Happy Mothers’ Day – Why Moms Love Solar

Thanks to Hanna Mitchell and Greenpeace for this great message. And special thanks for these Charlotte area Solar Moms – Deanna Hamm, Cynthia Redwine, Kathy Sparrow, and Desiree Zytkow – who talk about the water and air pollution from coal, the benefits of solar and their concerns for their children’s health and future. Please enjoy and share!

5 Reasons Why Moms Love Solar

By Hanna Mitchell

This Mothers’ Day, moms are taking a stand for solar. Check out this video that shines a light on the stories of solar moms. Moms not only support the use of solar energy to meet home energy needs, but women are increasingly driving the decision to go solar. One household at a time, moms are leading the way to a cleaner, safer and more affordable energy future. Here are some of the reasons why moms are proudly putting panels on their roofs.

1.) Installing solar brings down monthly energy bills: As the industry expands, the cost of solar is coming down fast, and promises to keep dropping. Nationwide, the average cost of solar panels has declined 60% since 2011. Moms appreciate the power of solar to reduce energy bills and these days, as much as 80% of women control household budgets. Solar is a smart financial investment because an installation can return two to four times its cost in saved energy bills, while also increasing the resale value of a home.

2.) Solar means clean air and water: Solar energy does not produce pollution or waste and contributes to healthier communities. Going solar also reduces the demand on the grid which diminishes the need for dirty energy plants. As caregivers, moms appreciate that solar does not create pollution that causes health issues such as asthma and cancer.

3.) Solar mitigates climate change: By switching to solar, the average household can save tons of greenhouse gas emissions and help diminish extreme weather patterns such as hurricanes, droughts, and severe cold fronts. Putting solar on your roof contributes to creating a healthier climate for future generations.

4.) Solar supports the local economy: Solar installations require skilled labor that cannot be outsourced. As of November 2013, the U.S. solar industry employed 142,698 people and grew 19.9% from 2012. Going solar supports jobs for thousands of American families.

5.) Solar demonstrates energy leadership: One of the major questions for the next generation is how we will supply our energy needs. Going solar is a bold decision to become part of the solution to a more just and sustainable energy future.

But don’t just take my word for it! Check out this inspiring video about moms in North Carolina that are standing up for solar.

Charlotte Energy Strategy Presentation – May 15

The Charlotte Economic Development & Global Competitiveness Committee will meet May 15 at 12:00 PM in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center (600 E. Fourth Street, Charlotte NC). They will be meeting to determine the appropriate role for the City in supporting and accelerating the economic growth of energy-related companies and suppliers in Charlotte. Plan to attend and show your support for the need for clean, renewable energy and programs like Solarize Charlotte!

Char Eco Dev Comm Mtg April 15 2014

Speak out in support of the 2015 Park and Rec budget

Below is a message from County Manager Dena Diorio. Make plans to attend at least one of the meetings and speak out about increased funding for nature preserves, greenways, and other Mecklenburg Park and Recreation programs.

Click on the link to learn more about the Mecklenburg County Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

Taking the FY2015 Budget ‘On the Road’

In anticipation of presenting my recommended budget to the Board on May 29, over the next few weeks I will be making informational presentations to six different civic groups throughout the County.

During these “roadshow” presentations, I will be talking about how the overall budget process works and then taking questions from the audience. I believe these interactive, face-to-face meetings will help increase public engagement and interest in County government as we head into FY2015.

My first presentation will be at Charlotte Senior Centers, Inc. at 2225 Tyvola Rd. on Wednesday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more dates and locations, please see the calendar reminders below.


Congratulations to our newly trained Outings Leaders!

Over 30 individuals from NC and SC gathered in Sesquicentennial State Park outside Columbia, SC for a weekend of training, camping, and good times. The training included Sierra Club OLT101 (Basic Outdoor Leadership Training), Sierra Club OLT201 (Advanced Outdoor Leadership Training), Watercraft (Canoe/Kayak) Safety, and CPR/First Aid training. 

Special thanks to Art Seel, South Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, Kelly Mieszkalski, North Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, for the great job in organizing and leading the training programs. Thanks also to the numerous trainers and volunteers that provided great instruction, some fine food, and a beautiful experience.

Congratulations to these Central Piedmont members that completed their Outings Leader Training!

Linda Alley – OLT201
Dori Bowman – OLT101 and OLT201
Bill Gupton – OLT201
Hollis Parks – OLT201
David Robinson – OLT201
David Underwood – OLT201

For more information about Sierra Club Outings and becoming an Outings Leader see http://charlottesierraclub.org/outings/

OL 101_201 May 2014

Vote Today – Every Vote is Critical

There are several key races where the primary will decide the election. If you have already voted that’s great. If not, please vote today! AND, remind your friends and neighbors how important this is.

The Mecklenburg commissioners at-large, District 2 and the N.C. Supreme Court races are two especially important races.

Below are links to the Charlotte Observer endorsements for the May 6th primary.

Vote Counts


Environmental Leadership Workshop -Taking Passion and Activism to the Next Level

Make plans to join us this coming Saturday! The workshop is free but please RSVP to register.

Enviro Leadership Workshop May 10 2014

Please join us for for a workshop to find out how you can do more in your community and become a leader! For most people activism consists of lobbying officials from ‘outside’ the decision making process, but you can help change the future by getting involved in decision making on the inside. At this event you’ll hear from environmental-minded local leaders, learn how to make positive changes in your local community, and explore how to go from concerned citizen to service on a board or commission.

Event Details

When: 9:30am – 11:30am, May 10, 2014

Where: Central Piedmont Community College, Elizabeth Classroom Building, Auditorium Room #ECB 1106

Cost: FREE, light breakfast and refreshments will be provided from 9:30am-10:00am.

For more information or to register: leadership@ncconservationnetwork.org

*Pre-registration is required for this event.



Duke Shareholder events – a big success!

Sierra Club and our allies delivered an impactful message to Duke to remove its toxic coal ash from unlined pits beside our waterways and retire coal plants. We put our Waterkeeper and faith allies out front, and with an ad buy, lobbying of Duke execs before and after the shareholder meeting, press work, social media, and asking questions during their big meeting, we established ourselves undeniable force to be reckoned with and are in an stronger place for getting solutions on coal ash and coal retirements because of this work.

Members of the Central Piedmont, Foothills, WNC, Cape Fear, and Capital groups participated (and maybe others?) and helped make this event a success! Thank you! Big thanks to Bill Gupton for his leadership role.

A few highlights:

• We launched new ad on coal ash with a huge cable TV buy, coupled with a second ad running in Asheville calling for the plant retirement

• Digital strategies deployed a Thunderclap where our message on #DukeCoalAsh was on the social media feeds of 300 people, reaching 300,000K+

• Rev. Steve Runholt delivered the publicly delivered a letter to the CEO signed by 70 clergy in WNC calling for the retirement of the AVL coal plant due to the moral obligation to act on climate change

• We personally invited the executive leadership to a classy screening of the Years of Living Dangerously episode in charlotte next week with small, sharp paper invites and thereby letting them know that Beyond Coal will be featured on national TV next week with their Asheville, NC plant front and center. (We sent earlier mail invites, and after the meeting they were all looked at, one corporate communication staffer viewed the invite 49 times yesterday!)

• A team of educated, prepared staff and allies that had 10 minute conversations with Duke executives about the Asheville plant, the Allen coal plant, energy efficiency in Florida, and renewable energy. we got a great deal of intel this way that we will take back to our legal team and demonstrated our knowledge, rigor, and understanding of the leverage points.

• The Riverkeepers politely took the CEO to task with pointed questions about coal ash. Donna Lisenby, the coal director for Waterkeeper alliance got a handshake agreement from the CEO to take input on the coal ash cleanup plan– the wall street journal reported on it, so did tons of other outlets and it was a memorable moment.

• In response to my question during the formal Q&A, CEO Lynn Good said from the stage that they are considering the closure of the Asheville plant.

• Nathan Cummings, CAL PIRS, and the SEIU all spoke on proposals to withhold support for board members on the regulatory oversight committee and to require the disclosure of political spending. together they own 3.9 million shares.

• We secured dozens of media hits, here are two favorites: New Ads Hit the Airwaves and Letter from WNC pastors urges Duke to stop coal pollution

Our allies organized a demonstration outside of the meeting, including a 10 foot octopus that illustrated the way that Duke Energy has its tentacles in the utilities commission, the legislature, and politics.
The weather forecast for tornadoes and thunderstorms forced us to cancel the candlelight vigil planned for the night before– a big disappointment, especially for the organizing team that had put countless hours into planning the event.

I’m inspired and grateful for the awesome NC Beyond coal team that pulled this all together and by all of the Sierra Clubbers that participated! You rock.

Kelly Martin
Senior Campaign Representative
Beyond Coal Campaign, Sierra Club


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(Photo: Davis Turner)

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Photos above: Sierra Club and partner groups put pressure on Duke Energy to clean up its toxic coal ash; a new Sierra Club ad for TV asking Duke Energy to move beyond coal.

As Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good prepares for her first shareholder meeting, the Sierra Club and partner groups in North Carolina launched a multi-city ad buy to keep the pressure on the company to clean up its toxic coal ash legacy. The ads, featuring video footage of the Dan River coal ash spill, aired in Charlotte and in Asheville before, during and following the shareholder meeting on May 1. The campaign to retire Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant will be featured in this week’s episode of SHOWTIME’s Years of Living Dangerously documentary series on climate change, drawing national attention to the utility. In addition, during Thursday’s meeting, two pastors delivered a letter signed by seventy-two clergy in Western North Carolina calling on Duke Energy to move beyond coal.