The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia
17 Partnerships for the Goals

17 Partnerships for the Goals (10)

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Monday, 27 November 2023 01:17


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Everyone makes a difference

The EarthSolidarity! (ES!) project is building a regional portal and model program that will support community members in developing strong individual and cooperative initiatives to adopt more sustainable and resilient ways of consumption, production, operation, interaction and exchange.

ES! initiatives may range from the personal to the global level

The action emphasis focuses on local or regional implementation, yet not without a clear awareness and idea of how it will contribute to the solution of a concerning planetary problem.

By following the Think Globally, Act Locally ethos of solidarity with Mother Earth, all its people and all other forms of life, participants can identify immediate, practical, locally adapted opportunities to achieve more effective improvements than governmental mandates could and would.

Averting planetary catastrophes

For decades, concerned citizens have urged governments to take action preventing global environmental crises. With minimal success!

With every day it becomes clearer how we are already engulfed in an incipient polycrisis.

It is high time for everyone to do their best by themselves as well as with their family, neighbors, coworkers and everyone else they can motivate and engage!

Hellbender Press provides background information on local and regional issues. It emphasizes their implications for ecosystems and the global commons, and it highlights sustainable solutions.

Governmental regulations tend to be heavy-handed, cumbersome, difficult and slow to take effect. They often are too general to take advantage of unique local opportunities to do better and to avoid unanticipated hardships that could be effectively circumvented by stakeholder cooperation on the ground.

Last modified on Tuesday, 28 November 2023 01:14
Sunday, 22 October 2023 17:51

October 24 is United Nations Day

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united nations day


Despite strong US popular support for the UN, House Appropriations Bill wants to eliminate UN funding

NEW YORK — In a poll of nearly two thousand registered voters, 73% of respondents from across the political spectrum support America’s engagement with the United Nations.

Conducted by Morning Consult in August 2023, the survey finds that roughly two-thirds of Republicans and 86% of Democrats believe it’s important for the U.S. to “maintain an active role” in the UN.

UN favorability stood at 52%, with a plurality of Republicans saying they view the UN in a positive light.

More than half of all voters support paying full dues to the UN’s regular budget, and an even greater percentage (nearly 60%) are in favor of paying dues to the UN’s peacekeeping budget.

These numbers reflect similar nationwide data — including a 2023 survey by Pew Research — noting strong UN favorability among Americans.

What’s at stake?

The House budget proposal recommends eliminating funding for the UN regular budget — for the first time in history. That would cause the U.S. to lose its vote in the UN General Assembly!

Why that would be a grave and costly mistake is well explained by Jordie Hannum, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign.

This UN Day, make sure to tell your members of Congress that you support the UN’s mission.

Here are easy to follow help and sample scripts for your call and for leaving voice mail. Or, send them a customizable email message.

“As Congress considers making drastic cuts in U.S. contributions to the UN, this is a powerful reminder that Americans value the institution and want the U.S. to stay involved,” said Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign. “The UN is a critical space for the U.S. to demonstrate our global leadership and support our allies. Americans clearly understand that it’s in our best interest to nurture this vital relationship.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 November 2023 23:14

Creation Care Alliance announces the 2024 Winter Symposium


ASHEVILLE — The theme of our 2024 Creation Care Alliance Symposium is “Sacred Symbiosis: Relationships for Eco-Justice.” Our presentations, workshops and conversations will explore the relationships needed to build and nurture justice for all creation–human and non-human. We’re excited to dive in and learn together! 

Hosted at Montreat Conference Center in Black Mountain, the symposium will begin on Friday, February 2nd, with a full day of workshops and conversations and will run through Saturday, February 3rd.

Our keynote speaker, Mary Crow of Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), will speak on the 3rd.

Unlike past years, Friday and Saturday’s programs are open to all and will not be limited to clergy. We hope you join us! 

  • Early-bird discount. Register before December 4th to receive $15 off both days of the conference. If you attend both days, that is $30 savings!
  • Group discount. Groups of three or more people from the same congregation are eligible for the group discount of $10 off both days of the conference. If your group attends both days, that is a $20 discount per person. This offer is open until the close of registration on January 19th. The link for group discounts can be found on the symposium registration page (follow the below link). 
  • Student discount. If you are a current student, you can attend the symposium for a fraction of the cost ($20 on Friday and $30 on Saturday). We hope you will join us! 
Wednesday, 11 October 2023 15:05

APIEL 2023, Oct. 21 — the 14th Appalachian Public Interest and Environmental Law Conference

ELOlogoELO is a student-run organization at the University of Tennessee College of Law. It is not directly affiliated with the University of Tennesse or any particular non-profit organization. It is dedicated to providing students and attorneys with learning opportunities and leadership experiences.

Networking environmental leaders across Appalachia and the State of Tennessee

Knoxville — APIEL is a relative newcomer to the small circle of inclusive U.S. public interest environmental law conferences. Because it is organized by law school student volunteers, APIEL is affordable to attend for citizens from all walks of life. Students are free!

APIEL is much loved and considered essential by regional nonprofit leaders and activists. It is also highly acclaimed by seasoned environmental lawyers. With just 13 conferences under its belt, APIEL has risen to rank among leading peer conferences with a much longer track record, such as the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) at the University of Oregon School of Law (41 events), the Red Clay Conference at the University of Georgia School of Law (35) and the Public Interest Environmental Conference (PIEC) at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law (29).

Last modified on Monday, 23 October 2023 00:49

Southern Appalachians NASAThis photo of the Southern Appalachians was taken from 30,000 feet. “Notice how the clouds are parallel with the ridges below them. Wind near the surface blowing up the western slopes forms waves in the atmosphere. At the crest of the wave, over the ridge tops, the air has cooled sufficiently to condense into clouds. As this air descends toward the wave trough, it becomes slightly warmer and drier, inhibiting condensation.”  Seth Adams via NASA

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.

Last modified on Monday, 01 May 2023 14:15

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2021 economic numbers prove small parks have big impacts

ONEIDA — Both the Obed National Wild and Scenic River and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area offer wilderness options free of the hassles associated with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the country.

The Cumberland Plateau-area destinations continue to grow in popularity as more tourists seek solace in nature, a trend that began during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those tourists also spend millions of dollars in nearby rural communities, some of which face chronic economic challenges.

Last modified on Friday, 06 January 2023 22:16

iss064e028599The horizon over Argentina is seen in this image taken from the International Space Station.  NASA

Earth Day is every day, but it’s officially on Friday, April 22 this year. Get involved.

The 2022 observance of Earth Day is officially Friday, April 22, but the Knoxville area plans celebrations, work parties and seminars in honor of the 50-year-old annual recognition of Mother Nature through Saturday. Here’s a quick look at some local ways to love your mama. This list will be updated.

Last modified on Friday, 06 January 2023 22:39


Hellbender Press (Est. 1998) is ready to fight

We’ve got our sea legs after a maiden year-long digital voyage. Thanks to those who saw us through and made our latest digital endeavor a success.

Hellbender Press has a long way to go, and we hope y’all help push us along. Expect more news and features and an enhanced website moving forward.

The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia plans a main news dump every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but will update the site daily as possible, and when breaking news requires it.

Also stay tuned for regional environmental news on our social media at Facebook and Twitter.

We are working on an RSS/newsletter feature so you can digest the newest news bits at your leisure.

Big plans, but we need your help. Donations and grants to Hellbender Press are tax-deductible via Foundation for Global Sustainability, and we would love to feature your science, environment or natural history journalism, from the Cumberland Plateau to Chilhowee Mountain and Cataloochee. Hit us up via email at Hellbender Press if you want a platform for your work to advance science, truth, social justice and environmental conservation and preservation. Also hit us up with story ideas or news tips.

Please consider riding for the Hellbender brand as best you can.


Thanks to all who graciously shared their talents to get us under way, including everybody on the editorial board.

Here are the most-viewed stories since we went live in February 2021. It’s just a raw numbers rundown. It’s not weighted for social media vagaries, and many of the stories likely had more views than recorded.

It’s still a solid approximation of what you liked best. We appreciate you.


Last modified on Tuesday, 21 February 2023 00:29

Brace fishingA Knoxville man tries his hand at fly fishing in Abrams Creek during a family camping trip on the southwestern side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Thomas Fraser/Hellbender Press

Green begets green in Smokies region; Big South Fork and Cumberland Gap also economic players

Recent federal analysis of spending by national park visitors is a testament to the economic benefits of environmental protection, scientific study and outdoor recreation.

The 12.1 million visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2020 spent $1.024 billion in neighboring communities in both Tennessee and North Carolina, according to a study released this week by the National Park Service. Similar, localized releases were distributed into national park communities across the country.

Closer to home, that number represents the estimated visitor money spent in areas that include traditional “gateway” communities, such as Townsend and Gatlinburg, and Cherokee and Bryson City in North Carolina. Regionally, it’s at least a $5 million increase since 2012. Travel problems, housing and employee shortages, overdevelopment and environmental destruction are of course persistent in some of those areas.

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 July 2022 22:09