13 Climate Action (43)
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Honoring Our Universal Roots on JuneteenthWritten by GreyW
Hot weather doesn’t always equal evidence of climate change, but the puzzle is almost completeWritten by JJ Stambaugh
TVA sets record power day for June as region swelters and common sense degrades
This story was originally published by Hard Knox Wire.
KNOXVILLE — City residents this week joined scores of others around the world — from the Southwest United States to the Indian subcontinent — sweltering through late spring with eyes toward a summer that portends to be very hot.
Whether directly attributed to climate change or not, the heat waves are causing untold misery in locations across the Northern Hemisphere, straining power grids to the brink and causing a sharp rise in heat-related illnesses.
Knoxville Utilities Board asked this week that consumers curtail their electricity use by setting their thermostats a little higher and holding off until night on energy-sucking tasks like doing laundry or running the dishwasher. That request was met in many cases with derision and unsubstantiated claims that charging electric vehicles had overburdened energy infrastructure.
So exactly how hot is it in East Tennessee and how bad is it going to get?
Invasive insects are among the vanguard of noticeable climate changes in America’s most-visited national park
GATLINBURG — Ants scurry beneath the carpet of last year’s leaves in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The native ants are busy spreading the seeds of violets and bloodroot, preparing a new carpet of spring wildflowers to draw thousands of visitors.
But the local insects aren’t alone under there. They have become prey to venomous Asian needle ants that also prowl the leaf litter.
These invaders dine on termites, other ants and insects, while stealing habitat from them. Unlike invasive fire ants, needle ants can live in pristine forests and build large colonies with hundreds of queens. But like fire ants, needle ants have a painful sting that can trigger an allergic reaction.
Climate change is expected to make it easier for invasive species like needle ants to upset the delicate balance of this temperate rainforest full of rare plants and animals. That’s just one example.
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Keeping energy inside: Grant to install 3-D printed walls at Knoxville’s oldest public housing complexWritten by S. Heather Duncan
Energy-efficiency upgrades based on ORNL walls set for Knoxville public housing
KNOXVILLE — A city public housing project almost a century old is going to receive 3-D printed energy efficiency upgrades thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will partner with Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation to retrofit eight to 12 buildings at Western Heights using 3-D printed exterior “overclad” panels equipped with heat pumps and heat recovery systems. The Boys & Girls Club building at Five Points in Morningside will receive the same treatment.
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Shut up and get on the bus
KNOXVILLE — Everyone needs to be everywhere at once: School, work, the grocery story, the mall and back home.
Locked into a society run by time, we tend to prefer methods of transportation that make for the quickest journey from place to place.
The modern car, usually powered by gasoline, provides individuals with quick transportation, which saves time. Private transportation embodies convenience.
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Citizens and scientists weigh in on controversial TWRA logging plan
For months, Tennessee Lookout has bird-dogged a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency proposal to clear at least 1,000 acres of hardwood forest in the Bridgestone Centennial Wildlife Reserve in White County to create habitat for dwindling bobwhite quail.
Hellbender Press has published most of the stories, with much appreciation to Tennessee Lookout. Most recently, the online news outlet reported that legal hurdles had been cleared to allow TWRA to proceed, at least for now, with its game-bird reintroduction plans at the expense of acres of approximately 65-year-old hardwood forest.
Though it was not Hellbender’s original reporting, on our end the social media response to the articles has been thoughtful and reasoned — with, of course, occasional disagreements among commenters. With permission from the posters, I’ve compiled an edited and abridged recitation of some comments, which were too good to languish in the social media ether.
Legal opinion cuts path for TWRA forest clearing in White County’s Bridgestone wilderness area despite local opposition
This story was originally published by Tennessee Lookout.
A controversial plan by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials to clearcut forest in a popular hunting, hiking and recreation area in order to create habitat for Northern bobwhite quail has gotten a legal go-ahead, despite opposition from residents and local leaders in White County, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and environmental groups.
The 16,000-acre Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness Area, a forested area adjacent to Fall Creek Falls State Park and Virgin Falls State Natural Area, was a late 1990’s gift to the state from the tire company that came with certain strings attached, including that state officials “preserve the property predominantly in its present condition as a wilderness area.”
The Tennessee Wildlife Federation was charged with ensuring the state honors those conditions.
On Friday, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation confirmed that outside legal counsel hired to review the state’s clearcutting plan found it “meets the requirements” of the gift.
“Speaking broadly as a conservation nonprofit, we have supported throughout our 75-year history the science-based, proactive management of lands to maintain or restore diverse habitats and diverse wildlife,” Kate Hill, a Tennessee Wildlife Federation spokeswoman, said via email. “The fact is savannas are an endangered habitat in the Southeast that were once common and provided essential habitat to many species across Tennessee.”
Neither the Tennessee Wildlife Federation nor the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has communicated the outcome of the legal review to local residents, who have complained for months that they have been kept in the dark and offered no meaningful opportunity to weigh in on plans to radically alter a landscape that is both beloved and central to the local economy.
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(Remember this?) Report: Sen. Joe Manchin, a holdout Democrat on climate-change legislation, is a “coal baron”
The Guardian: Manchin monkey-wrenches climate change legislation because he’s made millions off fossil fuels
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, the Democratic linchpin for game-changing climate legislation proposed in a budget bill as part of the Biden administration’s plan to provide aid to families as well as give a boost to efforts to reduce global warming, has thrown a now-infamous wrench in the works.
He has vigorously opposed key parts of the climate legislation included in the 2022 budget bill. Per the Guardian, it’s simply because he and his family have made a fortune off coal extraction in the relatively impoverished state of West Virginia and elsewhere.
“Financial records detailed by reporter Alex Kotch for the Center for Media and Democracy and published in the Guardian show that Manchin makes roughly half a million dollars a year in dividends from millions of dollars of coal company stock he owns. The stock is held in Enersystems, Inc, a company Manchin started in 1988 and later gave to his son, Joseph, to run,” according to the Guardian.
“He has already effectively succeeded in stripping the bill of its most powerful climate change provision, a program that would have rapidly shut down coal and gas-fired power plants and replaced them with wind and solar power,” according to the New York Times.
Tennessee Lookout: (Part II) Thick covey of opposition to TWRA quail management at expense of mature hardwood forestWritten by Anita Wadhwani
Hundreds of citizens publicly reject TWRA Middle Tennessee deforestation plans
This story was originally published by the nonprofit Tennessee Lookout and is shared (with much appreciation) with Hellbender Press via Creative Commons License.
Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency faced considerable pushback Monday night (Oct. 4) at a public meeting in Sparta over plans to raze old growth forest in a popular hunting and recreation area located about halfway between Nashville and Knoxville.
A standing room-only crowd of more than 200 people filled the town’s small civic center to hear directly from state officials about what had been — until now — an unpublicized internal agency plan to clear forest on public lands in the Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness Area to create grassland habitat for northern bobwhite quail, a game bird whose populations have plummeted in Tennessee.
Varied environmental groups offer unified plea for clean energy, coal ash management and accountability from TVA
It was people power generating energy at Market Square in downtown Knoxville on Wednesday.
A coalition of civic and environmental groups and their representatives met at the bottom of the two Tennessee Valley Authority towers urging the public utility to reopen meetings to public comment; swear off all fossil fuels by 2030; and carefully tend to the needs of those affected by coal ash and devise a plan to contain it for the safety of current and future generations.
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NPR: Dangerous Fire Season Ahead
The western U.S. is in the midst of a 20-year mega-drought
Read about it or listen to Randy Simon’s 2-minutedrought podcast on National Public Radio’s Earth Wise web page.
Clean air activists praise TVA’s coal decision; warn it’s not enough to meet climate goalsWritten by Thomas Fraser
SACE: TVA must also wean itself off natural gas and nuclear reliance
As previously reported by Hellbender Press, Tennessee Valley Authority plans to shut down its five remaining coal plants by 2050 and pursue a carbon-neutral future.
TVA board members spoke favorably of the decision at its regular meeting on Thursday.
“TVA CEO Jeff Lyash shared a vision of how TVA will continue to support the Valley for years to come with a commitment to sustainability. The board also endorsed a strategic focus on decarbonization and a commitment to providing a reliable, low-cost energy supply as TVA moves into the future,” according to a statement released Thursday by TVA.
“TVA leadership issued a Strategic Intent and Guiding Principles document to provide direction for developing business strategies that provide reliable, resilient, low-cost and clean energy to the region. View the Executive Summary of the document.
“TVA’s new Carbon Report outlines TVA’s commitment and path to reduce carbon in the coming years without compromising the reliability and low rates the Valley has come to expect. The report outlines TVA’s leadership today in carbon reduction, our plan to achieve 70 percent reduction by 2030, our path to 80 percent reduction by 2035 and our aspiration to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050.”
Knoxville-based Southern Alliance for Clean Energy generally lauded TVA’s sustainability mission, but released the following detailed response Thursday afternoon:
“The agency’s intentions fall far short of the Biden Administration’s goal of decarbonizing the nation’s electric grid by 2035, a timeframe recommended by scientists to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
In historic move, Tennessee Valley Authority finally swears off coal; are power replacements up in the air?Written by Thomas Fraser
“Our intelligence and flexibility as a society will be tested as the financial and industrial giants all figure out what they’re going to do.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority intends to phase out its aging fleet of coal plants by 2035, potentially replacing the age-old carbon-rich power source with increased use of natural gas and refreshed, concentrated supplies of nuclear energy as the vast utility moves to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan emerged Wednesday, about a month after the Biden administration called on the U.S. power sector to eliminate pollutants linked to climate change by 2035.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is the largest public provider of electricity in the United States. It provides wholesale power to every major municipal provider in Tennessee, as well as other metropolitan areas and smaller utility districts and cooperatives within its seven-state service area.
It’s time we start wearing our hearts on our sleeves!
In the spirit of Thinking Globally, Acting Locally, consider what you can do to help Mother Earth and its inhabitants.
Adopting a more sustainable life style to reduce one’s personal ecological footprint is easier to wish for than to accomplish. Some measures that would reap a significant environmental benefit, such as making a home more energy efficient, may require a substantial investment of physical effort, time and money that will pay back over time only.
Deliberate choice of clothing, however, is a simple course of action for anyone to start making a big difference in social justice, climate impacts and environmental conservation.