Sierra Insider

Connecting with the Land They Served
The Sierra Club's work with military families was recognized on Veterans Day when Club President Allison Chin joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at George Washington University for the launch of Mission Serve. The initiative will "more closely integrate service to country with service to community" and provide support to the families of veterans and service men and women.

The Club's connection? Our Military Families Outdoors program offers free summer camps for children, weekend retreats for families to reconnect in national-park settings, and adventure wilderness courses to help vets readjust to civilian life.

learn more>>>

Let's Build Greener Buildings
Coal and cars are bad enough, but did you know that building operations contribute nearly 40 percent of global-warming emissions and use more than 70 percent of U.S. electricity? That's why "Green Buildings for Cool Cities," a joint project of the Sierra Club's Cool Cities program and the U.S. Green Building Council, is pressing leaders around the country to bring new and retrofitted energy-efficient buildings to their communities.

from Sierra Insider

January 2010

Group Notes

Cahaba Group

Check out our website: http://alabama.sierraclub.org/cahaba/index.html

CAHABA GREEN TIP
"Use fewer plastic bags! U.S. Households dispose of nearly one hundred billion plastic bags annually, millions of which end up littering the environment and harming endangered marine animals. By reducing plastic bag consumption by just two bags per week, you'll throw away at least one hundred fewer bags per year. If tied together handle to handle, these plastic bags would make a rop long enough to wrap around the earth more than 126 times!" (the Green Book, 2007).

Additional facts on plastic:
"... 12 million barrels of oil that are used nationally to produce 30 billion plastic bags in the United States," San Francisco, Ross Mirkarimi, a member of the city's board of supervisors

The Problem With Plastic

"The plastic bags you get at the grocery store are convenient, strong and lightweight. But to environmental advocates, they spell trouble.

On a local level, plastic is less recyclable than paper or other materials. Recycle a paper bag and you can make more paper bags. Recycle an aluminum can and you can make more cans. But even if plastic is labeled as recyclable, it cannot be turned back into the same kind of material. Plastic from a grocery bag can be processed into parts for a park bench or other hard material, but not the light, flexible material that would make another bag.

The larger issue, though, says Mirkarimi, is that plastic comes from petroleum. Companies drill for it, spoiling distant parts of the world. Air pollution is generated when it's processed into plastic. And oil's principal use, as fuel, is pumping heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere." (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=2935417&page=1)

*Make the move to reusable shopping bags. It can be as simple as a canvas tote. Share the word - Make the DIFFERENCE!
-Lois Lambert

Coosa Valley Group

Outings: In November

A great day was had by the nine folks who showed up for the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve hike. Taylor Steele led the group to the highlands and the rock outcroppings as well as told us about the history of the preserve, the projects being worked on and the camp site that they wish to make for the scouts who are doing service work to help eliminate privet and build a trial system. The weather was perfect for this hike reaching  a wonderful 64 degrees with sunny blue skies. Everyone had a great time and we anticipate there will be another hike later next year.

Meetings

On Thursday evening, November 12, Lawrence Rives and Jerry Gordon Hallmon,  Rosa Coal Mine activists,  spoke about the dangers of the McCoal coal mine that is seeking to locate near the small community of Rosa and also near the Locust Fork River.  To illustrate the beauty of the area, Lawrence and Jerry showed the Doug Phillips’ Discovering Alabama movie on the Locust Fork.  The McCoal Corp. filed permit applications with both ADEM and the Alabama Surface Mining Commission.  As often happens,  the announcement of the permit application,   which appeared in the fine print of the legal section of the local newspaper, went unnoticed.  When the small community of Rosa got the word of what was happening, people turned out in record numbers to protest and voice their concern.  However, the company received permits, despite the concerns of the community and public officials. We heard about many concerns of the location of the mine in that area, including property damage, road damage, pollution to the waterways, as well as noise pollution.  One of the major concerns is that the company will be installing over 60 sludge holding ponds and maintains that any waste water released into the Locust Fork will be cleaner that to start with.  The ability to achieve this has not been proven, and is receiving a lot of scrutiny.   Members were asked to  write letters to the McCoal Board of Directors to tell the about the beautiful, sensitive area that they propose to destroy.

Since the time of the meeting, the Southern Environmental Law Center, Friends of Locust Fork, and Alabama Rivers Alliance have called for a hearing on the Rosa Coal Mine.

Update as of December  8, 2009:

ADEM had issued McCoal a permit. We're still waiting on word from Alabama's Surface Mining Commission. Anyone who wants to help out could write to the board of Directors of NovaDx to express their indignation at the potential havoc they will wreak on our lovely Locust Fork River.  Check for a link to their addresses via the Rosamine.org website.

Montgomery Group

We've changed our monthly meeting. Now, we meet on the third Thursday of each month at the:

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery
2810 Atlanta Highway
Montgomery, AL 36109-3402
(334) 279-9517

North Alabama Group

Check the North Alabama Group's website for the most up-to-date outings information!

WEST ALABAMA GROUP

Check us out on the web:
Visit our website for up-to-date info.: alabama.sierraclub.org/west-al.html.