Chuck Leavell & Environment
By Sean Callebs
Chuck Leavell is perhaps most at home in front of 88 keys - letting music resonate through the old farmhouse, he calls home in the town of Dry Branch, Georgia. Leavell has played with the greats –Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and the Allman Brothers. And, for the last 30-years, he’s been the keyboard player for the Rolling Stones –through all their tours, all their albums.
Chuck Leavell, musician and environmentalist said, “Litterally a dream come true for me, absolutely. It’s so much fun. I love that music. They are such great song writers. The songs have endured the test of time as we know. ”
His heart –rests with the blues -- This song, is a tribute to his musical hero -- Ray Charles.
Chuck Leavell, musician and environmentalist said, “It changed my life when I went to a concert that he put on in tuscallosa, where I grew up. The band was so tight, powerful, and dynamic. It’s just literally that night I made up my mind that is what I want to do. ”
But seemingly for every chord change – there’s been changes in his life. Leavell is passionate about the environment. Part of the pine forest, on the sprawling plantation –is reserved for a tree farm. Leavell has a degree in forestry. Something he picked up during a correspondence course years ago – while touring with the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Chuck Leavell, musician and environmentalist said, “I would do homework in the back of the bus, or hotel rooms, or dressing rooms. And it took a couple of years to get through it, but it was really, really useful for me. ”
He’s been recognized as “National Tree Farmer of the Year” in the United States.
Leavell took his love of the environment to a new level a few years ago – creating this website --called “Mother Nature Network.”
He and a business partner felt there was no, “one-stop shopping site” for such information.
Chuck Leavell, musician and environmentalist said, “We felt like we needed the iconic site, that would give the very best educational news and information to the public concerning the environment. We are now the most visited independent website out there…over five million visits a month, which is remarkable.”
And, hits from more than 200 countries. This is where people can learn how to preserve natural resources and develop alternative forms of energy. College students can file articles. And, a topic close to Leavell’s heart – urban sprawl – that eats up two million acres a year in the U-S alone.
Chuck Leavell, musician and environmentalist said, “We can’t stop it, but we can guide and shape it and that’s what I hope we will do. ”
He could use his long and successful career to promote his interests, but …
Chuck Leavell, musician and environmentalist said, “I wanna draw the line. I’m not a fan of people that get up on the soapbox while they get up on stage to play music. I think when you are up there to play music and entertain, that is what you should be doing. ”
Reporter Sean Callebs said, “Which is your greater love, rock and roll, or the environment?”
Chuck Leavell, Musician and Environmentalist said, “Yes…Ha,ha, ha…Don’t make me choose. ”
Leavell is one of the rare talents – that’s developed perfect harmony in work, and play.
By Jessica Stone
CCTV reporter Jessica Stone takes us to the most energy efficient home in the state of Virginia. It’s not hard to guess that the Rasmussen’s Home is energy –efficient. Just look at the roof.
Reporter Jessica Stone said, “How much does this generate, this solar panel?”
Dave Rasmussen, green homeowner, said, “The maximum it can generate is 3600 watts, which is significantly more than what we can use during an average day.”
Extra energy goes back to the power company. And Dave Rasmussen keeps track of this meter.
Dave Rasmussen, green homeowner, said, “We got a couple pair of dots here. Those are moving backwards, showing that we are generating more energy than what we are using at this point.
On bright days, sunshine pours into to these solar tubes on the roof, bringing direct light inside the home which Dave’s wife Jalna loves.
Jalna Rasmussen, green homeowner, said, “And any room that doesn't have a window has a solar tube, and we even get on a moonlit night enough moon light.
Reporter Jessica Stone said, “You get moonlight too? So like the bathroom?”
Jalna Rasmussen, green homeowner, said, “In the bathroom, we hardly ever have to turn the light on. ”
Jalna admits she would change one thing: buying an electric stove.
Jalna Rasmussen, green homeowner, said, “This is now the biggest energy sucker in the house.”
So she bakes potatoes as the oven cools.
Jalna Rasmussen, green homeowner, said, “We always cook extra potatoes whenever we are using the oven.”
All the “heat” comes from a geothermal energy system designed by builder, Jeff Hall.
Jeff Hall, J. Hall Homes, said, “So basically, they're using the energy from the ground and using it to heat and cool the air.”
Dave says the extra steps to save energy cost an extra 60 thousand dollars in construction costs, but he’s already saving on his utility bill.
Dave Rasmussen, green homeowner, said, “Our monthly average is 60 a month, average for the entire year.”
Reporter Jessica Stone said, “What was it before?”
Dave Rasmussen, green homeowner, said, “Into the 200’s.”
Reporter Jessica Stone said, “Right now, residential homes cause 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but the market is growing for green homes—expected to rise as much as 38% by 2016.”
Jeff Hall, J. Hall Homes, said, “The benefits of it are huge. Indoor air quality is better, they’re more comfortable, less drafty. The utility bills are less, and then, we're doing the right thing for the environment.”
Dave Rasmussen, green homeowner, said, “I think anybody can do this, especially the easy parts of energy conservation.