Archive for the 'eco city' Category

Events All Over

In order of occurrence:

Alexandria Earth Day Celebration, Ben Brenman Park.  It’s this Saturday from 10-2- the park is right across from Beatley Library (the one with the five triangle peaks that bug me).  The theme is green transport, so bike (they have a bike valet, and the Holmes Run Trail is very convenient), take the free shuttle from King Street Metro, or take the AT8 bus.  I’ll be in class, so we can’t hang out, but there’s a tree sale and lots of booths!  Plus the Eco City people will be announcing their Phase II draft of our Environmental Plan.  More on that later.

Phoenix Bikes 2009 Bike Show.  April 30th, 7-9 at the Dome Theatre in Arlington- 1101 Wilson Blvd.  Tickets are $20 online, and $30 at the door.  Proceeds benefit the same bike repair/recycling and teaching shop that I got my little white Peugeot from a couple years ago- it’s a great program.  Plus, raffle.  And drinks, food, and smoothies, bicycle blended.  Also helmet tattoos.  Should be a thing!  See you there?

Eco City Open House- May 11, comment on the Action Plan Phase II draft.  Houston Rec Center, 901 Wythe, 6:30 to 9 again.  You know the drill!  Except a call to action, and citizen commitments.

Eco City Cafe Thursday Night

6:00, Lee Center, March 19th, another open session on the Eco-City plan medium and long-term goals.  Get all your ideas heard- they’re open until 9pm.  Check out the website for more details.

Green Building Forum Tonight

7-9pm, at the Washington Masonic Memorial.  There’s a presentation and some time for public comment on Alexandria’s Planning and Zoning Department draft plan, which is available here.  More details from the City of Alexandria website, should you wish.

See you there!

Eco-City Alexandria News

1) Recycle your christmas tree, if you can bear to take it down yet- just set it out, naked, in your curbside pickup area before 7am, January 17th (this Saturday morning).

2)  The city’s posted a list of their top ten biggest environmental accomplishments of 2008.

3) Tuesday (tomorrow), Alexandria’s Environmental Policy Comission will present their final draft of the first phase of the Environmental Action Plan for the city to the full Council.  Given their hard work and support from a few city council members, I’m betting it will be accepted.   You can find pdfs of the first phase and the EPC’s presentation to the council here.

4) On Wednesday January 28th, the city will hold a Green Building Forum from 7-9 in the Washington Masonic Memorial.  The draft proposal to be presented, along with an agenda and directions, can be found here.  If you haven’t been to the Masonic Memorial yet, it’s worth a trip for the building alone, and the possibility of finding the animatronic George Washington figure in the basement.  Yes, it talks.  Come along, I’m going, and I’m pretty sure EcoCheap is too!

5) OH SNAP Alexandria is having a restaurant week.  This is not necessarily Eco-City news, but shop local, eh?  From the list: Las Tapas is delicious; I was really looking forward to Bilbo Baggins but I found a bug in my appetizer the first time and never went back; Stardust is cute and tasty; and Pat Troy’s is way fun, but more for a big group of friends and $5 pints and sing-a-longs than a three course prix fixe.  Then again, I’ve only had the privilege of the late-night menu at Pat Troy’s, and that’s pretty hearty, so maybe I’m missing something.  And those are the only places I know and feel strongly about, so I have some sampling to do.

Reminder: Eco City Open House Tonight

It’s from 6:30 to 9:30 at the Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria VA. I can’t find a schedule for the meeting, and the posted flyer (that’s a .pdf file) I just saw asked for an RSVP by November 10th, which I certainly didn’t do.  So, I can’t tell if they want us to be there the entire time, or if I’m crashing, but I’ll check it out when I can.

The Eco-City Alexandria Blog has linked the drafts of the Environmental Action Plans we as citizens are supposed to be reviewing, so you can do your homework.  If you can’t make it, emailed suggestions are welcome (eco-cityalexandra (at) alexandriava.com).

See you there!

Eco City Action Plan Meeting November 17th

So’s you know- the Eco City Alexandria Initiative has hit that stage where the city has a Plan. There’s an Open House at the Lee Center Lee Center from 6:30 to 9:30 next Monday, where we can comment on their short-term Environmental Action Plan. If you’d like a say on what the city does to get an ecostart over the next three years, stop by- or email eco-cityalexandra (at) alexandriava.com.

Eco-City Alexandria Has A Blog

It’s been up since September, which makes me wonder else I’m missing when I search the intertubes.  Check it out, they’re asking some interesting questions and getting some input for the city’s initiative.  They’re at the Eco-City Alexandria blog.

Progress: Activism

I haven’t attended any protests, or signed any petitions, or called my congressperson.  Yet.  That Climate Bill is before the Senate, and John Warner’s a sponsor- but the bill’s pretty weak, not going to go anywhere, and Warner’s retiring this year anyway (go go new Warner!).  So, no federal agitation here for now.  But I’ve been better about local stuff.  I now know who the mayor of Alexandria is, for instance, and I think I could recognize a couple of the members of the Environmental Planning Commission.  I’ll stay involved with the Eco-City planning.  And I’m on the lookout for local activities and organizations that advocate things.  I’d like to check out a CCAN meeting, if they have them. 

I’ve been looking for other local sustainability/earthluv blogs, too, and you’ve seen the new links go up.  The Green Miles is particularly close and topical- he’s over in Arlington, blogging the good fight.  If you know of any other region-specific pages I haven’t found yet, I’d love a link.

So, I didn’t become a serious activist this month.  But I’ve got an inkling of what kinds of activism I’d like to engage in, and a better understanding of who around here is setting a good example.  Fortunately, I’ve got the rest of my life to build on my tiny foundation, and eventually I’ll be waving signs and writing to the editor like the best of them.  And of course, voting Really Hard.

This month has been very effective in giving me a sense of shared place, though.  I’ve lived in Alexandria for two years, but I’ve felt like a squatter.  I work here, I go to school here, and I’m planning to go to graduate school here.  I’m hoping to buy a little place someday.  But only in the past month have I considered seriously taking root, connecting to Alexandria actively, and being that engaged citizen that the Founders were so on about.  Not that the Founders were huge fans of the concept of landless females as citizens, but as the world turns and all.

So I’ve at least wrapped my head around being an active member of the community, and that’s all right for now.  Maybe I’ll find a petition to sign soon.

For June, I’m going to get serious about eating less meat.  I’ve discussed it before, and I’ve made my rules: meat once a day, and red meat twice a month.  Last month, I was good about having meat once a day, but I broke the red meat twice a month rule.  I mean to say, I deliciously broke the red meat twice a month rule at a Memorial Day cookout.  And there was one iffy day, when I had seafood at lunch and chicken for dinner.  I’m not going to worry about seafood right now, though- I rarely eat it to begin with- and it’s got a whole different set of sustainability issues I need to examine carefully.

To kick off the month, here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast:  peanut butter sandwich

Lunch: Pasta with tomato sauce and some tofu fauxsage bits I was hoping to disguise the taste of

Late Lunch:  Ham Sandwich (with lots of vegetables and mustard), because I didn’t finish the pasta- tofu was not disguised well.

Dinner: Peanut butter sandwich, apple, cookies

Oh, goodness.  It would appear that records of my eating habits are most likely to make me appalled at myself, and to worry my mother.  Here’s hoping the month gets better.

 

Email From the Mayor

As a follow-up from the Eco-City Summit on May 10, a form email was sent out by the Mayor to the participants thanking us for attending and letting us know about what’s next:

The “Eco-City Alexandria” efforts continue to move forward with a public hearing on June 14 to consider approval of the Eco-City Environmental Charter. Additionally, City officials, the Environmental Policy Commission (EPC), the Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T & ES), in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, will continue the Eco-City Alexandria initiative by working to create an Environmental Action Plan.

For more information on the Eco-City project, please visit http://www.alexandriava.gov/Eco-City or http://www.ecocity.ncr.vt.edu. Residents interested in the Eco-City initiative can also e-mail Eco-CityAlexandria@alexandriava.gov .

Ok, so June 14th, at the public hearing, the EPC is going to present their final draft of Eco-City principles, and the council will, or will not, approve them. What’s left for the us to do? Well, the public can attend the City Council hearing, which is going to be held in Council Chambers and begins at 9:30 in the morning. I assume the Council Chambers are in City Hall, since I can’t find any contrary address. And it looks like public hearings take longer than regular council meetings, on average, and vary from 3 hours to almost 8 hours. Dockets and minutes from past hearings (public and regular) are posted here, along with links to video and audio recordings of the goings-on.

I’m not sure whether to go to the public meeting the 14th.  On the one hand, I’m happy with the changes to the principles, and I haven’t got anything to add now, and it’s probably going to be intensely boring.  On the other hand, I’ll learn a lot, I’m sure I could leave early if the presentation is near the top of the list, and, having survived one public hearing, I’d be more comfortable attending others.

Maybe if they serve doughnuts they’ll tip the scale, but I’ll continue to think on it.


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