Aug 27 – Join us for a 70th, 50th, 40th, 30th Anniversary Party!

This is a special year for NC and Charlotte outdoors!

Smokey 70th

This is the 70th anniversary of the Smokey Bear Wildfire campaignHappy 70th Birthday Smokey Bear! 

Wilderness 50

The 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act50 Years of Wilderness

40th anniv logo_485

The 40th anniversary of Char-Meck Park & RecHappy 40th Birthday Mecklenburg Park and Rec!

NC Wilderness Celebration

And the 30th anniversary of the NC Wilderness Act30 Years of NC Wilderness

Wow! Join us Wednesday, August 27th at 6:30 PM for a celebration with pizza and cake. The celebration will take place prior to our regular monthly meeting at the Mahlon Adams Pavilion in Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Ave., Charlotte, NC. Free parking is available.

First ever Charlotte 2014 Sustainability Report released

Perhaps this will push the City of Charlotte to FINALLY develop a Sustainability Plan! As the saying goes, If It Isn’t Written Down, It Doesn’t Exist – “A strategy you can’t write down is unlikely to be well-enough conceived or communicated to actually work.”

And special thanks to the Sustain Charlotte team for this great work!

Sustain Charlotte 2014 Report Card2014 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card

Announcement from Sustain Charlotte:

After more than a year of research, writing, and design, we’re proud to announce the public release of the 2014 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card: Scoring Our Economic, Environmental, and Social Health. The inaugural quantitative report card marks the first ever independently researched and written report that assesses the current health of the community using 57 metrics spanning nine issues.

Shannon Binns, Founder and Director of Sustain Charlotte was joined by Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham, Charlotte City Council Member John Autry, and Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio, all of whom spoke at the press conference held in Marshall Park on Tuesday morning. Charlotte City Council Members David Howard, Vi Lyles and Greg Phipps were also in attendance.

Using a robust methodology and years of data from a variety of sources, the authors have generated a report card for each issue and provided 94 recommendations for how Charlotte-Mecklenburg can accelerate progress. The nine issues assessed include: Air Quality, Energy Use, Equity + Empowerment, Food, Jobs + Income, Land Use, Transportation, Waste, and Water Use.

The report card is available for free public download at www.sustaincharlotte.org/ReportCard2014.

“We’ve taken an objective, quantitative approach to assessing our progress on the issues that affect the quality of life for today’s residents as well as those who come after us,” said Binns. “We hope our leaders as well as all residents who call Mecklenburg home will take our recommendations to heart, and make the choices we must make to ensure a vibrant future.”

And here’s a good summary of some key points from Ana McKenzie of Creative Loafing –   15 takeaways from Sustain Charlotte’s Sustainability Report Card.

Sept 4 – “Understanding the Climate Change Problem and Seeking Solutions”

Make plans to attend this timely and informative program!

Join the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room and the Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group  as we welcome Dr. Jason West of UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. West will be presenting a lecture entitled, “Understanding the Climate Change Problem and Seeking Solutions” at the University City Regional Library, 301 East W.T. Harris Blvd, Charlotte, NC on Thursday, September 4th, from 6:00 until 8:30 PM.

Climate Change Solutions

 

Charlotte Powers Up With Solarize Charlotte!

Solarize Charlotte Single

Solar power for the masses reaches Charlotte

By Bruce Henderson
Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014

MORE INFORMATION: Solarize Charlotte

A three-month campaign to broaden the appeal of rooftop solar systems has declared success in its aim of making them cheaper and simpler for Charlotte-area homeowners.

Solarize Charlotte launched in the hometown of the nation’s largest electric utility, Duke Energy, in April. The volunteer-run program offered discounts on installations and connected homeowners to tax savings and low-interest loans.

“One of the issues we all recognized was that even as solar dropped in price, people saw barriers,” said project assistant Michael Zytkow. “So the goal is to help with everything involved.”

About 600 people expressed interest in the program, of which 186 solicited proposals for systems. Twenty-four homeowners signed installation contracts, six made verbal agreements and 10 contracts are pending. Another 89 projects are still in the consultation stages.

North Carolina ranks fourth-largest in the nation for its solar capacity, says the Solar Energy Industries Association, but that’s mostly because of commercial-scale installations.

Duke Energy says about 1,700 North Carolina customers, most of them affluent, own rooftop solar systems. Solarize Charlotte’s focus included lower-income and non-white homeowners.

Initiative moved east

“My philosophy is that solar should be for everyone,” said Zytkow, whose full-time job is as a Greenpeace field organizer. “My background of activism is in meeting people where they are.”

Solarize Charlotte was an outgrowth of an initiative born in Portland, Ore., five years ago and adopted by dozens of communities under Energy Department-funded guidelines.

A coalition of more than 20 nonprofit advocacy groups and churches brought it to North Carolina. Similar programs have launched in Asheville, Carrboro and Durham.

The Charlotte campaign worked with a solar company, the RED Group, that offered bulk discounts on installations. State and federal tax credits pare the cost, and the program led homeowners to low-interest loans.

Cut cost of systems

All told, organizers say, those incentives could take up to 75 percent off the retail price of a solar system. Typical Solarize systems, including tax credits, cost about $4,500 to $8,000.

Solar panel prices have dropped sharply in recent years, and the arrays are now thinner and more aesthetically pleasing. The expiration of North Carolina’s 35 percent tax credit at the end of 2015 has also stimulated interest.

Still, “it takes a lot of consumer education to get people to the point where they’re ready to go solar,” said Cynthia Redwine, a partner in RED Group, a 2-year-old company formed by former Peace Corps volunteers.

Some potential customers, for instance, believe that net metering – in which utilities give homeowners with solar systems credit for the energy they generate – means they have to live off the grid, she said.

Starting in late April, Solarize volunteers went door-to-door, bought radio ads, staffed festival booths and made presentations to homeowners associations, clubs and churches.

Savings biggest factor

The campaigners pitched the environmental and economic aspects of solar power, but found most people responded to rising electricity rates.

“At the end of the day, that’s what resonates with people – their power bills,” Zytkow said. “One of the first things you hear out there is the idea of these (utility) monopolies. They’re captive customers, and they don’t have any options. A lot of it is rallying around the concept of choice.”

Charlotte homeowner Terry Taylor-Allen, a communications consultant on energy, environment and sustainability, heard about Solarize at a conference and quickly signed up.

Taylor-Allen and her husband, Mark Allen, had considered solar for years but hesitated at trying to sort through its technological aspects and financial viability.

“The very nice thing about Solarize Charlotte is that they sort of anticipate those wrap-around needs and solved those problems,” she said. “From that perspective, it’s a really, really good program. It facilitates a lot of decision- making.”

Their rooftop panels started generating electricity July 14.

Time for the fracking industry to come clean

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Tell EPA that the oil and gas industry must disclose the chemicals used in fracking.

Send your letter.

Send your letter

Dear Friends,

Some recipes are worth sharing, especially when the natural gas industry’s secret fracking chemical cocktail jeopardizes the health of communities across the country.

The EPA has the chance to hold the oil and gas industry accountable by doing two big things — requiring companies to disclose the chemicals used in fracking and requiring studies into how these chemicals impact public health. Since the oil and gas industry is fighting any effort to regulate fracking, it is critical that the EPA hears loud and clear that we have a right to know what chemicals are pumped into fracked wells.

Send your letter today. Tell the EPA that the oil and gas industry must disclose all chemicals used in the fracking process.

Knowing which chemicals are poisoning our air and water is a crucial step to reining in this dangerous industry. Complete disclosure gives activists like you, medical professionals and researchers the power to understand the full scope of health impacts from fracking and potentially trace the pollution back to the polluter.

Tell EPA to hold the oil and gas industry accountable and put the interests of our communities and public health first. With your help, we can send 20,000 letters by Monday. 

Thanks for all that you do,

Deb Nardone
Director, Dirty Fuels Initiative
Sierra Club

Webinar: Understanding American Values on Climate

Looks like a very good webinar. Make plans to participate. Click here to sign-up.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) is pleased to announce that Southeast Coastal Climate Network’s (SECCN) webinar series will continue with a presentation about Americans’ values on climate change. These webinars are your opportunity to learn about climate and energy issues that SECCN engages in everyday.

Join us for this webinar as we talk with Bob Perkowitz, Founder and President of ecoAmerica, to discuss ecoAmerica’s latest research, American Climate Values 2014. This research details how Americans think, feel and react to climate and environmental issues, and uses a sophisticated, psychographic-based, research methodology to draw insights on how to effectively engage Americans on climate solutions.

Understanding American Values on Climate: Practical Applications for Public Engagement on Climate Solutions
Friday, August 15, 2014 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Click here to sign-up