Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan

Heidi Pruess, Mecklenburg Community Plan and Sustainability officer, lead a very informative review and discussion at our September monthly meeting. Below is a description about the plan as well as copies of the draft Strategy Matrix and the draft Actions and Successes. If you would like to provide feedback on the plan or schedule a listening session for your neighborhood organization, house of worship, or other group, please contact Heidi.


Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan

The Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan is a joint initiative between Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, surrounding towns, the Foundation For The Carolinas and our community partners to develop a unified vision that incorporates community-wide goals centered on how we live, work and play today and in the future. This collaborative effort provides an opportunity to review existing plans and identify commonalities that encourage and support a vibrant and healthy quality of life in our community.

The Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan is offering to come to your organization for a “listening session” this month to ask such questions as, “Are we on the right track? Will the priority strategies and actions we developed help us reach our vision?”

For more information on the Mecklenburg Liveable Communities Plan, click here.

If your neighborhood organization, house of worship, or other group is interested in scheduling a listening session, please contact Heidi Pruess, Community Plan and Sustainability officer, at

Click below to download and review the draft Strategy Matrix and the draft Actions and Successes.

Meck Livabality Plan Draft StrategiesMecklenburg Livable Communities Draft Strategies


Meck Livabality Plan Draft Actions and SuccessMecklenburg Livable Communities Draft Actions and Successes


5 Crucial Lessons From Naomi Klein’s New Book

“I think we need to be very clear about this – the only way you can win against forces with a huge amount to lose is to build a movement of people, many more people, with a huge amount to gain.”

~ Naomi Klein

Can’t wait to read this. Folks are raving about it. Below are take outs but the full article is well worth the read (see link below). Here’s a taste…

Naomi Klein

5 Crucial Lessons for the Left From Naomi Klein’s New Book

You can’t fight climate change without fighting capitalism, argues Klein in This Changes Everything.
August 21, 2014
Jessica Corbett and Ethan Corey

Klein argues that carbon trading programs create perverse incentives, allowing manufacturers to produce more harmful greenhouse gases, just to be paid to reduce them.

In her previous books The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and NO LOGO: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs (2000), Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein took on topics like neoliberal “shock therapy,” consumerism, globalization and “disaster capitalism,” extensively documenting the forces behind the dramatic rise in economic inequality and environmental degradation over the past 50 years. But in her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (due in stores September 16), Klein casts her gaze toward the future, arguing that the dangers of climate change demand radical action now to ward off catastrophe. She certainly isn’t alone in pointing out the urgency of the threat, but what sets Klein apart is her argument that it is capitalism—not carbon—that is at the root of climate change, inexorably driving us toward an environmental Armageddon in the pursuit of profit. This Changes Everything is well worth a read (or two) in full, but we’ve distilled some of its key points here.

1. Band-Aid solutions don’t work.
“Only mass social movements can save us now. Because we know where the current system, left unchecked, is headed.”

2. We need to fix ourselves, not fix the world.
“The earth is not our prisoner, our patient, our machine, or, indeed, our monster. It is our entire world. And the solution to global warming is not to fix the world, it is to fix ourselves.”

3. We can’t rely on “well-intentioned” corporate funding.
“A great many progressives have opted out of the climate change debate in part because they thought that the Big Green groups, flush with philanthropic dollars, had this issue covered. That, it turns out, was a grave mistake.”

4. We need divestment, and reinvestment.
“The main power of divestment is not that it financially harms Shell and Chevron in the short term but that it erodes the social license of fossil fuel companies and builds pressure on politicians to introduce across-the-board emission reductions.”

5. Confronting climate change is an opportunity to address other social, economic and political issues.
“When climate change deniers claim that global warming is a plot to redistribute wealth, it’s not (only) because they are paranoid. It’s also because they are paying attention.”

Read the full article at

Symphony of Science – Our Biggest Challenge

Check out this great short video!

We can do this!

We can change the world, this one global ecosystem!

Symphony of Science – Our Biggest Challenge is a musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change and our opportunities to use science to offset it. Featuring Bill Nye (the Science Guy), David Attenborough, Richard Alley and Isaac Asimov. It’s packed with information about climate change and inspiring calls to action. “Our Biggest Challenge” is the 16th episode of the Symphony of Science series by melodysheep.

So what can I do about this?

1. Send in comments to the EPA to end the era of unlimited carbon pollution. We’ve known for decades that carbon wrecks our health and our climate, and power plants are one of our nation’s top sources. Their pollution fuels climate disruption — it makes wildfires burn hotter and droughts last longer. Unlimited carbon pollution means more smog, more asthma attacks, and more climate disruption. And there’s literally no limit to how much carbon polluters are allowed to dump into our air. Join the 3.2 million voices that have already asked the EPA to protect our communities from carbon pollution.

2. Share the link to this post with your friends and neighbors. Post the link to your Facebook page. Get five people to join you in this action.

3. Attend a local event about the Climate Crisis and become active in the Movement.



Make Polluters Pay for Their Toxic Waste!

Take Action: Polluters Must Pay for Superfund Sites Take Action: Polluters Must Pay for Superfund SitesCongress enacted the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program in 1980, following the discovery of toxic waste seeping into homes and harming health in Love Canal, New York. Even though the Superfund program has been responsible for the cleanup of hundreds of toxic waste sites, more than a thousand sites continue to threaten health and water.

When the polluter pays fees stopped in 1995, the Trust Fund quickly dried up — leaving taxpayers to pay the full cost of cleaning up abandoned Superfund sites.

Take Action
Contact your senators today and tell them to support the Superfund Polluter Pays Restoration Act of 2014 (S 2679) to make polluters pay for their toxic waste!

Take Action: No More Coal Ash Disasters Take Action: No More Coal Ash Disasters

Coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal for electricity, is one of the largest waste streams in the country, with nearly 140 million tons produced each year. This toxic waste, which contains dangerous chemicals like arsenic, mercury, chromium, selenium, lead, and boron, is stored in more than 400 landfills and over 1,000 wet impoundments across the country. Yet currently no federal safeguards exist to protect communities and waterways from coal ash pollution.

Take Action
Tell your state legislators to support the EPA on finalizing strong coal ash safeguards by the end of this year.

The Dan River coal ash spill. Photo by Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins.

Sign Up: Our Wild America Sign Up: Our Wild America

Sign up for our monthly Our Wild America newsletter to get the inside scoop about the Sierra Club’s work to explore, enjoy, and protect America’s wild legacy.

Stay up-to-date on the challenges facing our public lands and wildlife (especially in the face of climate disruption), follow what the Sierra Club is doing to connect people with nature, and learn what actions you can take to help protect our great outdoors.

Sign up today.

Grassroots Activism: Keep the People's Climate March Momentum Going! Grassroots Activism: Keep the People’s Climate March Momentum Going!

It’s been a week since more than 400,000 people marched in NYC for climate action (and in many other cities across the U.S. and world), but you can still take action!

Take Action
Tell the Environmental Protection Agency you support the Clean Power Plan.

“We Don’t Want Your Pipeline” By Robin and Linda Williams

Opposition to the Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline is growing…

“We Don’t Want Your Pipeline” By Robin and Linda Williams
Protest Song about proposed Dominion Gas Pipeline coming through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
Robin and Linda Williams (copyright 2014)
Video from Richard Adams

From Robin and Linda’s newsletter of Oct 5:

We’re involved in some local opposition to a proposed natural gas pipeline that wants to come through our county and run on down to North Carolina. There are some local issues involved: property rights, Eminent Domain, fragile karst geology and water contamination, and the fact that they want to come through the George Washington National Forest. But, after studying the arguments pro and con, and realizing that each side likes to use scare tactics and smoke screens, we’ve come to believe that the central issue is Climate Change and that it’s a real and immediate problem. Everyone has their own opinion on this issue and ours is that Dominion Power is wrong in wanting to spend five and a half billion dollars on carbon based energy when that money, with the future in mind, could be used more wisely on renewable alternatives. So we’re acting locally in opposing this pipeline. And we’ll try and not “screed” you on any more of our missives.

Robin and Linda, thanks for speaking out and singing out on this issue!

Duke Dominion Pipeline Map

October 3, 2014 3:00 pm

Augusta County musicians Robin and Linda Williams have penned a new protest song aimed at the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The Williams are among the local property owners vocally opposed to the proposal to build a 550-mile natural gas line to North Carolina by way of Virginia.

This week, five Nelson County residents filed suit contesting Dominion Resource’s authority to conduct land surveys on their property for the project.

Dominion  lead company behind the pipeline proposal said it’s been following the law and will continue to do so.

The Williams’ video, “We Don’t Want Your Pipeline,” was promoted online by local grassroots groups springing up to fight the pipeline, including the Friends of Nelson and Free Nelson.

At one point, the clip references 2008’s fiery rupture of a Williams gas company pipeline in Appomattox County. That explosion injured five people and destroyed two homes.

“The sinkholes, explosions and gas line leaks, you hear it on the news almost every week,” Robin Williams sings while strumming a guitar. “Dominion says, don’t worry. But it ain’t wise to be flirting with disaster with their pipeline.”

Dominion, on its project website, said gas pipelines nationwide have a strong safety record.

“Pipelines are the safest way to transport energy,” it wrote in a FAQ link. “Dominion is dedicated to building, monitoring and maintaining the ACP safely.”

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal is still under development and will require regulatory approval. Dominion hopes to start prefiling an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later this year.



So Much Happening! 4QT Mecklenburg Environmental/Social Justice Events

Here are some of our Sierra Club and community events that are related to environmental and social justice issues. I hope to see you at many of these!

Be the Change

People’s Climate March

See, listen and learn about the March and what you can do to grow the movement!

Memories and Images of the Peoples Climate March


The New Climate Movement Has Begun – Be a Part of the Change!

“The alarm bells keep ringing, our citizens keep marching. We must answer the call”

 Oct 6 – MSNBC “All In: Coal Country” with NC Coal Ash and Duke Energy

Monday, October 6th at 8:00 PM, Chris Hayes on MSNBC will be doing an hour-long investigative special on the coal industry

Oct 6 – MSNBC “All In: Coal Country” with NC Coal Ash and Duke Energy

 Oct 7 – 2nd of 3 NC Senate Debates with Kay Hagan vs. Thom Tillis, ‘Round 2’

Host a house party to watch and discuss. Or, Drinking Liberally Charlotte is hosting a viewing party at Kennedy’s Premium Bar & Grill – 366 N. Caswell ( Folks will be upstairs starting at 6:30pm and stick around afterwards as long as you’d like to discuss how the candidates performed. The Debate starts at 7pm and lasts just 1 hour. This one is hosted by George Stephanopoulos!

 Oct 9 – Charlotte Bike Talk!

Charlotte Bike Talk! – Oct 9

 Oct 10 – Voter Registration Deadline

More information at

Oct 10 – Carolina Thread “Fall Into the Thread”

One Week To Fall Into The Thread on October 10th!

 Oct 14 Webinar: Advocating with Compassion & NC General Assembly 101

Oct 14 Webinar: Advocating with Compassion & NC General Assembly 101

 Oct 16 – Charlotte Moral Movies – Disruption

Oct 16 More Moral Movies – Watch and Discuss “Disruption”

 Oct 18 – Rocky Face Mountain Outing

Oct 18 Outing: Exploring Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area

Oct 20 – Citizens’ United and Corporate Personhood

Oct 20 Program: Citizens’ United and Corporate Personhood

Oct 22 – Sierra Club monthly meeting

Oct 22 Sierra Club Monthly Meeting – Members Trip Highlights

Oct 22 – “Coal Ash In Our Water: An Unfinished Business” Town Hall Meeting

Oct 23 – Early Voting Begins

More information at

Oct 26 – Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Sierra Club: Relive the Legacy of the Appalachian Trail

Oct 26 – Relive the Legacy of the Appalachian Trail

Oct 27 – Charlotte City Council vote on the future of area water quality (PCCO)

For more information on this issue see:

Public Hearing Comments on the Proposed Weakened Stormwater Ordinance

Come Tell Charlotte City Council to Protect Our Streams, Lakes, and Rivers

81% of Total Mecklenburg Watershed Considered Unfit – Support Strong Stormwater Regulations!

Charlotte Stormwater Pollution – Harming Our Lakes, Streams and Rivers

Sept 22: Charlotte Public Hearing – The Future of Area Water Quality

Will Developers Take Control of Our Water Quality?

Will Charlotte Continue to Weaken Storm Water Controls?

Nov 1 – Early Voting Ends

More information at

Nov 1 – Catawba Wildflower Glen Service Outing

More information at:

Nov 4 – General Election Day

More information at

Nov 21 – NC Climate Justice Summit

More information at NC Climate Justice Summit, Nov 21-23

NC Climate Justice Summit, Nov 21-23

NC Cliamte Justice Summit

NC Climate Justice Summit

November 21 – 23, 2014
Beginning at 4:00 PM on Friday
Haw River State Park
On Hwy 64 where Haw River crosses over highway
Pittsboro, NC

Want to take the People’s Climate March passion to the next level? Sign up today to be a part of the change!

Register here:

What is the NC Climate Justice Summit?

The NC Climate Justice Summit (NCCJS) is the first statewide gathering of youth and adult community leaders focused on connecting the dots between social justice issues and climate change.

But NCCJS is not a conference.  It is an opportunity to bring our heads, hands and hearts to the biggest challenge of our times. It is a gathering that harnesses the strength of our diversity. We are all thought leaders with a crucial contribution to make toward answering these questions: How do we manifest climate justice in North Carolina?  How can we make all of our communities more resilient?

We will explore how climate change impacts our food, water, energy, housing, transportation, health and economy in NC. Together, we will name the problems and identify emerging solutions.  Together, we will build new community connections and skills that will support us to do the work of building the world we want to live in.

It is time to Re-imagine. Resist. Reform. Re-Create.  It is time for the NC Climate Justice Summit!

Register here:

The Summit’s at the Summit:

The NCCJS will take place at the Haw River State Park in Browns Summit, NC. The Haw River State Park is a beautiful environmental education conference center about 20 minutes north of Greensboro. The Park will provide all of our meals, lodging and meeting facilities during the NCCJS.  Lodging includes hotel-style accommodations for adults and cabins for youth; there is no camping.

NCCJS Agenda Highlights:

· Racial Equity Basecamp (8am-5pm, 11/21): addressing the legacy of racism within the environmental movement

· Re-imagining: generate our collective vision of climate justice in NC

· Intergenerational breakout groups: identify core problems, emerging solutions and possible actions

· Campaign Fair: organizations share their work and recruit new volunteers

· Outer Resilience Workshops: develop concrete skills in the 7 Summit issue areas (such as an energy workshop on low budget weatherizing or a food workshop on drought resistant gardening)

· Inner Resilience Workshops: hone cultural skills that support us to collaborate over the long haul (such as mindfulness practices, working in diverse groups and creative self-care)

· Open Space Session: participants lead their own workshops or discussions

· Cultural extravaganza: poetry slam, film showings and dance party!

· Regional breakout groups: learn about how to create Resilience Hubs to build on the learning from the Summit when we return home

Event Organizers

The NCCJS Leadership Team is a grassroots group of 13 teenage youth leaders and 8 adults from across NC.

For more information see: