ES Initiatives (35)
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!
Take a moment at a wayside to think of African Americans in the Great Smokies
GATLINBURG — Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials unveiled two new waysides at Mingus Mill on May 23 as part of the larger African American Experiences in the Smokies project.
“The new signs and the African American Experiences in the Smokies project are so important to tell the untold stories of Black people in the region,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.
Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and poet Eric Mingus performed a new piece of music that speaks to and of Mingus Mill, its location, and the people who lived there, including his ancestors. A Santa Fe-based musician, Eric has recently re-connected with his family’s story that is rooted in the park through the African American Experiences in the Smokies project. Eric is descended from Daniel Mingus, a formerly enslaved carpenter, and Clarinda Mingus, the daughter of Daniel’s enslaver.
Hellbender Press previously reported on the Smokies project.
One of the new waysides tells the story of the nearby Enloe Slave Cemetery, where several African Americans are interred. The other wayside tells the story of Eric’s father, legendary jazz bassist Charles Mingus Jr., and his family.
The African American Experiences in the Smokies project is supported by the Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains Association, which help fund research of the historic presence and influence of African Americans in the southern Appalachian Mountains from the 1540s through today.
— National Park Service
Updated: Land-use debate in New Market highlights painful choices facing farmers and the publicWritten by Ben Pounds
Nonprofit’s plan to purchase equestrian property faced opposition but raised important future farmland issues
UPDATE: The Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission rejected the proposal for a KARM facility citing zoning restrictions. Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries may still bring the proposal to the Jefferson County Board of Zoning Appeals.
NEW MARKET — Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries plans to purchase River Glen, a storied equestrian facility in Jefferson County, to eventually help disadvantaged clients overcome substance-abuse issues and societal disparities.
The proposal has detractors, but proponents cast it as a way to also ensure the continued operation of an established working horse farm and long-term site of equestrian events, especially dressage. The horses could even provide therapy.
The New Market debate also raises questions about aging U.S. farmers and ultimate disposition of their agricultural lands.
President and Chief Executive Officer of KARM Danita McCartney said her group plans to purchase 185 acres. In addition to its show-worthy horse facilities, the property borders the Holston River and retains a significant amount of forest along the river and sharp ridge lines.
The property’s owner, Bill Graves, spoke highly of the potential new owners and said he was selling the land largely because he wanted to retire from running the business.
The Jefferson County Planning Commission planned to discuss the nonprofit’s plan for the site at a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 23 at the Courthouse at 202 W. Main St. in Dandridge.
- new market
- river glen
- river glen land use debate
- equestrian facilities in east tennessee
- horses and economy
- dressage in east tennessee
- knoxville area rescue ministries
- horse farm transition
- mattalyn rogers dressage
- knoxville dressage
- horse farms and environmental preservation
- mattalyn rogers horse trainer
- horse therapy east tennessee
- katie fleenor
- foothills land conservancy
- bill clabough
David Etnier, a legendary chronicler and advocate for lesser-known regional fish, dies at 84Written by Ben Pounds
Etnier left behind a legacy of research and ambitious students
KNOXVILLE — Dr. David Etnier, a professor at the University of Tennessee internationally known for his research on freshwater fishes and caddis flies, died May 17 at the age of 84.
Etnier, known as “Ets” to his students, joined the UT faculty in 1965 and retired in 2001. Three aquatic insect species he helped discover are named after him, and those are just three of the more than 410 insect species he helped discover.
Quaff some brews and pour some out on Endangered Species Day
Friday, May 19 is Endangered Species Day. Not just in Knoxville. The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act by releasing a collection of stamps featuring endangered animals and fishes. All 4,000 of the Endangered Species Limited Edition Collector's Sets are already sold out, but other collector items are still available. The fish were photographed by Joel Sartore, a friend of local nonprofit Conservation Fisheries. His National Geographic Photo Ark collection also features boulder darters, which are native to the Elk River in Middle Tennessee and have been federally listed as endangered since 1988.
Here’s another link to the celebration: Endangered Species Day in the Old City.
Join in various festivities, ranging from Riverside Tattoo Flash Day to Pint Night at Merchants of Beer to honor those critters who may not be with us much longer.
KUB and SACE provide a guide to a home efficiency uplift
KNOXVILLE — Are you looking to take control of your utility bills to not only save money but also breathe easier knowing your home is healthier and more comfortable? Join us this Wednesday, May 17, from 6-8 PM for a free workshop to learn about newly available, once-in-a-generation funding, resources, and rebates that everyone can benefit from, regardless of if you own or rent your home, or if you have high or low income, through local and federal funds.
KUB is providing free (yes, free) home energy improvements for income-eligible customers through the Home Uplift program. New or repaired HVAC units, attic and wall insulation, appliances, and electric water heaters are just a few of the home energy upgrades that you may receive. Plus, professional crews are ready and waiting to do the work so you don’t have to.
— Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Townsend citizens protest proposed resort development
WATE: Developers request delay in approval for controversial Smokies development
TOWNSEND — Yonder Hospitality is facing backlash as the company proposes to develop a new resort. More than 100 people showed up at the planning commission meeting on Thursday, May 11 to protest the development. Local residents do not feel the new resort fits in with the local landscape and will add even more congestion to the area. Representatives of Yonder Hospitality requested the planning commission delay the vote to rezone the area until June.
The development proposal includes 27.6 acres of commercial land off Lamar Alexander Parkway as well as some residential parcels, which will need to be rezoned. The resort includes 130 cabins, 36 RV parking spaces, a drive-in movie theater, dining area and a resort style pool and hot tubs.
The petition to thwart the development already has 1,000 signatures.
Knox County Parks & Recreation has cleared at least 12 miles of a planned 44-mile blueway. Get on the water and enjoy it.
Who wouldn’t want to canoe down the beautiful Knox County Water Trail? Well you don’t have to wait. On May 20, 2023 you can join the Float the Beaver trip.
All event proceeds are dedicated to the continued improvements on Beaver Creek including debris clearing, creek bed cleanup, and installation of public access docks.
The Knox County Water Trail project was officially started in 2020 by Mayor Glenn Jacobs establishing this 44-mile stretch of navigable water which stretches from Clayton Park in Halls to Melton Hill in Harden Valley. The initiative is focused on clearing and caring for the area to ensure navigable waters.
Chestnut researchers rally to fight the blight for good
Chestnut trees disappeared from 200 million acres of forest from northeast Mississippi to southern Maine 100 years ago. The social and ecological significance of such an event, which led to the loss of at least 1 billion trees, can be hard to understand today.
The massive die-off of the American chestnut left a big hole in the ecological fabric of Southern Appalachia and beyond. The tree dominated the forests in size and in the ecological and human services it provided.
While no tree could fully substitute an American chestnut in providing food for wildlife, naturally increasing acorn production from oaks served as a major food source bridge for wild turkey, bobwhite, white-tailed deer and squirrels. The oaks helped fill in the so-called “chestnut gap.”
Try as they might, the oaks never produced the same bountiful harvest.
Now with the work of the 3BUR (Breeding, Biotechnology and Biocontrol United for Restoration) the fight to protect the American chestnut and restore it to the throne of the forest is again in motion.
Enviros cheer new Biden plan to limit fossil pollution
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on May 11 proposed new carbon pollution standards for coal and gas-fired power plants to protect public health and reduce harmful pollutants.
EPA’s proposed standards are expected to deliver up to $85 billion in climate and public health benefits over the next two decades and avoid up to 617 million metric tons of total carbon dioxide (CO2) through 2042.
EPA estimates that in 2030 alone, the proposed standards will prevent more than 300,000 asthma attacks; 38,000 school absence days; 1,300 premature deaths; 38,000 school absence days; and 66,000 lost work days.
Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy: “Individuals and communities across the country are doing whatever they can to protect against the immense dangers of climate pollution and are depending on the federal government to do the same. Federal limits on climate pollution from power plants are a critically needed and long overdue protection for public health and the environment.
“We will be reviewing the proposal and hope that the proposal hits the mark in giving our communities the safeguards they need from deadly fossil pollution.”
EPA will be taking comments on these proposals for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
As their twilight approaches, elders supercharge climate action on behalf of future generations
This story was originally published by The Revelator. Eduardo Garcia is a New York-based climate journalist. A native of Spain, he has written about climate solutions for Thomson Reuters, The New York Times, Treehugger and Slate. He is the author of Things You Can Do: How to Fight Climate Change and Reduce Waste, an illustrated book about reducing personal carbon footprints.
Thousands of senior Americans took to the streets in March in 30 states to demand that the country’s major banks divest from fossil fuels.
This “rocking chair rebellion” — organized by Third Act, a fast-growing climate action group focused on older Americans — shows that Baby Boomers are becoming a new force in the climate movement.
Third Act cofounder Bill McKibben, who joined a Washington, D.C., protest, says it’s unfair to put all the weight of climate activism on the shoulders of young people. It’s time for older Americans to take a central role.
“Young people don’t have the structural power necessary to make changes,” McKibben tells The Revelator. “But old people do. There are 70 million Americans over the age of 60. Many of us vote, we’re politically engaged, and have a lot of financial resources. So if you want to press either the political system or the financial system, older people are a useful group to have.”
- environmental activism
- climate action
- climate change
- the revelator
- eduardo garcia
- climate activist
- bill mckibben
- third act
- how to fight climate change
- bank funding for fossil fuels
- divest from bank supporting fossil fuel
- rocking chair rebellion
- karl andrew pillemer
- cornell university
- elders climate action
- this is what we did
- climate pac
- baby boomer environmental activist
Computer-based milking methods offer the best cream of the crop
WALLAND — The University of Tennessee is using a new automated system to milk cows in the hope it’s easier on the animals than previous mechanized techniques.
It’s the newest feature of the UT AgResearch and Education Center’s Little River Animal and Environmental Unit at 3229 Ellejoy Road in Blount County.
As part of the unveiling of the equipment on May 2, visitors watched a cow on video walk through a ribbon to reach the new machines.
The milking machines, developed by Netherlands-based Lely Corporation, allow for cattle to walk up to the machines voluntarily to get special food in what a UT news release called a more “stress-free environment.”
The Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail gets you down with Southern Appalachian fish
ASHEVILLE — Snorkeling and looking at freshwater fish are great ways to enjoy Southern streams, and visitors to Western North Carolina will soon have better access to it courtesy of North Carolina Snorkel Trail. Stream access points in numerous locations will boast signs about snorkeling, safety and fish identification.
The concept began with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Mountain Habitat Conservation Coordinator Andrea Leslie, and Luke Etchison of the Western Region Inland Fisheries Division, which surveys aquatic animals by snorkeling. This allows them to look at populations of fish, crayfish and mussels.
Leslie told Hellbender Press she wants to encourage snorkeling tourism because people love streams, waterfalls and swimming. The sights below the waterline may be less familiar to the general public.
Southern mountain streams have fish as vibrant and exciting as the Caribbean Sea.
Knoxville trees need a canopy of support
KNOXVILLE — Trees Knoxville wants to hear from residents to help develop an Urban Forest Master Plan that considers the city’s unique challenges, priorities, and opportunities. A successful plan will help Knoxville preserve, grow and care for trees, which play a significant role in public health and environmental health.
Upcoming opportunities to learn more and provide feedback:
May 4, 6-7:30 p.m.
Urban Trees Virtual Open House
If you haven’t attended an in-person event, this virtual option may fit your schedule. Learn about the urban tree canopy and provide your thoughts and perspective on what Knoxville needs. Participants will need to preregister online to receive the link to the virtual workshop.
May 11, 4-7 p.m.
Urban Trees Open House
616 Jessamine Street
Trees in cities are vital to human health, especially as the climate warms. What does Knoxville need? Come to this open-house-style event to learn more and add your two cents. Trees Knoxville will give 15-minute presentations at 5 and 6 p.m. Attendees will learn more about the Urban Forest Master Plan process and how to engage neighbors, friends and other residents who value trees in this important process.
Invite Trees Knoxville to your meeting! Go to KnoxvilleTreePlan.org to schedule a presentation.
Online Survey. If none of these engagement options work, fill out the online survey at Knoxville Tree Plan to make sure your voice is heard.
Learn more at Knoxville Tree Plan, and find additional community event listings at Knoxville Tree Plan Get Involved.
Trees Knoxville was formed in 2016 and grew out of the community’s deep appreciation for trees and their many benefits. Its mission is to expand the urban canopy on both public and private land throughout Knox County. Trees Knoxville is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees, educating people, and promoting the health and well-being of our community and our environment in Knoxville and Knox County.
— City of Knoxville
Glass jars aren’t just for moonshine anymore
KNOXVILLE — The city now has a store where walk-in customers can buy refillable household products.
“Zero waste” is commonly heard around concerts, festivals and Earth Day events, but now it is easier to make it a daily priority.
KnoxFill opened a 1,600-square-foot store April 8 in South Knoxville at 3211 South Haven Road.
The company uses reusable glass containers for purchasing common household goods such as shampoo and detergent, like the way you might buy bulk foods. Hellbender Press previously reported on this business.
Their products are eco-sourced. The idea is if a container is not reused, it will either be landfilled, incinerated, end up as litter, or recycled, which has its own set of issues. That’s on the back side of the waste stream. Refillable glass containers also combat pollution and waste on the front side by eliminating the petrochemicals needed to produce and ship all the plastic containers needed for consumer products in the first place.
Prior to opening her store, owner Michaela Barnett provided her goods and services via the “milkman” method. She would refill the bottles at home and then deliver them to her customers.
“The milkman system was very labor intensive; we could never have the impact and scale we now have without a brick-and-mortar store,” she said.