* Sierra Club Socks – Made in Old Fort, NC

I got this email recently and wanted to introduce you you to a North Carolina green business that supports the Sierra Club. I actually bought several pairs of their socks a few weeks back and like them – the Trailhead and Pioneer. So if you needs some socks, click below to check them out.

My name is Amy Parker and I am part owner (with my brother Jeff) of Parker Legwear in Old Fort, NC.
We have been a hosiery manufacturer since 1946, and now we are also the exclusive licensee for Sierra Club socks!  To date, Sierra Club has realized over $60,000 from our partnership and efforts.
All the socks for the line are made right here in our Old Fort factory, and are made of recycled cotton (from t shirts) and poly (from water bottles).
We’d like you to visit our website Sierra Club Socks  and see our products.
Thank you for your help!
Best regards,
Amy Parker
Parker Legwear
Distributor for Sierra Club Socks

Sierra Club Scoks

* Last Week to Apply for Neighborhood Sustainability Planning Assistance

Here’s a great opportunity to make your neighborhood greener and more sustainable. Apply today!

Sustain Charlotte Offers Sustainable Vision Plan Assistance and
$500 Incentive to Local Neighborhoods!

Six days left to apply!
Applications Due by 5:00 pm this Sunday, December 15!

Do you want to create a long-term sustainable vision for your neighborhood? Are you finding it difficult to harness all of the great ideas that come from your neighbors? Are you looking for more great ideas?

In 2012, with funding from Wells Fargo, Sustain Charlotte partnered with the City of Charlotte’s Neighborhood & Business Services staff to assist neighborhoods in achieving a more sustainable future through Power2 Live Green. Although dozens applied, only a few could be selected.

Ideas were captured in Sustainable Vision Plans, step-by-step guides with prioritized goals and community resources to make achieving goals easier. Successes included bicycle and pedestrian improvements, community gardens, composting classes, home efficiency retrofits, crime reduction and many other improvements.

Sustain Charlotte is now accepting applications to work with five additional neighborhoods to develop Sustainable Vision Plans in 2014, and will award each selected organization up to $500 to kick-start plan implementation.

Sustain Charlotte will:

● Educate you and your neighbors on sustainability topics and related news that impact your community
● Help you identify your community’s greatest needs and develop a plan for long-term success
● Work with you to draft your own Sustainable Vision Plan
● Connect your community to resources and partners to implement your plan
● Regularly attend your neighborhood meetings to help you make progress towards your goals
● Explain how your neighborhood could be eligible to receive an additional $25,000 toward plan implementation
Click here to apply by 5:00pm this Sunday, December 15.
Want to see an example of a Sustainable Vision Plan? Click here to see Sustainable Vision Plans for 11 local neighborhoods.

And check out the great videos below of recent neighborhood sustainability successes!

Plaza Midwood Custom Bike Corral & Bicycle Maintenance Stand

* Fight Back Against Monsanto

SierraRise -- Why stand apart, when we can rise together?

Monsanto would rather hire a former senator to lobby for them than simply stop being evil.

I can't afford my own politician so I made this sign

We can be louder than their new PR firm. Help send 75,000 letters for GMO labeling today!

Take action today!

Dear Friends,

It’s easy to see why Monsanto was voted the world’s most evil corporation for 2013. [1] Two examples from just the last 30 days might almost be enough to win the title all on their own.

Last week, 20 environmental activists were brutally assaulted for protesting the biotech giant in Argentina. [2] And in the November 5 election, Monsanto broke spending records to defeat a Washington ballot initiative that would simply label genetically engineered food (GMOs). [3, 4] What are they hiding?

But we’ve been shining a light on Monsanto’s shady activities. Thanks to SierraRise supporters like you, it’s not just the Big Ag corporation’s products that are potentially toxic, but also their reputation.

Rather than fix these disastrous practices, Monsanto is trying to buy a better image. [5]

They recently hired former Senator Blanche Lincoln [6] and the high-powered PR firm FleishmanHillard to improve their reputation and help block more labeling initiatives in 2014. Now when you want to know what’s in your food, the forces against us will be stronger than before.

This means we need to fight back against the Monsanto agenda harder than ever. Let’s start by sending 75,000 letters reminding our government to listen to we the people, not them the corporations and PR firms, and label GMOs now!

Monsanto — the maker of toxic chemicals like Agent Orange — is also the largest producer of risky genetically modified seeds. Corn with built-in insecticides? Squash impervious to virus? We have a right to know what we’re eating. Many other countries around the world do require GMO labeling — but Monsanto is bringing in the big guns to make sure they can keep hiding that critical information from our families.

Senator Blanche Lincoln used to serve as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. She was sometimes called “the Senator from Wal-Mart,” [7] and her other clients have included oil giants Valero and ConocoPhillips, everybody’s favorite cable provider Comcast, and credit giant Experian. She’s clearly an influential figure in Washington, and now she’s ready to cash in for “the world’s most evil corporation.”

Corporations always do this — why fix a problem if you can pay someone to hide it? That’s why so many of us decided to join the SierraRise community. We’re sick of corporate lobbyists running the show — this is a democracy and all of our voices matter. By speaking up now, we can be louder than Senator Lincoln or any other Monsanto lobbyist or executive.

The FDA has the power to enforce labeling and protect our health — but not if we let Monsanto’s lobbyists go unanswered.

We deserve to know what’s in our food. Send your letter to the FDA today demanding customer choice — we need labels on GMO foods!

In it together,

Nathan Empsall
SierraRise Senior Campaigner

P.S. Five signatures are even more powerful than one — after you take action, be sure to forward this alert to your friends, family, and colleagues!

* Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan – December Update

Thanks to Renee Reese for this update and her work on the planning group! Click below to learn and join the conversation. ??????

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 into 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 of our community.

Discover more about what our citizen workgroups are doing and join the conversation.

Mecklenburg Livable Communities Workgroups​


Kick-off presentation
Workgroup Oct. 2013 Meeting
Workgroup Nov. 2013 Meeting


* Order Your Trees Today and Plant Hope for Tomorrow – Dec 6 Deadline

He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
~ Lucy Larcom

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now.
~ Chinese Proverb

This could be the best $2 you ever spent!

The Mecklenburg Soil and Water Conservation District has announced their 2014 Rain Barrel and Tree Seedling Sale. You can place your order through December 6, 2013.

Click on the chart below to view the Fall Newsletter and view the chart (page 8), pictures (page 9), and order form (page 10). Delivery will be on February 21 and 22, 2014.

For additional information, email Anganette Byrd or call 704-336-2455.

MSWCD 2014 Tree SaleMSWCD 2013 Fall Newsletter

* Google joined ALEC – Tell Google to stop funding climate denial today!

SierraRise -- Why stand apart, when we can rise together?

Google has joined ALEC — right alongside Exxon and Philip Morris.

Demand Google stop funding climate deniers — let’s raise 50,000 voices by ALEC’s conference!

Google's motto used to be Don't Be Evil -- what happened?

Take action today!

Dear Friends,

In February, a Utah slaughterhouse was caught painfully pushing a cow with a forklift. But when the police showed up, they weren’t there to shut things down — they were there to press charges against the citizen filming the cruelty, even though she never left public land. [1]

Many would call Amy Meyer a hero, but Utah called her a criminal. This is due to a new crop of state bills that ban the filming of industrial animal abuse without permission — and even place whistleblowers on a “terrorism registry.” [2]

Shockingly, Google is funding this madness.

Google recently joined ALEC, a shadowy organization that works with state lawmakers to ram through legislation for corporations like Exxon and Philip Morris. [3, 4] Google — a major investor in clean energy — should know better than to fund bills that would also require climate denial education in public schools and oppose fracking disclosure.

Thanks to public pressure, 50 corporations have already quit ALEC — now it’s Google’s turn.

As an Internet user, Google needs to hear from you. Raise your voice and tell the tech giant: Stop funding climate deniers. Quit ALEC now!

For this to work, Google needs to hear from as many of us as possible. After you take action, will you help grow this movement and share the alert with your friends, family, and coworkers? Many of them no doubt use Google products every day, and will surely be as disappointed in the tech giant as you are.

Sign the petition today, and we’ll deliver it to Google during ALEC’s giant December conference, which features speakers like Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan. 50,000 names will put Google on the spot!

Funded almost exclusively by major corporations like Koch Industries, ALEC — or the American Legislative Exchange Council — writes “model bills” for right-wing lawmakers to introduce as “grassroots” legislation. From Utah’s “ag-gag” bill to “Stand Your Ground” laws and attacks on our voting rights, about 200 of these corporate scams pass every year.

One of ALEC’s efforts pretends to disclose the chemicals used in fracking. But in reality, the Exxon-backed bill is pure deception, creating new loopholes that would make it even easier to hide the most toxic fracking chemicals. [5]

This agenda is so extreme that, thanks to grassroots pressure, many big-name corporations have already quit ALEC — including McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, and Wal-Mart. [6] Even Big Oil’s own ConocoPhillips has had enough — but not Google.

Google’s supposed to be one of the good guys. It’s up to us to remind them of their old “Don’t be evil” motto, and bring the same public pressure that led all those other corporations to see the light.

Tell Google to stop funding climate denial today, and then tell your friends — that way we can deliver a petition with 50,000 names during the ALEC conference!

Today’s petition is just the beginning. SierraRise is teaming up with organizations like Forecast the Facts and the Center for Media and Democracy. We’ll use people pressure and digital organizing — much of it with Google’s own tools — to demand the tech giant do the right thing and leave ALEC behind.

It all starts with this show of force — sign your name today.

In it together,

Nathan Empsall
SierraRise Senior Campaigner

P.S. Five signatures are even more powerful than one — after you take action, be sure to forward this alert to your friends, family, and colleagues!

* Charlotte Citizens Rally for Solar Energy

The following is a re-post of a very good summary of the Charlotte Solar Panel by Brian Johnson. Stay tuned for more information about making Charlotte greener with solar energy!


North Carolina is already a hotbed of solar energy. Now its largest city is poised to join the trend.

Over 150 Charlotte residents and 18 social justice, faith-based and environmental organizations gathered at Myers Park Baptist Church on Saturday to call for greater access to solar energy. The event included a panel of experts, a tour of the solar installation at the church, and a “honk-and-wave” rally outside the church at a busy intersection.

At the panel, experts from a wide range of backgrounds explained how solar stands to improve public health and lower bills in Charlotte, allowing residents to take charge of their own power supply.

Panelist and former Republican state representative Shawn LeMond likened the surge in solar to the rise of cell phones over landlines, and noted the irony that more current NC politicians aren’t pro-solar.

“It’s a crying shame that, with Republicans in the Assembly and a Republican governor, we aren’t allowing the free market to work, “he said. LeMond is now COO of Sustainable Energy Community Development Company.

Panelist and Reverend Michael McClain of Creation Justice Ministries described solar as liberating struggling residents from the dominance of big utilities, such as local power company Duke Energy.

“Duke Energy has been asking Charlotte’s low-income and working-class communities to pay bills for dirty energy that is skyrocketing each year, and we think solar power is the solution,” Rev. McClain said.

North Carolina hosts the 5th-most solar capacity of any state in the nation—and over the past year, average prices of residential and commercial solar installations in the state have decreased 15%. At the same time, North Carolina’s monopoly electric utility, Duke Energy, has raised electric rates in three out of the past four years.

Solar energy also provides a boost to North Carolina’s local economy by creating jobs that can’t be outsourced. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than 121 solar companies currently operate in the state, and employ 1,400 people.

The other two panelists at Saturday’s event, Katie Bray of Solarize Asheville with the Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute, and Jeff Deal of the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy (AIRE), described how their organizations are helping people in North Carolina acquire their own solar panels.

Solarize Asheville has nearly completed its effort to bring hundreds of affordable solar panels to Asheville, NC residents, by allowing customers to collectively purchase solar panels and receive financing support from a bank to spread out the payments. AIRE organizes local citizens to invest in installations on churches and town buildings. Once the investment has paid off, the investors donate or sell cheaply the installations to the building owners.

Panel attendees had plenty of questions and comments. One resident invited the panelists to consult on and advocate for solar in her community (they accepted). Another resident asked how citizens could best manage opposition from Duke Energy, which fears that distributed solar could break apart its hundred-year-old monopoly.

After touring the host church’s own solar facility, residents took their demands for solar to the sidewalk for a “honk-and-wave” rally. Raising signs and repeating Charlotte-themed chants like “We’ve got banks, we know money, solar makes sense and we want plenty!” the rally attendees earned dozens of honks from drivers-by, and attracted the attention of two local TV channels.

When all was said and done, residents left with pro-solar yard signs, and high hopes that their homes and buildings would finally take part in the solar revolution.

If you missed our event, check out the video coverage here.


See more photos of the event at Solar Panel (November 16, 2013).

Thank you to all of the non-profit co-sponsors of the Cleaner is Cheaper: Solar Panel event:

A Phillip Randolph Institute, Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy, Center for Community Change, Charlotte Environmental Action, Clean Air Carolina, Myers Park Baptist Church Earth Keepers, Environment North Carolina, Greenpeace USA, League of Conservation Voters – Charlotte,  League of Women Voters – Charlotte, NAACP Charlotte, NC Conservation Network, NC Interfaith Power and Light, Shift the Climate, Sierra Club – Piedmont Chapter, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Sustain Charlotte,  and US Green Building Council North Carolina.


* Nov 20 Sierra Club Meeting: Special Treat with Dirt! The Movie – Dirt Pudding!

Yummy! I love my sister’s Dirt Pudding! Since she’s in the hospital this week (get well soon Janet!), I’ll be making a batch of Dirt Pudding for those that join us November 20 at 6:30 PM for our monthly Central Piedmont Sierra Club meeting. And yes, we’ll also have free pizza.

Due to the Holidays, our November monthly meeting will be held on Nov 20th (no meeting on Nov 27). Note: Our December meeting will be held on Dec 18 due to the Holidays. There will be no meeting on Dec 25.

Global Worming 2

Dirt! The Movie is an insightful and timely film that tells the story of the glorious and unappreciated material beneath our feet.
Inspired by William Bryant Logans acclaimed book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, Dirt! The Movie takes a humorous and substantial look into the history and current state of the living organic matter that we come from and will later return to.
Dirt! The Movie will make you want to get dirty.

Our meeting starts off at 6:30 PM with pizza, refreshments and a chance to meet and socialize with other Sierra Club members and friends. The business meeting and program will begin at 7:00 PM. Non-members and potential new members are very welcome!

Central Piedmont Sierra Club meetings are held in the Mahlon Adams Pavilion at Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Avenue, Charlotte, NC, 28203. Cumberland Avenue is off of the 1500 block of East Boulevard.

The program is free and open to the public and you do not have to be a member to attend. Free parking is available.

Bring a friend or two; you’ll be glad you did! See you there…


* Charlotte Nuclear Update – Nov 19


There has been a flurry of pro nuclear activity in Charlotte recently to try to get the dying nuclear industry off of life support. Why? Follow the money.

Why is it dying? Here are three reports that describe the state of the industry:

Nuclear renaissance was just a fairy tale
The promise of cheap, low-carbon power – with 31 new reactors in the US – was based on rhetoric and obedience. Anyone who doubts that should read the new status report on the industry

Nuclear’s swan SONGS
Stick a fork in U.S. nuclear power. With four plants closing this year and more to come, the dream of electricity “too cheap to meter” is dead.

Nuclear Power’s Renaissance in Reverse
The IAEA’s optimistic rhetoric cannot obscure fundamental arithmetic: skyrocketing maintenance expenses and, in many cases, post-Fukushima upgrade costs, together with the impossibility of building competitive new capacity without massive government subsidies, are devastating the nuclear industry. As the economist Mark Cooper has put it, nuclear power is actually undergoing a “renaissance in reverse.

Here are some recent articles about nuclear energy beginning with a great Op-Ed from Louis Zeller, executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

Whitman is wrong; nuclear power is not best energy solution

Nov. 16, 2013

From Louis Zeller, executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, in response to Christine Todd Whitman’s piece, “Emissions will not reduce themselves. We need a plan” (Nov. 13 For the Record):

Nuclear power is not a solution to the energy questions facing the Carolinas. Indeed, the expansion of nuclear power would make the problems worse. Nuclear power fails on many counts.

The promise of jobs and prosperity makes nuclear sound appealing. But at $7 billion per reactor, the taxpayer foots a large share of the nuclear bill: a recent nuclear power plant license required a promise of $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees to sooth the fears of private investors. Also, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has the government cover nuclear cost overruns caused by regulatory delays up to $2 billion. Similarly, the Act established a production tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for new nuclear power plants, another billion-dollar allocation. Economic uncertainty picks the pockets of residential customers too. In 2007 the N.C. General Assembly allowed utilities to have customers pay for new power plants up front, before the first watt is generated. This is not prosperity, it is corporate welfare.

Dirty and unsafe

Nuclear plants require enormous amounts of water. A single plant may consume more than the largest cities in a given state combined. And fully two-thirds of the heat produced to make steam to run the turbines is flushed down the drain as hot water, unusable. Meanwhile, high river water temperatures and falling reservoir levels are creating unsafe conditions for nuclear power plants because they have no off switch; they must have water to avoid overheating. During the 2007 drought, low water levels at Lake Norman caused the utility to struggle to keep McGuire’s cooling water intakes filled.

Nuclear is unsafe. Reactors at the Catawba nuclear power plant do not comply with NRC fire protection regulations adopted in 1980, a persistent failure which poses an increased risk of accident in 2013. And 35 nuclear plants are at risk from dam failure, including McGuire.

Nuclear pollutes. Accidental releases of radioactive contaminants are common to virtually all nuclear power reactors. Over 400 leaks have occurred, some releasing millions of gallons of polluted water. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission does little to prevent these violations; during the last four years no fines have been issued despite the two dozen leaks which occurred. Routine releases of radioactive gases from pressurized water reactors, such as those at Catawba and McGuire, are the result of nuclear operations’ standard cleaning process. The negative human health impacts are measurable, legal and permitted by the NRC.

Federal emergency planning for nuclear power plants is inadequate. The radioactive contaminants from the nuclear accident at Fukushima affected air, water, soil and agricultural products over a wide area. Radiation spreads in unpredictable ways, yet emergency planning in the U.S. extends only 10 miles. If a severe accident occurred at the McGuire or Catawba nuclear plant, where would 200,000 Charlotteans within that radius go? What if the accident occurred during rush hour?

Nuclear is not the solution to air pollution or global warming, simply because it is so expensive and carries insupportable risks. We can do better.


Christine Todd Whitman Visits Charlotte Chamber of Commerce (Video)
Nuke propaganda
Gov. Whitman on Pandora’s Promise
CASEnergy Coalition Co-Chair Governor Whitman gave her thoughts on “Pandora’s Promise,” the recently released documentary which takes a thoughtful look at the role of nuclear energy and its ability to take on some of the climate change and environmental challenges that Americans face today. The movie tells the story of five environmental experts who made the conversion from anti-nuclear attitudes to strong support. They explain their new understanding of nuclear power and its ability to safely provide clean, reliable power to meet growing global demand. Click on the image to watch the interview.

E4 Carolinas
Nuclear lobbying group started by Duke

Mitsubishi cutting Charlotte nuclear engineering staff in half
Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems will lay off 48 people from its Charlotte Engineering Center by the end of the year, cutting the staff by roughly half.
The layoffs come as Mitsubishi has decided to slow its efforts to get Nuclear Regulatory Commission certification of its US-APWR reactor. That led the power company Luminant to announce plans last week to suspend its effort to license two 1,700 megawatt Mitsubishi reactors at the Commanche nuclear plant in Texas.
In April, Dominion announced it was abandoning plans to build a Mitsubishi unit at its North Anna Nuclear Station.

What’s the impact on Charlotte as Babcock & Wilcox seeks mPower investor?

In a major strategy shift, The Babcock & Wilcox Co. wants a majority buyer for its Generation mPower small nuclear reactor venture and plans to close a deal within a year.
It is a change the company describes as months in the making. And it offers enormous opportunity — and risk — to Charlotte’s energy hub.
Chief Executive Jim Ferland acknowledged the surprising course change in a conference call with analysts Wednesday.
The mPower project involves a small 180-megawatt nuclear reactor that can be built in a factory and shipped to a site. It can be installed more quickly and at a lower cost than current reactors that range more than 1,000 megawatts in size. The first units are supposed to be installed at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Clinch River Nuclear Plant.
B&W owns 90% of the joint venture, with partner Bechtel Corp holding the 10% balance. Ferland said B&W wants to shrink to a 15% to 20% stake.

Heath Shuler calling signals for Duke Energy’s D.C. lobbyists
Heath Shuler, Duke Energy Corp.’s top legislative affairs executive, sees little hope for significant action from Congress this year, but he says a tax-reform deal is possible in 2014 that could affect Duke and its customers.
Would Duke want to see an extension of legislation that has offered subsidies for new nuclear construction as it considers the Lee plant in South Carolina?
I just haven’t seen the legislatures looking at subsidizing nuclear at the present time.
I think it is very difficult to say we are looking for this type of subsidy. And I just don’t think that when you look at the big picture, with the deficit and debt, I don’t think that’s something that Congress can pull off.

* Give Thanks for the Earth, Dirt! that is – Nov 20

Due to the Holidays, our November monthly meeting will be held on Nov 20th (no meeting on Nov 27). Note: Our December meeting will be held on Dec 18 due to the Holidays.

Just in time for the Holidays, an award winning documentary that will educate, inspire, and celebrate the magic of the living earth. Join us for a viewing and discussion of Dirt! The Movie – A story with heart and soil.

Here’s a review by Jonathan Kim in Huffington Post:

“The documentary DIRT! The Movie reminds us that what really matters on this planet is what happens in the first 6-8 inches of soil, the layer that makes much of life on earth possible. Because as far as we know, no other planet has the kind of living skin that earth does, full of organisms that can digest organic materials to make nutrients accessible to other forms of life. Combine that with energy from the sun and all forms of land-based life become possible — remove one of those components and the system (and life) collapses.

That’s why we need to be concerned. Humans are doing grievous damage to our soil through strip mining, mountaintop removal, pollution, bad agricultural practices and other activities that promote erosion. Humans are killing the soil and letting it be carried away by the wind or washed into the sea. It takes approximately 100 years to naturally create just one inch of topsoil, and the world is losing 25 billion tons of topsoil a year due to erosion, with the US letting its soil be eroded at a rate 10-17 times faster than it can be replaced. As DIRT! points out, much of human history has been a struggle over who has productive soil. If humans allow this most precious resource to be destroyed or lost, we can’t mine more or travel to another planet to get some. The planet as we know it will truly be dead.”

Dirt the Movie 2

Our meeting starts off at 6:30 PM with pizza, refreshments and a chance to meet and socialize with other Sierra Club members and friends. The business meeting and program will begin at 7:00 PM. Non-members and potential new members are very welcome!

Central Piedmont Sierra Club meetings are held in the Mahlon Adams Pavilion at Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Avenue, Charlotte, NC, 28203. Cumberland Avenue is off of the 1500 block of East Boulevard.

The program is free and open to the public and you do not have to be a member to attend. Free parking is available.

Bring a friend or two; you’ll be glad you did! See you there…