EarthSolidarity™ Initiatives are endeavors to which anyone can contribute in deed as well as in spirit, that
- minimize waste and environmental impacts
- increase community resilience
- respect and protect ecosystem processes and all forms of life
- contribute to good living conditions for everyone around the globe
- affirm and celebrate our interdependence and interrelatedness in the Web of Life!
Appalachian State University research helps farmers and crop yield
This article was provided by Appalachian State University. Hei-Young Kim is laboratory manager and research assistant with the Appalachian Energy Center.
BOONE — The Appalachian State Nexus Project experiments continue to advance agricultural innovations with biochar to help local farmers. Biochar is a charcoal-like material produced from plant material such as grass, agricultural and forest residues that produce carbon-rich material used for agriculture and horticulture purposes.
Adding biochar to soil increases surface area, pH, plant nutrient availability, and enhances water-holding capacity, according to Appalachian State researchers. It also can sequester carbon in the ground for extended periods of time, which may otherwise find its way into the atmosphere as CO2 or methane.
The qualities of biochar vary depending upon the material it comes from — timber slash, corn stalks or manure.
Fall in to the Ring of Fire on Oct 14
While most people associate “Ring of Fire” with the great Southern country singer Johnny Cash, it will feature a different beat on Oct. 14 when the “Ring of Fire” annular eclipse will cross North, Central and South America.
The moon will pass in front of the sun, and an annular eclipse will be visible over much of the United States and Central and South America. Unlike a total solar eclipse, the moon will not completely block the sun and make day appear like night. It will, however, make the sun appear like a thin ring of fire. The difference between an annular and a total eclipse is that the moon’s orbit varies slightly in it’s distance from Earth. If an eclipse occurs when the moon is at a farther point during its orbit, it will appear slightly smaller and not large enough to cover the sun completely.
All eclipse-watchers on Oct. 14 will need to use special eye protection — such as eclipse glasses or a specialized solar filter — or an indirect viewing method to safely watch. Such safety measures must be used throughout the entire eclipse, no matter a viewer’s location, as even the small ring of sun visible at the peak of the annular eclipse is dangerous if viewed directly.
Live coverage of the eclipse will air on NASA TV and the agency’s website from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Oct. 14 The public may also watch live on social media accounts on Facebook, X, and YouTube.
A raft trip on the Ocoee helped save faraway Clear Creek
DUCKTOWN — We threw our backs into paddling as the raft dipped and crested.
We were on the Ocoee River in southeastern Tennessee, but Clear Creek, 118 miles away in Morgan County, was the reason for the occasion.
I joined the group, some of whom were staying in nearby cabins overnight, for rafting and a cookout.
It was part of a TennGreen push to buy and preserve 180 acres of land along Clear Creek. It will then sell 23 of those acres, which includes a house. It will donate the rest to the Obed Wild and Scenic River, an adjoining federal conservation area.
Cool water deluged us, rapid after rapid. In one case we spun with momentum. We high-fived with our paddles when we hit clear spots after a successful run.
That evening, we unwound with hot dogs, burgers both vegetarian and meat, potato salad and s’mores among other treats at the Cabins at Copperhill.
TennGreen Deputy director Christie Henderson said buying the Clear Creek land would allow for a connected wilderness area in which plants and animals could have a safe corridor. It also would preserve the view of the night sky from potential light from new houses.
Cumberland Trails summit coming in October
The Cumberland Trail Summit is happening October 19-21, 2023. The Cumberland Trail Summit is an opportunity to showcase our trail communities. The Summit will focus on outdoor recreation, community building and educational programs
The mission of the Cumberland Trails Conference is to provide paid and volunteer labor, equipment, supplies and vehicles to design and construct the Cumberland Trail under the auspices of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
The continued development and construction of the Cumberland Trail is accomplished through a working relationship between the Cumberland Trails Conference (CTC), the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Park, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The CTC, private corporations, foundations, individuals and others assist TDEC in raising funds for land acquisition, providing maintenance and further developing the Cumberland Trail.
The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail State Park operates a professional trail crew mostly in the north sections.
The Cumberland Trails Conference also maintains a professional trail crew that works twelve months a year. Additional labor comes from thousands of hours of volunteer service provided through the CTC, including through the CTC BreakAway, a college Alternative Spring Break program.
The Cumberland Trail is an extensive foot trail constructed and maintained largely by volunteers from Tennessee and across the nation. The Trail is managed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
Building the Cumberland Trail is a grassroots effort, driven by communities along the trail, government agencies and a broad network of volunteers. This successful private/public partnership is a model often cited to demonstrate the power of volunteerism and public/private partnerships.
When completed, the Cumberland Trail will extend more than 300 miles from its northern terminus in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky to its southern terminus at the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park located on Signal Mountain just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee.
— Cumberland Trails Conference
Lunch atop a skyscraper, first published in the New York Herald-Tribune, Oct. 2 1932. Charles Clyde Ebbets
‘All that is solid melts into air’
John Rennie Short is professor emeritus of public policy at the University of Maryland. This article was originally published in The Conversation.
The hollowing out of U.S. cities’ office and commercial cores is a national trend with consequences for millions of Americans. As more people have stayed home following the COVID-19 pandemic, foot traffic has fallen and major retail chains are closing stores, and prestigious properties are having a hard time retaining tenants.
In May 2023 the shuttering of a Whole Foods market in downtown San Francisco received widespread coverage. Even more telling was the high-end department store Nordstrom’s decision to close its flagship store there in August after a 35-year run.
A recent study from the University of Toronto found across North America, downtowns are recovering from the pandemic more slowly than other urban areas and “older, denser downtowns reliant on professional or tech workers and located within large metros” are struggling the hardest.
Like many U.S. cities, Portland, Oregon, is losing downtown businesses. This cuts into urban revenues and creates a perception of decline.
Over more than 50 years of researching urban policy, U.S. cities have weathered through many booms and busts. Now there is a more fundamental shift taking place. Traditional downtowns are dying or on life support across the U.S. and elsewhere. Local governments and urban residents urgently need to consider what the post-pandemic city will look like.
- whole foods
- john rennie short
- chicago’s magnificent mile
- university of toronto
- university of maryland
- portland, oregon
- repurposing office space
- biotech labs
- the conversation
- hollowing out of city
- retail chain
- postpandemic retail
- store closing
- downtown retail
- urban policy
- excess commercial space
- vacant office space
- tax revenue
- zoom town
- ridership decline
- public transportation
- abandoned mall
- zoning law
- urban property market
- virtual meeting
Public Lands Day looking for volunteers
Big South Fork celebrates National Public Lands Day Saturday, September 23 with a Volunteer Trails Event
Oneida, Tennessee — Take part in the National Public Lands Day celebration at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area on Saturday, September 23, 2023.
On this day, the park is looking for volunteers to help build out the last section of the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail. Interested volunteers should meet at the R.M. Brooks General Store (2830 Rugby Parkway, Robbins, Tennessee 37852) on Saturday the 23rd at 8:30 am ET. Please wear long pants and sturdy footwear.
Established in 1994 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, National Public Lands Day celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship and encourages use of open space for education, recreation and health benefits. More information can be found online at https://www.neefusa.org/npld.
For more information visit the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area website or call 423-569-9778.
Oak Ridge research suggests rough weather ahead
OAK RIDGE — Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Northeastern University modeled how extreme conditions in a changing climate affect the land’s ability to absorb atmospheric carbon — a key process for mitigating human-caused emissions. They found that 88 percent of Earth’s regions could become carbon emitters by the end of the 21st century.
Climate extremes lasting months or years could reduce plant productivity, which governs Earth’s capacity to produce food, fiber and fuel. Events such as wildfires could generate bursts of emissions from carbon stored in forests.
The team used the open-source Community Earth System Model to simulate multiple variables, which enabled a holistic understanding of how climatic conditions interact.
“Our results suggest that meteorological extremes will become more frequent, intense and widespread due to the compound effect of high temperature, drought and fire,” said ORNL’s Bharat Sharma. “Tropical regions may face these to the most extreme degree.”
— Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Public can learn more about distilled Knox Urban Forest Master Plan Sept. 13
KNOXVILLE — Trees Knoxville and the city will update citizens on progress on the Urban Forest Master Plan. Trees Knoxville, an organization dedicated to preserve and increase the urban tree canopy on private and public lands in Knoxville and Knox County, will host an open house from 5:30-7 p.m. Sept. 13, at the Public Works Service Center (3131 Morris Ave.) to discuss the latest Urban Forest Master Plan.
Trees Knoxville and city urban forester Kasey Krouse will share recommendations from Urban Canopy Works LLC based on public input.
“We have taken everything we’ve learned over the last year and developed draft goals, as well as strategies and action steps to meet those goals,” Trees Knoxville Steering Committee said in a release. “While the plan is not yet fully developed, we would like to update the community on the direction the plan is headed, providing an opportunity to give feedback before the final draft is produced.”
This forum will update the planning process Trees Knoxville and city staff have been working on with a consultant from Urban Canopy to learn about the public thoughts, opinions and goals for the city’s urban canopy — tree cover in public places and on private property.
The hope is a successful forest plan will help the city preserve, grow and care for trees, which play a significant role in public and environmental health.
Climate change could steal your fish
Dan Chapman is a public affairs specialist for the Southeast Region of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
CHEROKEE — The mountains of the Southern Appalachians were scraped clean a century ago. Headwater ecology changed as the canopy of trees disappeared that was shading the streams from all but the noonday sun. Rainstorms pushed dirt and rocks into the water muddying the feeding and breeding grounds of fish, amphibians and insects.
Lower down the mountain, newly cut pastures edged right up to the creeks while cows mucked up the once-pristine waters. Invasive bugs killed hemlocks, ash and other shade-giving trees. Pipes, culverts and dams blockaded streams and kept animals from cooler water.
The trout never had a chance.
Now they face an even more insidious foe — climate change.
- doug reed
- chattahoochee national forest
- trout season
- trout unlimited
- nc institute for climate science
- mike lavoie
- wild brook trout
- fly fishing team
- oconaluftee river
- raven fork
- ela dam
- toccoa river
- trout fishing in the southern appalachians
- dan chapman
- eastern band of cherokee indians
- eastern brook trout
- trout fishing
- qualla boundary
- brown trout
- rainbow trout
- north carolina state university
- chattahoochee river
- rough branch
- dissolved oxygen
- climate change
- fish biodiversity
- fish stock
- fish hatchery
- hemlock woolly adelgid
- coldwater fishery
- fish disease
Public meeting about solutions to remove solid waste in downtown Knoxville is set for Sept.14
KNOXVILLE — On Thursday, Sept. 14, the city, MSW Consultants and DSM Environmental will present findings from the 2023 Downtown Solid Waste Study. The meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Lox Salon, 103 W. Jackson Avenue.
Members of the public are welcome to attend and learn about how downtown solid waste and recycling is currently being collected, costs involved, and a look at future collection options.
The Downtown Solid Waste Study was launched to address concerns about downtown growth and increased solid waste production. The city currently spends more than $550,000 each year for downtown trash and recycling services.
— City of Knoxville
Guided Bird Walk with Dr. Chuck Nicholson, September 16 at Big South Fork
Oneida, Tennessee – This September 16, at 8:00 AM (ET), don’t miss the unique opportunity to explore the lush landscapes of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, guided by Dr. Charles Nicholson. The walk will begin at the Bandy Creek swimming pool at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and promises to be an easy, enjoyable experience for all ages.
Dr. Nicholson is not just an experienced birder; he’s an authority on the subject with over 35 years of specialized experience in the Big South Fork area. A committed member of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, Dr. Nicholson has served multiple roles within the organization, including president and journal editor.
Dr. Nicholson holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a focus on birds. He is the author of the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee, a seminal sourcebook for bird enthusiasts, and served as adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Nicholson has led numerous birding field trips and even offers a course on birdwatching.
This bird walk serves as the perfect prelude to the 31st Annual Haunting in the Hills Storytelling Festival, inviting everyone to connect with nature before diving into the rich tapestry of stories that the festival has to offer.
For more information about this special event as well as other events, call 423-569-9778, or visit online: www.nps.gov/biso.
Former Tennessee Wildlife and Resources Agency biologist alleges agency manipulated data on deer diseaseWritten by Anita Wadhwani
In a lawsuit filed against the agency, the former employee claims officials misled the public about the rate of a neurological disorder in deer, changing protocols to avoid admitting mistakes.
This story was originally published by Tennessee Lookout.
NASHVILLE — A former state biologist claims he was confronted in his home by law enforcement officers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency on the same day he sent his boss’s superiors evidence the state was falsifying data on wildlife diseases.
After his cell phone, laptops and other items were confiscated, the biologist said he was then subjected to hours of questioning by officers — among them the husband of his immediate supervisor.
James Kelly (video link features Kelly at 10 minutes), a wildlife biologist, led the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s deer management program, chaired the agency’s Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Deer Management Standing Team and served as a wildlife biologist until he was fired in 2022.
In a whistleblower lawsuit filed this week, Kelly alleges state officials manipulated data and misled the public about the prevalence of chronic wasting disease, a fatal and infectious disease that attacks deer populations.
(TWRA would not comment on the specific allegations in the filing, but said its data was solid).
Inflation Reduction Act charges positive clean-energy results in Southeast
KNOXVILLE — This month marks the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, the most significant clean energy and climate action legislation in U.S. history, and our region is already seeing massive economic benefits. Consider this: just one year into the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), four Southeastern states rank in the top 10 nationally for new clean energy investments:
- Georgia: $18.83 billion with 22 new major clean energy projects, the 2nd most in the nation
- South Carolina: $11.71 billion with 20 new major clean energy projects,
the 3rd most in the nation
- Tennessee: $5.76 billion with 13 new major clean energy projects, the 6th most in the nation
- North Carolina: $9.61 billion with 9 new major clean energy projects, the 10th most in the nation
- Florida: $503 million with 5 new major clean energy projects
The Southeast will also be a leading hub for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing with more than 60,000 announced jobs, according to SACE's fourth annual Transportation Electrification in the Southeast report, produced with Atlas Public Policy, which will be published next Wednesday, September 6. The report also shows that Georgia leads all states in the country for announced EV manufacturing jobs. Join us for the webinar on September 6 at 11:00 a.m. ET to hear more highlights of the report.
While the economic growth numbers from the first year of the IRA are encouraging, the real impacts will be measured by the people and communities that will benefit from the transition to clean energy.
— Southern Alliance for Clean Energy