-intensive than mining and drilling for fossil fuels. And fortunately for consumers, clean energy is getting cheaper by the day -- and if we develop the technology to use it more efficiently, we can save families money.

But Bob McDonnell just doesn't care. Instead of standing up for Hampton Roads and standing with science, Bob McDonnell is trying to impress his buddies in Washington -- including one of the least-popular disgraced politicians in the entire country, Newt Gingrich.

Newt's Big Oil-funded front group called for Bob to denounce the science-backed American Clean Energy and Security Act that could come before the full House for a vote as soon as Thursday. Like a good lapdog, Bob immediately came running to trash the bill that would do what scientists say is necessary to protect Hampton Roads. Instead, McDonnell announced his plan to deal with the crisis -- tax cuts:
We can reduce carbon emissions, and clean up our environment, without raising taxes on Virginia citizens and increasing unemployment. We must encourage companies to innovate by providing tax incentives for environmentally-friendly construction, energy efficient workplaces and establishment of environmentally-friendly sustainability programs. The cap and trade legislation under consideration is exactly the wrong approach to take. It is a heavy-handed big government approach based on ideology, not science.
This is the George W. Bush approach to governance. Tax cuts as a catchall prescription for any problem, blind faith in unregulated markets to solve all our problems, and putting politics ahead of science.

Virginia voters rejected four more years of the Bush approach last November. Looks like they'll get a chance to do it again this year.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Starbucks to Slash Water Waste

A nice move by Starbucks to dramatically cut its wasted water:
Starbucks Corp. is installing new water faucets in its U.S. stores that will allow the company to save about 150 gallons of water a day -- roughly two bathtubs' worth -- at each of its cafes after receiving criticism and as part of a green initiative.

The company said it will no longer run water continuously out of its taps to wash spoons and will instead install new faucets that meter out water. Baristas press the faucet once and high pressure water sprays out long enough to rinse a spoon. The faucets are now being installed in all U.S. stores -- a process that will be completed by September -- and will be delivered to select international stores in the fall. About 600 stores, mainly in California, now have the new faucets.
The wasteful water practices were first uncovered by The Sun last fall.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nature Conservancy Scientist on Letterman

A surprising advocate for climate action - David Letterman. He made headlines last fall with his "We are so screwed!" rant. This week he had Dr. M.A. Sanjayan, a scientist from The Nature Conservancy (headquartered in Ballston), on to talk about global warming:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Global Warming Report Due Today

UPDATE: The report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program is out, you can read it at GlobalChange.gov.

A major new report on the climate crisis is
due today. We got some hints at some the current trends and worst-case scenarios from a January draft:
-- climate change is already affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems and health, differing from region to region and expected to grow if the climate changes as projected;

-- agriculture is one sector most able to adapt to climate change, but increased temperature, pests, diseases and weather extremes will challenge crops and livestock production;

-- threats to human health will increase, especially those related to heat stress, water-borne diseases, reduced air quality, extreme weather events and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents;

-- sea-level rise and storm surge place many U.S. coastal regions at increasing risk of erosion and flooding, especially along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Pacific islands and parts of Alaska; energy and transportation infrastructure in coastal cities is very likely to be adversely affected.
The report will put new pressure on Virginia members of Congress like Rob Wittman and Frank Wolf, who've wavered on support for clean energy & climate legislation. How long will they ignore the threats to Virginia's coastline and to Virginians themselves?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bizarre Blue Bug

"Is that a bug?"

"No, it's just a tiny piece of blue fuzz caught in the breeze."

"But it's changing direction."

So went the conversation in my backyard the other night. It was way too tiny to get a look at while in flight, so I gently pawed at it to try to get it to land on a nearby bush.

When it did, I almost didn't believe what I saw. It looked like a microscopic moth with a light blue version of Doc Brown's hairdo. I got my camera and zoomed way, way in to get this photo of it:


I shared the photo with a couple of coworkers at the National Wildlife Federation, who quickly figured out it's a woolly aphid. It's a common insect, but one I'd never spotted before, and one that looks like it comes from another planet. Amazing what you can find in your own backyard!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Real Men of Genius: Mr. Expert Grocery Bag Packer

We salute you, Harris Teeter grocery store clerk. On Saturday, I passed over my single reusable bag and said, "If you need a second bag, paper please."

He looked back at me with a glint in his eye that said, "Oh, no. We won't be needing a second bag."

He packed the reusable bag perfectly, condensing an entire basket (including a half gallon of milk and three quarts of ice cream) into one bag. Sure, it weighed about 80 pounds and I could barely carry it home, but there was a paper bag to be saved! Job well done, Mr. Expert Grocery Bag Packer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One Loss, No Regrets, and Many Thanks

Into Every Life a Little Rain Must FallWhile the Miles Grant for Delegate campaign came up short at the polls on Primary Day, our successes will outlive one short election cycle. We ran the grassroots campaign we wanted to run, on the progressive issues we wanted to highlight, with a new team of experienced volunteers and political newcomers. And until Democrats take back the House of Delegates, we address our climate & energy crises, and Virginia grants marriage rights for all, we know our job isn’t done.

For now, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who helped along the way. I wish I could thank everyone here by name, but if you donated a single dollar, knocked on one door, or told one neighbor to vote for me, I’m incredibly grateful for your support.

There are three people I do want to single out. Quite simply, I couldn’t have done this without them:
  • Lauren Uranga, campaign treasurer. Keeping the books doesn’t begin to describe Lauren’s contributions to our campaign. She organized events, designed every campaign handout and mailing, and coordinated all our print jobs. On good days or bad, Lauren also made sure to greet everyone with a smile, creating good will for the campaign and keeping volunteers coming back.

  • Kip Malinosky, field director. If I didn’t count Kip as a friend, I would never have been able to run in the first place. He’s Arlington’s most dedicated canvasser and knocked on literally thousands of doors for the candidates he believed in this year.

  • Josh Anderson, data director. Josh spent countless hours managing our voter lists, first cutting our canvassing turf and printing the lists, then entering the data gathered by our volunteers. I consider Josh to be a true rising star among Arlington campaign operatives. He’ll be an incredibly valuable asset to any progressive campaign he chooses to work for.

Major thanks go to all the canvassers who helped us on so many weekends through good weather and bad, especially Brian Devine, Chris Gill, Amaka Gossett, Greg Lee, Shawn Logue, Clare McIntyre, Matt Konjoian, David Pierpont, Alexandra Ritchie, and Daniel Weir. I also owe a debt of gratitude to people and groups like Jon Bowerbank, the Virginia Sierra Club, and the Virginia Partisans (especially Charley Conrad and Tiffany Joslyn) who were willing to take a chance on endorsing a first-time candidate.

Finally, thanks to my fellow bloggers like Ben Tribbett of Not Larry Sabato and Lowell Feld of Blue Virginia, who’ve stood behind me from the very beginning. I may not be a candidate anymore, but I’m looking forward to having time to be The Green Miles again.

Thank you again for all your support!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Miles Grant for Delegate: Bringing Arlington Values to Richmond

I hope to earn your vote tomorrow. You can learn more about my campaign for House of Delegates at MilesGrant2009.com!

Primary Preview: Democratc Candidates' Energy Plans

Seems like a lot of Arlingtonians are waking up this morning to the shocking news that there's a Democratic primary tomorrow. Here's some morning reading -- the energy plans of each of the candidates (all PDFs):
Creigh Deeds

Terry McAuliffe

Brian Moran
Whoever wins the primary will have an energy plan that's vastly stronger for consumers than GOP nominee Bob McDonnell's comically inadequate and backwards-looking "drill baby drill" energy plan.

UPDATE: The Sierra Club has posted its gubernatorial candidate questionnaires.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Scene from the Sidewalk: Cool Clouds

Caught this from the corner of Glebe & Quincy/Henderson on Wednesday evening, looking out over Buckingham. These clouds turned into some vicious thunderstorms just after they moved past Arlington:

Deeds' Blatantly Illegal Yard Sign Placement

Creigh Deeds' campaign should be ashamed of itself for putting 50 yard signs up in the park at the Clarendon Metro station. These signs aren't just a violation of Arlington law, they're a message that the Deeds campaign is willing to deface our community in hopes of winning a few votes. The Deeds campaign should immediately remove the signs and apologize.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Scene from the Sidewalk: Lit Dropped

As I walk through Arlington's 47th district talking to voters about my campaign for House of Delegates, I always come across fliers for various businesses that have been left at doors -- with varying degrees of care. A few are neatly tucked into doors, but most are left hastily -- and some are just thrown on the doorstep, like this one for Papa John's:


It results in litter across the county -- first in our neighborhoods as the fliers blow away, then in our streams as they wash down storm drains. Many are so heavily coated in chemicals they won't biodegrade easily.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Like Business as Usual in Richmond? Don't Vote for Miles Grant

Here's another one for the list of endorsements I'm proud not to get. The Arlington Sun Gazette apparently judges candidates on a version of the Dr. J. Evans Pritchard scale from Dead Poets Society, on which the X-axis is "willingness to suck up to Richmond" and the Y-axis is "fitting the Sun Gazette's conservative editor's definition of a Serious Political Candidate."

Here's how I scored:
Despite having the support of some on the environmental left and the blogging crowd, Miles Grant is seen by others as a political dilettante whose policy positions and attitude just won’t work down in Richmond.
So I score high on environmental activism ... very progressive ... and extensive work online and offline working to elect Democrats in Virgina. But unfortunately for me, those aren't on the scale!

What does matter on the Sun Gazette's scale? That I'm low on willingness to suck up to the Richmond establishment. That my strong suits -- advocating for a new energy future, political savvy, engaging new voters -- don't fit the traditional definition of a politician. That I haven't spent years waiting for someone to tell me it was my turn to run. Grade: Fail!

While the Sun Gazette's conservative editor tries to pass off his insults as not his own with a cowardly reference to the criticism as "seen by others," you can hear his fears coming through loud and clear. We can't have loose cannons down in Richmond recklessly fighting for Arlington values! We need someone who'll support the status quo and not go crashing the gates by calling out inaction, injustice and corruption all the time! We need a delegate who'll go along to get along and
not take a stand for what he really believes in.

As one Arlington political insider interpreted the editorial, "If you enthusiastically support what you've been getting from Richmond, don't take a chance on rocking the cruise ship."

I guess the Sun Gazette and I agree on something after all -- if you want change in Richmond, vote for Miles Grant.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Deeds Signs: Fail

The Creigh Deeds for governor campaign had been taking some grief recently for not putting up any median signs here in Northern Virginia. The campaign finally did late last week ... but I think the Deeds campaign and Arlington residents alike will agree they should've stayed signless.

We had intense rainstorms last Thursday and Friday ... and the signs aren't waterproof:


UPDATE 6/4: I saw a Deeds volunteer last night carrying a new, plastic Deeds sign with "Endorsed by the Washington Post!" on it. Haven't seen any actually up yet.

Latest Campaign Mailing: Clean Energy & Climate Action

"You guys have money???"

That was the exclamation of one Virginia politico upon seeing our latest mailing to voters of Arlington's 47th district. Sometimes the insiders get a little too obsessed with raw fundraising totals and lose sight of the importance of managing the money you have. My campaign for House of Delegates is entirely volunteer managed and operated, so while some of the other contenders are raising more money but wasting much of it on consultants and office space, we put every dollar we've raised right into voter contact.

Here's our latest volunteer-designed mailing, focusing on clean energy & climate action:

Miles on Green issues

Monday, June 1, 2009

MG09 Video: No Dominion Money Pledge

You can learn more about my No Dominion Money pledge at MilesGrant2009.com: