by Jessica Glendinning, Verdant Spring Design | Charlottesville Earth Week
High up on the list of things that piss me off are big corporations who spend obscene amounts of money trying to make it look like they actually care about the environment, when behind the scenes they are doing the exact opposite. It’s called greenwashing, and Dominion is King.
You see, Virginia is a state (Commonwealth, if we’re being correct) powered by coal. Yes, our energy portfolio also boasts a small amount of nuclear and natural gas, but the “Old Dominion” runs on coal. We’re known for both mountaintop removal coal mining and uranium mining, yet Dominion plasters their marketing with visions of wind turbines. In fact, they even go so far as to have an entire division of the corporation called “Dominion Green.”
Dominion Green came as an exhibitor to the Eco Fair in Charlottesville a couple of months ago, and had a booth that happened to be just across the aisle from the awesome folks at CCAN - the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. In an arena filled with environmentalists and sustainable businesses, the poor representative from Dominion didn’t stand a chance. During the entire event, he was approached by attendees and consistently either 1. couldn’t answer their questions or 2. got a stern tongue lashing for being the greenwashers they are. In truth, I actually felt kind of bad for the guy - one dude does not make a corporation, and I surely wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. More recently, I’ve seen him with his little table set up on the downtown pedestrian mall, tiny white wind turbine set up on the table. And, every single time I see him, he has someone at his table, calling him on his BS.
So Dominion, if you’re listening: Virginia wants to know… where’s the wind?
You plaster your marketing with pictures of wind turbines. You speak of renewable energy portfolios. You greenwash until we can’t take it anymore, and yet here we are. Yes, there is one hydroelectric power plant located in Virginia - in fact, my dad worked there doing QA work on generator rewinds many years ago. And yes, you hold leases off the coast of Virginia that could be used for offshore wind.
So. What’s the holdup? Where’s the wind? Where are our sources of renewable energy? Maybe instead of spending millions trying to fool your ratepayers into thinking you actually care, you could spend that money on, oh, I don’t know: actually caring?
Until that day, I hope you keep coming to Charlottesville. Because we’re going to keep calling you on your crap - you can count on it.