Fairfax County is pushing ahead with work on its new climate plan in an effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Fairfax County officials are seeking the public’s feedback on the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) through a series of virtual public meetings. The three upcoming meetings will facilitate conversations on the county’s climate change management goals.
People can register for the meetings through the links below:
- Thursday, August 27: 7-9 p.m.
- Tuesday, September 1: 10 a.m. to noon
- Wednesday, September 2, 2020: 7-9 p.m.
The CECAP Task Force, which is composed of representatives from associations and businesses, will incorporate the public’s feedback into their final draft of the policy.
Here’s more from the county on the plan:
The Fairfax County Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) development process is administered by the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination with support from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Fairfax County-based management consulting firm ICF. The plan, which will be the first of its kind for the county, will include a greenhouse gas inventory as well as targets for greenhouse gas reduction in the coming years.
The CECAP will also include actions and strategies to help mitigate climate change and to reduce the impact of climate-related events on county residents and businesses. At the conclusion of the development process, a final plan will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for adoption.
Virtual Job Fair — “The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) is still looking for enthusiastic workers to fill seasonal positions now that COVID-19 safety restrictions are being eased and park facilities are reopening under Gov. Ralph Northam’s phased Forward Virginia Blueprint.” [Fairfax County]
Fine Free — “The Mary Riley Styles Public Library no longer charges fines for overdue books and other materials. All previously assessed fines for overdue materials will also be forgiven.” [City of Falls Church]
Support for Climate Crisis — “U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, who represents the 8th District of Virginia that includes the City of Falls Church, [Tuesday] hailed the release of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis action plan, “Solving The Climate Crisis.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called out Fairfax County Public Schools for asking families to decide between fully remote instruction or two days a week in the classroom amid the pandemic. She called the district’s distance learning a “disaster.” https://t.co/sf40OQAuR8
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) July 7, 2020
Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Instead of holdings strikes around the globe to advocate for climate change activism, the organization behind Earth Day is urging activists to participate in virtual events.
“On Earth Day, April 22, 2020, we have two crises: One is the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The other is a slowly building disaster for our climate,” according to the Earth Day website.
Earth Day Live today is offering 24 hours of messages, performances and educational components, including appearances from Zac Efron and Al Gore.
While Fairfax County’s 2020 Earth Day Festival has been canceled, the McLean Community Center tweeted about Earth Day opportunities:
GO GREEN: @fcpsnews Get2Green environmental initiative (@fcpsGet2Green) gives you the opportunity at home to play bingo, discover fun facts and learn how to help this week as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! 🌳
— McLean Community Center (@mcleanvacenter) April 20, 2020
Let Tysons Reporter know in the poll below if you plan to join Earth Day events:
Officials from Fairfax County Public Schools announced yesterday (Tuesday) that the county plans to expand the use of solar energy across 87 FCPS schools and facilities.
The new contracts, which are known as solar power purchase agreements (PPA), with service providers are the largest “solar PPA initiative by a local municipality in Virginia to date,” according to a press release from Fairfax County.
“Our move toward solar reinforces the School Board’s commitment to our environmental stewardship responsibilities,” said FCPS School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders in a statement.
The following area schools are being considered for solar modifications:
- Cedar Lane School
- Flint Hill Elementary School
- Freedom Hill Elementary School
- Marshall Road Elementary School
- Thoreau Middle School
- Vienna Elementary School
- Westbriar Elementary School
- Wolftrap Elementary School
- Chesterbrook Elementary School
- Kent Gardens Elementary School
- Langley High School
- Spring Hill Elementary School
- Beech Tree Elementary School
- Belvedere Elementary School
- Falls Church High School
- Graham Road Elementary School
- Haycock Elementary School
- Jackson Middle School
- Justice High School
- Lemon Road Elementary School
- Longfellow Middle School
- Marshall High School
- Sleepy Hollow Elementary School
- Timber Lane Elementary School
- Westgate Elementary School
- Westlawn Elementary School
Photo via Flickr / Minoru Karamatsu
Dozens of students and adults joined a climate strike today in the Town of Vienna as part of an international effort.
Protesters, elected officials, local groups — including 350 Fairfax and Mothers Out Front Fairfax — and community members gathered outside at the Vienna Town Green (144 E. Maple Avenue) from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
“WAKE THE HELL UP,” said one sign with a drawing of the earth on fire.
“‘Once we begin to act, hope is everywhere’ – Greta Thunberg,” another sign said with the message of the Swedish environmental activist who has sparked climate change activism among young adults and kids.
The student strike in Vienna is being organized by Katie M., a high school climate activist.
Katie told Tysons Reporter that she grew up in a family of climate activists. After becoming interested in climate change as a sophomore, she started planning strikes and events in D.C.
She said she decided to organize the strike in Vienna, because “D.C. already has a strong climate movement.”
Katie said that she was “really excited about the turnout” today and is hoping to plan another strike for Earth Day.
At the strike, protesters urged people to write a postcard to the Fairfax County School Board. The students and adult allies are pushing for a Green New Deal for FCPS that would switch all of the schools to net-zero carbon emissions by installing solar panels and energy-efficient windows. The plan would also continue the push for electric school buses in the county.
“I just want to make sure [my kids] have a liveable planet to live in,” Tiziana Bottino, a community organizer for Mothers Out Front, told Tysons Reporter about why she joined the strike.
While Bottino said that she’s impressed by the recent youth activism, she said the students shouldn’t have to be the ones calling for climate action.
“They should be worried prom,” Bottino said.
In two weeks, Fairfax County public school students plan to demand action on climate change in Vienna as part of an international strike.
“This is not a hypothetical. This is not a partisan issue,” Deepa R., a climate activist and junior at James Madison High School, said in a press release. “This is real, this is now, and this is the way that we as a species will die if we don’t take action.”
The strike is set to take place on the Vienna Town Green (144 E. Maple Avenue) from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 6), the press release said.
The strike in Vienna is a part of a larger effort organized by the Sunrise Movement, along with the help of youth coalition groups.
The student strike in Vienna is being organized by Katie M., a high school climate activist who was recently honored along with fellow student Wendy G. by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for pushing for climate change, according to the press release.
At the strike, the students and adult allies plan to call for a Green New Deal for Fairfax County Public Schools that works switch all of the schools to net-zero carbon emissions by installing solar panels and energy-efficient windows. The plan would also continue the push for electric school buses in the county.
“The students also demand that the county require comprehensive climate education in schools,” the press release said.
Locals want more eco-friendly guidelines as Fairfax County looks ahead to the next 10 to 20 years.
Roughly four dozen attendees showed up to the meeting at Marshall High School last night (Wednesday) to provide feedback on the county’s preliminary strategies.
After brief presentations by County Executive Bryan Hill and James Patterson, the manager of the countywide strategic planning process, attendees were able to choose three out of the nine areas they wanted to learn more about by talking to team members.
Attendees were given copies of the preliminary strategies — 166 in total — and asked to provide feedback to the teams.
The county is especially interested in these nine areas:
- cultural and recreational opportunities
- economic opportunity
- education and lifelong learning
- effective and efficient government
- health and environment
- housing and neighborhood livability
- mobility and transportation
- safety and security
- self-sufficiency for people with vulnerabilities
The nine areas have five shared themes: affordability, equity, sustainability, innovation and collaboration, Patterson said.
Many of the people told the various teams that they support environmentally-friendly strategies, urging the staffers to strengthen or add language that would reduce pollution and waste. “I feel like the environment is critical,” one attendee said.
Locals talking to the “Health and Environment” team pushed for replanting of older instead of younger trees and stronger recycling rules.
People also suggested mandating that businesses recycle, adding urban gardens to schools and reducing food waste. Several attendees expressed frustration about unclear recycling rules and suggested that Fairfax County use stickers and more communication to clarify its glass recycling rules.
“We’re a wealthy county,” one person said. “Give us a glass recycling bin.”
While attendees seemed to come to a consensus that they want stronger protections in place to protect the environment, not everyone agreed on the specifics. In response to a suggested plastic ban, an attendee pointed out that plastic bans can hurt low-income families.
Over at the “Mobility and Transportation” station, people pushed for more frequent bus transit, suggesting different size buses — like double-deckers and buses of various lengths — to accommodate more riders.
Brent Riddle, a transportation planner for Fairfax County, said that the staffers are exploring different ways to add more cross-county transportation, like adding buses between Annadale and the Mosaic District and creating bus-only lanes.
“Public transit is more oriented as a feeder system into D.C,” Riddle said about current transit options.
Overall, attendees said that it’s better to incentivize group travel than disadvantage single-occupancy vehicles — possibly hurting lower-income communities in the process.
Some of the strategies that attendees showed strong support for include:
- Increase the walkable access (within half-mile or 10-mile walk countywide) to parks, facilty entrances or trailheads to connect people to nature and receational experiences, prioritizing implementation in areas with disparate health outcomes and other equity measures.
- Prioritize and incentivize the use of high-occupany vs. single-occupant vehicles; this includes transit buses, vanpools and carpools.
- Shift the design of selected roadways away from a sole focus on automobile traffic to a multi-modal focus by incorporating sidewalks, bike lanes and high-occupancy vehicle and bus lanes and rail lines.
The meeting last night was the last of six recent meetings to seek community input. Currently, county staffers are working to develop and refine strategies before finalizing the draft by the end of the year, Patterson said. Early next year, the draft will get publicized and adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
The county plans to use the input to identify priority areas and success metrics for the county-wide strategic plan.
People can still submit feedback on the preliminary strategies through an online survey that is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Urdu and Vietnamese.
Protesters gathered outside of Brown’s Hardware (100 W. Broad Street) around 8 a.m. today (Sept. 20) with signs demanding “Climate Action Now” and dogs.
“It’s very important to act locally to do good global things,” Councilmember Phil Duncan said. “It may seem small to start locally, but locally is where [the action’s] at.”
Shaun Dakin, the organizer of the local strike, told Tysons Reporter that he posted information about the strike earlier this week on the global climate strike’s website and on Facebook with the hopes that two or three people would show up.
“I’m totally surprised,” Dakin said about the turnout. “It shows the power of social media.”
Dakin, a Falls Church resident who is the social media director for Moms Clean Air Force, said that the strike is a way to show people that they get involved with activism locally.
“You don’t need to go to a big march with millions of people,” Dakin said,
The nationwide strikes were inspired by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old who Dakin said has sparked climate change activism among young adults and kids.
Dakin said that he wants people who care about climate change to head to the polls in the upcoming election and vote for politicians who will take action on climate change.
Babs Williams, a protester who brought her 14-year-old dog Katie in a stroller, said that she heard about the event from a friend.
“I feel like if you love your children and grandchildren, you should try to turn this toxic climate change mess around,” she said, adding that people need to vote for politicians who will protect the environment.
“Mine is not too radical a message,” Williams said. “It’s just common sense.”