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RVAgreener Highlight: Monica

Monica photoMeet RVAgreener Monica! A neighbor of Richmond for over 30 years, Monica loves taking global trips as well as local walks along the James River and enjoying the beautiful scenery. However, these walks require the use of her car to access due to neglected sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure. Monica has years of experience in the field of environmental justice. While leading the Renewal of Life Land Trust, she also serves on the Board for the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative. The Collaborative partnered with Mapping for Environmental Justice to launch a mapping tool that uniquely highlights a network and the narratives of communities experiencing environmental injustice.

Monica has enjoyed the teamwork element of working on the RVAgreen 2050 Racial Equity & Environmental Justice Roundtable and Environmental Working group. She noted that several conversations have focused on green infrastructure, and while her time in Canada and Costa Rica has shown her that this is essential, our communities need to equally prioritize the reduction of industrial greenhouse gases and asphalt removal projects, especially in Southside.

"All people deserve to experience vitality."

Monica ensures she shares this value while leading talks and walks surrounding land stewardship, access, and agency.


Virginia Mercury: New mapping tool aims to clarify Virginia environmental justice debates

Renewal of Life Land Trust

Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative

Author: JaVonne Bowles, Office of Sustainability Equity Fellow and RVAgreen 2050 Roundtable Member

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RVAgreener Highlight: Jeanne

Jeanne photoMeet RVAgreener Jeanne! She resides in Green Park, a neighborhood located within Highland Park. Jeanne moved to Richmond from Midlothian to attend college and stayed. She has appreciated the growth of the city; she sees it reflected while shopping at local stores along Brookland Park Boulevard on Sundays as well as in the awareness her neighbors have of displacement and gentrification. She knows that the protests that took place last year and the monuments coming down are not the end of Richmond addressing its history and the ramifications it has on our present life. Jeanne loves her neighborhood - she, her husband, and and her dogs enjoy the Cannon Creek Parkway which was made possible by Charles Price, Sierra Club, Army Corps of Engineers, other local groups, and city and state partners. It has truly made her feel that we are going in the right direction regarding climate resilience; however, we can always do more.

"Our city is not yet a walkable city; it is necessary to drive unless you live in the Fan or Church Hill. Too many neighborhoods are being built with cul de sacs that don't connect to anything. Many years ago I regularly rode the bus; however, it was very hard because the routes were not, and still aren’t, convenient for too many of our city residents." Jeanne has also noticed that although much of the city experiences unnecessary flooding, it doesn't impact her neighborhood because they are on a hill. It is only until she and her family are trying to commute out of the community do they see how flooding is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

As a Certified Master Gardener, Clean City Commission Board Member, and RVAgreen 2050 Racial Equity & Environmental Justice and Waste Working Group member, Jeanne advocates for more green space where people can safely connect with each other. She particularly loves the nation's largest edible public park in Atlanta, GA, and hopes to see something similar at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church located on Fourqurean Lane. What Jeanne accredits most to her time working with RVAgreen 2050 is the breadth and depth to addressing climate change and environmental injustice. She says, "This has been a real learning experience because I didn't fully understand the impacts that climate changes have on historically marginalized communities. We are fortunate to have a wide range of experience and expertise collaborating; it's simply a matter of time to get these strategies in place."

Jeanne will be coordinating with the Science Museum of Virginia to set a date or two for Northside neighbors to walk and collect air quality samples. If you are interested in joining her, reach out to get connected.


Visit the Cannon Creek Parkway 
Learn more about the Clean City Commission
Can Richmond, VA follow Atlanta’s steps and be the next place to have a Free Community Food Forest?

Author: JaVonne Bowles, Office of Sustainability Equity Fellow and RVAgreen 2050 Roundtable Member

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RVAgreener Highlight: Anja

Anja photoMeet RVAgreener Anja! A native to North Carolina, Anja now lives in the Museum District of Richmond and honestly wishes she could keep the city in her back pocket no matter where she lives. A mother, environment lover, and recent career changer from corporate to an inclusive, small business, Anja is a powerhouse in her desire to support the work of RVAgreen 2050 on the Community Working Group. While this is her first intimate glimpse at the internal functioning of city government, she is proud and amazed at how professionally organized the Office of Sustainability has put this climate action and resilience planning process together. Because of her cherished love for walking among neighboring communities such as the Fan, Dogwood Dell and Willow Lawn, she knows that the city must prioritize longevity to truly be a sustainable and desirable place to live. "I often wonder with the hotter summers and more violent storms what will come of Richmond in my children's future," she says. Anja's Spanish proficiency allows her to help RVAgreen 2050 become more accessible to the Latine community.

Author: JaVonne Bowles, Office of Sustainability Equity Fellow and RVAgreen 2050 Roundtable Member

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Richmond top-rated for solar access, advances clean energy in the region

The City of Richmond was recently recognized as a SolSmart GOLD community for its efforts to make it faster, easier and less expensive for Richmonders to put solar on their homes and businesses.

The city’s solar power initiative is championed by the Office of Sustainability, in furtherance of RVAgreen 2050, the City's equity-centered climate action and resilience initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and help the community adapt to Richmond's climate impacts of extreme heat, precipitation and flooding.

The city received the GOLD designation after the Office of Sustainability worked with the Permits & Inspections Division of the Planning Department to verify that permits for small residential rooftop solar PV systems can be processed in three days.

Richmond is one of only four localities in Virginia that have received the GOLD level designation from SolSmart, a national program that assists and recognizes localities that foster the growth of strong solar markets in their communities by reducing barriers to going solar.

In 2018, Richmond received a SILVER designation for making changes to become more solar friendly, including clarifying solar related zoning issues and creating a one-stop resource to make it easier and quicker for residents to find information on solar related permits. The city was also a Special Recognition Award winner in Inspections for going above and beyond and earning at least 60% of the total points available in at least one of the eight SolSmart categories.

The city's efforts to advance clean energy and support its RVAgreen 2050 initiative also include partnering with Henrico County and local non-profit Viridiant in the SolarizeRVA program to offer free one-stop, unbiased guidance for Richmond area residents to explore their solar and clean energy options and understand the costs and benefits of solar power systems for their homes.

Local non-profit Viridiant leads the effort to engage residents through community events, webinars, digital and direct engagement in order to provide information and resources about the value, technology and logistics of home solar arrays to ensure that potential solar adopters are fully equipped to make smart decisions for their households. To maximize the value and savings of solar energy, Viridiant also helps residents implement energy efficient strategies in their homes through home energy audits and community education events.

Over the long term, SolarizeRVA aims to bring 1,000 solar roofs to the Richmond region, reduce dependency on nonrenewable resources and provide real savings for area residents. Solar energy saves money and reduces energy dependency, and the switch is more appealing than ever, as the federal tax credit of 26% is set to expire at the end of 2022.

Free SolarizeRVA informational webinars for residents are hosted monthly. The next virtual events are June 24 at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. Learn more here.

Learn more about SolarizeRVA at or by contacting Andrew Grigsby, Viridiant Energy Services Director, at

Find Richmond's online solar resources at

Learn more about Richmond's SolSmart designation and SolSmart at


Earth Month Wrap-Up

Richmond, VA - Community engagement was the name of the game during Earth Month for the Office of Sustainability. Across April, we hosted and participated in a number of community events to promote awareness of our RVAgreen 2050 plan and receive feedback from Richmonders on the direction, vision, and draft strategies that will lead to a carbon neutral, resilient, and equitable city. 

  • In April, we partnered with the Science Museum of Virginia and ART180 to create an Earth Day event - eARTh Day - for the Boys and Girls Club Northside. The event focused on integrating art and science to help engage youth in climate action. During the event, the youth worked on planting in raised beds on the Club’s grounds, learned about composting, decorated pots to plant herbs that they could take home, and took air samples to help identify air quality around the Club. Once they completed these activities, they filled out the RVAgreen 2050 April Engagement Survey with things that they wanted to see in their neighborhoods to help with climate action and resilience. Ideas that the youth submitted include “picking up trash on the street,” “green roofs are a good solution to cooling the air and the community,” and “electric cars.” Thanks to everyone who helped out with and participated in this event!
  • In tandem with the roll-out of our draft vision, objectives, and strategies, we held RVAgreen Gabs each week in April to get the word out about the RVAgreen 2050 plan. Each panel was moderated by members of our working groups representing both technical experts and community representatives. Richmonders were invited to join to hear presentations about our different pathways, ask questions, and complete the RVAgreen 2050 April Engagement Survey. You can watch these “gabs” on our YouTube channel!

We are so appreciative of all of the different ways that Richmonders engaged with RVAgreen 2050 in April. During the month of April, we also asked Richmonders to provide feedback directly on our draft strategies, objectives, and goals towards creating a more climate-ready, resilient, and equitable Richmond. In total, we heard from almost 500 Richmonders about their priorities, ideas, and questions for RVAgreen 2050. After reviewing each piece of feedback, we saw that Richmonders care, in particular, about clean energy coming from both renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency and expanding access to trees and green space as a way to reduce risks and impacts to the community and natural environment from extreme heat and drought. You can find a complete summary of our April engagement activities and results on our website.

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