Virginia’s Impacted Communities Speak Out at Lobby Day

Brook trout_Flickr USFWS Northeast Region

Virginia brook trout are already gone from 35 percent of their habitat and projections show that they could be completely eliminated from our waters by mid-century primarily due to the warmer waters wrought by man-made climate change. Photo credit: Flickr/USFWS Northeast Region

The United States Senate recently voted on legislation related to climate change. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of my home state of Virginia stood with the majority of their constituents and the country, voting for legislation that unequivocally states climate change is real and that human activity is contributing to the problem. While this is encouraging news, the time for debate around climate science is over. Rather than deliberating on whether the climate is changing, our lawmakers should be drafting legislation that addresses the causes and the effects of climate change.

That is why this Monday, January 26, the Virginia Conservation Network will be holding a Conservation Lobby Day in Richmond. It will be an incredible opportunity to learn more about how we, as citizen-conservationists, can effectively influence our elected leaders to take action. Participants will be better educated on some of today’s most pressing environmental issues and lobbying techniques and will get the opportunity to share their views with members of the General Assembly.

The Lobby Day will be followed by an Impacted Communities Panel, in which Virginians from across the commonwealth describe how they have been negatively affected by the impacts of climate change. Panelists will include residents from southwest Virginia and Hampton Roads discussing the effects of mountaintop removal and sea level rise, respectively, and Angela Navarro from the Southern Environmental Law Center, who will be speaking on climate change and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

To be sure, Virginia citizens do not need Congress to tell them the climate is changing; we are feeling the impacts firsthand. As an avid fly fisherman, I can say that climate change is already threatening one of my favorite pastimes and a huge source of tourism for the commonwealth, where 2011 freshwater fishing expenditures approached $456 million (US Census, 2011). Virginia’s iconic brook trout are already gone from 35 percent of their habitat and projections show that they could be completely eliminated from our waters by mid-century primarily due to the warmer waters wrought by man-made climate change (Swimming Upstream, NWF 2013). We need to urge our representatives to take swift action to protect Virginia’s vulnerable habitats and communities.

I will be going to Lobby Day to become a better advocate for Virginia’s wildlife and to share my insights with members of the General Assembly and will be attending the Impacted Communities Panel. I encourage anyone with an interest in environmental conservation to join as well.

Details:

What: 2015 Virginia Conservation Network Impacted Communities Panel
When: January 26, 2015/ 11:30am to 12:30pm
Where: Richmond Center Stage, 600 East Grace Street, #400, Richmond, VA

About the Author

Jay Chancellor

Jay Chancellor is the Sportsman Outreach Consultant for the National Wildlife Federation in Virginia. He works to educate and engage hunters, anglers, and lovers of the outdoors on important wildlife conservation issues across the commonwealth. Jay graduated from Princeton University with a degree in American Politics and a focus on environmental law. He lives near Blacksburg, Virginia, where he enjoys hunting, fishing and camping in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

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