November Club Events

We’ve got two new events on our November calendar.

1.  November Monthly Meeting – National Parks

Wednesday night, Nov. 18th at 7PM in the Mahlon Adams Pavilion in Freedom Park. (We are meeting a week early in November due to Thanksgiving.) As a follow-up to the Ken Burns PBS presentation on our National Parks, our November meeting will give members a chance to share their personal stories about their visits to national parks. Members will screen digital photos and talk about their favorite hikes and experiences.

We still have time to add a few presenters. If you’d like to show your digital photos from national parks at the meeting, all you need to do is put your photos on a flash drive for a 5-10 minute “show and tell.” Please contact Steve Copulsky in advance if you have photos to show at 704-543-7493 or scopulsky@mindspring.com.

2.  Sign-Up for a Local Sierra Club Hike

Sunday, November 22 – Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill.

Start: 9:00 AM. End: About 12 Noon.

This moderate hike is a nice 6 mile loop through the woods of this 2,300 acre nature preserve in nearby Fort Mill. We’ll cross 3 swinging bridges and see two 19th century log cabins, including one that belonged to Billy Graham’s grandfather. The land is fairly level, but it’s a trail through the woods, not a flat paved greenway such as those in Mecklenburg County. Hiking boots are recommended. If you’d like to sign up, contact Steve Copulsky at 704-543-7493 or scopulsky@mindspring.com.

 

Don’t Forget to Vote November 3!

Foxxbanner_logoTuesday’s election is critical to the future of Charlotte!  The race for Mayor is a dead heat and may be decided by a handful of votes.  We need your vote.  Please vote and please forward this e-mail to your friends.  Polls are open from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM.

Here are the Sierra Club endorsements:

Mayor – Anthony Foxx (D)

Anthony Foxx offers the leadership that Charlotte needs for progressive sustainable growth in the 21st Century.  A strong environmental supporter in his two terms on City Council, Anthony supports cleaner air through the reduction of carbon emissions, green building policies, energy efficiency and

protection of our tree canopy.  He understands the need for a strong mass transit system, recognizes the importance of connectivity in land use policies and will work to attract clean energy jobs to our city.

City Council At-Large (Vote for these 4 candidates for the 4 At-Large positions.)

  • Susan Burgess (D) – Our current Mayor Pro Tem, Susan is a Sierra Club member and life-long environmentalist.
  • Patrick Cannon (D) — A steady environmental supporter in his 12 years on City Council.
  • David Howard (D) — The former Chair of the Planning Commission recognizes the importance of environmental planning on a regional basis.
  • Edwin Peacock (R) — Has shown strong leadership on City Council in his role as Chair of the Environmental Committee.

We need your vote on Tuesday!

Watershed Sculpture Presentation with Daniel McCormick

for blogSaturday November 7  •  Freedom Park, then McColl Center for Visual Art.

Daniel McCormick, an artist in residence at McColl Center, has a grant for a unique and exciting environmental project, Watershed Sculpture, on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway (part of Carolina Thread Trail) near the Nature Museum in Freedom Park. danielmccormick.blogspot.com

Watershed Sculpturean Ecological Installation. Sculpted forms are constructed from local riparian material and shaped to conform to the contours of eroded stream banks and gullies. Willow (and other) components take root and reinforce the recovery action.

Daniel will do a presentation at his Freedom Park worksite followed by an optional visit to his studio at McColl Center (721 N Tryon St. 704 332-553), an opportunity to learn about other projects.

Come when you can—for any part(s) of the day:

9-10 am: Volunteer to help Daniel with the project on Greenway Trail.

10-10:40 am: Presentation at Freedom Park worksite.

11:30-12 n: Presentation at Daniel’s studio at McColl Center.

 

* For anyone interested:

• Ride Lynx Light Rail from East-West Blvd Station to last stop uptown near McColl Center   • Have lunch at Reid’s at Lynx stop or somewhere else uptown.

 

• For more information, call Mary Lou Buck 704 525-2293

Anthony Foxx Issue Statement: Environment and Sustainability

Foxxbanner_logoWhile the growth of Charlotte has been positive in many ways it has put new pressure on our local natural resources – our land, our water, and our air – that together influence our quality of life, as well as our economy. In light of this, smarter growth has become an imperative. Going forward, we need a mayor who will consider the long-term social, environmental and economic impacts of how we grow. As past chair of the Charlotte City Council Environment Committee, Foxx has demonstrated his leadership on sustainability issues as well as his understanding that a strong economy and vibrant future depend on a healthy environment.

The Record: Foxx has a strong record of working effectively to create a more environmentally sustainable and healthy Charlotte.

  • Works for innovative solutions to environmental challenges in Charlotte: Foxx championed the addition of a city environmental manager position that would have paid for itself in energy savings for the city and led to better water quality, among other benefits.
  • Pushes for smart growth: Foxx was the lone city council member who called for the new NASCAR Hall of Fame to be a certified green building. He stood up to development that threatened to overcrowd our schools, overwhelm our roads or negatively impact our natural resources.
  • Works to create jobs in crucial emerging industries: Foxx has pushed for city-led environmental improvements that grow demand for green jobs in Charlotte.
  • Advocates for science-based solutions to Charlotte air, water, and land challenges: Foxx led the charge to join other cities by setting targets for reducing city greenhouse gas emissions and our impact on climate change. He has demonstrated leadership in stream mitigation to keep pollution from new developments out of our streams and drinking water supply. He also championed the protection of our city’s shrinking tree canopy.
  • Champions low-pollution forms of transportation: Foxx led the development of a comprehensive bicycle plan that called for bike lanes, access to greenways and several other items that would make Charlotte a bike-friendly city. Foxx is a strong supporter of public transit.

The Vision: Through Foxx’s leadership, Charlotte will join other cities across our region and our nation by implementing the principles of sustainable cities and addressing our environmental challenges with innovative and collaborative solutions:

  • Improving our air quality: Safe, clean air is critical to our health and quality of life. Yet an increase in pollution resulting from an explosion in cars, buildings and use of fossil fuels for electricity generation has fouled our air to the point where we exceed the federal limit for ozone and have higher-than-average respiratory problems. Foxx will meet this challenge by increasing transportation options and transitioning our dependence on fossil fuels to clean energy sources.
  • Ensuring an adequate and safe drinking water supply: Our larger population means more people are relying upon our finite water supply. While we cannot increase this resource, we can take steps to make it go further by harnessing new technologies that help us use it more efficiently, and making needed investments to improve our aging water infrastructure. Foxx will also do more to ensure that we do not contaminate our creeks, rivers and lakes with chemical runoff from our roads, lawns and factories.
  • Greening our economy by promoting green jobs: Cities that will thrive in the 21st century are cities that embrace the energy challenges we face by greening their local economies. Foxx will work to promote Charlotte as an attractive place for green companies and small businesses that offer innovative products and services to meet these challenges. He will encourage green educational opportunities at our local colleges and universities to train our young people in fields that will make them competitive in the green economy.
  • Increasing our transportation options: Our number of vehicle miles traveled per day has tripled in the past twenty years. Turning this trend around by driving less can dramatically reduce both our poor local air quality and heavy carbon footprint. Foxx will continue to champion more shared transit options throughout the Charlotte region to make them as accessible and affordable as driving.
  • Increasing energy efficiency through green building: One of the greatest opportunities for reducing our energy use is by following green building standards such as LEED. Foxx will ensure all new public buildings are built green certified and existing public buildings will be retrofitted to lower our energy use, which will translate into lower utility bills throughout the life of these buildings. He will provide incentives for private builders and homeowners to do the same.
  • Reducing “waste” going to the landfill: Rather than a waste management system we need a resource management system. Many of the things we throw away can be recycled into new products, which not only reduce our need for landfill space and our impact on our environment but also save the city money. For every ton of “waste” that is diverted from the landfill to recyclers, we avoid landfill-tipping fees and earn revenue by selling these materials to the recycling market. Like all well-designed green initiatives, Foxx will advocate for increased recycling because it is good for our environment and our economy.
  • Maintaining our tree canopy and increase green space: Due to our rapid growth and inadequate smart-growth planning, we have lost more than 25 percent of our tree cover since 1986. Trees and green space both improve the quality of our lives with their aesthetic value, and provide a number of services that save our city money in storm water retention and removal of air pollutants such as ozone. Without our trees the infrastructure we would need to build to provide these services would cost us nearly $2 billion. Every tree we lose compromises our quality of life and costs us money. Foxx will champion more greenways and city parks – essential elements of maintaining our position as an attractive and healthy place to live.
  • Reducing our carbon footprint: We have one of the largest carbon footprints of any comparable metro area in the country. Today more than 900 mayors across the country and 39 in North Carolina have pledged to reduce the carbon footprint of their city in an effort to lessen their impacts on the climate. Foxx has pushed for the city to join this effort as a council member and as mayor will ensure this vital commitment to our future is made. We will then honor this commitment in many of the same ways in which we address our air quality challenges: by increasing low-carbon transportation options, transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy and constructing greener buildings.

Premier Sneak Peak: Ken Burn’s National Parks, America’s Best Idea

You’re invited to a reception and sneak peak of the critically acclaimed Ken Burns series titled The National Parks, America’s Best Idea!

This six-part series features stunning cinematography from national parks all across the country. The Sierra Club is proud to have played a significant role in the creation of our national parks and is featured prominently in the series.

The event is offered free of charge and includes a reception with hors d’oeuvres and beverages followed by a showing of preview footage of the National Parks series. Space is limited, so please RSVP by Tuesday, September 15th to reserve your space.

Event Description: Join Sierra Club and WTVI/PBS for a reception and premier showing of the critically acclaimed Ken Burns series titled The National Parks, America’s Best Idea.

Date: Thursday, September 17th

Time: 6:00-9:00 PM

Address: The Mint Museum, 2730 Randolph Road Charlotte, NC 28207

RSVP: http://action.sierraclub.org/KenBurnsCharlotte

Stimulus package offers Charlotte a clean energy economy

From Beth Clark, Charlotte campaign manager, Sierra Club Climate Recovery Initiative:

The power is in our hands – Charlotte has an exciting and unprecedented opportunity to become a clean energy leader in the Southeast, simultaneously strengthening our economy and protecting our environment. Using the $6.7 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) strategically can be a down payment toward our clean energy future and regional leadership. This is part of the vision of the federal economic recovery package: to enable communities to come out of the current recession ready to be stronger and more competitive in the future.

Last week Charlotte received initial funding for a consultant to gather ideas from citizens on the best use of economic recovery funds. We have suggestions on how to get started.

The Sierra Club supports projects and programs that will focus on energy efficiency investments. Because the vast majority of America’s buildings do not operate anywhere near peak efficiency – Charlotte’s buildings being no exception – we envision a multi-faceted building retrofit program. Such a program will lower utility bills for residents and the commercial sector alike, improve air quality, and grow local business and jobs – jobs that can’t be outsourced.

Our first recommendation is that the city use the federal block grants to lead by example, auditing the energy performance of its own buildings, and making the recommended changes from tune-ups to equipment replacements. All project data should be published so that private commercial building owners can follow the city’s lead. Additionally, a portion of the resulting energy bill savings should be set-aside for further clean energy projects, leveraging the initial grant-funded investments.

Second, we encourage the city to direct funds for non-government building projects to create additional case studies and showcase the economic, comfort, and health benefits of retrofitted buildings. Low-income and non-profit developments would be great places to start.

Third, the block grant funds should provide seed capital to develop funding mechanisms that will facilitate clean energy investments in private buildings on a mass scale. We should explore ideas such as revolving loan funds and an “opt-in” property tax-based financing method.

Finally, it is critical to engage residents in this challenge. As citizens, we have the power not only to advocate for the wise investment of this money, but we also have enormous power resources at our fingertips, by making our homes and businesses energy efficient and by developing energy wise habits. To this end, the city could use block grant funds to implement an outreach campaign through neighborhood associations, schools, and business organizations where volunteer experts train residents to train each other on simple low cost energy saving measures that can reduce energy bills 10 to 25 percent. The Sierra Club stands ready to assist.

By investing in strategic, practical, and proven clean energy solutions, Charlotte has the opportunity to become the leading clean energy city in the Southeast. Let’s seize this opportunity

Charlotte’s Sustainable Facilities Policy

The Charlotte City Council is considering adoption of a Sustainable Facilities Policy that includes energy efficiency and other environmental guidelines for both new construction and major retrofits of city owned buildings.

On July 15th, Gina Shell, Deputy Director of City Engineering, gave a presentation to the Council Environmental Committee outlining the draft policy. The document has been posted to the City’s website at: http://www.charmeck.org/charlotte/Focus+on+Environment/Home.htm .

We support the city for leading by example to reduce building energy usage and saving taxpayers money.

June 11 Energy & Environment Town Hall Meeting in Charlotte

City Councilman Edwin Peacock III, Chair of the Environment Committee, is hosting a Town Hall meeting on June 11 from 7:00 – 8:30 PM in the main council chambers at 600 East 4th Street. The focus will be solely on Energy and the Environment.

From Councilman Peacock:

We will be giving attendees an overview of major environmental initiatives by City, County, and energy providers in our community. Because the city will soon hire a consultant to write a “community plan” (this is required in order to receive the 6.7 million we are eligible for under the Energy Effficiency & Conservation Block Grant), we need to receive public input and comments on our initiatives and specifically on the EECBG. I felt this type of forum could be helpful to our staff, consultants, and other elected officials.

This is an important opportunity for Sierrans to have their voices heard. If you can attend, please do so!