A Book of Interest

Energy: Perspectives, Problems, and Prospects

by Michael B. McElroy
Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York. 400 pages (2010)

As a the Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at Harvard University, the author has substantial experience in the study of energy, "the lifeblood of the human enterprise."

He begins with a brief discussion of the evolution of the Earth and life on it, with a focus on humans. He moves on to a discussion of early sources of energy and the growth of the industrial economy. The impacts of fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- are examined in detail. More recent sources and patterns of use of energy, e.g., solar, wind, geothermal, and nuclear, are discussed in some depth.

McElroy concludes with thoughts on how modifications in the sources and use of energy "could contribute . . . . . to a more sustainable, more secure, energy future, initiatives with promise also to protect the integrity of the global climate system."

There are lots of references and notes, but few formulas. The book is important, but not light, reading. Policy makers, especially, should pay attention to the author's message.

Submitted by David Newton

Author Bill Bryson to Speak in Huntsville

Best-selling author Bill Bryson, author of A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country among other books, will speak in Huntsville on November 11, 2010 at the annual fundraiser for the Huntsville Madison County Public Library. Bryson has written over twenty books with more than six million copies being sold in the United States. His newest book, At Home: A Short History of Private Life, is being released October 5, 2010 by Doubleday. At Home: takes a look at the history of the world without Bill leaving his house.

Bill Bryson will be speaking at the 24th annual Vive Le Livre, a celebration of literature and libraries through the ages. Proceeds benefit Huntsville Madison County Public Library. The event will be held in the Von Braun Center South Hall at 6:00pm. For tickets, go to http://hmcpl.org/friends or call this number for the library: 256-532-5954.

Announcing IEIA Forum 2010: Energy and Water Stewardship

Hosted by the Interfaith Environmental Initiative of Alabama

Thursday, October 21
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
$30 includes lunch www.InterfaithEnvironmental.org Join us for our 2nd annual IEIA Forum to learn, share and explore new conversations around water and energy conservation and efficiency that rethink the way we work, live, play and worship. IEIA Forum 2010 offers an opportunity to •further explore the water and energy connection •discuss new programs for greening your congregation •learn about the Youth Policy Summit proposals •collaborate and expand IEIA Working Groups There will be a special EPA Award presentation by Dr. Stan Meiburg, EPA Region 4 Deputy Regional Administrator. Register now! And please send this announcement to your colleagues, friends, and work and faith communities. Register online at www.bbgardens.org or by phone at (205) 414-3900.

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October 2010

Sierra Club Outings

Don't miss a chance to really get outside, meet like-minded folks and reconnect with old friends. Come join us on the trail, in the water or just out for a stroll down the street! more>>>

Living Lightly: Sierra Club Annual Retreat

Alabama Sierra Club
Annual Retreat

Fort Payne, Alabama

November 5 – 7
Public Is Invited

Hosted by the
Coosa Valley Sierra Club

Inspiring Speakers include:

more (including Registration) >>>

The Cahaba River Wildlife Refuge Expansion

a letter from Clifton Robinson to those interested in the Expansion

For those of you unable to attend the public meeting concerning the Cahaba Wildlife Refuge expansion proposal I would like to sum it up for you. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: “We have NO plans to use enema domain.”
Citizens: “You are full of crap.”

This in a nutshell was the meeting for three solid hours. 

The USFWS did acknowledge that they had the power of eminent domain. If they had not acknowledged this it would have left them open to accusations that they were hiding this fact. 

They clearly stated that they had no intention of using eminent domain in the wildlife refuge expansion proposal. This power of eminent domain is granted by the constitution of the United States of America.

 Exactly who has this power of eminent domain? The City of Brent has it, as does the City of Centreville, Bibb County, and the State of Alabama. I’m curious to know if the citizens opposing the refuge expansion are going to hold rallies opposing the four laning of Hwy 5, a project that will take land from adjacent landowners whether willing sellers or not just so we can drive faster. 

Likewise are they going to hold rallies opposing the use of eminent domain for the Hwy 82 bypass around Centreville should one landowner be in opposition to that? 

Now I do want to make it clear I feel that the USFWS should only purchase land from willing sellers. 

I would like to address some of the points the opposition made.

1. This is going to lock up land. I disagree with this. This is going to open up land. 

Currently the refuge is 3,500 acres. You can go to the refuge and participate in: fishing, hunting, hiking, picnicking, swimming, bird watching, nature photography, and many other ways to experience and enjoy nature. Wouldn’t it be great if this opened up 100,000 acres for you to explore? 

To understand the economic benefits of having more land open for public use all you have to do is look at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Without the draw of 6 million people to this park yearly, do you think Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville would be what they are now?


The U.S. Senate Fiddles While the Earth Begins to Burn

submitted by David Newton

While the dysfunctional U.S. Senate does nothing about climate change, with some members still apparently believing it is a hoax, other members and millions outside the senate are very concerned. For example, the quote from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) offers insight into the position of this agency of the United Nations.

"Several regions of the world are currently [August 11] coping with severe weather-related events: flash floods and widespread flooding in large parts of Asia and parts of Central Europe while other regions are also affected: by heat wave and drought in Russian Federation, mudslides in China and severe droughts in sub-Saharan Africa. While a longer time range is required to establish whether an individual event is attributable to climate change, the sequence of current events matches IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming. The Monsoon activity in Pakistan and other countries in South-East Asia is aggravated by the la Niña phenomenon, now well established in the Pacific Ocean."
Source: http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/news/extremeweathersequence_en.html (Read Sept. 3, 2010)


Living River MusselsVacation Ends for Mussels

Living River: Taking care of this Earth that God has given us.
A volunteer team of environmental experts gathered at Living River the morning of November 2009 to make sure some residents of the Cahaba River weren’t disturbed by upcoming construction. Mussels and snails were taken from the canoe launch site and relocated upstream. The relocation – required by the Corps of Engineers – was successful, with nearly 200 mussels (10 different species) and more than 6,000 snails finding a new home. more>>>

Watching the Sun at Work

Sun at work sign on the wallby Peggie Griffin
Need evidence that the sun can efficiently run a home? After the Coosa Valley Solar Tour on Saturday, August 28, we were all convinced that the energy of the sun can be very successfully captured to provide the luxuries of heating and cooling, washing machines, refrigerators, computers. . . Daryl Berquist, the only NABCEP certified solar installer in the state of Alabama led this most informative tour.

Not only were we introduced to solar power technology, but we also toured four different types of homes designed to be more earth friendly. more>>>

AHTS 10th Annual Conference in Huntsville

The Alabama Hiking Trail Society will be holding a conference in Huntsville at the Monte Sano Lodge the weekend of February 25-27, 2011. Mark the date on your calendar now. The theme of the conference will be Building Trails to Our Past and the Future. There will be three tracks of speakers, presentations, hands-on demos, hikes, entertainment, food, prizes and a special key note speaker.
More details will be available later at conference.hikealabama.org

The Alabama Hiking Trail Society and its members are dedicated to planning, building, and maintaining safe hiking trails for all to enjoy and educating the public of the careful use and enjoyment of Alabama's great outdoors.

American Trails Symposium in Chattanooga

Every other year American Trails brings together trail enthusiasts for a weekend of workshops and outings. This year the conference will be in Chattanooga, November 14-17, and it will be a while before it is in our area again. There will be many opportunities for networking with trail enthusiasts from all over the country.
 The American Trails National Symposium is your best opportunity to network with the nationwide trails community and learn state of the art trail planning, development, and management techniques. The Symposium addresses both non-motorized and motorized issues and our vision for trails and greenways nationwide. Dozens of speakers and keynote presenters will join us from the trails community across America.

The theme for this year’s symposium is Trails, The Green Way for America. This symposium's theme evokes the benefit of trails to America’s economy and environment. As we evolve toward a green economy, trails are the way for outdoor recreation and alternative transportation. Trails provide access and connections to many of this nation’s most incredible green spaces: parks, forests, and wildlands. Trails are a critical component of green infrastructure within communities, tying homes to businesses, schools, and workplaces, and empowering clean human-powered mobility. Trails support the new American dream which is built upon environmental and economic efficiency. Trails are, very simply, the green way for America.

For more information and to register, go to http://www.americantrails.org/2010 or call 530-547-2060.