Arlington, VA

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

April 22 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. There is something sadly poetic about all of us locked inside during this milestone at the peak of spring.

The pandemic has taken so many lives and left countless others seriously ill. It’s triggered a major economic downturn that may linger beyond medical cures. It’s upended the way we work, learn, shop, eat, travel and connect.

Yet, undeniably, it’s also resulted in clean air on a scale most of us have never seen. Noise pollution from cars and planes has plummeted. Nature seems more vibrant even during a quick walk around the block.

Life can change faster than we imagine. How we adapt is the test.

COVID-19 reminds us that global action is possible to address and mitigate dire threats once they’re acknowledged. It also shows how quickly governments — including Arlington’s — can act given the urgency. The conversation shifts from what should be done to what must be done.

Earthday.org declares that Wednesday’s anniversary “must be a historic moment when citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.”

We’re experiencing the possibilities of collective action right now.

Working with residents and businesses, the Rethink Energy team remains even more committed to addressing — and defeating — climate change with the help of a carbon-neutral Arlington and similar efforts around the world.

Together let’s keep working toward that healthy and sustainable future. We can do it. There really isn’t a choice.

Some quick steps to take action now.

Happy Earth Day — and many more.

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(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Today, Arlington will be celebrating Earth Day 2019 with a number of events and a giveaway.

The local Sierra Club chapter will host an “Activist Happy Hour” tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Board Room in Clarendon (925 N. Garfield Street). The event will serve hors d’oeuvres and will help participants “identify the campaign coordinators spearheading local initiatives, and figure out how they would like to devote their time and energy to the Club’s goals,” per the description in our event calendar.

The Glencarlyn Library will be hosting another of its gardening class series for kids. Today (Monday), the lesson will teach tips on growing fruits and vegetables and lead an art project for kids 4-10 years old. Sign-up is required to attend the free class which goes from 4:30-5:30 p.m at the library.

Ride-hailing company Lyft is giving away free 30-minute rides on Capital Bikeshare with the promo code EARTHDAY19.

“If you’ve never ridden Capital Bikeshare before, Earth Day 2019 is a great time to give it a try,” said said Jim Larsen, Bureau Chief of the Arlington County Commuter Services, in a statement last week. “Just download the app, enter the code, and get riding on one of the thousands of bikes across more than 530 stations throughout the metro D.C. area.”

Lyft’s ride share competitor, Via, announced last week it would be disabling the “private ride” feature on its app so passengers would take only shared rides on Earth Day.

“By moving more people with fewer cars, we reduce congestion and emissions and ensure that drivers spend less time cruising around empty,” Via’s CEO Daniel Ramot said in a statement.

The county started celebrating Earth Day early this year, with a number of events and projects last week and an “Earth Day Cafe” coffee giveaway this morning.

Photo from Flickr Pool user Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Protest in Front of Nestle Office in Rosslyn — “On Tuesday, Greenpeace activists hauled a 15-foot-tall heap of garbage, artfully crafted to resemble one of those deep sea fish that’s about 90 percent jowl, out in front of the Nestlé’s U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.” [Gizmodo, Twitter]

‘No Stopping’ Arlington’s Growth — “Historically a commuter bedroom city for Washington, D.C., Arlington, VA continues its development renaissance with a variety of mixed-use projects that will shuttle in new residents, create open spaces and make new room for more restaurants and companies.” [GlobeSt]

Arlington Ponies Up Incentives for DEA — “The Arlington County Board is set to vote later this month to grant up to $11.5 million in financial incentives to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Pentagon City landlord to keep the agency from relocating to neighboring Alexandria, just shy of half of what it has promised Amazon.com Inc. for its second headquarters.” [Washington Business Journal]

Possible Meteor Lights Up the Sky — There were numerous reports of a meteor seen over Arlington, the D.C. region and much of the East Coast around 11 p.m. last night. [Twitter, BNO News, NBC Washington]

County Touts Green Initiatives Ahead of Earth Day — “Few communities can boast Arlington’s ceaseless commitment to sustainability — which is why one day in April can barely hint at the work that happens in the months before and after.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Arlington Public Schools says it has saved more than $2 million by moving from paper flyers to electronic messaging.

APS implemented a system called Peachjar last year, replacing paper-based “backpack mail” with email that’s sent directly to the inboxes of elementary and middle school parents.

With a click, families can also use Peachjar to register their children for school events, after-school programs and other activities.

In a statement issued just prior to Earth Day, APS said the switch has saved $2.1 million in paper costs and staff time, while saving 475 trees from being cut down.

APS said the switch has been part of an “effort to reduce waste, promote sustainability, and save valuable time and money.”

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ARLnow Weekend Discussion

Students learn about a rain barrel at Campbell Elementary School on Earth Day (photo courtesy Virginia Energy Sense)

Today was Earth Day. Here in Arlington, there were a variety of events and announcements in connection with the annual environmental celebration.

Among them was the announcement that the county was launching the nation’s first Energy Lending Library. And, at Campbell Elementary School this morning, students got a demonstration about how a rain barrel works and learned how to be good stewards of the earth, as pictured above.

Speaking of events, next week we’ll be holding our ARLnow Presents: Hot Topics on the Pike event. It’s taking place on Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Celtic House (2500 Columbia Pike). Tickets are only $5 and benefit Doorways for Women and Families.

There will be two panel discussions as part of the event. First, our opinion columnists — Peter Rousselot, Mark Kelly and Larry Roberts — will debate the hottest countywide topics, from blue ribbon panels to aquatics centers. Then, we’ve assembled our own blue ribbon panel to discuss the present and future of Columbia Pike. That panel includes:

Our host for the evening will be Amanda Fischer, a Columbia Pike resident, Arlington Chamber of Commerce board member and owner of Grade A Marketing. We hope to see you there!

With that, feel free to discuss the Earth Day, the Pike or any other topics of local interest in the comments.

Photo courtesy Virginia Energy Sense

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Morning Notes

Leaves in Glencarlyn Park (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

County Announces ‘Energy Lending Library’ — Today, on Earth Day, Arlington County is formally announcing what it says is the nation’s first “energy lending library.” Via Arlington Public Library, residents will be able to borrow thermal imaging cameras, energy meters and books that will help residents identify areas of energy waste in their homes. [Arlington County]

Woman Arrested After Foot Chase in Pentagon City — A shoplifting suspect was taken into custody in Pentagon City after leading police on a foot chase yesterday, just before 6 p.m. Police were still searching for the woman’s shoplifting accomplice. [Twitter]

New Lubber Run Community Center Planned — Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has proposed a new, $45 million Lubber Run Community Center. The four-story structure would also include a parking garage, so that the existing surface lot can be converted to parkland. [InsideNova]

Arlington Hires Full-Time Ombudsman — Arlington County has a new ombudsman. Former Dept. of Human Services assistant director Robert Sharpe has been named to the county’s newly-created position of Director of Constituent Services. Sharpe’s job will be “troubleshooting issues on behalf of his fellow Arlington residents while working directly with departments, County leadership and the County Board.” [Arlington County]

Free ‘Pop Up Yoga’ Session on the Pike — On Sunday, from 11 a.m. to noon, a free “pop up” yoga class will be held at Penrose Square (2503 Columbia Pike). “Lisa Marie, local artist and certified yoga instructor, will lead the participants through postures, intentions and breath” that are specifically inspired by the pair of sculptures in the park. [With Love DC]

Medics on Motorcycles? — The citizen task force coming up with recommendations for Arlington’s Fire Station 8 has struck upon a novel idea: using motorcycle-based paramedics to get to patients faster in traffic than would a big, lumbering ambulance. Not every member of the task force, however, thought that was a good idea, citing potential issues with staffing. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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earth-day-5RsTomorrow is Earth Day, and in honor of the 45th anniversary of the holiday dedicated to the environment, Arlington residents and workers can take part in several events around the county this week.

On the eve of Earth Day, this afternoon at the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street), the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting an Earth Day scavenger hunt. From 3:00-5:00 p.m., teams will form to take pictures, find clues and solve puzzles, all with a goal of promoting sustainability. Registration is required for the event, and those interested can email to sign up.

Tomorrow, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District is providing its annual planting clinic. At the Plaza on 19th — the small public space at the corner of N. Moore and 19th Streets — from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the BID’s landscaping contractor will give demonstrations on how to plant your own garden and maintain it. Attendees will be able to take home a potted plant of their own, and one of Rosslyn’s food trucks will be on hand for the hungry planters.

On Saturday, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., George Mason University’s Arlington campus is throwing a “Go Gaga for Green” event. There will be a silent auction for rain barrels decorated by Arlington Public Schools students, a lip-sync battle, green-themed food and drink and a raffle. Tickets are $25 and free for APS families and staff. Proceeds will benefit the Arlington County Council of PTAs’ scholarship fund, GMU’s Early Identification Program, which funds first-generation college students and Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment’s Energy Masters Program.

For more environmentally themed events this week and in the future, you can visit Arlington’s website.

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County hosts update on LED streetlights(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) The students at H-B Woodlawn are asking Arlington residents to turn off their lights for a half hour this Saturday night.

From 10:00 to 10:30 p.m., the students in Woodlawn’s Earth Force Group want everyone to dim or turn off unnecessary lights, and draw their shades or curtains to prevent light pollution. The half hour of observance coincides with Earth Day today, Arlington’s Green Expo on Saturday, International Dark Sky Week and, according to sixth-grader Samara Cathirell, “the peak migration of birds over our region.”

“Studies have linked various cancers to over-exposure to artificial lighting, including breast and prostate cancer,” said the Earth Force press release credited to Samara. “Some amphibians have been shown to come out later to feed and are missing their prey opportunities. Millions of birds die each year by flying into tall artificially lit buildings. Algae continues to grow excessively at night under the artificial lights polluting streams, and nitric oxides and C02 (a greenhouse gas) and SO2 are building up contributing to pollution.”

During the period of observance, residents are asked to go outside and enjoy what the Earth Force group hopes will be a starry night sky.

File photo

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Morning Notes

A family at the base of the Netherlands Carillon

Earth Day in Arlington — Today is Earth Day around the globe, but Arlington County has declared that “every day is Earth Day in Arlington.” In a press release, the county detailed the steps it has been taking to enhance environmental sustainability and also highlighted some environmentally-friendly events around Arlington. Among the upcoming events are the Green Living Expo on April 26 and Bike to Work Day on May 16. [Arlington County]

School Board Candidate Visits All 52 Precincts — Arlington School Board candidate Barbara Kanninen says she has now knocked on doors in all 52 Arlington electoral precincts. Last year Kanninen was criticized for reportedly holding all of her published campaign events in north Arlington. [InsideNoVa]

Rally Against Rape in Rosslyn — The annual Rally Against Rape will be held in Rosslyn’s Gateway Park at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to raise awareness of sexual violence in Northern Virginia. The event is free and includes speakers, music and a resource fair. [Clarendon Nights, Eventful]

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Girl Scouts build garden for AWLA Girl Scouts build garden for AWLA

Earth Day apparently isn’t just for humans. The animals at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (2650 Arlington Mill Drive) in Shirlington will be getting a special treat in recognition of the day.

Girl Scout Troop 1251 from Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church has been helping to construct a “small companion animal garden” at the shelter. Animals at the shelter including rabbits, guinea pigs and birds will soon be able to munch on the fresh, organic produce that will be grown in the garden.

The scouts will put the final touches on the garden on Monday, which is Earth Day. At that time, they will finish planting the produce such as cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, parsley and carrots.

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Morning Notes

Free doggy bags

National Volunteer Week Begins Sunday — The week to honor the thousands of volunteers who serve their communities begins this Sunday, April 21, and runs through Saturday, April 27. County Board Chair Walter Tejada is scheduled to speak at an event on Sunday to thank Arlington volunteers. Opportunities to help out around the county can be found on the Volunteer Arlington website.

Teen Summer Job Expo — On Saturday, April 20, teens and their families can attend an expo to learn about jobs, internships and community service opportunities that are available during the summer. The free event takes place at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. More info can be found online.

Arlington Celebrates Earth Day — Earth Day is on Monday (April 22) and there are a number of green events going on around the county to celebrate. Tomorrow, April 20, is the E-CARE recycling event at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road) and Sunday is the Green Living Expo and Community Earth Week Fair at George Mason Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive). Information about these events and others throughout next week can be found online.

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