The Piedmont Plateau of North Carolina hosts uniquely diverse and fragile ecosystems, including the beautiful lakes, streams, forests, meadows and farmland of Rockingham and Guilford Counties, the ancient Uwharries in Randolph and Montgomery Counties and the rural farmlands of Richmond County. Climate change is affecting every part of the region and its people. To address climate change, we must transition away from fossil fuels and to a clean energy economy. We also must monitor and curtail human activity, particularly in Guilford and Randolph Counties. Urban development and industrial growth have led to high methane and carbon emissions in our atmosphere and contamination of our streams and aquafers.
Advocacy Program of PPG
The Piedmont Plateau Group of North Carolina advocates for policies that help communities in our region by preparing for and modifying the damage that our changing climate is causing. PPG’s conservation committee is currently developing four projects for this advocacy program that calls for protections of our forests, watershed and farmlands. These include:
- Trail Adoption and Clean-up: PPG adopted Bald Moon, an Open Space property to manage for Guilford County about 10 years ago. The group was involved in cleaning up the area, building a trail and installing informational signage. Seasonal clean-up days are planned for the trail, which meanders through a second-growth forest to a bold stream.
- Stream Adoption: PPG recently adopted the stream that runs through Cascade Park in Greensboro. The stream clean-up team will pick up trash, plastics and other debris at the turn of each season. These clean-up days will also include stream monitoring in conjunction with the Haw River Assembly’s Stream Monitoring Program.
- Save Our Trees: Conservation Advocates will follow up with the sustainability committee’s campaign by monitoring large-growth trees in Guilford County. Advocate’s will speak on behalf of residents who live in or near wooded neighborhoods that are dealing with rezoning issues. Advocate’s will also work closely with city and county agencies that are establishing tree ordinances. Advocacy Presentation: Save Our Trees
- Protecting Farms and Food: Conservation Advocates will monitor acreage zoned as agricultural and speak on behalf of farmers and rural residents in an effort to protect farmlands from industrial, housing and commercial development. Advocates will also participate in the Sierra Club’s national food and agriculture campaign on building a new food and farm system: Good Food, Within Reach.
NC Chapter Campaigns
While developing our Group's conservation advocacy projects, the Piedmont Plateau Group continues to support the following NC Chapter campaigns.
- Renewable energy: North Carolina has been a leading state in solar development, but we've fallen behind. We must regain ground for the rights of our people, our workforce, and our industries to embrace solar and wind energy development. We support policies that help individuals and businesses go solar, such as community solar, solar leasing and rooftop solar rebates. We encourage development of on- and offshore wind, which will help create jobs and support local governments through property taxes and landowner subsidies. We partner with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign in our state to help shut down uneconomical and polluting coal plants.
- Clean Transportation: Transportation emissions are the top contributor to climate change in the United States. We must cut auto emissions and vehicle miles traveled, improve our transit infrastructure, and move away from fossil-fuel powered vehicles. The NC Sierra Club supports investments in clean transportation from bike lanes to electric school buses and other great ideas that will make North Carolina the "Green Roads State."
- Airborne toxins: Our volunteers and staff work with local allies to keep an eye out for threats to clean air in North Carolina communities. In recent years, we rallied against proposed permits that would have allowed methyl bromide, a widely banned neurotoxin and powerful ozone depleter used in insect fumigation, to be released with minimal regulations near residential areas in Wilmington and nearby rural areas. As a result of two years of community pushback led by the N.C. Sierra Club, the N.C. Division of Air Quality developed regulations for existing and future permits to use the chemical.
- Wood pellets: Multinational companies have zeroed in on North Carolina as a favored producer of timber that can be processed into wood pellets, which are burned to supply energy in other countries, notably Great Britain. But this multibillion-dollar industry - falsely touted as a "green" alternative to other carbon-emitting energy sources - is built on the destruction of our forest habitat and biodiversity, and on the backs of low-income communities of color where pellet factories are usually located. We're working with environmental and social justice allies to stop the industry's greenwashing and urge our state government to regulate it more strongly.