1. SACE tours the North Carolina coast
In late August, SACE’s Coastal Program Coordinator, Toni Reale, embarked on a tour of North Carolina’s coast to meet business owners, citizens and local decision makers and involve them in SACE’s regional climate and energy work. SACE met with a wide variety of North Carolinians from Elizabeth City to Wilmington living in communities that are already and will continue to be impacted by climate change. We visited volunteers and nonprofit friends at the North Carolina Coastal Federation as they implemented a coastal adaptation project to help private landowners, especially farmers, save their properties from salt-water intrusion and rising seas. We met the Mayor of the Town of Nags Head, Renee Cahoon, who us showed homes in grave danger of falling into the sea, rows of homes that are already lost, and water, sewer and power lines that were moved at the public’s expense. We also visited with community members that would benefit from greater incentives for renewable energy, provided by the passage of strong climate and energy legislation. Scott McKellar, owner of Alternative Builders in Elizabeth City builds and upgrades homes to become more energy efficient and helps homeowners apply for tax savings from the state and federal government to make projects more affordable. In Kill Devil Hills, we took a trip to America’s first wind powered restaurant and brewery, the Outer Banks Brewing Station, who power part of their business using truly clean and safe renewable energy. The Southeast Coastal Climate Network, established by SACE in 2007, works to promote the protection of the Southeast’s uniquely vulnerable coastal resources by increasing awareness of the threats and opportunities posed by global warming. The network represents concerned citizens from Maryland to Louisiana working together to call upon our regional leaders to take action to reduce global warming pollution while advocating for meaningful solutions to the most urgent matter of our lifetime. To learn more, email Toni Reale at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to learn more and join.
2. Volunteer State Solar Initiative
The Department of Energy’s approval of Governor Bredesen’s proposed Volunteer State Solar Initiative marks a big step forward for Tennessee’s clean energy future. The Initiative is a comprehensive solar energy and economic development program that is set to utilize $62.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to advance job creation, education, research, and renewable energy production in Tennessee.
The initiative consists of two related projects. First, the construction of a 5MW solar farm that will also serve as an educational and research tool. Second, the establishment of a Tennessee Solar Institute to bring together scientists, technical experts, policymakers, and business leaders working together to expand the development of the solar industry in the state. The West Tennessee Solar Farm, a 5MW, 20-acre facility near Brownsville, Tenn., will be one of the largest installations in the Southeast and serve as a demonstration site for educational purposes. It will allow the public and students to learn about the benefits of solar power and also showcase a range of technologies currently available. The Tennessee Solar Institute at University of Tennessee is designed to spur growth in the state’s burgeoning solar industry and serve as a crossroads for other solar-related activities. The institute will bring together various stakeholders to help speed the improvement and deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. Both projects will provide a significant boost to an already growing solar industry that is bringing jobs to Tennessee, while reducing air pollution and mitigating climate change. This Solar Initiative adds a critical piece of the puzzle to accelerating this growth and making Tennessee a national leader in solar innovation and installation. For more information, contact Gil Melear-Hough by emailing email@example.com.
3. Youth Gear up for a Power Shift
In the middle of the new administration’s first 100 days, Power Shift 2009 brought more than 12,000 young people to Washington, D.C. to hold our elected officials accountable for rebuilding our economy and reclaiming our future through bold climate and clean energy policy.
At Power Shift, we not only delivered our message of change to Congress, but we strengthened the climate and clean energy movement by infusing our nation’s young leaders with new ideas, skills, connections with each other, and opportunities for employment and action.
Those leaders have taken the torch and are launching Regional Power Shift Summits all across the country. These gatherings will exercise the political power of young voters and ask President Obama and Congress to pass a clean energy jobs plan by December to rebuild our economy, end our dependence on dirty energy, and bring America lasting security. The summits are sure to ignite the passion we saw last spring in Washington in thousands of young people all across the country. Regional summits are currently being planned for October in North Carolina and Florida set to take place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla. See Upcoming Events below for more information or contact Russ Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mandy Hancock, email@example.com.
4. Climate Action in the Southeast is heating up
In September, SACE staff and supporters contributed to the success of two climate action events in two states that will be critical in the climate debate moving forward – Florida and North Carolina. On Saturday, September 26, 116 citizens and activists canvassed along Florida’s coast to educate beach goers about the importance of national climate action and to collect signatures urging elected leaders to take the lead in addressing this critical issue. This coalition effort helped to gather more than 1600 signatures at the events in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Brevard County, Broward County, Miami Beach, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Sarasota.Meanwhile, in Charlotte, North Carolina, more than 100 solar panel manufacturers, activists, nonprofit members, lobbyists, county commissioners and other elected officials and their staff attended a clean energy economy forum that was co-sponsored by SACE. Each of the speakers, including the keynote address offered by NC’s Lieutenant Governor Mr. Walter Dalton, addressed the need for legislative action to incentivize a clean energy economy.
As the United State Senate prepares to debate setting a national climate policy and the world prepares for the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December, it is critical for citizens, advocates and businesses to voice support for strong national and international climate policies. In the coming days and weeks, there are numerous opportunities to get involved:
5. Upcoming events
October 3: National Solar Tour
The 14th ASES National Solar Tour is the largest grassroots solar event in history. The tour will introduce local residents to solar technologies they can use to drastically reduce monthly energy bills, reduce harmful carbon emissions, and take advantage of tax credits and cash incentives. To find a tour in your area, visit www.NationalSolarTour.org.
SACE is an official organizer of the Knoxville Solar Home tour, which will feature a solar home demonstration and tour at the residence of Dr. Stephen and Libby Smith. It will begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Krutch Park and will continue at area homes and businesses. For more information about the tour, check out our blog or contact Libby Hill Smith by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Environment Georgia and the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA) present the Savannah Solar Tour at the Savannah Technical College Auditorium on Saturday October 3 at 9 a.m. For more information, check their website at: http://www.gasolar.org/georgiasolartour_savannah.htmlOctober 6: NRC Public Hearing on New Watts Bar Reactor
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold public environmental scoping meetings on TVA’s plan to build a second reactor at Watts Bar from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Magnuson Hotel, 1421 Murrays Chapel Road in Sweetwater, Tenn. Attendees can give public comments on their concerns. For more information, contact Sara Barczak at email@example.com or 912.201.0354. October 6: Family and Environmental Public Hearings
Several Georgia locations.
Join us to learn about the health effects that a new proposed coal plant, Plant Washington, will have on you and your family. Also, take advantage of the opportunity to have your comments about Plant Washington entered into the official record to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Hearings will be held at 6:00 pm in three locations. (1) Kennesaw State University, 20 miles north of Atlanta. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information; (2) at Joshua’s Cup in Macon at 1090 Washington Avenue. Email email@example.com for more information and (3) The Boathouse in Augusta at 103 Riverfront Drive; email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. October 13: Family and Environmental Public Hearings
Join us to learn about the health effects that a new proposed coal plant, Plant Washington, will have on you and your family. Also, take advantage of the opportunity to have your comments about Plant Washington entered into the official record to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. A hearing will be held at 4:00 pm in the Carnegie Library meeting room at 537 East Henry Street, Savannah, GA 31401. Email email@example.com for more information.October 17 – 18: Regional Power Shift Summit
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Young people from North & South Carolina will gather for the first ever Carolinas Power Shift in Chapel Hill, NC October 17th-18th. Join us as we converge for a weekend of training, networking, and action to help shift the political power in the Carolinas and send a strong message going into Copenhagen. Click here for details and to register. For more information, email Russ Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org. October 19: Duke Rate Hike Hearing
Take Action Now! Don’t let Duke Energy increase your power rates to pay for their bad investment in coal. Attend a public hearing in Raleigh on October 19th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in Commission Hearing Room 2115 inside the Dobbs Building located at 430 North Salisbury St. to show your opposition. RSVP here for the Raleigh Hearing. For more information, contact Ulla Reeves at email@example.com. October 23: Dialogue on Climate Change and Coastal Conservation
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Be part of a lively discussion on climate change adaptation strategies and ways to maintain our coasts as places where people and wildlife can thrive. The Dialogue on Climate Change and Coastal Conservation will explore what we must do to prepare for the challenges of a changing coastline. Dialogue Panelists will include: Ulla-Britt Reeves, Regional Program Dir., Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Michael Sole, Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection; James Murley, Chair of FL Energy & Climate Commission and; Director of Joint Center for Environmental & Urban Problems; David L. Moore, Executive Dir., Southwest Florida Water Management District; and Dr. Ellen Prager, Chief Scientist, Aquarius Reef Base/Author, Chasing Science at Sea. The dialogue is free and kicks off the Audubon Assembly, one of Florida’s premier annual conferences. Seating is limited. Click here to register.October 23 – 24: Audubon Assembly
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Please join Audubon of Florida for the 2009 Audubon Assembly held immediately after the Dialogue on Coastal Conservation and Climate Change. Celebrated oceanographer Sylvia Earle, Ph. D., is the Assembly’s keynote speaker. The two-day program brings together conservation leaders and scientists—as well as policy makers, and business people from across Florida to discuss strategies to protect our coasts, birds, and wildlife, and secure our quality of life. Click here to register.October 24: 350 International Day of Action
350.org is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around scientific and just solutions to the climate crisis. On October 24, 350.org will be hosting events around the world to highlight the need for international climate policies in-line with scientific findings to keep atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide below 350 parts per million. Events are already being planned in Asheville, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Miami, FL; Raleigh, NC; Tampa, FL and many more cities throughout the Southeast. Click here to search for events so you can join an already-scheduled action near you or register to host an event in your community in October.
October 24 – 25: Regional Power Shift Summit
Young people from Florida will gather for the first ever Regional Power Shift in Orlando, Florida (UCF Campus). Join us as we converge for a weekend of training, networking, and action to help shift the political power in the Florida and send a strong message going into Copenhagen. Click here for details and to register. For more information, email Mandy Hancock at firstname.lastname@example.org.