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A Page from the Story of Earth

May 22, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on A Page from the Story of Earth

“The rates of such changes, not the changes themselves, should be our biggest concern. For climate, sea level, and ecosystems can reach tipping points. Pushed too far, positive feedback loops can kick in. What normally takes a thousand years could transpire in a decade or two.” Robert Hazen [1]

In my recent articles, I have been discussing the ongoing rate of the anthropogenic or human-caused changes in Earth’s climate. We are warming the planet at a rate of 2.76 degrees Celsius per century (NASA GISS and NOAA results but also confirmed by the denier study BEST [2]) which is unprecedented in the last 300 million years of Earth history. The only plausible explanation is the greenhouse gases we are emitting into the atmosphere also at a rate unrivaled in the last 300 million years. In fact scientists once believed that the extinction event 55 million years ago called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) would be a good analogue for what we are doing today as it was believed to be the most rapid climate disruption in Earth’s history [3]. … Continue Reading

Contest Winner and the Last Deglaciation

May 11, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet 2 comments

I hope this isn’t too confusing and I don’t want to repeat all the details here as you can read the articles and comments yourselves and ask questions on the comments section. In the comments section to my last article on April 25 [1], “Klem” commented: “there is NO WAY to conclude from the BEST study that it is caused, or isn’t caused, by human emissions.” And a few lines later he or she wrote this; “Good question, perhaps 800 years I would guess. Since that is roughly how long it takes for CO2 to respond to earlier temperature changes.” There is an embedded (and amusing) contradiction between these two statements. If you reread the entire exchange from my April 17th article [2] and my April 25th article plus the comments it should be easy to spot. In my reply, I offered a growler of Loudoun County’s own Corcoran Beer to the first person to discover Klem’s self-contradiction. I hasten to add that I am not trying to embarrass Klem, whom I really don’t know and who’s comments I enjoy receiving. But I thought this would be an excellent learning tool to get people to think critically and skeptically about our climate or indeed about anything. Skeptical thinking is in short supply in America, sadly and I was kind of hoping Klem would see his/her error and go for the win him/herself. In retrospect announcing the contest in the comments section was probably not a good idea. … Continue Reading

Global Warming Discovered – Again

April 25, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet 2 comments

“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” Mark Twain

Years ago I was invited to attend a debate hosted by the MIT Alumni Association about global warming. The contrarian was to be the tobacco lobbyist and professional denier S. Fred Singer. I don’t recall the scientist who would be defending scientific reality but anybody committed to telling the truth would have a hard time debating someone whose profession is making stuff up. Singer’s abstract identified three key points: … Continue Reading

Arctic Amplification

April 17, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet 2 comments

The weather during the last decade has become increasingly weird and extreme. The occurrence of persistent weather events such as droughts, floods, heat waves and cold spells is increasing. The evidence that the most extreme events are linked to human-caused global warming is compelling. NASA climate scientists James Hansen, Makiko Sato and Reto Ruedy write [1] “we can state with a high degree of confidence that extreme summers, such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, are a consequence of global warming, because global warming has dramatically increased their likelihood of occurrence.” This is also the conclusion of several other peer-reviewed scientific journal articles [2]. Such sentiment is also being reported in the main stream media for example by Alexandra Steel on CNN [3]. Even television meteorologists such as Stu Ostro a Senior Meteorologist on The Weather Channel who were recently deniers have come around to this view [4]. … Continue Reading

2012 Regional Science and Engineering Fair

April 2, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on 2012 Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The Loudoun County school system hosted the annual Regional Science and Engineering Fair for high schools students at Woodgrove High School on March 15, 2012. For the last five years REHAU Corporation in Leesburg and Sustainable Loudoun have sponsored four Energy and Environment Sustainability Awards each year. REHAU provides $500 for first place, $300 for second Place, $200 for third place and an Honorable Mention award for the best freshman in this category. Mike Maher of REHAU Corporation and I, representing Sustainable Loudoun, have the privilege of judging the student projects and the difficult task of picking winners. Loudoun County high school students are quite gifted and earnest and their projects are exceptional every year. This is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of their teachers and the quality of our county educational program.

The winners this year are: … Continue Reading

The Last Deglacial Transition

March 21, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Last Deglacial Transition

“Although the current overall capacity for society to perturb the carbon cycle is comparable to that of the PETM [the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, 55 million years ago], the rate at which we are imposing the current perturbation on the Earth system may be unprecedented.” Ying Cui et al. [1]

“The last deglacial transition, although characterized by temperature and CO2-increase, is two orders of magnitude slower than the current anthropogenic change. It is also thought to largely represent a redistribution of carbon within the ocean and to the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere and hence did not have as potent or globally uniform an acidification effect as an input from geological reserves.” B. Honisch et al [2]. … Continue Reading

Be Positive; Do the Math

March 15, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Be Positive; Do the Math

“Typically the private and public sectors would borrow $1.50 or $1.60 each year for every $1 of GDP growth. That was the golden constant. It had been at that ratio for 100 years save for some minor squiggles during the bottom of the Depression. By the time we got to the mid-’90s, we were borrowing $3 for every $1 of GDP growth. And by the time we got to the peak in 2006 or 2007, we were actually taking on $6 of new debt to grind out $1 of new GDP.” – David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director from ’81-’85, and the man behind the biggest tax cut in US history, is now an advocate for higher taxes, a critic of the work that made him rich and a scared investor who doesn’t own a single stock for fear of another financial crisis. [1]

“Long before growth becomes impossible it becomes uneconomic — it begins to cost more than it is worth at the margin. … That is where we are now, but we are unable to recognize it.” Herman Daly, economist University of Maryland, formerly of the World Bank. [2] … Continue Reading

The Biggest Short

March 4, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Biggest Short

We deceive ourselves the better to deceive others…. In our own species, deceit and self-deception are two sides of the same coin.  If by deception we mean only consciously propagated deception – outright lies – then we miss the much larger category of unconscious deception, including self-deception.  On the other hand, if we look at self-deception and fail to see its roots in deceiving others, we miss its major function.  We may be tempted to rationalize self-deception as being defensive in purpose when actually it is usually offensive.”  Robert Trivers [1]. … Continue Reading

Light Bulb Law

February 28, 2012 by Contributor Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Light Bulb Law

Guest columnist Bill Roman has served as treasurer for Sustainable Loudoun since 2010. Professionally he is a software systems project manager with 25 years of experience. In his spare time Bill is interested in promoting sustainable practices and energy efficiency. He is also studying the issue of peak oil, its impact on society and on his own life.

By Bill Roman

Today for the first time in 2012, I bought a new light bulb. Now, this may not seem significant, but it is the first time I had to select a bulb without the option of the standard 100W incandescent, which are no longer sold because they don’t meet the minimum efficiency standards of the 2007 light bulb law. There has been some political posturing about this law and government interference in the free market. There have been some dubious ‘facts’ and scare tactics in the media as well (see: Right-Wing Media Continue To Mislead On Nonexistent Light Bulb “Ban”) so I thought I would relate how it affected my life as a light bulb consumer today. … Continue Reading

Weather, County Energy Strategy and Our “Blue Marble”

February 14, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Weather, County Energy Strategy and Our “Blue Marble”

“We conclude that extreme heat waves, such as that in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, were “caused” by global warming, because their likelihood was negligible prior to the recent rapid global warming.” – NASA climate scientists James Hansen, Makiko Sato and Reto Ruedy [1]

“Watching the weather over the past two years has been like watching a famous baseball hitter on steroids.”– Meteorologist Jeff Masters.

Government budgets are tight. I understand that much. And some expenses must get cut from the county budget. I don’t envy our Board of Supervisors having to balance it. They will get an earful from irate citizens no matter what they do and I sympathize with them even as I empathize with citizen concerns about loss of services. But having stayed out of this process in the past, I find myself motivated to join the fray this year. … Continue Reading

Joseph Fourier

February 7, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Joseph Fourier

Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (21 March 1768 – 16 May 1830) was a French Physicist and Mathematician who is well known among scientists and engineers for developing “Fourier transforms”, Fourier Series” and “Fourier’s Law”. The latter is the law of heat conduction and describes the rate of heat flow through a material. He is also considered to be the discoverer of the Earth’s atmospheric greenhouse effect. … Continue Reading

AGW As a Litmus Test

January 31, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on AGW As a Litmus Test

A few years ago a Washington Post reporter call me and asked what I thought was the most important issue in the upcoming local and state elections. Without hesitation I answered “Anthropogenic Global Warming”. She elaborated “No, no, I mean local issues, you know like transportation, education, things like that.”

I asked “Should we build an overpass at the junction of route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway, or install more turning lanes or is traffic at this intersection even an issue we should be addressing considering limited funds during a recession?”

“I don’t know.” She replied. … Continue Reading

Nuclear Power and Uranium Mining in Virginia

January 23, 2012 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Nuclear Power and Uranium Mining in Virginia

Sustainable Loudoun opposes the lifting of the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia. Mining uranium at Coles Hill in Pittsylvania County, Virginia is unsafe and is a threat to local and regional water supply. Strict government oversight would be required. If nuclear power is a safe, feasible energy source, then the risks might be tolerable. However, if nuclear power is not a viable long term solution to human energy requirements, then no risk associated with uranium mining in Virginia is tolerable. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Trusting Science

14 Nov 2015


“The Four Corners of Deceit: Government, academia, science, and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That’s how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.” – Rush Limbaugh [1] I previously reported [2] on …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Some Thoughts on Veterans Day

13 Nov 2015


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Veterans Day is a time to honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and it is also a time to reflect and remember with gratitude. America is a free and democratic nation today, …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Phil Bolen Memorial Park

4 Nov 2015


I never knew Phil Bolen as the Loudoun County Government Administrator; I never even got to know him as Director of Parks and Recreation, and I certainly never knew Phil Bolen the teacher and coach at Loudoun Valley High School. …


Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Willisville

30 Sep 2015


You may never feel the urge to travel to this little, unincorporated community; it’s not exactly a conduit for commuter traffic, and there aren’t really any places to shop, or gas up, or procure much of anything else from a …

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Sushi's Corner

March Sushi

4 Mar 2015

pot of gold

Hello everyone, this is Hokie Cat from Fields of Athenry Farm. Sushi is in big trouble as we speak and is residing in doggy dungeon. I am here to fill you in on what took place. My brother Mountie loves …

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Virginia Gardening

Planting an Allergy-Free Garden

5 May 2015


By Donna Williamson Tom Ogren has a long-time interest in allergy-inducing plants. He has written several books on the topic and in February released his latest The Allergy Fighting Garden. He explains why plants can stir up allergies and has …

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Samuel Moore-Sobel

Choosing To Live in the Present

4 Nov 2015


By Samuel Moore-Sobel I love a good story. I love telling stories and hearing other people’s stories. Our experiences bring meaning to our lives, and help shape us into the people we are today. Yet inherent in storytelling is the …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Trusts

4 Nov 2015


A common estate planning device is the trust. A trust is simply an agreement between two people: the person who establishes the trust, who may be called the Settlor, the Grantor or the Trustor, and the person or institution who …

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Student News

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015


Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015


Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

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Blue Ridge Middle Places 11th In National Science League

1 Jul 2015


Blue Ridge National Science Day Declared Tuesday, June 10 has been officially been declared Blue Ridge National Science Day. At a recent Purcellville Town Council Meeting, Mayor Kwasi Fraser and members of the town council signed a proclamation designating this …

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November 2015

Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Notaviva Vineyards Haunted Vineyard Tours


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Notaviva Vineyards Haunted Vineyard Tours

Red, White, & Boo!

Mrs. Lucketts’ Haunted Garden & Playground


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Notaviva Vineyards Haunted Vineyard Tours

Red, White, & Boo!

Steve Potter Live at North Gate Vineyard

2 3

Elementary Drama Camp

4 5 6

Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists – painter Karen Hutchison and glass artists David and Dale Barnes


Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


Kipyn Martin Live at North Gate VIneyard

9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20

The Essential Elvis Tribute Show


Christmas Bazaar

23 24 25 26 27

The Capitol Steps


3rd Annual Bluemont (Juried) Holiday Craft Show

30 1 2 3 4 5

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


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View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

5 May 2015


Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input sessions June 4, 11 and 18 at 7:00 p.m. at town hall for the proposed sweeping zoning changes. These major …

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Good Government Reinforces the Family – Another Perspective

4 Oct 2015


By Malcolm Baldwin Who can disagree with the title to Dave LaRock’s September article in the Blue Ridge Journal – “Good Government Reinforces the Family”? But sadly he largely misunderstands what government has done and ought to do for such reinforcement. Many of his prescriptions would harm families while others would forestall any improvement in family conditions. His conclusions become …



2015 Loudoun 10K Trail Race Raises over $30,000 to Support Boulder Crest Retreat and Our Nation’s Veterans

16 Nov 2015


“I continued to be humbled by our community and all they do to make Boulder Crest Retreat a success. Jim Schatz and his team at Loudoun Road Runners are amazing. This trail run is in alignment with the rural nature of Boulder Crest Retreat and we look forward to the event every year. My personal appreciation goes out to all …

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Purcellville Cross Serves as Beacon of Hope for Highway Travelers

9 Nov 2015

Crux St. Francis de Sales

By Mark Gunderman The Crux Gloria was erected and dedicated by St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church in November 1990. If you’re traveling from Leesburg on Highway 7, passing through Purcellville just west of the Berlin Turnpike exit, you can look to your right and see a majestic metal cross sculpture. Within the cross, the shape of Jesus appears to …

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Carver Center November Events

4 Nov 2015


The Carver Center is at 200 Willie Palmer Way in Purcellville. Call 571-258-3400 to sign up for the following programs. November 6, Friday Lunch and movie Still Alice 12-2 p.m. (ages 55 and up).  To sign up call 571-258-3459. November 9, Monday AARP Driver Safety Class 9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m (ages 50 and up). Pre-registration required. AARP members $15, …

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Wild Loudoun

Wild Loudoun: of Chipmunks and Chestnuts

4 Nov 2015


Chipmunks are small, beautifully elegant little creatures, with large glossy eyes, a sleek brown body, a short, pointy head, dainty white stripes above and below the eye, and a series of black land white lines down their sturdy little backs. They have a very sweet posture – sitting upright and holding food with their two perfectly formed front feet, while …

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Around Virginia

Comstock Speaks on Syrian Refugees


Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10) released the following statement on the current terrorist attacks in Paris: “After September 11, 2001, we tragically learned that al Qaeda was at war with us, but we weren’t at war with them. Again, with the recent murderous terrorist attacks in Paris, we have learned that …

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Governor McAuliffe Announces Tourism Revenues Topped $22.4 billion in 2014


Statewide data shows increase of 4.1 percent compared to 2013 Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia’s tourism revenues topped $22.4 billion in 2014, a 4.1 percent increase over 2013. In 2014, tourism in Virginia supported 216,949 jobs, an increase of nearly 700 jobs to the previously reported forecast estimate of …

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Good Government Reinforces the Family


By Delegate Dave LaRock Working as the elected Delegate for the 33rd House District has renewed my understanding of the value of a strong family. After decades of raising my family of mom, dad, and seven children and building my family’s business, which provided countless opportunities for mom, dad and …

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Funding Sought for Scholarship for Loudon Students Participating in Youth Sports

4 Nov 2015


The Don Rose, Sr. Youth Scholarship Fund is seeking financial support to provide scholarships at college, technical or trade school. Applicants from public, private, and home schools are eligible to receive the scholarship, provided they participated in youth sports within Loudoun County. The fund aims to award two $500 scholarships …

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Leesburg Ladies Tennis Team Wins State Tournament

4 Nov 2015


Ida Lee Park Tennis Center’s Ladies Singles 2.5 Team, Simply Smashing, won the USTA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship tournament, held October 16-18, at the Virginia Beach Tennis and Country Club. Simply Smashing members include team captain Beth Cioni, Debbie DeLadurantaye, Jennifer Fox, Robin Haast, Holly McMullen and Deja O’Malley. They train …

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015


– By Andrea Gaines Loudoun County was heavily invested in the fight for independence from Great Britain. Loudouner Francis Lightfoot Lee was one of 56 delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence. More Loudouners served in General George Washington’s army than any other county in Virginia, and the county’s enormous …

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Mary Rose Lunde

Behind Closed Doors

4 Nov 2015

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It’s sad to say that the norm now is to wonder about the next school shooting. For a student it is the most terrifying thing, the next shooter could come at any moment, and any day could be the day that you die. It could be …

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015


– By Sarah Nearis Look at these sweet and summery pink blouses and tops. Don’t you want to try one on? Some women are afraid to wear pink, thinking it’s a bit too feminine. But, pink comes in such a wide variety of shades – from soft mauves to fuchsias …

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Thank You for Another Successful Halloween Block Party

4 Nov 2015


The 5th annual Purcellville Halloween Block Party was the best attended to date with an estimated 6,000 descending on 21st street in Old Town this past Friday evening. Costume …

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Ethics in Campaigning and Voting

1 Nov 2015


My Dad used to say it’s what you do when nobody is watching that counts. Over 80 percent of my “zoning permitted” and “land owner …

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$17 Dollar Tolls-Ouch!

27 Oct 2015


Recently Gov. McAuliffe proposed $17 round trip tolls on I-66 inside the beltway with Chuck Hedges the Democrat nominee for the HOD 33rd district being …

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