Sustainable Commute Challenge – Win $50

Do you walk, bike, or ride transit in Charlotte? Sustain Charlotte’s Transportation Choices Alliance is giving away $50 every weekday in November to the contestant whose photo attracts the most ‘Likes’ in our Sustainable Commute Challenge! Everyone in the Charlotte region is eligible to enter: www.movecharlottesmarter.org/challenge

TCA Challenge

Crucial Charlotte City Council vote on stormwater controls – Oct 27

303d map 2012

To Sierra Club members and the Charlotte Environmental Community:

Are you satisfied that over 80% of the streams in Charlotte are unfit for human contact?

We certainly hope not. And we need you to take a few minutes to do something about it. On Monday night, 10/27/14, the Charlotte City Council will vote on a measure that stands to weaken the ordinance that protects our streams. It’s called the “Post-Construction Controls Ordinance” (PCCO), but it really should be called the “Charlotte Stream Protection Law.” It requires that builders use on-site controls to reduce the storm water runoff that pollutes our streams. The development community wants weaken this law by extending to developers a “get out of jail free card” called the fee-in-lieu.

If you really want to learn more about the details, you can read this article in Creative Loafing:

http://clclt.com/charlotte/developers-vs-the-environment/Content?oid=3534215

But here’s what you need to do immediately:

Send a letter, email or call the Mayor and as many City Council members as you can and tell them to oppose the extension of the temporary policy that allows developers to pay a fee to avoid on-site pollution controls. This fee is called a “fee-in-lieu,” meaning the developer makes a payment “in-lieu” of doing what is needed to control on-site pollution. While the payment will theoretically be used by the City storm water department to help clean-up our streams, that’s a backwards way of approaching the problem and will harm our streams. On-site pollution controls are needed.

Here are some talking points that you can use:

  • Please oppose the extension of the “fee-in-lieu” to the Post-Construction Controls Ordinance.
  • Over 80% of our streams are impaired and not fit for human contact.
  • This is Charlotte’s most important ordinance for water quality.
  • PCCO provides on-site regulations that are needed and cannot be replaced by less effective mitigation. On-site controls offer the best method of controlling pollution.
  • PCCO was a compromise. A group of stakeholders met over several years to develop the ordinance. We can’t compromise on the compromise.
  • It’s unrealistic to believe that development is being stopped by the PCCO.
  • We should actually strengthen PCCO by requiring on-site filters.
  • This is an example of paid staff from the development community trying to wear down citizens who have limited time to stay informed and involved in complicated issues. Citizens lose faith in the government and the process when this occurs.
  • We should rename PCCO to “Charlotte Stream Protection Law” so that citizens can recognize its importance.
  • This is an opportunity for the City Council to show environmental leadership and accountability.

Here’s the contact information for the Mayor and City Council:

Mayor

Daniel (Dan) Clodfelter

E-mail:  mayor@charlottenc.gov

Phone:  704-336-2241

Mayor Pro Tem

Michael Barnes

Email: barnesforcharlotte@gmail.com Phone: 704-509-6141

Council At-Large:

David Howard

Email: info@davidhowardclt.com Phone: 704-336-4099

Claire Green Fallon

Email: cfallon@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-6105

Vi Lyles

Email: vlyles@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3431

District Representatives:

Patsy Kinsey, District 1

Email: pkinsey@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3432 or 704-376-5367

Al Austin, District 2

Email: aaustin@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3185

LaWana Mayfield, District 3

Email:     lmayfield@charlottenc.gov Phone:   704-336-3435 (office) or 704-352-7305 (cell)

Greg Phipps, District 4

Email: gaphipps@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3436

John Autry, District 5

Email: jautry@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-2777

Kenny Smith, District 6

Email: krsmith@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3433

Ed Driggs, District 7

Email:ed@eddriggs.com Phone: 704-432-7077

This is critically important. If we lose this battle, we’ll lose the opportunity to clean-up our polluted streams. And one more thing. We need to know that you’ve taken action. Please copy David Robinson, Charlotte Sierra Club Group Chair, on your emails or let him know that you’ve made calls or sent letters. David’s email address is: takahula@gmail.com .

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.

MLCP_Logo

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 heidi.pruess@mecklenburgcountync.org.

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

 

Seize the Day – Try to Find Your Own Voice

Carpe Diem; Seize the day! Strive to find your own voice.

Find your own voice and ways to become active on issues related to climate change. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Seize the day…..

Robin Williams – “Seize the Day”

Films:

Dead Poet’s Society
Hook
Jack
Mrs. Doubtfire
What Dreams May Come
Good Morning Vietnam
Patch Adams

Lyrics:

Carpe Diem; Seize the day!
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Strive to find your own voice
Seize the day – look at it in another way

We are members of the human race
And the human race
Is filled with passion
Words and ideas can change the world

The powerful play goes on
And you may contribute a verse
The powerful play goes on
Goes on

I’m a hip old granny who can hip hop be bop
Dance dance dance till you drop drop drop
I’m a hip old granny who can hip hop be bop
Yo yo make a wicked cup of coco

I’m a raptor doing what i can
Gonna eat everything till the appearance of man
Yo yo see me I’m living below the soil
I’ll be back but I’m coming as oil

This is rock and roll
Dance dance dance till you drop drop drop
Cast your eyes to the summer sky
And today – make a wish

(refrain)

Only in their dreams can men be truly free
Twas always thus, and always thus will be

Save North Carolina’s Hofmann Forest – The Largest University Forest in the World

Please join me in signing a petition to save Hofman Forest!

For more information or to help with this campaign, contact Ron Sutherland at ron@wildlandsnetwork.org.

To learn more about the Hofman Forest, check out the great interactive active map below and the two recent updates about the sale.

Hofman Forest Map

Here are two recent updates about the sale of this North Carolina treasure.

NCSU ponders making Hofmann Forest error

Problem is, word leaked a while back that NCSU’s powers-that-be want to trade the forest to the Walker Agriculture Group of Illinois for a truckload of cash. The news got the school’s forestry professors and student body up in arms, not to mention conservationists and ecologists.

The real fly in the punch bowl is a development plan that includes roads, houses, shopping centers, a golf course and thousands of logged, crushed, burned, ripped and plowed acres to be planted in corn. Once “the plan” became public, the Wuffies denied they’d designed it, and the Walker group denied they’d made it. Walker also now denies any sort of “development” will occur at Hofmann Forest, but the terms of the sale don’t preclude the company doing whatever it wishes.

Because the White Oak and New rivers flow through Hofmann, development on a landscape scale almost certainly will cause trouble downstream: erosion, polluted water, high bacteria counts, beach closures. The Castle Hayne Aquifer that provides fresh water to several communities could also be affected. The forest acts as a filtering agent to prevent bad stuff from getting into the aquifer, the rivers, fish and, ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean.

and

Opponents to forest sale await rulings on assessment

The university has contended that the land is not “public” and not subject to the environmental assessment requirement under the State Environmental Policy Act, but Sutherland and the others have noted that the land has not been subject to taxation and that the state attorney general, Roy Cooper, has said he was obligated to handle the case for the university.

The university also faces a pending investigation by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which is examining findings by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that indicate illegal wetlands ditching and draining has taken place in the forest.

While the university and Hofmann Forest LLC have contended the forest would be protected under the original sale, opponents have said there was nothing firm about that in the sale agreement, nor in the new one, and have pointed to leaked buyers’ prospectus circulated by Hofmann LLC to attract investors.

The prospectus mentioned the possibility of up to 2 million square feet of commercial development, possible construction of up to 10,500 residential units and the high-quality soils that would be conducive to farming if the trees were removed. The school and the LLC disavowed that prospectus.

“Also, consider this thought experiment,” Sutherland (Ron Sutherland, a conservation scientist for the Wildlands Network) said. “If another large tract of existing public forest, such as Croatan or Pisgah National Forest, were suddenly placed up for sale – of course we would fight such a plan tooth and nail – (and) if the relevant government leaders then announced a new plan where only one-fourth of the forest would be destroyed for sure, and the rest only ‘possibly,’ would anyone call that a victory for conservation? No, absolutely not. That would be a huge net loss of public forestland that citizens would find unacceptable. That is the alternative being proffered by NCSU now, with their revised Hofmann sale agreement, and we continue to reject their flawed premise that some loss of public forest is a necessary outcome of this situation.”

Please join me in signing a petition to save Hofman Forest!

Thanks, and spread the word to your friends on Facebook, etc!

 

 

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

VOICES OF THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH Volume 1

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 (http://www.kennedyscharlotte.com). 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 http://charlottesierraclub.org/political-2/elections-2014/

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

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charlotte-Environmental-Action-CEA/169329816552913

Oct 23 – Early Voting Begins

More information at http://charlottesierraclub.org/political-2/elections-2014/

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 http://charlottesierraclub.org/political-2/elections-2014/

Nov 1 – Catawba Wildflower Glen Service Outing

More information at: http://www.meetup.com/Charlotte-Sierra-Club/events/210703312/

Nov 4 – General Election Day

More information at http://charlottesierraclub.org/political-2/elections-2014/

Nov 21 – NC Climate Justice Summit

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

Charlotte Bike Talk! – Oct 9

We invite you to join us next Thursday, October 9, for Charlotte Bike Talk!  
At this free public event you’ll have a chance to participate in an exciting discussion with local and national experts regarding how to make our community more bike-friendly!

 

bike-comuter-benefit-header.jpg

Hear from an expert panel of speakers:

Bike Talks Panel
DATE: Thursday, October 9

TIME:
5:30 – 7:30 pm

LOCATION:
Stage Door Theatre @ Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
101 N College St
Charlotte, NC 28202
United States