The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia
17 Partnerships for the Goals

17 Partnerships for the Goals (18)

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

0Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning Executive Director Nancy Manning stands in a wetland in the Oak Ridge Cedar Barrens. She is cultivating a project that involves students from nearby Jefferson Middle School.  Ben Pounds/Hellbender Press

New TCWP director already helping our kids ‘Explore and Restore’

OAK RIDGE — The students looked for tiny animals, tested water samples and took careful note of plants. Their recorded observations of Oak Ridge Cedar Barrens, a state natural area, were part of their class at the adjacent Jefferson Middle School (JMS), but volunteers from many outside organizations helped them with their scientific processes. They joined the students on the side of a wetland as they walked through the tall native grasses beneath the red cedars that give the small protected area its name.

Among these volunteers was new Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning Executive Director Nancy Manning. Manning became TCWP’s chief operating agent Aug. 1 of last year, succeeding Sandra Goss after they worked together for a month. Centered in Oak Ridge, TCWP has a storied history preserving and maintaining not just the small Oak Ridge Cedar Barrens area but also Obed Wild and Scenic River and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. While Manning is continuing that work, she’s put a special focus on fighting “nature deficit disorder” a term credited to Richard Louv and his book Last Child in the Woods.

The phrase refers to a lack of direct experience with nature, and Louv tied such a deficit in his 2005 book to psychological disorders and obesity. So Manning conceived the “explore and restore” program, which gives students a chance to both study and maintain natural areas, and brought it with her from Texas to Tennessee. 

Last modified on Saturday, 22 June 2024 00:13
Tuesday, 23 April 2024 00:25

Chattanooga Earth Day Week continues

Last modified on Sunday, 28 April 2024 22:27
Thursday, 18 April 2024 06:35

Happy Earth Day to you

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2017 Eclipse GIF dscovr epic 21 aug 2017 solar eclipse shadowThis image of Earth captures the 2017 eclipse shadow.  NASA

Get dirty. Get wet. Have fun. Love your mother.

Celebrate our planet’s beauty and bounty at one of many Earth Day events in the region this weekend and beyond. You can pick up trash, kayak a river and even get sustainable fashion tips and tricks. 

The official observation of Earth Day 2024 is Monday, April 22, but ways to give back and respect the Earth abound for days before and after. Here’s a sampling of observations and activities. And remember: Every day should be Earth Day.


— Little River Watershed Association plans its annual cleanup and paddle for 12-4 p.m. Saturday, April 20. Participants will put in at Peery’s Mill near Townsend and remove trash from the river for about three hours before taking out at Sevierville Bridge. Albright Grove Brewery will offer beer after the cleanup. A limited number of kayaks are available for use, and a shuttle is available. Get more information and sign up here.

— Keep Knoxville Beautiful will hold the South Knoxville Community Cleanup from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, April 20 starting at Mary Vestal Park, 522 Maryville Pike, Knoxville. The group is removing litter from South Knoxville streams, roads and parks. All reserved spots are full, but Amanda Seale, director of programs for Keep Knoxville Beautiful said her group still welcomes help from anyone who shows up.

— The third annual Fleurish: A Sustainable Fashion Event (and Fundraiser) at Ijams Nature Center will bring eco-friendly and sustainable Punk vs. Funk designs to the runway Sunday, April 21. Tickets are $30 and are available at All proceeds support Ijams Nature Center. The cocktail hour from 6 until 7 p.m. will feature photo ops on the “green” carpet, education stations and information about conservation efforts in the fashion realm, as well as a cash bar featuring punk and funk signature cocktails, and food from Coffee & Chocolate, Cafe 4, and The Kennedy. The fashion show will feature clothing with sustainable, reused and recycled materials from 25 designers. Following the fashion show, attendees will be able to meet the artists, designers, and models on the nature center’s hillside. Brent Hyder and Duck Experience will provide live music. Ijams Visitor Services Director Sarah Brobst said there may be some surprise elements as well.

“Fleurish shows how the average consumer can make changes to their day-to-day lives while never losing sight of the beauty of nature and the human experience,” she said. She encouraged the audience to come dressed in their favorite punk or funk fashions.

— The University of Tennessee will host an Earth Day Festival from 11 until 2 p.m. April 22 at the Student Union Plaza.

“Come meet campus and community organizations, enter some giveaways, participate in sustainable activities, and more!,” according to organizers. Other Earth Week events will continue on and near the campus that week. A full list of them is online

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 April 2024 00:14


New director comes from Nashville; decarbonization of city a central duty

Paige Travis is a public information specialist for the city of Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE — Mayor Indya Kincannon appointed Metro Nashville Decarbonization Manager Vasu Primlani as Knoxville’s next director of sustainability.

Primlani has more than three decades of experience in sustainability and has received awards for environmental innovation, including the EPA’s Environmental Achievement Award.

“Vasu has an incredible track record in this field,” Kincannon said. “Her experience and creative thinking will help Knoxville meet our goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.  

“I am also impressed with her focus on equity. We must adapt to climate change in a way that is just, equitable, and helps everyday people and small business owners save money too.”

Last modified on Saturday, 23 March 2024 21:12

Join policy makers, experts and lawyers to discuss Southern Appalachian enviro and legal issues


KNOXVILLE — The 15th Appalachian Public Interest and Environmental Law Conference (APIEL) is set for Oct. 5 at The University of Tennessee College of Law. 

APIEL is an annual gathering of lawyers, scientists, students, and members of the general public to discuss environmental issues and happenings in Appalachia, public policy, and grassroots initiatives.

The purpose is to create dialogue between lawyers, activists, and scientists on the local areas of need and foster engagement within the community to be forces of change in the legal realm.


APIEL is a conference of the student-run Environmental Law Organization (ELO) at the University of Tennessee College of Law. ELO 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.

Sunday, 10 December 2023 08:30

EarthSolidarity! quest announced

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Dec. 10, 2023 — Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ 75th anniversary

EarthSolidarity!™ is a grassroots appeal by the Foundation for Global Sustainability. It challenges everyone to become active, or even more engaged, in humanity’s exigency to stem the demise of our planet’s life-support systems. The gist of it is summarized in two sentences:

Ask not what Mother Earth can do for you.

Ask what you and those next to you can do to keep our planet inhabitable.


That meme addresses the global polycrisis — with a hat tip to President John F. Kennedy for borrowing the notion from his 1961 inauguration speech. (Then the Cold War was approaching the boiling point of the Cuban missile crisis. And incidentally, human rights had improved little yet for the majority of the world’s population.)

The global polycrisis is brought about by the pernicious entanglement of many systems that keep civilization ticking. Relatively small disturbances in one system may reverberate through other systems. When necessary corrections trigger a self re-enforcing feed-back loop, previously unimagined break downs that affect multiple systems can happen. Recent examples are the disruptions of world supply chains by the COVID-19 pandemic; then again by a single ship stranded in the Suez Canal.

Cascade polycrisis systems v2Inter-system categories.  From: ‘What is a Global Polycrisis?’ by the Cascade Institute

Increases in the frequency and severity of calamities, such as catastrophic floods, hurricanes and tornados, extensive droughts, debilitating heat waves, widespread forest fires, or episodes of abominable air quality often result in disruptions of supply chains, diminished availability of critical services, reduced job security and hikes in cost of living expenses. In less developed areas of the world, water or food shortages may lead to armed conflicts and waves of refugees.

CostOfLivingReport Paul BehrensAn example of how climate impacts combine with other shocks to increase cost of living. The baseline shows an average cost without the impact of climate change against two scenarios going forward — current policies and adaptation & mitigation — to indicate the increase in cost of living over time as climate impacts accumulate. As the cost of living increases, the colored dashed lines show the potential for societal tipping points or volatile transitions, from strikes to political instability. (Behrens, P., 2023)

Last modified on Monday, 11 December 2023 23:08
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 Friday, 12 January 2024 16:34


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! 
Last modified on Monday, 05 February 2024 19:13
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