COVID-19 Update: Read about the most recent Sierra Club guidelines here.
Fall Retreat approaches: October 13-15th! Join the Tennessee Chapter for our Fall Fun Retreat at Pickett State Park. Scholarships are available, and an early bird registration discount by Oct. 5th. First-timers can also get a discount! Youth ages 16 and under are always free. This retreat will focus on community connections and outdoor adventures. Look forward to beautiful fall nature hikes, learning about the Japanese wellness practice known as "forest bathing," and enjoy live music, silent auction, bonfire, s’mores and fun! Register here.
Gov. Lee announces statewide conservation tour, proclaims Public Lands Day. "This week, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee kicked off his statewide Conservation Tour, highlighting Tennessee’s conservation strategy and celebrating recent investments in state parks, brownfield cleanup, and advancement of nuclear energy. The Governor also proclaimed September 23rd as Tennessee Public Lands Day." Read more from TN.gov - September 15, 2023.
President Biden names Patrice Robinson to TVA board. "Robinson will be the first Memphian on the board since John Ryder died last year. Memphis is the largest of all of TVA’s electric customers and represents about 10% of its electric load and revenue. Last year, MLGW concluded a yearslong evaluation of whether it should leave TVA." Read more by Samuel Hardiman, Daily Memphian - September 11, 2023.
Take Action! Help Pass the TN Waste and Reduction Recycling Act. "Packaging waste is a significant part of waste that consumers throw away. Much of it ends up in landfills instead of being recycled or reused. The Tennessee Waste Reduction and Recycling Act (TWRRA) seeks to reduce the overall amount of packaging and increase the amount that is recycled and reused by requiring and incentivizing packaging producers to take an active role in solving our waste problems. Show your support here!
Tennessee secured $7B in clean energy business this past year — representing nearly 80% of new investments. "Clean technology manufacturing is exploding in Tennessee. Planned investments in the construction of electric vehicle, energy storage and solar panel materials were worth three times more than any other sector combined in the past year...Companies also promised the creation of more than 5,600 jobs, which is more than a third of all jobs announced through major investments in Tennessee this past year. The manufacturing surge is linked to the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s first major climate law that provides incentives for companies making clean technologies that cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. The legislation went into effect on Aug. 16, 2022. The law has been bashed by conservative politicians and groups. Last year, every Republican in Congress voted against it." Read more by Caroline Eggers - WPLN - August 29, 2023.
Solar panel array along Route 44 in Carver, Massachusetts. The project capitalized on a previously underutilized stretch of land in the right of way of the interstate. Photo: CC PDM 1.0.
Mississippi River mayors rally for a compact to protect the waterway. "At the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative’s (MRCTI) annual meeting this past week in Bemidji, Minnesota, about 30 mayors unanimously voted in favor of pursuing a compact that would establish collective management of the waterway and span more than 2,300 miles of river...They’ll have to get buy-in from all 10 mainstem river states — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana — and politics, economics and special interests all come into play." Read more by Keely Brewer - Daily Memphian - September 18, 2023.
Here’s what $5 million and five years of research taught Memphis about the aquifer. "For five years, University of Memphis researchers have studied the underground reservoir that supplies Shelby County’s drinking water, focusing on the holes, or 'breaches,' in its layer that protects against contamination...Memphis is the biggest city in the U.S. that gets all its drinking water from an aquifer, and CAESER’s research revealed a higher risk of contamination than previously thought." Read more by Keely Brewer - Daily Memphian - September 22, 2023.
Volunteers near completion on new Jacob’s Park bridge. "Volunteers from the [Sierra Club's] Holston Valley Regional Conservation Committee have been busy the past couple months constructing a high-quality bridge over the creek at the southwest (downstream) end" of Jacob’s Nature Park at Sinking Creek. The bridge is a "much more convenient, safer way to make loop hikes around the 28-acre mix of wetland and wooded ridges." Read more by Jeff Keeling - WJHL - September 26, 2023.
EPA issues final rule to strengthen water protections, support clear and timely reviews of infrastructure and development projects. On September 14th, "the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final rule to restore the fundamental authority granted by Congress to states, territories, and Tribes to protect water resources that are essential to healthy people and thriving communities." Read full press release here.
Fall foliage by the Mississippi River. Photo credit: Deb Vadnais via Pixabay.
Health & Justice
Appeals court rules against Waste Management, Inc. in Nashville landfill expansion. "A ruling in the ongoing dispute over a landfill in a predominantly Black community is dealt a potentially fatal blow." Read more by Anita Wadhwani - Tennessee Lookout - September 1, 2023.
Dickson County utility settles suit over sewage pollution. "A public utility in Dickson County has settled a lawsuit brought by environmental groups over sewage pollution found in a small stream that flows to the Harpeth River, a key source of drinking water and recreation in Middle Tennessee. The agreement...requires the utility to undertake cleanup efforts in Trace Creek and operational changes at its plant to protect the waterway from future pollution." Read more by Anita Wadhwani - Tennessee Lookout - September 9, 2023.
Mayor Cooper drops a plan for adapting to climate change on his way out the door. "The plan identifies five main climate hazards: flooding, tornadoes, extreme heat, extreme cold and severe thunderstorms. The hazards were picked based on historical data and projected impacts to people and infrastructure...The plan includes nearly 60 pages of possible solutions but gives limited information on how the city could implement specific actions.” Read more by Caroline Eggers - WPLN - September 21, 2023. The full plan may be viewed here, and public comments are being accepted until October 31st.
Child and adolescent mental health in Tennessee. The Sycamore Institute has published a new report examining the data trends around youth mental health in Tennessee."Nationally, youth mental health indicators have trended in the wrong direction for the last decade. Our new report explains what the data tells us—and what it doesn't—about children and adolescents in Tennessee." The Sycamore Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, public policy research center whose goal is to "build a stronger Tennessee through data and research."
Statewide environmental events listed chronologically.
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Sat. September 30th from 11AM - 3:00PM -Chattanooga Drive Electric Festival. Sierra Club and others are coming together to host the 2nd annual Chattanooga Drive Electric Festival. All activities, vehicles on display, local dealerships, vendors, local businesses, etc., will be held at Chattanooga State Community College (McCormick Center) and the event is FREE and open to the public.
Fri. October 6th at 6:30 PM - Birds of Costa Rica. Paco Madrigal, expert birding guide and co-founder of Cotinga Tours in Costa Rica, is speaking in Kingsport, Tenn. to celebrate 25 years of Cotinga's eco-friendly bird tourism. They have expanded their services to include private, custom-made tours, eco-friendly vacations, and general wildlife tours in Costa Rica and Panama. Paco’s dynamic, fun, and engaging talk about Costa Rica and its birds is a free event at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education. Learn more about Cotinga Tours here.
Fri. October 13-15th - Tennessee Chapter Fall Fun Retreat at Pickett State Park. There is still time for the early bird discount - register here before October 5th!
Wed. October 18-19th - Tennessee Valley Solar + Storage Conference. The Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) is hosting its annual conference and offering discounted admission for Sierra Club members. This year it will be held in Chattanooga at the Chattanoogan Hotel. Sierra Club TN Chapter members can receive a $50 discount when they register by using the promotional code partner. AND there is a special $99 rate for students and retirees. See the full schedule and register for the event here.
Sun. October 29-October 31st - Fall Smokes Eco-Adventure. Hosted by Discover Life in America (DLiA) and A Walk in the Woods Guide Service, this exciting fundraising event features “glamping,” gourmet food and drink, as well as guided nature hikes. Your ticket purchase ($950) benefits DLiA's nonprofit efforts to conserve the rich biodiversity of the Smokies. Registration closes on Oct. 9 or until all tickets are sold. For more information about the event, visit DLiA's website here.
Tents prepared for "glamping" along the creek at Camp Atagahi in the Smoky Mountains. Image courtesy A Walk in the Woods Guide Service, via DLiA.
Become a Defender for Tennessee's Environment
Fundraising Corner with Susan Johnston
The Tennessee Legislature has a huge environmental impact in Tennessee. Fortunately, we have a lobbyist that keeps tabs on what is happening in our state capitol. Scott Banbury, who is the only full-time lobbyist for the Tennessee environment, works to influence our state legislature. There is a loyal group of folks – we call them our Tennessee Chapter Defenders – who believe it is critically important to support his lobbying work. Each year we mail a letter to this special group of donors in September so they can easily renew their support.
Some loyal Tennessee Chapter Defenders have already made their donations this year, and I know more are on the way. If you haven’t yet added your contribution, please do so soon. If you aren't a Defender and want to join this special group of supporters, please consider becoming a Defender to help make a difference in Tennessee. Many thanks! Susan Johnston can be reached at email@example.com.
This month's featured genus is: Goldenrod (Solidago)
Standing tall against a clear blue sky, Solidago gigante is photographedby Goran Horvat from Pixabay.
Goldenrod is a hardy perennial that blooms late summer to early fall, with clusters of yellow flowers along the tops of branches, forming plumes of blooms.
Goldenrod is in the aster family, and includes over 100 species. Most are native to North America, but there are some species native to Mexico, South America, and Eurasia.
Goldenrods have been falsely accused of causing hay fever. Such allergies are actually a reaction to wind-borne pollen from other plants like ragweed.
The Latin name solidago refers to its healing properties; medicinal use of goldenrod has been for sore throat, inflammation, toothache, and kidney/urinary infections.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sierra Club.
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