Lawyers, schools, chickens are local green heroes

Ours, it seems, is a community of winners. Not weiners, mind you, nor whiners (though sometimes we are winers, and happily so). Right here in Charlottesville, we play hometown to the Southern Environmental Law Center, an organization long admired by Green Scene and many other people for its success in courtroom-based planet protection, and now the winner of a 2009 Scenic Hero award from Scenic Virginia. Woo hoo!

There are a few things about Charlottesville that really make me proud to live here. Our community-wide availability of pricey stationery is not one of them, but this gang of smart, eco-friendly lawyers definitely makes the cut.

On to Albemarle County schools, which collectively tasted victory when the Virginia School Board Association recognized the district as a top prize winner in its Green Schools Challenge. Why? Albemarle schools have inventoried their greenhouse gas emissions, instituted composting, and sought LEED certification for building additions. In other words, they are setting a fine example for their students and other local districts. Say it with me now: Woo hoo!

Another score for the home team: Chickens, eggs, and all manner of leafy greens have propelled our own City Market to glory in the form of a record sales total in 2009. Try $1,085,646.11 on for size. That is a damn lot of carrots, my friends.

And our final local winner is Route 15, now officially called the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway between Monticello and Gettysburg. Proponents of the byway designation say this will be good news for conservation and preservation, so let’s hope they’re right.

One rotten tomato: Unfortunately, the Rivanna River watershed is not a winner. The very cool organization StreamWatch documents that water quality, at many points in local streams and rivers, loses out to pollution from a number of sources, including homeowners who douse their yards with chemicals. A lush lawn at the expense of everybody’s water supply is a hollow victory, indeed.

Who would you nominate as a local green winner? Any other heroes out there?

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