Friday, June 29, 2007

This Fall, Vote Biscuit Barrel

It's Friday, so let's keep it light today.

I'm reading Rolling Stone's Climate Crisis issue, which features an interview with Al Gore. My favorite Q&A:
Are you at least glad that Bush now refers to our "addiction to foreign oil"?
I don't like the addiction metaphor, because it carries with it a sense of powerlessness. But there are some aspects of the metaphor that are accurate in ways that Bush doesn't intend. The spiral of increasingly self-destructive behavior - spending more and more for supplies of a substance that is harder and harder to get - is just bizarre. I caused a stir in Alberta, Canada, recently when someone asked me about the advisability of trying to extract oil by processing the tar sands they have up there. I said, "Well, junkies find veins in their toes" [laughs]. The then-premier of Alberta lost it - and hasn't recovered since.
As for my personal politics, I was recently inspired to make a switch by a commenter who accused me of writing a "silly blog." And since New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced his switch to being an independent, following his switch to being a Republican, before which he was a Democrat, I'm following in his footsteps.

That's right I'm switching my affiliation from independent who wishes the Democrats would make global warming a top priority and hopes the Greens will get their act together ... to the Silly Party:

I'll be voting Tarquin Fin Tim Lim Bim Lim Bim Whin Bim Lin Bus Stop Ftang Ftang Olay Biscuit Barrel for General Assembly this fall. Maybe doing some campaigning for him in an orange wig with my arms tucked inside my pants.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Alexandria Bans Smoking, Will Arlington Follow Suit?

From the Washington Post:

After a heated and raucous public meeting, the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to use its zoning powers to ban smoking in restaurants, an unusual tactic opponents said would lead to costly lawsuits.

Many states and cities, including Maryland and the District, have banned smoking in public places, but the Virginia legislature severely limits local authority in such issues. Alexandria has opted to use the power it does have -- in this case, control over land-use regulation -- to force restaurant owners to go smoke-free or lose their operating permits. It is the first jurisdiction in Virginia to take such action.
Should the Arlington County Board take a similar approach to ban smoking here in Arlington? After all, President Bush's own surgeon general has declared, "The debate is over. [Secondhand smoke] causes disease and kills people."

While many Arlington restaurants have gone smoke-free -- the Arlington Civic Federation maintains a great list -- few popular bars are smoke-free. Arlington's most popular happy hour spots -- Rock Bottom, Carpool, Whitlow's, Front Page, Dr. Dremo's, Mister Days -- all allow smoking.

Should Arlington use its zoning powers to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, even at the risk of a lawsuit?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Two Turtles, Like, Totally Doing It

The National Wildlife Federation offices in Reston are right next to Lake Fairfax Park, so we get lots of visitors in the back patio area. So far I've seen deer, woodchuck, and even a couple of snakes. And the Washington Post recently reported bobcats have been seen and heard in and around Reston.

But the other day at lunchtime, a much less menacing sight -- two turtles totally going at it right in front of everybody. The cell phone camera picture isn't the best, but you should be able to see them at the foot of the stairs.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Green Miles vs. Mile-a-Minute

I arrived at Potomac Overlook Regional Park on Saturday to find the hill covered knee-high in invasive plants. Just two months earlier, we'd planted small saplings (only a few inches high) at the site. With the web of mile-a-minute weed, Japanese stiltgrass, and other non-native plants taking over the area, it was going to be a challenge to find the saplings, never mind clear enough space for them to be able to continue to take root.

It was my first time dealing with mile-a-minute, a vine that combines the worst characteristics of several invasive species. It grows as fast and climbs as quickly as kudzu, and its thorns are just as painful as multiflora rose. In short, a real bastard.

On top of all of that, a grand total of zero Community Role Models volunteers showed up to help. I spent an hour clearing some multiflora rose roots out of the top of the hill, but I had no idea where to even start with the mile-a-minute and stiltgrass below. Things were looking bleak for The Green Miles.

But a surprise visit would turn the tide.

First, a step back. People often ask me why invasive plants are such a concern. After all, if they beat out native species, isn't it just survival of the fittest.

Survival of the fittest applies to species that have had millions of years deal with predators and competitors, carving out roles in an ecosystem. Expecting trees to suddenly be able to deal with mile-a-minute would be like dropping a pack of wolves onto an island with a flock of penguins and telling the penguins, "Better evolve some flying or running skills in a hurry!"

Trees are the backbone of the American ecosystem, providing shelter for birds and mammals and holding topsoil in place so other plants can grow. Ordinarily, a dead tree would just be replaced in the canopy by younger trees.

But invasives smother young trees before they can ever grow. Some even release chemicals into the soil that retard the growth of young trees. Deer are known to ignore invasives and stick with their usual diet of native plants, exacerbating the problem.

So invasives are a problem that we need to deal with. Especially since we introduced them into the ecosystem. Ooops.

And thanks to Jake and Wilson, I was able to win my first battle in the war on mile-a-minute.

Jake and Wilson are interns at Potomac Overlook who heard there was some wacko trying to clear a whole hill of invasives by himself and took pity on me. They came armed with rakes, tools they've found works much better than the simple grab-and-pull technique I'd been using. Within an hour I had two shoulder-high piles of mile-a-minute and other invasives. OK, so it's not like I'd stormed the beach at Normandy, but it was pretty damn satisfying.

And best of all, we uncovered over a dozen of the saplings CRM volunteers planted back in April, still marked by their little strips of orange tape (at the center of the picture to the left). Even though they were getting hardly any sun under the net of invasives, almost all showed signs of growth, sprouting new leaves.

In a matter of weeks, the invasives will have reclaimed the hillside, so let's hope the saplings can take advantage of this window. But Jake and Wilson promised to keep an eye on them, and I'll be back later this summer for round two against the invasives.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Green Living Challenge #5: Recycling

I live at Ballston Park, which prides itself on being a green, sprawling, 60-acre garden-style apartment complex.

Unfortunately, Ballston Park has chosen to put just four recycling locations on those 60 acres -- not even one at every trash Dumpster -- and none are within a block of my apartment. It makes my next task in the Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment Green Living Challenge pretty annoying:

Recycle all bottles, cans, and mixed paper accepted in your recycling program at least three times a month.

If I lived in a single-family home, I'd be able to put my recycling out on the curb. But like thousands of other apartment and condo residents in Arlington, I'm at the mercy of my building's management.

Luckily for me, I'm a block away from one of Arlington's two recycling centers. I can drop off:
- Mixed paper (includes stuff like cereal boxes, but excludes waxed boxes, i.e. milk cartons)
- Flattened corrugated cardboard boxes
- Scrap metal (don't use that one very often)
Plastics are a common point of confusion. You can only recycle bottles with narrow necks that have a 1 or 2 in the little recycling symbol on the bottom of the bottle. That's mostly beverage containers. You can't recycle yogurt cups, margarine tubs, plastic peanut butter jars, etc. Arlington County's Department of Environmental Services has told me those items aren't as cost-effective to recycle.

While many hardcore recyclers are understandably upset about that, I'm much more concerned about how hard it is to recycle at all if you live in an apartment or condo. Arlington County tried to change the rules last year, but waste haulers flexed their muscle in Richmond and blocked the effort.

There is also very little recycling done in Arlington's bars and restaurants, but not many customers think about that. Once I was at Front Page with a fellow environmentalist and told her that all things being equal, I try to stick to draft beer because bars and restaurants don't recycle empty beer bottles. She didn't believe me. I told her to ask the bartender, so she did, and was shocked when he told her the bottles went in the trash.

If you'd like your favorite bar or restaurant to recycle, ask to speak to a manager the next time you're there. Ask if they recycle. Ask why not. Ask if they know how much more it would cost to recycle. I'm betting that, much like the aforementioned customers, they just haven't thought about it, and a simple inquiry from a customer might get them thinking about it.

You can get more information about recycling at Arlington County's website! You can also track my progress in completing the Green Living Challenge here.

Points for this action: 15
Total points to date: 75
Points needed to complete Green Living Challenge: 100

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sea Change on the Roads? Senate Votes to Boost Fuel Economy

In a landmark vote, the U.S. Senate last night passed the first major revision of fuel economy standards since before The Green Miles was born.

It was not the comprehensive bill it could've been. Senators put off voting on Sen. Jeff Bingaman's national renewable energy standard proposal, which would've meant we'd get 15% of our national electricity from renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and biofuels.

It's really amazing how far senators are behind the rest of the country on alternative energy. Just take a look at this poll from Pennsylvania, where 68% of voters said they'd gladly pay more on their electric bill if it meant more renewable energy.

But senators avoided potential pitfalls, voting down more drilling for fossil fuels and liquid coal. And raising fuel economy standards 42% (from the 24.6 miles per gallon our cars & light trucks get now to 35 miles per gallon by 2020) is a major accomplishment. And as Lowell at Raising Kaine points out, it shouldn't bring our economy to a screeching halt as automakers and some Republicans claim:

By the way, reaching 35 miles per gallon by 2020 shouldn't exactly be a strain on American ingenuity. As the Washington Post points out, the rest of the world is already WAY ahead of us:

In the European Union, automakers have agreed to voluntary increases in fuel-economy standards that next year will lift the average to 44.2 miles per gallon, according to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. In Japan, average vehicle fuel economy tops 45 miles per gallon. China's level is in the mid-30s and projected to rise, propelled by government policy.
That's right, this new legislation - IF it makes it through the House and is signed by President Bush - will require the United States to catch up with China's current fuel economy in 13 years! Seriously, if our car companies can't manage to do that, they deserve to go out of business. And if our nation can't compete with China, well...what can I say?
Both of Virginia's senators voted in support of the bill. You can see the roll call vote here. Sen. Webb deserves to be thanked for his support of the bill, and you can email him here. And Sen. Warner should be congratulated not only for supporting this excellent piece of legislation, but crossing party lines to do it. Thank him here.

UPDATE: I often get requests for sample notes, so here's what I just sent Sens. Warner and Webb, feel free to copy some/all of it:

Sen. _____ deserves a big thanks for his vote last night in favor of the Senate energy bill. The new fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon will go a long way towards both reducing our dependence on foreign oil and cutting our greenhouse gas emissions. I'll watch closely as the Senate takes up related issues in the months ahead, like a 15% national renewable energy standard and a global warming bill to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050. I hope Sen. ____ strongly supports both of those measures.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Think Condo-Dwellers Can't Have Green Homes? Think Again.

UPDATE: Diana has a review over at Fresh AIRE.

Here's a perfect event for all those condo-dwellers lining Wilson Boulevard. Find out how you can reduce the environmental footprint of your condo building!

Greening Your Condo Association
Monday, June 25, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Arlington County Central Library

Have you been looking for ways to make your condominium building more environmentally friendly? Thinking about upgrading your unit? There are many opportunities for condo associations to reduce their impact on the planet, make resident units more livable—and save money!

Come to this workshop and find out what you can do—from reducing energy use and carbon emissions to improving recycling participation, creating eco-friendly landscapes, and retrofitting for solar panels or green roofs. Learn about the benefits of conducting an energy audit. Consider the advantages of starting a community Eco Team. Information on County support programs will be provided.

* Location - Arlington County Central Library, 1015 North Quincy Street, Arlington, VA. Ballston and Virginia Square Orange line Metro stops

* This event is cosponsored by Arlington County Fresh AIRE, Arlington County Green Home Choice Program, and Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment.

* To RSVP and for more information, contact Stella Tarnay at or 703-228-4792.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Conservatives Still Denying Global Warming. Up Next: Dinosaurs Not Really Extinct.

From a recent editorial in the Arlington Sun-Gazette:
THUMBS DOWN: To the Arlington Committee of 100, which seems to be moving away from trying to present balanced programs, in favor
of trendy activism.

This week, the venerable community organization was slated to present a program on global warming. Of the three speakers that were publicized to be at the meeting, all appear to be on the same side of the issue.

Which side? If you guess it's the side that says humans - no doubt Americans in particular, and probably Republicans most egregiously - are causing most of the world's environmental problems, give yourself a gold star.

The issue of global warming is far more nuanced and complicated than TV sound-bites would make it appear. Surely there was someone who could have been recruited to provide some balance to what, from outside looking in, appears to be a one-sided discussion.
Let's break it down:

  1. The event was not about debating whether global warming is or is not happening. That debate is over. The science is unequivocal -- our planet is warming, man-made greenhouse gases are to blame, and we must cut carbon emissions now to slow (never mind stop) its effects.

  2. The most accurate part of this editorial is actually the part that's meant to be sarcastic. It IS Americans who are most responsible for global warming. The United States, with just 5% of the world's population, puts out 25% of civilization's carbon emissions. That's not politics, that's science, but apparently the Sun-Gazette can't distinguish between the two. I hope that means they at least got good grades in civics in school, not bad grades in both civics and science.

  3. The Arlington Committee of 100 is the cutting edge of "trendy activism"? Their website looks like it hasn't been updated since 'N Sync was topping the pop charts.

  4. No matter what the issue -- global warming, secondhand smoke, evolution -- conservatives love to claim the science isn't settled, that the debate is ongoing, and that if anyone thinks otherwise, they've been paying too much attention to that liberal media. Global warming is happening, secondhand smoke kills, and evolution is why we have these kick-ass opposable thumbs.

Based on the science that says global warming is happening and we're to blame, what do we want to do about it? Do we want to take action to slow and eventually stop it? Or will we take our chances?

Those are the questions we need to be asking, and that's exactly what the Arlington Committee of 100 forum was about. If conservatives want to be a part of that debate, they need to adapt or go the way of the dinosaurs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How Your Call on Energy Could Swing Virginia's Senators - and the US

It's critical that Virginians call their Senators today to express their views about two critical votes coming this week. Both are amendments to the Senate energy bill being considered. While both are being portrayed primarily as energy issues, they're also important first steps towards addressing global warming:

* The Bingaman Amendment would set a 15% national renewable energy standard, meaning 15% of our nation's electricity would have to come from renewable sources like solar, wind, or biofuels. It's sponsored by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).

* A provision to raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. CAFE standards have not been strengthened in 17 years, and not coincidentally, U.S. fuel economy has stagnated. Cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. average 24.6 miles per gallon, well below the peak of 26.2 mpg set in 1987.

If you're a Virginia resident, please call your Senators now and urge them to support including these provisions in the Senate energy bill! Both are considered on the fence on these votes, so each call is critical.

Sen. John Warner -- (202) 224-2023

Sen. Jim Webb -- (202) 224-4024

I haven't included their emails because calling has much more of an impact than emailing. It takes more motivation and effort to pick up a phone and speak to a real person about your concerns, and your elected officials take that into consideration when giving weight to emails vs. calls. These are definitely call-worthy issues!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Change of Job Leads to Reverse in Commute

I've recently landed a new job at the National Wildlife Federation in Reston! It's quite a contrast to my last office. Instead of the drywalled office buildings and hot dog stands in McPherson Square, I now work in a green building next to Lake Fairfax Park. I've already spotted turtles, groundhogs and several deer, and the NWF even has a footbridge out front over a small waterfall.

One drawback -- instead of a quick and easy Metro ride, I now have to sort through several options to get to and from Reston. You can read all about it in a guest blog post I just did over at Arlington County's Fresh AIRE blog!

Friday, June 15, 2007

VA GOP's Purge of Moderates Claims Key Indoor Clean Air Advocate

After moderates Tim Kaine and Jim Webb defeated hardcore conservatives Jerry Kilgore and George Allen in November, the Republican Party of Virginia learned its lesson. And apparently that lesson was, "We're still not as extremist as we could be."

So the Virginia Conservative Action PAC set about purging the party of moderates, and in Tuesday's primary,
they succeeded:

Two key moderate Republicans lost their seats in the Virginia Senate yesterday: Martin E. Williams (Newport News), chairman of the influential Senate Transportation Committee, and J. Brandon Bell II (Roanoke). Challengers Patricia B. "Tricia" Stall and Ralph K. Smith accused the incumbents of betraying the Republican Party by siding with Democrats to raise taxes.
The purge claimed Sen. Brandon Bell, a key sponsor of the Indoor Clean Air Act, which would ban smoking in Virginia bars and restaurants. Honestly, I'd be fine with communities being able to make their own call on smoking bans, but under the Dillon Rule, localities only have the powers granted to them by the state. So right now, communities can't make their own choices about whether to ban smoking, although Alexandria has tried to get around that.

With turnout estimated at just five percent for Tuesday's primary, other Republicans are already worried that the choices of a small cadre of party faithful
may not be as palatable to voters in the general election:

But Democrats and even some Republicans say the conservatives might regret their decisions come Nov. 6. Democrats need to pick up four seats to regain control of the Senate.

"In a small turnout election, these voters can make a difference. But in a general election, they may get swallowed up," said retiring Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax).

Williams lost to Tricia B. Stall, who has signed a petition expressing support for "ending government involvement in education."

Even though Stall will be running in a reliably Republican district, party leaders fear that she is so conservative it could be nearly impossible for them to keep a Democratic candidate from picking up the seat. Top Republican senators plan to meet with Stall in a few days.
If his own party doesn't want him, would Sen. Bell consider an independent run? After all, Republicans thought it was swell when Sen. Joe Lieberman did it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Beyond Green Buildings: Excellence in Sustainable Architecture

Two of my minor gripes about Arlington is that there aren't enough green buildings and that there isn't enough outstanding architecture, so it's nice to see a forum that addresses both:

Architectural Speaker Series in Arlington:
Making Green Beautiful - Excellence in Sustainable Architecture and Design

Thursday, June 14, 7 - 9 P.M.

Rosslyn Spectrum Theater
1611 N. Kent St.

Third installment of the Architecture Speaker Series program will explore excellence in sustainable architecture and green design.

This program will feature two well known design professionals and explore how sustainable architecture can contribute to design excellence in the civic realm, while creating energy efficient, resource efficient, and environmentally sensitive buildings where people live, work, and play.

For more information, please visit the Arlington County Architecture Speaker Series.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Apparently I'm a Drink

I Googled "The Green Miles" the other day, and came across two different recipies for a drink called The Green Miles.

This one is mostly in Dutch, I think.

And this one doesn't seem very exciting, but at least it's color coordinated.

Any suggestions for my own The Green Miles drink recipie? I'm a big fan of the Charleston Bog at Indigo Landing, made with Maker's Mark bourbon, smashed raspberries, white cranberry juice, and for the green, crushed lime and mint. Maybe we could get them to make it with organic fruit and rename it The Green Miles, donating $1 from each drink sale to Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment?

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Green Miles Investigates: Metro Bus Lot Oil

Blogs often remind me of my dad's favorite New Yorker cartoon, illustrating both management's self-importance and self-imposed impotence.

Bloggers can be eager to point out problems, but reluctant to do anything to solve them. It's a shame because having a blog that's well-read, respected, or both gives you more a much louder voice than that of the average person.

The Green Miles has always tried to find solutions whenever possible, like back in March when Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment & OneBrick volunteers found a trash dumping problem along Four Mile Run. We alerted the Parks Department, the business involved agreed to clean up the trash, and the Parks Dept. will monitor that area more closely in the future.
Last week, I was walking down to Front Page in Ballston to meet a friend for brunch. It was raining hard, and I noticed an oil slick running down the driveway of the Metro bus parking lot at the corner of Wilson and N. Quincy. I took cell phone camera pictures of the slick, which didn't capture the bright rainbow very well, but give you an idea of how big it looked.

I thought the photos might be blog-worthy, but didn't want to just post it and never have the problem (if there was one) get solved. So I emailed the photos to a friend in the Arlington environmental community with a note saying, "Does this look like a typical runoff from a busy bus lot after a heavy rain, or could it be something more serious?"

She wrote back saying it looked like it was more than just residual oil. I then looked up the email of a Metro spokesperson on the Metro website and emailed the photos to her.

She immediately wrote back to say she'd contact the Bus Department, whose response came in less than two hours:

A bus blew a transmission oil filter gasket last week while parked at the Wilson Blvd. gate. The spilled transmission fluid was contained and cleaned with floor scrubber. Apparently the product remained in the concrete and cobblestone and when we experienced the weekend rains the fluid came to the surface. We will have the area reinspected and cleaned.
The spill is unfortunate, but it's nice that Metro responded so quickly and plans to follow it up with action.

Friday, June 8, 2007

A Green Tip for Staying Cool (Or a Cool Tip for Staying Green?)

Here in the DC area, the temperature is forecast to reach the mid-90s today, with a heat index of 100 degrees. Apparently it's so hot, you can fry a panda on a rock.

So today, a tip for staying cool and green on days like this.

Heating and cooling costs account for 46% of the average American household's utility bill. The Green Miles' electric bill triples from May to July alone.

But there's an easy way to lower your energy costs. Using fans instead of an air conditioner can save as much as 60% on your electric bill. And considering the majority of America's power comes from dirty sources like coal, using a fan is a small step to help fight air pollution and global warming.

Sure, on an extraordinarily hot day like this, you're going to need that air conditioning even more than Blue Oyster Cult is gonna want that cowbell. I know if it's still in the 70's and humid even at midnight, no fan is going to help me sleep. But on the less-oppressive days, fans can make a real difference.

And there's a tip that surprised even The Green Miles. Did you know it matters if your fan is running clockwise or counterclockwise? According to

In the summer, use the ceiling fan in the counter-clockwise direction. The airflow produced by the ceiling fan creates a wind-chill effect, making you “feel” cooler. In the winter, reverse the motor and operate the ceiling fan at low speed in the clockwise direction. This produces a gentle updraft, which forces warm air near the ceiling down into the occupied space. Remember to adjust your thermostat when using your ceiling fan - additional energy and dollar savings could be realized with this simple step!
You can see a diagram of this effect here. Upon closer inspection, it turns out the ceiling fan in my bedroom has a small switch that changes the direction of the fan.

If you want to learn more, has some great tips for staying cool and saving energy.

Of course, there are other green ways to stay cool. Tonight The Green Miles will be at Tallula's EatBar in Clarendon, drinking an ice-cold Samuel Smith Organic Lager.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Tomorrow: Urge Senate to Pass Strong Bills on Global Warming, Energy

My friend and fellow ACE volunteer Rick just passed this along:

URGENT: Global Warming Activists Needed!

8-9 AM, Friday, June 8, 2007 (meet at 7:45 AM)

Intersection of Lee Highway & N Quincy St, Arlington, VA (high-traffic intersection with multiple gas stations & auto dealers)

WHAT: Visibility Event to Support Good Senate Bills on Energy and Global Warming and Fight Off Bad Provisions like Liquid Coal

ACTION NEEDED: Help us hold signs and encourage drivers to call Senators Warner and Webb to support responsible energy and global warming bills.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Chris Carney at the Sierra Club!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

ACE Hike and Happy Hour: Deer and Dopes

It was 90 and humid on for the Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment Hike & Happy Hour on Saturday, but the hike around Roosevelt Island was the coolest part of my day.

Why? Unlike the steamy walk to Metro and walk from Rosslyn to Roosevelt, the hike around the island was mostly in the shade.

I say mostly because the tree canopy is being slowly destroyed by invasive plants. As Arlington County Invasive Plant Program Manager Jan Ferrigan explained, invasive vines like English Ivy choke native trees. Once they die and fall, invasives like Japanese Honeysuckle cover the ground and prevent new trees from being able to push skyward. And new research shows another invasive, Garlic Mustard, releases a chemical into the soil that discourages new tree growth.

Ironically, a native species may be helping Garlic Mustard take hold. We spotted several deer during the hike, some right on the trail. Jan told us there are at least 20 on the island. The deer eat native plants but not Garlic Mustard, giving the invasive a leg up.

Once the hike wrapped up, we headed over to Continental in Rosslyn for the happy hour end of the event. It was great to hear how much environmentalism has become a part of people's lives, with discussions of everything from organic beer to President Bush's lack of leadership on global warming to compact fluorescent light bulbs.

We had a good time despite some surprisingly hostile treatment from the staff of Continental. The bar had donated pool table time for each of the previous three ACE Hike & Happy Hours, but this year the event manager told us (and I am not making this up) there is no profit to be made by giving things away. Even though the bar was nearly empty when we arrived, the manager yelled at us for setting out some green products on our table. The bartender refused our request to put the Red Sox-Yankees game on TV because he was watching ultimate fighting. And the waitress refused our request for a refill of tortilla chips, informing us that even though we ran up a $200 tab, "they're not bottomless chips." We'll definitely be looking for a new host for next year.

Despite the deer and the dopes, we had a great time celebrating National Trails Day with hiking and happy houring. Hope to see you on the trail and at the bar next year!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Wednesday 6/13: Cooling the Commonwealth

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is organizing a forum on global warming next week. Think there's any chance of Virginia committing to reducing carbon emissions 2% every year?

Cooling the Commonwealth
Making Virginia a Leader in Global Warming Solutions

Date: 6/13/2007
Time: 6:30 PM - 9:00pm
Location: George Mason University Fairfax Campus
Johnson Center Cinema
Fairfax, VA

Join professors, elected officials, business people, leading environmentalists, activists and citizens like you as we discuss the problem of and solutions to global warming in Virginia. The Commonwealth needs to become part of the global warming solution by embracing innovation, conservation and alternatives to fossil fuels. Come enjoy our diverse line-up of speakers and panel discussion with questions from the audience.

Invited speakers include:
Mike Tidwell - Founder and director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Writer/Journalist/Film maker
Dr. Jagadish Shukla - Professor and Chair, GMU Climate Dynamics and IPCC member
Al Weed - Chairman, Public Policy Virginia and Co-Founder Virginia Wineries Association
Gerry Connolly - Chairman, Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County Virginia

Sponsored by:

Monday, June 4, 2007

Recycling: The Line Between Laziness and Ignorance

If you don't separate the bottles, cans, and newspapers from your trash, I can see where you could make excuses. Maybe your apartment or condo complex doesn't make recycling easy, or maybe you're just lazy. Can't argue with that.

But when the trash can next to the newspaper recycling bin is filled with newspapers ... that's willful ignorance.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

June 6-10: Potomac River Ramble

Just got an email about this event, heard it's worth checking out:

Sign up for the Potomac River Ramble!

Registration is open for the first Potomac River Ramble of the year to be held from June 6 - 10, 2007!

The 2007 Potomac River Ramble Series will begin with a four-day voyage from the National Conservation Training Center near Shepherdstown,W.Va., to the Tarara Winery near Leesburg, Va. The group will assemble in Shepherdstown on the evening of Wednesday, June 6, begin the following morning, and arrive at Tarara Winery on Sunday afternoon,June 10.

This Ramble's activities will include:

- Joining up with the Shenandoah Sojourn in Harper's Ferry
- Riparian tree ID and ecology
- Fish seining
- Riverside camping and cookouts
- Attending the Potomac River Family Fest in Brunswick, Md
- Meetings with local public officials
- Historical interpretive presentations
- Wine tasting at Tarara Winery
- Musicians
- And more!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Tomorrow: Celebrate National Trails Day with the ACE Hike & Happy Hour!

Tomorrow (Saturday June 2nd) Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment will celebrate National Trails Day with our 4th Annual Hike & Happy Hour!

We'll meet at the footbridge to Roosevelt Island at 5pm, The Green Miles will be wearing a green t-shirt to make him easy to spot. I'd recommend Metroing to Rosslyn and walking over to Roosevelt; parking in the Roosevelt lot is at a premium on nice days. From there, we'll get a tour of the invasive plants choking Roosevelt Island with Jan Ferrigan, Arlington County Invasive Program Manager, ACE Board member, and all-around cool person. Families are welcome to come for just the hike!

Once the hike wraps up, we'll walk over to Continental in Rosslyn (21+). Continental has excellent happy hour specials through 8pm, like half price on certain beers, half price rail drinks, and cheap appetizers. If you're not available for the hike and just want to meet us at the bar, we'll be there by 6:30pm. We'll have lots of information on the ACE Green Living Challenge as well as some bar trivia.

In case you missed it, here's a history of the Hike & Happy Hour (or as I like to call it, the Triple H).

If you're not in the DC area, you can find a National Trails Day event in your area at the American Hiking Society's website!