1943 – 2012
The Green Party of Virginia joins environmentalist activists across the Commonwealth in mourning the passing of Northern Virginia Green Party chairperson Paul Hughes, who died this past weekend from a heart attack. “Paul was a “gentle warrior” who had a clear understanding of how the American promise of a democratic Republic was being thwarted by a small ruling elite,” said David Cobb, former 2004 Green Party Presidential candidate and current MoveToAmend.org organizer. ”He will be sorely missed.”
A long time resident of Fairfax County and retired government consultant, Hughes chaired the Northern Virginia local of the Green Party of Virginia. He also owned several environmentally friendly businesses that specialized in salvaging construction materials from demolition sites (Deconstruction Services) and selling them from his Springfield warehouse (Rebuild Warehouse). His business legacy includes the hiring and training of ex-prison convicts and former drug addicts and channeling them into productive careers.
As an activist, Hughes was well regarded as a Sierra Club volunteer and an early supporter of the work of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy POCLAD). He was one of the first organizers for the Move ToAmend.org coalition in Virginia. Throughout his life, Hughes worked tirelessly for Virginians and all Americans, and served as a mentor and inspiration to many.
The Green Party of Virginia wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to the Hughes family for the loss of this great Virginian.
Green Party of Virginia
Paul along with Arlington Greens Don Rouse and John Reeder just recently appeared in an hour long interview on Reston public tv program, Reston Impact, that was hosted by Reston activist John Lovass who along with Paul started an environmental group Sustainable Reston that worked to preserve Reston’s water, trees and natural environment. the direct link to the show is http://vimeo.com/49038385#
Paul mentored other Arlington Greens including Miriam Gennari in understanding how better technology, recycling, and energy conservation can improve our world and local community.
Rest in peace, our friend Paul.
Deconstruction services still available
We would like to announce that our sister for-profit business, DeConstruction Services, LLC is open and fully operational. If you are planning on renovating or know of someone who is, please call Daryl at 703-280-1719 for more information. Although you pay for this service, the items donated are considered a tax deduction and often times the donation greatly will help to offset the cost of the deconstruction project. ReBuild receives most of its donated items in this fashion. Please pass the word to keep this environmentally sustainable method of disassembly of homes viable.
Death of Paul Hughes, original member of Sustainable Reston and founder of the Fairfax Coalition for Smarter Growth
posted Sep 19, 2012, 5:57 PM by Diane B
September 19, 2012
It is with great sadness that we at Sustainable Reston share with you the news of the sudden and unexpected death of Paul Hughes, one of the original members of Sustainable Reston. In addition to helping to found Sustainable Reston, Paul was the founder of the Fairfax Coalition for Smarter Growth, parent of Sustainable Reston.
Paul was a tireless champion of sustainability in all areas of our lives. He promoted renewable energy, green jobs, recycling and reuse of building materials, and sustainability education through workshops at ReBuild Warehouse, which he founded to keep used but reusable building materials out of our landfills and trash incinerators. These were just a few of Paul’s passionate activities in our region. Now that we face the impacts of climate change in our daily lives, external economic disruptions to our local economy, and the impacts of resource depletion, we will have to forge ahead with our mission without Paul’s leadership and vision. He will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege of knowing and working with him.
Paul’s death leaves a hole that cannot be filled, but it leads us to redouble our efforts to find solutions to the problems we face. We hope you will join us as we carry on Paul’s life mission of creating a sustainable world.
President, Fairfax Coalition for Smarter Growth
policy were his principal areas of study as an undergraduate.
Once he graduated, he focused his life on the environment, and making the planet a better place to live. For a while, he had his own environmental consulting business and he worked for a company seeking to convert homes and business to CNG, compressed natural gas, and away from oil. But, he soon discovered that work in the corporate world was not only limiting, but all too often conflicted with
his goal of environmental improvement rather than continued deterioration.
He dedicated himself to businesses and non-profits to further that goal. He was active in organizations such as the Sierra Club at the forefront of the
environmental movement. Paul also branched into political action for the same
reason. He dived into Green Party activism, where he found a far deeper commitment to the environment than he’d experienced with the Democratic Party. Paul became the Green Party leader in Northern Virginia and recently played a major role in the successful effort to get Green Party candidate Jill Stein on Virginia’s 2012 presidential ballot.
His first green business enterprise, DeConstruction Services, LLC, was a for-profit demolition and salvage firm designed to keep building supplies out of landfills. About 40 percent of U.S. municipal landfills are loaded with such building materials according to the Environmental Protection Agency. DeConstruction did
well and Paul used it to hire and train people from the difficult to employ category—e.g., people who’d served time in jail or in drug rehab and could few
opportunities to put their lives back together.
The materials from older houses — such as granite surfaces, windows, electrical fixtures, appliances of all kinds — that his crews removed were well received by nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity, but there was far more coming out than these modest users could absorb. Paul then created the non-profit ReBuild Warehouse, a place to which homeowners could contribute their gently-used materials from their de-constructed homes and get a tax deduction, and could go to buy used, sometimes vintage, materials for construction along with the general public.
Perhaps the most satisfying impact of DeConstruction and ReBuild is that the proceeds from ReBuild go to train hard-to-place workers in the hopefully growing field of “green collar” jobs as Paul liked to call them.
One of the more recent accomplishments of this amazing man was closer to home in Reston. Paul worked with creative Reston folks like Diane Blust, Hank Blakely and Diane Lewis merge to the Sustainable Reston Committee of the Reston Citizens Association with the Fairfax Coalition for Smarter Growth. Thanks in part, to the resources from the coalition, Sustainable Reston is already having an impact through educational programs and the community garden at Cedar Ridge, in cooperation with other Reston community organizations.
Paul’s family asks that anyone wishing to remember Paul’s work make a contribution to ReBuild Warehouse. Donations can be made online at rebuildwarehouse.org