Wild Virginia Virtual Coffee Talk

Wild Virginia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to protecting and connecting your favorite wild places. Through partnerships with other environmental advocacy groups we: We educate citizens, landowners, and other stakeholders about threats to our forests through hikes, outings and events. We advocate for the connectivity and integrity of Virginia’s forests and waters. We influence decision makers by mobilizing citizens like you.

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Monday Apr 22, 2024

In the spring of 2015, Dr. Eric Roy received word from a former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) member regarding elevated lead levels in Flint, Michigan's water. At that time, the residents of Flint were unaware of the water's contents and long before the city faced a public health emergency.
Roy, a chemist specializing in water quality, took it upon himself to address the issue. In July 2015, he established Hydroviv and devised a high-capacity lead filter for Flint. Working from his studio apartment in Washington, D.C., Roy and a friend conducted pressure and leak tests, as well as prototyping for the first Hydroviv filter. With their lab set up in a bathroom sink, he shipped the inaugural filter to a children's organization in Flint just two months later, after locating them through social media.
Roy also shares a lot of content on PFAS, so he joins the podcast to discuss why some states have protections, and others don’t.

Monday Mar 25, 2024

Don’t be mistaken: taxpayers are paying for these big data centers.
“What we know historically about fossil fuel plants is they're places in poor communities and black and brown communities.”
Data centers in Virginia have become a focal point of concern due to their environmental impact. These facilities, which house servers and other IT equipment, consume vast amounts of energy to ensure seamless operations. The energy demand of data centers contributes to carbon emissions and strains on local power grids. Additionally, the cooling systems required to maintain optimal temperatures within data centers can lead to water usage issues and thermal pollution.
So today we have Paige Wesselink of the Virginia Sierra Club Chapter on the podcast to discuss the important work that they doing related to the topic.

Monday Mar 18, 2024

If we’re critically thinking about it - mushrooms have incredible properties and life saving attributes (umm, hello penicillin). Penicillin G was first made from a penicillium fungus that occurs in nature.
Mushrooms show us that our environment is far from binary. Enter queer ecology: an emerging field that seeks to explore the connections between ecological issues and queer identities. At its core, queer ecology recognizes that the struggles for environmental justice and LGBTQ+ rights are not separate, but rather interconnected. By examining the relationships between nature, culture, and identity, queer ecology offers a new perspective on environmental issues and the ways in which they impact marginalized communities. 
In this episode of Wild Virginia Virtual Coffee Talk, we discuss lawns, indigenous sciences, urban spaces overgrown nature taking over, The Last of Us, Abney Park in London, environmental racism, and how a lot of what we think looks good is actually really bad (for natural ecosystems and sustainability at large).

Tuesday Mar 12, 2024

Wild Virginia is encouraging the public to let the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) know that we want it to prevent per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from being released to the James River in Scottsville.
Tune in to this podcast on what the status is on PFAS bills from this legislative session, and how you can get more involved in the process.

Monday Mar 04, 2024

Pollutants in drinking water can pose serious health risks if consumed in high concentrations. Common pollutants found in drinking water include heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic, as well as chemicals like pesticides and industrial solvents. These contaminants can enter water sources through various means such as agricultural runoff, industrial discharge, and improper waste disposal.
PFAS, a now realized issue in Virginia's water, is finally gaining media attention. Justin Shoemaker, founder of Clearwave Water Solutions, joins the podcast to discuss the topic.
Shoemaker says the status quo regulations really put all the responsibility on the homeowner to ensure their drinking water is safe. "Water quality is one of the most underreported and underregulated things we use everyday... PFAS is not a new thing - it’s in our waterways, it will be in our waterways for a long time, [and] it affects everybody."

Monday Jan 22, 2024

Founded as the Conservation Council of Virginia in 1969, Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) began as a roundtable of major conservation groups and has grown to include over 150 Network Partners across the Commonwealth (including wild virginia). Their annual Conservation Lobby Day is coming up and it’s your chance to lobby with fellow advocates in your district for environmental action that matters most to you.
Wild Virginia is joined by Andreana Lin on the podcast to tell us more of what we can expect this year, and why you should join if you have never participated.
Virginia Conservation Lobby Day is an annual event that brings together citizens, activists, and policymakers to advocate for environmental conservation in the state of Virginia. The event provides an opportunity for participants to learn about current environmental issues facing the state and to meet with their elected representatives to discuss policy solutions.
This year, they are already at record registrations (close to 250) and are extending the event from one to two days. VCN is built on partnerships. That’s why they partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and their many dedicated Network Partners to host two exciting, full days of advocacy in the Capitol instead of just one!
During the Water and Conservation Lobby Days, participants attend workshops, rallies and meetings with legislators in order to discuss important environmental issues such as climate change, clean energy, and wildlife conservation. The goal of the event is to promote policies that will protect Virginia’s natural resources and ensure a healthy environment for future generations.
The event has grown in popularity over the years, with increasing numbers of citizens attending each year. Water and Conservation Lobby Days are a great opportunity for individuals to get involved in environmental advocacy and make a positive impact on their community.
We encourage you to register for both days, but if you're passionate about Clean Water & Flood Resilience, you won't want to miss Water Lobby Day on January 30th. You can still talk about water issues at Conservation Lobby Day on January 31st, too, including all the other policy suggestions in Our 2024 Common Agenda and more!
Register and reserve your spot here.

Thursday Jan 04, 2024

Jessica Roberts, Habitat Connectivity Director at Wild Virginia, joins the Wild Virginia Coffee Talk Podcast to discuss a new resource for Virginians to advocate for a more connected environment to help both wildlife and Virginia drivers avoid crashes.
Wild Virginia, along with our partners from the Virginia Safe Wildlife Corridor Collaborative, is thrilled to announce the launch of our new Habitat Connectivity Hub – a captivating StoryMap journey into the heart of our mission to safeguard both people and wildlife in Virginia. As one of the top ten U.S. states for wildlife-vehicle conflict, Virginia is in dire need of mitigation tactics, like the installation of wildlife over- and underpasses, allowing for safe passage of both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. Our goal with this Hub is to make connectivity data more accessible and transparent, so you can advocate for the connectivity needs in your area!

Wednesday Dec 27, 2023

Clean water is a necessity of life, and while it is a physical resource, it also has a significant human aspect. Access to clean water is essential for the health and well-being of individuals and communities, and lack of access can lead to a range of problems, including illness, poverty, and social inequality.
Grethe Lindemann, a Virginia native from coastal Hampton Roads, joins the podcast to discuss her experience with the Clean Water Advocates Program. Sailing and the watery wonders of the Chesapeake Bay played a major role throughout Grethe’s early years. Skippering a sailboat at age 14 alone under the stars in the Atlantic Ocean away from all civilization, yet surrounded by welcoming dolphins and more, changed her forever. With her first career as an award-winning NASA research engineer later morphing to both for-profit and non-profit entrepreneur in challenged locales including Appalachia – the land of most of her forbears – her focus on sustainable development and environmental justice and protection took hold.

Tuesday Dec 19, 2023

Public commenting is a vital part of government decision-making processes. It allows citizens to give their input and voice their opinions on policies, regulations, and programs that the government is considering. Public commenting ensures that the government is aware of the needs and concerns of the citizens it serves. The public has a legal right to provide input on certain proposed government actions and public commenting can occur on the local, state, and federal levels of government.
Stephanie, one of the recent graduates of the Wild Virginia Clean Water Advocates Program, joins the Wild Virginia Virtual Coffee Talk Podcast to talk about the power of public commenting and how she hopes to use what she learned in preventing future environmental harms. Her goal is to work eventually with an environmental non-profit to make more of a difference in preserving our planet.

Wednesday Dec 06, 2023

Environmental advocacy is a critical component of preserving the planet and mitigating the effects of climate change. Many people may be hesitant to participate in environmental advocacy because they feel that they lack the technical knowledge to make a meaningful contribution. However, it is important to recognize that anyone can be an environmental advocate, regardless of their background or expertise.
Gwyneth Homer grew up in southwestern Virginia and learned about the importance of being a community-member, on a human and ecosystem scale.  From an early age, she valued justice, and was engaged in civic action, writing letters, or participating in marches.  Today, she works in childcare, hoping to instill the values of justice, love, respect, and empathy by showing loving-kindness to the children.  She continues to be involved in social and environmental justice work, especially fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) since it runs through her county. 
She joins Wild Virginia Virtual Coffee Talk to discuss the Clean Water Advocates Program, why she joined the course, and what she hopes to use from it against fighting MVP with organizations like Wild Virginia, Protect Our Water Heritage Rights (POWHR), and Appalachian Voices.

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