Opinion: Commentary: Join Us to Learn, Engage and Act to Save Our Environment

Opinion: Commentary: Join Us to Learn, Engage and Act to Save Our Environment

Mount Vernon District to hold first Environment Expo on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Join me and the Mount Vernon District Environmental Advisory Committee at the District's first Environment Expo on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 from 8 a.m. – noon at Walt Whitman Middle School. Spend the morning exploring how each of us can help save our planet, with the theme "Saving the Earth One Person at a Time." The morning will feature an Exhibit Hall with a variety of County agencies, service providers and educators, informational and hands-on workshops and screenings of the film "Hometown Habitat". Read more about the Expo at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mountvernon

As we recognize that climate change is impacting our lives here in the Mount Vernon District, we all need to do our part to protect Mother Earth. In our District, environmental concerns range from coastal and in-land flooding to extreme heat, as well as increasing more intense storms. The Expo will educate and inspire attendees to be more engaged in the protection of our natural resources and our heritage.

While the County has taken steps to be good environmental stewards, like adopting a Countywide Energy Policy, Environmental Vision and Operational Energy Strategy, these steps are not proportional to the challenges we face. I strongly believe we need to move forward quickly to adopt a Community Climate Action Plan and a Resiliency Plan. We also need to enter into an Energy Savings Performance Contract and advocate for Solar Freedom legislation to come before the General Assembly this session. One of the most immediate steps we can take is to quickly adopt CPACE, a potential County financing program where commercial building owners can borrow money for energy efficiency, renewable energy, or similar projects, and then make repayments via an assessment on their property tax bill.

As a County, we can do far more, and adopting more aggressive goals will result in significant cost savings and a faster environmental and budgetary return on our investments. Come to the Environment Expo on Nov. 10, to learn what you can do as an individual to protect our people, places and property.