ES Initiatives (32)
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!
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
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
Earth Day activities have cooled in Knoxville over the decades. The planet has not.
KNOXVILLE — It’s been 52 years since the modern environmental movement was born on what is now known around the world as Earth Day.
Now reckoned to be the world’s largest secular observance, Earth Day is the climax of Earth Week (April 16 to 22), which brings together an estimated billion people around the globe working to change human behavior and push for pro-environment economic and legislative action. This year’s theme is “Invest in the planet.”
Events marking Earth Day in Knoxville tend to vary in size and tone from year-to-year, with 2023 providing environmentally minded residents with a number of ways to celebrate Mother Earth.
Perhaps the most memorable of those years was the very first one, when one of the most important voices in the burgeoning environmental movement spoke on the University of Tennessee campus.
Jane Jacobs, who is now recognized as “the godmother of the New Urbanism movement,” gave a lecture to a crowd of nearly 200 people on the topic of “Man and His Environment” at the Alumni Memorial Hall, according to Jack Neely, who heads the Knoxville History Project.
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KNOXVILLE — Volunteer registration is open for the 34th Ijams River Rescue on Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A severe weather date is set for Saturday, April 22.
Ijams Nature Center’s annual event removes tons of trash and tires from sites along the Tennessee River and its creek tributaries. Sites are typically located in Knox, Anderson, Blount and Loudon counties.
“During this cleanup, between 500-1,000 volunteers come together to make a tangible, positive difference in their community,” Ijams Development Director Cindy Hassil said. “It’s eye-opening to participate because you really get to see what ends up in our waterways. Hopefully it makes people more aware of how they dispose of trash and recyclables, and inspires them to look for ways to reduce the amount of waste they create.”
There are cleanup sites on land, along the shoreline (boots/waders recommended) and on the water (personal kayaks/canoes required).
Volunteers will receive a free T-shirt featuring a great blue heron designed by Stephen Lyn Bales. This year’s event shirt, created by Allmade®, uses an average of six recycled water bottles for 50 percent of its content. The remainder is 25 percent organic cotton and 25% modal.
Potential volunteers can learn more and sign up for a site at Ijams.org/ijams-river-rescue. Slots fill on a first-come, first-served basis and typically book quickly. The deadline to register is April 1, or until all slots have been filled.
Groups from scout troops, churches and other organizations may sign up to do a particular site together. All members of a group must register individually to complete a waiver and provide personal contact information should Ijams need to communicate with all volunteers at a particular site.
Site captains will be stationed at each site. Bags, gloves and other supplies will be provided.
The 34th annual Ijams River Rescue is made possible by Tennessee Valley Authority, Allmade, City of Knoxville Stormwater Engineering, Dow, Nothing Too Fancy, Dominion Group, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Vulcan Materials Company, Commercial Metals Company, Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, Old Sevier District, Tailwater Properties, and Waste Connections of Tennessee. Other supporters include CAC AmeriCorps, Responsible Stewardship, Thompson Engineering’s Thompson Foundation, and Water Quality Forum.
Responsible Stewardship also will be conducting a multi-site cleanup of Watts Bar Lake in Roane, Rhea and Meigs counties on April 15.
— Cindy Hassil, Ijams Nature Center
Get a free virtual science lesson in the Smokies this Thursday
A rundown about science efforts in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is set for March 2.
You can learn about myriad scientific studies ongoing in the Smokies from the comfort of your own home.
The park and Discover Life in America are presenting this virtual event from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Register for free on Zoom.
Attendees will “learn about a wide variety of scientific topics, from natural history and weather to geology and more, from researchers currently working in the Smokies,” according to an announcement from DLIA.
The schedule is likely to change, but a tentative schedule is available on the DLIA website.
— Ben Pounds
The Tennessee Valley Chapter of The Wild Ones is accepting registrations for the spring workshop and symposium at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga University Center, set for March 17 and 18.
The nature journaling workshop is Friday afternoon, March 17, and will be conducted by Jannise Ray, author of “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood.”
The symposium takes place on March 18. Speakers include:
- A keynote address by Thomas Ranier, landscape architect and author of Planting in a Post-Wild World.His talk is titled “The Residential Garden in a Post-Pandemic World.”
- Janisse Ray, Author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, will give a talk titled “Why the Climate Needs Trees and Why Every Tree Counts.”
- Kristen Wickert, Social Media Educator, and Plant Pathologist, will speak on “Fungi and their Relationship with Plants.”
- Leslie Edwards, the author of The Natural Communities of Georgia, speaking on the Fascinating Communities of NE Georgia and SE Tennessee: From Sandstone Cliffs to Cedar Glades.
- Adam Bigelow, owner, and operator of Bigelow’s Botanical Excursions, speaking on “Native Plants for the Vegetable Garden.”
The Wild Ones will hold their Native Plant Sale and Expo at the First Horizon Pavilion on March 25. Ten regional native plant nurseries will participate, along with several local and regional exhibitors and vendors. Food will be available from food trucks.
The Wild Ones is a national organization focused on native plants and natural landscaping. The Tennessee Valley Chapter is organized in Southeast Tennessee.
— Ray Zimmerman
(Quick update): Orange STEM: UT links East Tennessee students with Science, Technical, Engineering and Math studiesWritten by JJ Stambaugh
The TN Lunabotics, science and sustainability get together at BOSS event
Updated March 2023 with notes from a reader:
My name is Allison, and I am a teaching volunteer with Students For Research. I am reaching out because our class found your website very useful while researching STEM resources that can help students discover the various aspects of science, technology, engineering and math. Many of our current students are interested in learning more about how topics associated with STEM work, especially in relation to online research, either for school or for their future careers. Your website ended up being featured by our students, so we wanted to notify you and say thank you!
As a part of the assignment, one of our students, Becky, did some research on her own time and found this informative page for more STEM using this resource. The team found it helpful as it provided guidance on how libraries can introduce children to STEM and continue to provide resources as they progress through their education.
I was hoping you would be able to include this resource on your website, even if it's only for a short time. I think your other visitors might find it helpful, and it also helps our group of students cite appropriate resources and stay engaged whenever outreach yields positive feedback everyone can see. Please let me know if you would be willing to add it so I can share the exciting news with Sophie and the rest of her fellow students. I appreciate your help!
KNOXVILLE — What do environmental, social and economic sustainability have in common?
There are numerous ways to answer that question, but for those who pay close attention to education or economics it’s an accepted fact that the future belongs to societies that invest heavily in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
That’s why educators at all levels are pushing students towards those subjects at every opportunity, as was evidenced Jan. 21 at Big Orange STEM Saturday (BOSS) at the University of Tennessee.
About 150 high school students picked from communities across East Tennessee spent much of their Saturday at John C. Hodges Library, getting a first-hand taste of what awaits them should they choose to pursue careers in STEM through the UT system.
As demand for electric vehicles soars, several roadblocks have emerged
This article was originally published by The Revelator.
Manufacturers, governments and consumers are lining up behind electric vehicles — with sales rising 60% in 2022, and at least 17 states are considering a California-style ban on gas cars in the years ahead. Scientists say the trend is a key part of driving down the transportation sector’s carbon emissions, which could fall by as much as 80% by 2050 under aggressive policies. But while EVs are cleaner than gas cars in the long run, they still carry environmental and human-rights baggage, especially associated with mining.
“If you want a lot of EVs, you need to get minerals out of the ground,” says Ian Lange, director of the Energy and Economics Program at the Colorado School of Mines.
City kicks off ambitious project to expand the tree canopy that benefits us all
KNOXVILLE — The people in this city sure seem to love their trees.
There is at least one tree for every two people who live within the city limits, but officials say they want to add even more over the next 20 years.
How many should be planted is currently up in the air, as is the right mix of species and where they should go.
Those are just some of the questions that will be answered in coming months as the Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan is developed by officials from the city and the non-profit group Trees Knoxville in conjunction with several other agencies and interested citizens.
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Food myths hurt Mother Earth
The average American family of four annually spends more than $2,000 on food they never eat!
Nearly one in nine people suffer from hunger worldwide.
Agriculture contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and soil degradation.
Climate change increases crop losses.
One third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted.
It’s not just the food that’s wasted.
Consider the energy wasted to grow, process and transport it.
That all contributes to climate change, food shortages and to the rising costs of food, energy and health care.
Food waste stresses our environment, humanity and the economy.
People are restoring native plants on their properties. You should, too.
‘There are a lot of messes out there and this is something that you can do right at home that has a positive effect.’
KNOXVILLE — If you want to help native wildlife and attract it to your yard, plant some native plants and kick back on your porch and watch them grow. That’s a good place to start.
That’s the message from Native Plant Rescue Squad founders Gerry Moll and Joy Grissom.
People walking by Moll’s garden in the Fourth and Gill neighborhood off Broadway just north of the city center will see tall plants; not hedges or other foreign plants, but various short trees and native flowers. It looks like an explosion of growth on both sides of the sidewalk, but it’s not chaos.
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Citizen scientists are taking stock in Smokies, and the inventory keeps increasingWritten by Thomas Fraser
This story was provided by Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Next demonstration on Thursday, Oct. 20
GATLINBURG — Great Smoky Mountains National Park is celebrating the success of a community science project led by nonprofit partner Discover Life in America (DLiA) called Smokies Most Wanted. The initiative encourages visitors to record life they find in the park through the iNaturalist nature app. DLiA and the park use these data points to map species range, track exotic species, and even discover new kinds of life in the park.
“iNaturalist usage in the Smokies has skyrocketed from just four users in 2011, to 3,800 in 2020, to now more than 7,100 users,” said Will Kuhn, DLIA’s director of science and research.
In August, the project reached a milestone, surpassing 100,000 records of insects, plants, fungi, and other Smokies life submitted through the app. Among them are 92 new species not previously seen in the park.
Hellbent Profile: If you pollute the Tennessee River, Chris Irwin is coming for youWritten by Thomas Fraser
From the courthouse to the river, Chris Irwin strives for purity
This is the first installment of an occasional series, Hellbent, profiling citizens who work to preserve and improve the Southern Appalachian environment.
KNOXVILLE — Chris Irwin scarfed some french fries and drank a beer and told me about his plans to save the Tennessee River.
We sat at a riverside restaurant downtown between the bridges. Not even carp came up to eat a stray fry, but a mallard family hit the free starch hard.
I asked him what he saw as we looked out over the river in the still heat of late summer.
“You know what I don’t see?” he said. “People swimming.” It was truth. Nobody was fishing either, in the heart of a metro area pushing a million people. Signs warning against swimming and fishing weren’t readily visible, but he said an instinctive human revulsion likely makes such warnings unnecessary.
“We all know it’s an industrial drainage ditch.”
Wild animals just aren’t that into you. Give them space or suffer the consequences.Written by Jennifer Weeks
Please don’t feed or get attacked by the animals
This story was originally published by The Conversation.
Millions of Americans enjoy observing and photographing wildlife near their homes or on trips. But when people get too close to wild animals, they risk serious injury or even death. It happens regularly, despite the threat of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.
These four articles from The Conversation’s archive offer insights into how wild animals view humans and how our presence affects nearby animals and birds — plus a scientist’s perspective on what’s wrong with wildlife selfies.
Knoxville is a great city to recycleWritten by Hellbender Press
Recycling rates are at a high, but challenges remain
This article was provided by city of Knoxville Deputy Communications Director Eric Vreeland.
KNOXVILLE — How do city residents do recycling? Successfully, enthusiastically and smartly, according to two measurements:
— Nearly 55 percent of eligible households are now signed up for curbside recycling, which is an all-time high representing about 33,000 families.
— A Feb. 11, 2022 analysis found that non-recyclable materials make up only 16.8 percent of what goes into Knoxville curbside recycling carts. That’s better than the national average of 25 percent.
Please don’t wage chemical warfare on these busy bees
KNOXVILLE — Old George Harvey lived two houses upstream from where I grew up on Baskins Creek in Gatlinburg. He had a strange obsession. Using empty jars, Old George would catch bees he found on the flowers and gardens around his house, screw on the lid and line the jars up on a ledge inside his screened-in porch. He’d then watch the bees die.
We kids thought it was odd and cruel. We’d plot slipping into his porch and freeing all the bees like Elliot freed the frogs from the classroom in the movie “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.”
Ancient river, new threats: Water quality officials declare 19 miles of French Broad River in NC impaired by pollutantsWritten by Jason Sandford
Booming construction and development, combined with more frequent heavy rains and an aging stormwater system, continue to threaten the age-old Appalachian river
This story was originally published by Jason Sandford of the Ashevegas Hot Sheet.
ASHEVILLE — North Carolina water quality officials declared a 19-mile section of the French Broad River in Buncombe County as officially “impaired” because of fecal coliform levels found during recent testing. It’s a sobering alarm bell (though there have been plenty of warning signs, as you’ll see below.) In Asheville, interest in the river as an economic force and tourist destination has never been higher. (The confluence of the French Broad and Holston rivers forms the Tennessee River above Knoxville.)
The designation will come as no surprise to even casual observers of the wide, northward-flowing river. Often, it runs a chocolate brown color, a clear sign of the sediment and other pollutants running through the waterway.
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Learn how to reduce food waste Saturday at Crafty Bastard Brewery
Paige Travis is a public information specialist for the city of Knoxville.
KNOXVILLE — The Waste and Resources Management Office invites the public to learn how to reduce food waste and drink a special brew Saturday, April 9 at the culmination of Tennessee Food Waste Awareness Week.
“The city of Knoxville is committed to reducing the amount of food waste that we put into our landfill,” said Waste and Resources Manager Patience Melnik, whose department recently launched the Knoxville Compost Pilot Project.
Hellbender Press previously reported on efforts to reduce food waste at the University of Tennessee.
Erich Henry and Julia Konkel anchor East Tennessee soil
MARYVILLE — The Dust Bowl was a time of extreme drought in the Southern Plains in the 1930s. The dry topsoil whipped by winds created the infamous “bowl of dust.” It polluted the air and made it nearly impossible to grow crops or maintain livestock.
East Tennessee gets more rain than the Southern Plains but regional farmers to this day unknowingly use bad agricultural practices.
Blount County Soil Conservation District’s Director Erich Henry doesn’t want history to repeat itself.
Knoxville to citizens: ’Post up!Written by Thomas Fraser
City announces plan to encourage composting by residents and businesses
KNOXVILLE — What do you do with your meatless leftover food scraps?
Sometimes here at Hellbender Press global headquarters in South Knox we throw them in the yard for winter critters; occasionally sneak some to the dogs; bury them in the vegetable garden; or sometimes slip them into the relatively unused backyard composter by the cat graves way in the back.
It seems such a waste to throw it away or even produce it in the first place, and centralized landfill food scraps spew methane and linger for years. It’s a big gnarly stewpot.
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