URGENT – Stop the Rush to Frack NC

Fracking-chemicals-Graphic

North Carolina’s legislators are going back on their word. The fracking moratorium could be lifted as soon as tomorrow afternoon.
We need you to call and email your representative and tell him/her to keep the promise the House made in 2012 to have a vote on whether or not fracking is right for North Carolina and not act before the rules are finalized.
 
You can email his/her office with this link – http://goo.gl/5KGU2D
Two years ago, North Carolina’s lawmakers said that they would only consider lifting our fracking moratorium if rules were put in place to regulate this dangerous drilling practice. Now, these lawmakers are going back on their word and trying to lift the moratorium before any rules have even been created to protect public safety.
Thank you,
Zachary Keith
Lead Organizer
P.S.
Please tell your state legislators: fracking threatens our health, our communities, and the environment:  http://goo.gl/5KGU2D

Fracking is a controversial method of drilling for natural gas (learn more here). The bill recommended by the Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy does nothing to directly address some of the top threats fracking would bring to our state, such as:

  • Compulsory pooling: This is when a fracking company can force an unwilling landowner to let the natural gas underneath their property be extracted against their will (if enough of their neighbors sign leases). The bill only asks for further study of this practice, but it instead should ban it.
  • Wastewater disposal: Fracking for natural gas creates huge volumes of polluted wastewater. State law already prohibits deep well injection of wastewater, but our state lacks standards for surface discharge of fracking wastewater (the other alternative), and the bill does nothing to address that looming problem.
  • Toxic air emissions: In other states, toxic air emissions from fracking operations have sickened families, destroyed property values, and appear to have caused higher birth defects among newborns nearby. The bill does nothing to address this toxic threat.1
  • Long-term well and property contamination: Contamination of neighbors’ wells and land can show up years after fracking operations have begun – sometimes even after a driller has closed up shop and left. Nothing in the proposed bill provides a solution for people whose health or properties are destroyed by long-term contamination.

Please tell your state Representative that fracking is the wrong choice for North Carolina: http://goo.gl/5KGU2D

Tonight, May 19, Pat McCrory and the Koch Brothers

This evening, May 19, Brave New Films is taking to the hill to host a press event and premiere of scenes from the film Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition with Senator Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Following the event they will be making the entire documentary available online here.

Koch and McCrory

Thanks to your amazing support we’ll be offering a full version of the new documentary on our website for no cost at all TONIGHT at 8PM EST/5PM PST.

But before you tune in to discover the latest truths about the Koch Brothers, head to bravenewfilms.org/koch2014 to watch a live stream of the event with Sen. Reid, Leader Pelosi, and myself TODAY at 6PM EST/3PM PST.

After watching, we want you to do the most important thing you can do to help us, share this documentary with a friend. We don’t have the billions that the Koch have to spend, but what we do have is each and every one of you! And, by passing forward this important film you’re helping drive awareness to an important issue and helping us to reach new audiences only the way film can.

Thank you so much, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Robert Greenwald
Brave New Films

Check it out!

Take Action: Keep dirty fuels in the ground

Dear Friends,

Tell President Obama to protect our climate and keep dirty fuels in the ground.Take action!Take action!

There’s no way around it. The race to curb climate change is race we cannot lose. Even with President Obama’s efforts to cut carbon pollution, there is more to do. If we’re going to keep climate disruption at bay, we need to keep dirty fuels in the ground.

We can raise fuel economy standards. We can transition from dirty power plants to clean, renewable energy sources. But we need a strong commitment to stop allowing dirty energy companies to mine, drill and frack our public lands and seas to even stand a chance at beating climate change. Will you tell President Obama to keep dirty fuels in the ground?

Send your letter today. Tell President Obama allowing mining, drilling and fracking on our public lands takes us farther from the goal — protecting our communities from climate disruption.

What’s at stake? The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas just north of Alaska are home to the entire U.S population of polar bears, but the oil and gas industry wants to explore and drill here at the expense of our environment, local communities, and a dwindling polar bear population. Frackers have their eyes on the Delaware River Basin — an area that provides drinking water to millions of people on the East Coast. Coal companies want to mine the Powder River Basin in the west for pennies an acre and ship dirty coal to other countries. The oil industry only sees oil shale and tar sands in the Green River Formation — an area covering three states that includes Canyonlands National Park, provides limitless recreational opportunities to people, and is home to eagles, owls, elk, mule deer, bear and pronghorn antelope.1

President Obama must take administrative steps to ensure that dirty fuels remain in the ground. He should embrace clean energy and climate action rather than further our dependence on dirty energy. Join other activists who have sent their message to President Obama. Together, we can flood his office with 40,000 letters by the end of the week.

Thanks for all that you do to protect the environment.

Dan Chu
Director, Our Wild America Campaign
Sierra Club

P.S. Six letters are even better than one! Please share this with five of your friends and family today!

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[1] “Dirty Fuels Clean Futures Report” Sierra Club. April

To Live Dangerously or Not to Live Dangerously? It’s Our Choice

To Live Dangerously or Not to Live Dangerously? It’s Our Choice

National Climate AssessmentWhat’s next? What can I do? Those are questions you might be pondering if you tuned into Years of Living Dangerously on Showtime this weekend, or if you’ve been watching online clips from the “Preacher’s Daughter” story that was featured on Sunday night. In the episode, actor Ian Somerhalder follows Anna Jane Joyner, a young woman trying to persuade her evangelical pastor father that climate disruption is real, while she is also a full-time climate activist and one of the real-life heroes working with me and thousands more to move beyond coal.

I watched the episode with my family, and the next evening we sat around the dining room table talking about how to translate the urgency of the climate crisis to evangelicals skeptical of science. My mother-in-law is a retired minister and my husband is a scientist, so it was a great discussion, and I imagine Anna Jane’s story sparked many conversations just like it at kitchen tables around the country.

For everyone out there who has been having those conversations, let me bring you up to speed on what’s happened since the episode was filmed, and how you can help me, Ian, Anna Jane, and thousands more move America beyond coal. Around the nation, we keep on winning. Just last week, we announced coal plant retirement #165, when we won our campaign to retire the Reid Gardner plant in Nevada. Even better, the utility announced it will replace much of the power from the plant with a massive solar project.

In Asheville, the campaign featured in the Years episode, Duke Energy has announced for the first time that they’re considering retiring the Asheville coal plant. The announcement comes in the wake of a horrific spill of toxic coal ash from a retired power plant that devastated over 70 miles of the Dan River flowing through North Carolina and Virginia. The public outcry that followed has sent shockwaves all the way to the governor’s mansion. I helped lead a protest outside Duke headquarters a few weeks ago, and last week activists rallied at Duke’s annual shareholder meeting, calling for the retirement of the Asheville plant and the cleanup of not only the Dan River spill, but all of Duke’s coal ash sites in the state.

Meanwhile, Ian Somerhalder and his Ian Somerhalder Foundation have rallied people around the world through their #coalsucks social media campaign. The intentionally edgy and provocative hashtag is opening the eyes of millions to the threat of coal pollution and the urgency of moving to clean energy.

All this momentum comes just as more climate alarm bells are ringing. Today, a national committee of experts in agriculture, climate science, commerce, and disaster relief released the National Climate Assessment. The report is the nation’s foremost comprehensive, peer-reviewed analysis of the impacts of climate disruption, showing us the effects of climate disruption across the country.

The headline – the U.S. is already being seriously affected by climate change. As you might guess, the assessment shows the significant toll on our health and wallets that extreme weather is already exacting across the U.S. Here are just a few findings from the report that stood out to me:

  • The most recent decade was the nation’s and the world’s hottest on record, and 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental United States.
  • U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since 1895, and most of this increase has occurred since 1970. Temperatures are projected to rise another 2°F to 4°F in most areas of the United States over the next few decades.
  • Evidence indicates that the human influence on climate has already roughly doubled the probability of extreme heat events such as the record-breaking summer heat experienced in 2011 in Texas and Oklahoma. The incidence of record-breaking high temperatures is projected to rise.
  • The stakes are high, as nearly five million Americans and hundreds of billions of dollars of property are located in areas that are less than four feet above the local high-tide level.
  • Climate change affects human health in many ways. For example, increasingly frequent and intense heat events lead to more heat-related illnesses and deaths and, over time, worsen drought and wildfire risks, and intensify air pollution.
  • Certain groups of people are more vulnerable to the range of climate change related health impacts, including the elderly, children, the poor, and the sick.

More than 240 authors from across the country with diverse expertise helped create the National Climate Assessment, and this is especially disturbing – the findings are considered conservative estimates of the effects of climate disruption.

The report is also very clear about this – the effects will only grow worse if we fail to curb carbon pollution, the main culprit behind climate disruption. The assessment lets us know that it’s not too late to act, but we must do it now if we want to stop the worst of the expected climate disruption. You can weigh in right now and support EPA’s efforts to tackle our biggest source of climate pollution – coal-fired power plants. Just click here to take action.

We can choose to stop living dangerously by moving beyond coal, doubling down on clean energy, and holding our leaders accountable. We need your help. Join us.

– Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign Director

Act Today – The Senate could approve Keystone XL tomorrow

Keystone XL Urgent Senate Vote: Take action!

Tell your senators:

“The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is all risk and no reward for America. With climate change already harming our communities and pocketbooks across America now is the time for clean energy, not expansion of dirty energy such as tar sands. I urge you to stand against Keystone XL.”

Add your voice:

Take Action!

Dear Friends,

The Senate may vote as early as tomorrow to force the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and reports suggest it could come down to a few votes.

We can’t let a group of senators in the pocket of Big Oil approve this pipeline. Send a message to your senators right now to tell them to say NO to KXL!

Approving Keystone XL would open the floodgates of climate-killing tar sands crude flowing through the U.S. It would ensure more disastrous oil spills, threaten sources of drinking water for millions, disrupt wildlife, and increase rates of cancer and other health problems in Canada and in refinery communities here in the United States.

Keystone XL is all risk and no reward.

If you have any doubt who these pro-pipeline senators are working for, consider this: the senators who are supporting this bill have received $21 million in contributions from Big Oil. On average, each cosponsor of the bill has received roughly $375,000 from the oil industry.1

Take a moment to remind your senators that our climate, our land, our water and our health are not for sale to Big Oil. Urge them to reject this attempt to hijack the review process and approve Keystone XL!

Together, we’ve kept Keystone XL from being built for five years — keeping more than 200 million metric tons of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere to date. We’ve come too far to have Big Oil write a fat check and buy the approval of this dirty tar sands pipeline from the U.S. Senate.

It’s important that your senators hear from you right now. Take a minute right now to stop the approval of Keystone XL.

Thanks for all you do for the environment,

Michael Marx
Sierra Club Beyond Oil Campaign Director

P.S. Amplify your voice by forwarding a copy of this message to five of your friends and family and let them know how they can help stop Keystone XL. Or spread the word on social media with the share buttons below:

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[1] Oil Change International, Oil money behind Keystone XL Senate bill breaks 20 million dollars, May 1, 2014

Report: “Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures” – Keeping Dirty Fuels in the Ground

Please check out this important message from Michael Brune and a new Sierra Club report Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures.

Clean vs Dirty

Coming Clean: The blog of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

April, 15, 2014

We all make choices, and some turn out better than others do. But the choices we end up regretting the most are usually the ones we make against our better judgment. Both individually and collectively, we humans seem uniquely capable of acting as our own worst enemy.

We also are capable of wonderful, positive, and inspiring actions. That makes it all the worse when the consequences of a single bad decision overshadow our best intentions. And that, I’m afraid, is what the Obama administration risks by recklessly expanding fossil fuel production on public lands.

The Climate Action Plan that President Obama announced last year is full of good ideas, and his administration has already done more to address carbon pollution than any other has. New fuel-economy standards will double the efficiency of our cars and trucks. The energy efficiency of our appliances and buildings will dramatically improve. Stimulus spending has helped boost clean, renewable energy, and the president has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to set standards to curb both toxic emissions and carbon pollution from coal plants.

Unfortunately, a hard look at the numbers shows that all this progress could be undermined by one bad choice — expanding fossil fuel production. Using publicly available data already gathered by federal agencies, the Sierra Club has calculated the potential carbon dioxide emissions from dirty-fuel development proposals in a new report, Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures. Such calculations send a clear message: To protect our climate, we must keep these dirty fuels in the ground.

Extracting and burning these coal, oil, gas, oil shale, and tar sands resources would release hundreds of billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere and negate carbon-reducing actions. If we develop just one of these “climate disrupters” — the Arctic Ocean, for example — we’ll release two-and-a-half times more pollution than we are saving through stronger fuel-economy standards.

Of course, that carbon pollution would be in addition to the already high toll from destructive mining, drilling, and fracking: polluted drinking water, destroyed wildlife habitat, and air that is dangerous to breathe. No matter where it happens, dirty fuel development leaves a trail of destruction. Throughout Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures, you’ll find profiles of activist heroes around the country who are working to stop that destruction.

The world’s best climate scientists have made it clear: To have even a two-thirds chance of keeping global temperature rise to less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, we cannot exceed more than 469 billion additional tons of carbon dioxide pollution, yet burning existing worldwide reserves oil, gas, and coal would release 2.8 trillion tons of new carbon dioxide. That’s why the Obama administration (and future leaders) will need to complement policies that reduce fossil-fuel consumption (and promote clean energy) with similar measures that limit dirty fuel extraction on U.S. public lands. It would be a mistake to see that as self-denial. In fact, committing to a future powered by clean, renewable energy will mean a healthier America with cleaner air and water, pristine coasts, and protected natural areas. As fossil fuels leave the picture, ours will be a wealthier, more just, and more productive nation.

For all these reasons, we urge that President Obama reject these dirty fossil-fuel projects and choose instead to maintain our national momentum toward a 100 percent clean energy future. The data in Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures leaves no excuse for saying we didn’t know better.

Download the report, click below

Dirty Fuels Clean Futuresdirty-fuels-clean-futures-report-2014

This Earth Day, go solar and save!

NC First in Solar Barn

This Earth Day, celebrate solar!

Join Solarize Charlotte!

Join Solarize Charlotte and get a free solar analysis for your home. 

44 years ago, millions of people across the US stood up to corporate polluters and apathetic leaders by organizing their communities to protect the environment — the first-ever Earth Day.

Today Earth Day continues to remind us that the solutions to environmental problems aren’t always in the hands of lawmakers. Environmental solutions can be in our cities, our neighborhoods, and our own homes.

That’s why we are so excited to tell you about Solarize Charlotte — a new grassroots program that will bring clean, renewable solar energy to homes in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, and Gaston Counties.

Right now Solarize Charlotte is offering a free solar analysis to residents in the Charlotte area interested in installing solar panels on their homes.

Sign up for a free solar analysis with Solarize Charlotte now to learn how to power your home with the sun! Celebrate this Earth Day by bringing solar energy to your home.

Switching to solar power is a big, bold move. And Solarize Charlotte was started by a coalition of over 20 organizations — including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club — to make it as simple and affordable as possible.

The program connects homeowners with a lower-cost local North Carolina solar installer — simplifying the financing and installation process. It also uses group discounts and tax incentives to make rooftop solar even more affordable for anyone who wants to reduce their electricity bill and carbon footprint at the same time.

Solarize programs have already boosted solar energy usage and cut electricity bills in other North Carolina cities, including Durham, Asheville, and Carrboro. Now it’s time for Charlotte to shine.

Take a step towards a clean energy future in your own home by signing up for Solarize Charlotte today and receive a free solar analysis!

Earth Day reminds us that we still have plenty to do to protect our planet — including switching from dirty energy to clean, renewable energy sources.

And Solarize Charlotte is a big step in the right direction. Solar is good for everyone. So let’s get going and solarize!

Happy Earth Day,

Monica Embrey, Greenpeace Charlotte Field Organizer

Bill Gupton, Sierra Club Field Organizer

David Robinson, Group Chair, Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group

PS. Aren’t able to join Solarize right now, but still want to help Charlotte go solar? Spread the word by liking Solarize Charlotte on Facebook and forwarding this email to family and friends!

NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – April 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

Celebration logo.JPG

As Earth Day approaches, we encourage you to celebrate North Carolina’s natural treasures by visiting one our state’s protected wilderness areas.  You don’t hear about it every day, but North Carolina has no less than twelve wilderness areas protecting 111,419 acres,  as well as five wilderness study areas that conserve an additional 25,816 acres.

It took many years and the hard work of countless volunteers to secure wilderness designation for these efforts.  Thanks to their efforts, in 2014, we can now celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the North Carolina WIlderness Act of 1984!

Please enjoy this edition of Footnotes that focuses on wilderness.  We hope it does justice to the history and provides inspiration for you to get outdoors and explore, enjoy, and protect these wild places! As John Muir once said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

And there’s more than just wilderness covered below, so read on for information about coal ash events, a television series focusing on climate change, outings galore, and more!

Cheers,

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

 

Celebrate Wilderness In NC!

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act of 1984, the Wilderness Committee invites you to participate in the upcoming special Anniversary Year Wilderness events.

  • Save the DateJune 12, 5:30 – 8:00 pm – NC Wilderness Act 30th Anniversary Celebration – Raleigh, NC – Tickets available soon via OurWildNC.org.
  • Explore Our Wild NC Challenge – Participants who visit all 12 wilderness areas and 5 wilderness study areas in the state will receive a checklist of all of the areas and a ‘Wilderness Explorer’ patch as they begin the challenge. Click here for details.
  • Featured Wilderness Outing: Hawksbill and Table Rock Day Hike in the Linville Gorge Wilderness – Saturday, May 3 –  With pristine views of  Linville Gorge, Table Rock, Shortoff Mt. and Lake James, this is a hike worth joining.  Only a few spots are left.  Sign up today!

 

Volunteers Connecting Kids to Wilderness

In an age when children seem tethered to electronic devices and screens, the Chapter’s Wilderness Committee is hoping to put something young people’s hands, a bandana.  The committee received a grant to produce up to 600 bandannas to distribute to children across the state.  If you are wondering how a bandanna can help connect children to wilderness, well, then you likely haven’t seen the design yet.

Wilderness bandana project small.jpg

 

Designed by Avery Locklear, a volunteer from the Foothills group, and Jody Cedzidlo of Pittsboro, the bandanna’s creators hope to educate children about how our state’s wilderness came to be protected and encourage then to explore nature.

Volunteers worked together last Sunday to screen print the first round of bandannas that will be given away at the Celebration of the MIlitary Child Outdoors near Camp Onslow Beach on April 26.  Special thanks to Nancy Card, Kelly Mieszkalski, Pat Carstensen, Chris Bard, Miriam Chicurel-Bayard and Dustin Chicurel-Bayard for screen-printing the first run of this limited edition product.

Click here for more pictures of the mess made and the fun had during the screen-printing session.

 

Linville Gorge Wilderness

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act, each month we will highlight a wilderness area or a piece of history about how these areas became protected.  This month, we celebrate the Linville Gorge Wilderness.

Linville Gorge was first recognized as a “wild area” in 1951 by the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.  John D. Rockefeller funded its early protection, then the area was officially designated as wilderness by the US Wilderness Act of 1964. The NC Wilderness Act of 1984 added 3,400 acres, bringing the total to 11,786 acres today. The gorge, which is often called the “Grand Canyon of North Carolina” is located in Burke County, about 14 miles northwest of Morganton, NC. It was named in honor of the early explorer, William Linville, who along with his son, John, was scalped by Cherokee Indians in 1766; but many of the area’s attributes are named from Cherokee legends too.

The wilderness boasts more than 20 hiking trails, 2,800 acres of roadless area, and, because the steep terrain prohibited clearcutting, acres of virgin forests can be still be enjoyed. Elevations range from 1,300 feet at the river to 4,120 atop Gingercake Mountain. Other outstanding features include Wiseman’s View, Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain.

Linville Gorge Wilderness is a favorite area for backpackers and rock climbers.  Fishermen come hoping to hook brown, brook or rainbow trout from the Linville River rushing along the toe of the gorge.  The area is also popular to wildlife including black bear, timber rattlers and peregrine falcons.

Linville_Gorge-27527-3.jpg

 

And in case you missed it, Linville Gorge Wilderness is the host of this month’s featured wilderness outing on May 3!  Click here to claim one of the few remaining spots!

If you want to plan your own trip to Linville Gorge, here’s a link to the forest service page on the wilderness area.  You can also click here for a map that will help you explore the Gorge!

 

Coal Ash & You

We wish we could take all of April to celebrating wilderness areas, but our other important work continues!.  Surely you haven’t forgotten that nearly 40,000 tons of toxic coal ash burst into the Dan River this February.  The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal team is making sure that Duke stockholders haven’t forgotten either.

There are two events coming up where you can participate and show your desire to have the Dan River, and all of the toxic coal ash pits in our state cleaned up!  The events are listed below, but these aren’t the only chances you will have to speak up on the matter.  When the legislature reconvenes next month, your legislators need to hear from you.

Email our lead organizer, Zak Keith, at zachary.keith@sierraclub.org if you want to be a part of the Volunteer Lobby Corp that will work to push our legislators to act on cleaning up these toxic coal pits all across our state.

Then, join us to hold Duke Energy accountable!

 

April 30 – 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Candlelight Vigil to Remember the Impacts of Coal Ash – Charlotte, NC

Clergy from across the state to come to Charlotte on the eve of the Duke Energy shareholder meeting in a Light the Path Forward gathering, a candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash. Click here to RSVP on Facebook!

Location: New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St., Charlotte, NC (map)

May 19:00 a.m. – Rally at Duke Energy Shareholders Meeting – Charlotte, NC

As shareholders of the country’s largest utility gather in Charlotte, concerned citizens with rally outside, demonstrating the public’s desire to move away from dirty energy and to embrace existing clean energy solutions.

Location: Old Duke Energy Headquarters, 526 S. Church St., Charlotte, NC (map)

Living Dangerously

Highland Viewing party.jpg

Hundreds gather at Highland Brewery in Asheville for the premiere of the Years of Living Dangerously.

On Sunday, April 13, the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign rolled out the green carpet and welcomed around 300 activists, artists, local elected officials, business owners and clergy to watch the first episode of Years of Living Dangerously, Showtime’s new documentary on climate change.

Several local elected officials also made an appearance, including State Representative Joe Sam Queen, City Council Member Gwen Wisler, and County Commissioner Brownie Newman who recently championed a resolution setting carbon reduction goals for Buncombe County.

Event hosts took the opportunity to highlight the connection between carbon emissions and climate change, and the rapidly growing campaign to retire the Asheville coal plant. Attendants signed petitions, signed up to come to the Duke Energy shareholders’ meeting, and joined the online conversation by tweeting at Duke Energy and posting on Facebook.

The Asheville Beyond Coal campaign will be featured as part of the “Preacher’s Daughter” episode that will be airing in early May.  Click here to watch WLOS’s news coverage of the event!

 

Upcoming Events

April 17 – 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – U.S. Forest Service Discussion on Wilderness and Special Designated Areas – Asheville, NC

The public can give input on their favorite forest views, as well as how the U.S. Forest Service manages wilderness, specially designated areas and scenic views at this meeting. This public session is the latest in the three-phase, multi-year process of revising the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Management Plan.

The plan is expected to be completed by 2016, and will guide management of Nantahala and Pisgah forests on how to manage for timber, wildlife, water, recreation and other uses, for the next 15 years.

Nantahala and Pisgah are two of four national forests in North Carolina, covering more than 1 million acres of the Western North Carolina mountains. Pisgah and Nantahala are among the most visited national forests in the nation, with more than 6 million visitors a year.

The April 17 meeting will focus on:

  • Identification and inventory of areas that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.
  • The process for identifying special designated areas.
  • The Scenery Management System.

The six wilderness areas and five wilderness study areas being discussed make up about 9 percent of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests.  Those include the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock, Southern Nantahala and Ellicott Rock wildernesses in Nantahala National Forest, and Shining Rock, Middle Prong and Linville Gorge in Pisgah National Forest.

For more information on the plan, or to comment, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision

To participate in the wilderness and/or designated areas discussion, RSVP to NCPlanRevision@fs.fed.us by Thursday.

Location: Crowne Plaza Resort, 1 Resort Drive, Asheville, NC (map)

 

April 25 –  2nd Annual Sustainability Summit: The Planet, People, Economy, & Community – Wilson, NC

This event is presented by Wilson Community College, Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, NC Sierra Club Medoc Chapter, and the Wilson Sustainable Community Council.

With a comprehensive agenda, and less than 100 tickets remaining, this year’s summit is surely going to be a hot event!  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the 2nd Annual Sustainability Summit. Click here to get your ticket today!

 

May 3-4 – Sierra Club Outings Leader Training – Sesquicentennial State Park, Columbia, SC

If you want to be a new Sierra Club Outings Leader, or if you want to renew or expand your current training, this training is for you!!!

Training will cover:

  • OLT101 – Basic outdoor leadership training and a requirement for all Sierra Club Outings Leaders that must be renewed every 4 years.
  • OLT201  – Advanced outdoor leadership training,  recommended for all leaders and required for any Outings Leader who wants to lead Level 2 outings (outings that are overnight and away from cars).
  • Watercraft Safety – Recommended for anyone who wants to lead canoe/kayak outings.
  • CPR/First Aid – Basic first aid is required for all Sierra Club Outings leaders and must be renewed every 4 years.

Open to all current Sierra Club members. Click here to sign up!

For more information, contact: Kelly Mieszkalski, North Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, (919) 624-2225 or kellymieszkalski@yahoo.com

 

Upcoming Outings

April 19- Grandfather Mountain Photography Workshop – Grandfather Mountain

Join the Sierra Club Foothills Group’s own award-winning 19-year old nature photographer, Avery Locklear, for a free outdoor photography workshop along the scenic Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park.  Ms. Locklear, who also serves as Vice Chair for the Foothills Group, will be sharing her expertise for capturing the mountainous landscapes and the rare flowers of springtime at Grandfather Mountain. Be sure to check out Avery’s nature and wildlife photography on her website: http://www.averylocklearphotography.com

This photo hike and workshop is open to photographers of all ages and is family-friendly. Bring a camera of any kind, a tripod if you have one, water, and lunch. Because the weather at Grandfather Mountain can vary a great deal, dress in layers and be sure to include a  wind-resistant outer layer. Advance registration is required; the event will be limited to 15 participants. To register, please contact Vance Parker by April 15, 2014 at vance@vparkerlaw.com or at (336) 768-0481 before 10:00 p.m.

 

April 19 – Devil’s Courthouse to Flat Laurel Creek Trail – Asheville area

This 6 mile hike offers some beautiful vistas in addition to the panoramic view from Devil’s Courthouse. Hiker’s will learn about the ravens which congregate on the rock outcrops along the trail, and learn to identify them. The Mountains to Sea section is rather rugged, with intermittent tree roots and 10″ steps/rocks. Makes good footwear essential, and may be hiking poles as well.

The group will do a loop from Black Balsam parking area to MST going to Devil’s Courthouse, then return via Little Sam Knob trail, which connects to the Flat Laurel Creek trail. From Devil’s Courthouse, there is view of mountains across two state lines if visibility is good. Meet in Asheville at 10:00 am and return around 5:30 p.m.

This hike is for experienced hikers only. RSVP to hike leader Lisa McWherter at lisamcw2@gmail.com or 828-713-4994.

 

April 19 – Discovering “The Poor Man’s Tarpon:” Shad Fishing on the Neuse River – Raleigh area

Learn about our native shad species, their habits and habitat, and enjoy an afternoon of shad fishing on the banks of the Neuse River. Called “the poor man’s tarpon” for their breaching, leaping, and tail-walking acrobatic performances, Shad fish are spawned in inland rivers and tributary creeks, migrate to the ocean to mature, and then return up river to spawn in their native streams. Our NC shad are sporty and historically important, a natural wonder right here at home, and a conservation success story.

Please note, this outing will be held on the Neuse River anywhere from Milburnie dam to Goldsboro, depending on where the latest fishing report indicates the shad are. Location will be announced before the outing. Most likely location Milburnie Dam.

Group size is limited to 6 people and participants need to have valid fishing license, rod and reel, and other items.  Click here to RSVP or for more information: http://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Capital-Group/

 

April 26- Discover Mountain Biking Adventure in the Great Smokey Mountains – Bryson City area

Join the Sierra Club and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), the Southeas’’s premiere outdoor adventure outfitter, for a big day of mountain biking in the Smoky Mountains.This full day instructional activity is a great introduction to the sport of mountain biking.  Get correctly fitted on your mountain bike and outfitted with the proper gear.  Then head up to the Flint Ridge trail system to learn the basic skills needed to enjoy the sport of mountain biking.  You will learn the basics in proper riding position, cornering, braking, shifting and riding skills.  After lunch you will head to Tsali National Recreation Area, the “Southeast’s mountain biking mecca”, to test out your newly acquired skills by riding one of 4 different loops.  This course emphasizes the sport of mountain biking, and enjoying the scenery and camaraderie of riding.  Please see:  http://www.noc.com/noccom/adventures/biking/mountain-biking/

The cost for this program, which includes one of NOC’s sturdy Specialized mountain bikes adjusted to the rider, a helmet, instruction, and a full day of riding is $119 per person.  The charge for participants with their own mountain bike is $79/person.  Camping will be available at Turkey Creek Campground near Tsali National Recreation Area on Friday night April 25th and Saturday night April 26th for $10/person plus $4/vehicle.  Guests may remain in the area Sunday for more mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, or zip lining conducted on their own.

This outing will be limited to 15 people with registration closing on April 12th, 2014.  Please register in advance of this date with Vance Parker, at e-mail vance@vparkerlaw.com or by telephone before 10:00 p.m. at 336-768-0481.

 

April 26- Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie National Forest – Montgomery County

Join Sierrans to test your beginner backpacking skills in the little known Uwharrie National Forest, less than 2 hours from the Triangle. Then group will cover about 12 miles over 2 days using the Uwharrie Trail and Dutchman’s Creek Trail..

Those who can will meet in Raleigh at 8:00 am for caravanning to the Wood Run Trailhead, where the group will set out on foot down the Uwharrie Trail. Participants will backpack approximately 6 miles on Saturday and set up camp along Big Island Creek. Sunday morning the will pack up and continue back to the trailhead on the Dutchman’s Creek Trail, about 6 miles.

 Group size for this trip is limited to 5 tents/15 people due to space restrictions of campsite. Please contact trip leaders at rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.

 

May 3 – Hawksbill and Table Rock Day Hike in the Linville Gorge Wilderness – Morganton area

This is the featured wilderness outing mentioned in the section above.  Please click here for more information or to RSVP.

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Clergy, Lay Leaders, and People of Faith – A Call to “Light the Path Forward”

Light the path forward:

Candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash

Two Candles

Wednesday, April 30th, the eve of the Duke Energy annual shareholder meeting
7:30 to 8:30 PM
New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St, Charlotte, NC
Map

Facebook: Light the Path Forward

RSVP

Faith traditions around the world have a rich heritage of preserving and protecting the environment and speaking out on environmental justice issues (see below). That’s why we need clergy, lay leaders, and people of faith to join us and send Duke Energy, their Board of Directors, and major shareholders a message calling for a new path forward. This is an opportunity to speak out and show our solidarity on three key issues:

Climate Disruption – The recent IPCC report “Climate Change 2014 Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” and the NBC news “Our Year of Extremes: Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?” illustrate how communities are suffering the impact of climate disruption. Changing the business practices of Duke Energy, the largest investor owned utility in the world, will send a strong message that we have a moral obligation to act on climate change.

Coal Ash Clean Up – Clergy and lay leaders have a responsibility as stewards of our environment to speak out to preserve and protect our air, water, lands and the health of our communities. Duke Energy must take immediate action to stop their coal ash pollution, remove the coal ash from our drinking water supplies, store the dry coal ash in properly designed and monitored lined containments that do not place extra burdens on low income and communities of color.

Cost of Coal Ash Clean Up – Duke CEO Lynn Good has gone on record as saying that rate payers will be charged for coal ash clean up in North Carolina. Duke Energy has profited for years from avoiding dealing with safe, long term storage of coal ash. We need the faith community to speak out about the potential impact on seniors, those on fixed income, the un/underemployed, and businesses and schools in our communities.

Make plans to join us and to help announce this gathering. Please RSVP to Bill Gupton or for questions and more information.

Faith, the Environment, and Environmental Justice

Catholic Church

“The vocation of being a “protector,” however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live”

~ Pope Francis, [ Homily of Pope Francis, 19 March 2013.]

Islam

Allah, in His Wisdom, appointed humans, the creatures that He has conferred with the faculty of reason and with free will, to be His vice regents on earth. And while Allah has invited people to partake of the fruits of the earth for their rightful nourishment and enjoyment, He has also directed them not to waste that which Allah has provided for him—for He loveth not wasters.

~ Hyder Ihsan Mahasneh, biologist and Islamic scholar, [Faiths and Ecology: Islamic Faith Statement]

Judaism

‘Therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live’ (Deuteronomy 30:20). Humankind has solemn obligation to improve the world for future generations. Minimizing climate change requires us to learn how to live within the ecological limits of the earth so that we will not compromise the ecological or economic security of those who come after us.”,

~ Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, [Confronting the Challenge of Climate Change, 06/1998]

Buddhism

The scientific consensus is overwhelming: human activity is triggering environmental breakdown on a planetary scale… Collectively, we are violating the first precept—“do not harm living beings”—on the largest possible scale. And we cannot foresee the biological consequences for human life when so many species that invisibly contribute to our own well-being vanish from the planet…

~ The Dalai Lama, [The Time to Act is Now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change]

Unitarian Universalist Association

“As Unitarian Universalists, we are called by our seventh Principle to affirm and promote “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

~ 2006 Statement of Conscience, [Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change, 2006]

Other Christian Traditions

Southern Baptist Conference

[A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change]

Evangelical Christianity

[Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action]

Episcopal Church

[Unnumbered Resolution: The Episcopal Church commits to Climate Justice for all God’s People and all God’s Creation, July 2012]

National Association of Evangelicals

[Loving the Least of These: Addressing a Changing Environment (pdf), 2011]

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

[Carbon Neutral Resolution, 2008]

Christian Reformed Church

[Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony in 2008]

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

[Environment Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice, 08/28/1993]

United Church of Christ

[A Resolution on Climate Change,2007]

United Methodist Church

[ Issues: Climate Justice]

Source: FCNL: http://fcnl.org/issues/energy/faith_statements_climate/

 

 

Solarize Charlotte Kick-Off Meeting – April 15, 6:30 PM

Solarize Charlotte Single

Solarize Charlotte Kick-Off Meeting

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Area 15
514 E 15th St, Charlotte, NC
(map)

We have exciting news about renewable energy! This spring and summer we will be building broad and diverse support for rooftop solar by “Solarizing” Charlotte.

Please join us to learn more about the program and how to get involved in outreach. This is an evening you don’t want to miss!

“Solarize” is a Department of Energy-endorsed program that is designed to increase access to distributed solar by removing historic barriers to solar–including cost and hassle. This time-limited opportunity uses grassroots networks, bulk purchasing discounts, and tax incentives to provide home owners in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union and Cabarrus Counties with cleaner and cheaper energy options.

We believe that solar is for everyone and we want Solarize Charlotte to be a strong and diverse effort. A critical component of the program is an intentional outreach and education drive to get the word out about Solarize.

Together we can bring Solar to Charlotte.