Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Cool" Park Authority

The author with electic utility vehicles now used at 5 parks

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is the first park authority in the nation to agree to voluntarily reduce our greenhouse gas emissions through the Cool Counties Initiative. Cities and Counties across the nation are taking steps to reduce the causes of global warming. In Northern Virginia all ready the City of Alexandria, Fairfax and Arlington Counties have made this commitment.

To bring attention to this critical issue, NVRPA hosted a free outdoor showing of the movie An Inconvenient Truth about global climate change. Prior to the showing of the movie on October 28th the crowd heard from Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, Arlington Board Chair Paul Ferguson and Falls Church City Councilman David Snyder about local effort to reduce carbon emissions.

NVRPA began its energy conservation effort a little over a year ago. These efforts have resulted in a total carbon emission drop between 2006 and 2007 agency wide. Efforts at Brambleton Regional Golf Course for example, saved enough energy last year to heat and cool 103 average homes for a year, a 27 percent reduction in the course’s energy consumption. Last month’s adoption of the Cool Counties Initiative by the NVRPA Board of Directors was an important step for the Park Authority, according to NVRPA Chairman Bill Dickinson.

“We shall lead by example in the field of energy conservation. By adopting this resolution, we will help create a more sustainable society that is less dependent on non-renewable resources, and achieve long-term cost savings in the process.”

“The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has shown real leadership in signing on to the Cool Counties initiative. Their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas are a direct help to the Arlington Initative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE). I am thrilled NVRPA is offering a free showing of An Inconvenient Truth. The more people that see this important movie the better our chances are to correct global warming. I would encourage everyone to attend this event,” remarked Arlington County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson.

NVRPA Board of Directors member Judy Braus (Fairfax County), who also serves as Vice President, Education and Centers, National Audubon Society added that programs like the one being held at Meadowlark were key in terms of raising public awareness.

“The local governments like Fairfax County, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria that have taken formal action to reduce their emissions and help citizens understand what they can do to reduce pollution are making an enormous difference,” Braus noted. “Global warming is one of the most critical issues facing our world. Understanding the issue and some of the steps we can all take to reduce our emissions is the first step to solving this issue. That is why coming to the event at Meadowlark is so important.”

Fairfax County was instrumental in working with other Counties to develop the Cool Counties initative. On hearing the news of NVRPA’s adoption of the Cool Counties Resolution Fairfax County Chairman Gerry Connolly remarked, “I applaud the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s adoption of Cool Counties. Because of their large land holdings, substantial fleet, and numerous facilities, the NVRPA has the capacity to make a significant contribution to the effort to stabilize and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.