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Dallas Sierra Club Newsletter: April 2021

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Dallas Sierra Club General Meeting - Tuesday, April 13, will be held online via Zoom

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Technology, Economics, & Collaboration: How To Bring Solar To Any Neighborhood
Solar United Neighbors (SUN) is a non-profit dedicated to solar consumer protection, education, and advocacy. Since 2007, they've helped thousands of people go solar and won key solar policy fights on both the national and state levels.
Hanna Mitchell, Texas state director for SUN will discuss their latest group buy programs (or solar co-ops) in cities like Plano and Houston, and provide an overview of considerations for rooftop solar in Texas including: technology,
economics, and the unique nature of solar in the competitive electricity market.

From 6:45 to 7:00 p.m. you can log in to the meeting, chat, and ask questions. The meeting will begin at 7:00 with announcements, followed by our speaker's presentation.

How to join the meeting via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/99535860396
One tap mobile: +13462487799,,99535860396#
Dial in: +1 346 248 7799 - Meeting ID: 995 3586 0396


Earth Day - Thursday, April 22

Dallas Sierra Club Celebrates Earth Day

Mark your calendar for April 22, 2021, for a celebration of Earth Day 2021. Your Dallas Sierra Club will be joining other environmental groups in a "live" Zoom event beginning at 6:00 p.m. This fun and informative evening will be presented by GreenSource On the Air with generous support from our newest founding sponsor Dallas College, EarthX, Dallas Sierra Club, John and Margie Haley, The Memnosyne Institute, and all the great people from Oak Cliff Earth Day. Your host will be Dallas Sierra Club Vice-Chair Wendel Withrow who will be joined by featured guests including Marsha Jackson of "Shingle Mountain" fame, author Amy Martin on her latest book about local hiking spots, activist Rita Beving on legislative updates, and other special friends who may drop in.

The evening will be topped off by the musical tribute to Big Bend National Park performed by composer Justin Sherburn and the Texas Treehugger Band (aka Montopolis).

So, go online to GreenSourceDFW.org anytime the week of April 19th for the link. Get your favorite food and drink for this Earth Day Celebration. Email any questions to wendel@withrowlaw.com or call 214-287-1046.



Do something to honor Mother Earth. Click this link for a partial list of Earth Day events.

On Earth Day it seems there's a dearth
Of folks who respect our land's worth.
     It's a major disgrace
     How our planet's defaced.
Type of people I like? Down-to-earth.

by Kirk Miller


Electronics Recycling & Document Shredding - Saturday, April 24

The City of Richardson's annual Trash Bash (9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.) will include many drive-thru activities including electronics recycling, document shredding, used book/record/CD/DVD collection, used cooking oil collection, and a collection event for Network of Community Ministries. Click here for details.


New Science about Fracking - Saturday, April 24

Liveable Arlington is organizing an online presentation by Dr. Sandra Steingraber on the health, community, and climate impacts of fracking (2:00 - 3:30 p.m.). She is an impressive speaker - a scientist with the soul of a poet who brings a moral urgency to environmental issues. The presentation will be followed by a Q and A and recognition of some community heroes at the end. The event is free and open to the public. Here is the event page where you can register to receive a Zoom link for the event.


Dallas Sierra Club General Meeting via Zoom - Tuesday, May 11

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Canada's Ocean Plastics Charter: A Move Toward Sustainability
Please join us as we welcome Dr. Rachel McCormick, Consul General of Canada to the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, as she highlights Canada's focus on the Government of Canada's
work with all levels of government, industry, non-government organizations, academia, and Canadians to take action on plastic waste and pollution.

Under Canada's Group of 7 industrialized nations presidency in 2018, the Government of Canada championed the development of the Ocean Plastics Charter to move toward a more sustainable approach to producing, using, and managing plastics. By signing onto the Charter, governments, businesses, and organizations join Canadians in committing to a more resource-efficient and lifecycle approach to plastics stewardship, on land and at sea. Through these partnerships, we can grow the momentum for real action on plastic pollution around the world. Canada's strategy takes a circular economy approach to plastics and provides a framework for action in Canada in key areas.

Rachel McCormick, Ph.D. is currently the Consul General of Canada to the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Previously, she was head of the Energy and Environment Section at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, from 2014 to 2019 and joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2004. She represented the Government of Canada in a range of international forums, including the Arctic Council, the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, and the United Nations, and held positions within the Canadian energy sector and at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

From 6:45 to 7:00 p.m. you can log in to the meeting, chat, and ask questions. The meeting will begin at 7:00 with announcements, followed by our speaker's presentation.
How to join the meeting via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/99535860396
One tap mobile: +13462487799,,99535860396#
Dial in: +1 346 248 7799 - Meeting ID: 995 3586 0396


Videos of prior General Meetings are on YouTube

Click here for a list of meetings with varied topics such as national parks, Critterman, beautiful photos from around the world, wild animals, activism, and more.


Dallas Sierra Club Outreach Speakers Program - Speakers for Your Group

The Dallas Sierra Club provides outdoor/environmental education in the form of entertaining and informative
presentations by Dallas Sierra Club members with expertise in the topics offered. These presentations range in
length from 30 minutes to one hour and cover a variety of topics in the general categories of outdoor adventure, environmental education, and general ecology. These talks are appropriate for a wide range of audiences including youth groups, school classes, civic and social groups, nature and gardening clubs, church groups, etc. Any group interested in an available topic is welcome to contact us. To see available topics and to schedule your speaker, click here.


Note from the Chair

by Dan Moulton

Outreach Speaker activity: On March 25, I presented a talk entitled "Environmental Sustainability" to AT&T employees as part of their Environmental Champions Program. The webinar was open to employees nationwide. On April 21, I will present a talk entitled "Land Resources and Use" to Region 6 (Dallas) EPA employees.


Conservation / Eco Action

by Victoria Howard, Conservation Committee Chair

We have welcomed 3 new committee members:
- Kathryn Bazan (creator of East Dallas Greater Good and former TCEQ employee)
- Collin Yarborough author of Paved A Way which addresses environmental and zoning racism in Dallas.
- Aarushi Chitagi student and member of the Coppell Highschool Sierra Club Student Committee.

Will Huddleston
1) Friends of the Old Fish Hatchery (Clear Cutting by White Rock Lake) held their first meeting to understand the progress being made by the City of Dallas Parks Dept and Oncor with the restoration of trees, native grasses, vegetation under the Oncor power lines at White Rock Lake. Please see attached notes below for details.

David Gray
1) The Renewable Power Campaign with Dallas' First Unitarian Church will be up and running around April 11. David will send information and links to website as soon as they're available.
2) David is also working with David Griggs on Political endorsements for the upcoming elections.

Molly Rooke
1) On April 22nd there will be a staff presentation of the Green suggestions Molly has worked so diligently on to DISD.
2) Response to Steve Smith's ExCom Agenda Request - Molly passed on an article detailing Sierra Club's support of eliminating big polluters in investment portfolios and the group "Stop The Money Pipeline"
https://stopthemoneypipeline.com/about-2/

Kathryn Bazzan
1) Kayhryn is Creator of East Dallas Greater Good and Moderator of "Friends of the Old Fish Hatchery Group (Oncor Clear Cutting at White Rock Lake). The group held its first meeting bringing together City admins and resident supporters alike. The notes from the meeting are attached below.
2) Lane Plating Superfund Site - Kathryn (a former TCEQ inspector) is invaluable with helping LP CAG.

Sahan Yerram
Sahan is currently working on turning his high school in Coppell totally green (including solar power, onsite composting, banning Styrofoam in the cafeterias, etc.). One of Sahan's goals is for his school to be the prototype/ proof of concept for all Coppell schools to eventually adopt. Sahan is currently in discussions with the school administrators and they are getting down to brass tacks on funding the project.


ICO - Inspiring Connections Outdoors

by Liz Wheelan, ICO Chair

What's going on?! Wondering why you haven't seen pictures and heard stories about our fun kids in ICO, our terrific program which provides outings for underserved youth? Like the sleepy ICO campers pictured, our ICO program is also taking a rest, but due to Covid. As soon as we get the ok we'll be working on plans to get the kids back into nature and on trail. If you're interested in volunteering or making a donation as we continue to pay for storage of all our kid friendly gear, please let us hear from you! Liz@DallasSierraClub.org or 214-368-2306.


Outings

by Mark Stein, Outings Chair

Why No Outings?
Outings by local Sierra Club groups and chapters remain proscribed by national Sierra Club directive. That's been the case for roughly a year. The current ban is effective through the end of June, when I hope it will give way to sensible precautions to minimize contagion risk.

July and August are not popular months for hiking around Dallas, but I expect we can resume an outings calendar for the fall. One of our challenges will be quickly recertifying enough outings leaders. Club rules require leaders to renew first aid training every two years and the Club's own Outdoor Leadership Training class every four years. After our hiatus year, we'll gear up for a lot of retraining in a short time.

Personally, I think the risks of hiking and camping in uncrowded spaces now acceptably low for people who have received COVID-19 vaccinations and take appropriate precautions of spacing and masking from people outside a known group of "safe" people. I'm backpacking in May in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and hiking in and near Bandelier National Monument. I look forward to the day when we can offer similar outings through the Dallas Group of the Sierra Club. Be patient. We'll get there.


Political

by David Griggs, Political Chair

Don't Forget to VOTE in the Dallas City Council Elections – Saturday, May 1, 2021
Please vote in the upcoming municipal elections in Dallas! Our city council has supported the Dallas Comprehensive Environmental Climate Action Plan (CECAP). We need to ensure that the plan is fully implemented and enforced in the coming years. The Dallas Sierra Club and our chapter PAC have endorsed several candidates for election to the Dallas City Council. We need both your vote and your financial support for these environmental champions.

Go to www.turntexasgreen.org and click on 2021 endorsements to learn more about the candidates and to contribute to our PAC through the PayPal link. Early voting runs from April 19 – 27. Final election day is Saturday, May 1. Check the back of your voter registration certificate for your district number. Find voting center locations in Dallas at www.dallascountyvotes.org


Are Recycling Programs Still Facing Peril?

by Victoria Howard, Conservation Chair and Recycling Coordinator

We all recall the headlines in 2019 from newspapers like The New York Times. Headlines filled with both shock and alarm for long time recyclers. Opening sentences declared: "Philadelphia is now burning about half of its 1.5 million residents' recycling material" and "[T]he Florida city of Deltona faced the reality that despite their best efforts to recycle, their curbside program was not working and suspended it." (*) Advocates of recycling worry that the progress attained in the last three decades was about to become undone and give way to more bulging landfills and polluted air.

The increased cost of dealing with contaminated recyclables was motivating several U.S. cities to alter or eliminate their programs. With targeted neighborhoods being identified and singled out, Philadelphia was choosing to burn those loads with highly contaminated recyclables in nearby Chester City. "[I]n the past three months, half of these recyclables have been loaded on to trucks, taken to a hulking incinerator facility and burned…" (**)

How did this troubling trend turn out? Fast forward two years, and one state is taking innovative action to make sure that their recycling program continues going strong with no cost to stressed state coffers. New York State Senators, Todd Kaminsky (D) and assemblyman Steve Engelbright (D), have a proposed recycling bill, that if enacted, would set a precedent for other states to follow suit.

"[T]he law would get product manufacturers, all but the smallest, to pick up the recycling tab [for their manufactured products]. The prospective legislation, in the works for more than a year, ... has a good chance of earning support. Nespresso, the upscale coffee maker, recently [proactively,] reached out to Sims Recycling, whose facilities process most of New York City's recyclables, volunteering to pay for the equipment Sims would need to extract aluminum from its coffee pods, and arranging with the New York City Department of Sanitation for the pods to be included in curbside pickup.

For others in the packaging industry, including some who have opposed such legislation before but now see states like California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine and Oregon considering similar bills, getting behind the idea. [A true] glimmer of a cultural reset, a shift in how Americans view corporate and individual responsibility."

Consumer packaging (which is almost always in excess of the necessary) has always been a continuous bane on the existence of "reduce, reuse, recycle." But, if more cities and states require the producers of packaging bloat to pay for the recycling of their "shelf bling", it would go a long way towards making big business pay for, and reduce, the recyclables that some cities struggle to process.

*(Corkery, Michael. "As Costs Skyrocket, More U.S. Cities Stop Recycling." NY Times, March 16,2019),
**(Milman, Oliver. ‘Moment of reckoning' US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports" The Guardian, February 21, 2019)
***(Kimmelman, Michael " Recycling in America Is a Mess. A New Bill Could Clean It Up." NY Times, January 27th, 2021)


Your Texas Legislature Wants to You to Pay Annual Fees on Your Hybrid or Electric Vehicle

by Rita Beving

There are seven transportation bills in the Texas State Legislature that are looking to tax your hybrid or electric vehicle (EV). The Senate Transportation Committee heard SB 1728 on April 7th, which would levy a $200 annual fee for electric vehicles weighing 0-6K lbs. and $250 for vehicles weighing 6-10K lbs. This is double the amount that owners of gasoline-fueled vehicles pay in gas taxes to fund road and bridge construction and maintenance.

Last session the Legislature directed the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to study what might be a fair fee and report back in 2021. That recommendation turned out to be an annual $100 registration fee, which is contained in HB 2221, the Electric Transportation Act (ETA). This bill was heard in House State Affairs on April 1.

EV owners already pay higher sales tax at the time of purchase and pay taxes on the electricity they use as fuel. Unfair or "punitive" EV fees hinder EV adoption, according to Consumer Reports.

Make your voice heard. Urge Senate Transportation Committee Members to OPPOSE SB 1728 and not let this bill get out of committee:

Chair: Robert Nichols (R) East Texas - (512) 463-0103, Robert.Nichols@senate.texas.gov
Kel Seliger (R) Amarillo - (512) 463-0131, Kel.Seliger@senate.texas.gov
Carol Alvarado (D) Houston - (512) 463-0106, Carol.Alvarado@senate.texas.gov
Cesar Blanco (D) El Paso - (512) 463-0129, Cesar.Blanco@senate.texas.gov
Kelly Hancock (R) Dallas Area - (512) 463-0109, Kelly.Hancock@senate.texas.gov
Chuy Hinojosa (D) McAllen - (512) 463-0120, Chuy.Hinojosa@senate.texas.gov
Lois Kolkhorst (R) Brenham - (512) 463-0118, Lois, Kolkhorst@senate.texas.gov
Charles Perry (R) Lubbock - (512) 463-0128, Charles.Perry@senate.texas.gov
Royce West (D) Dallas - (512) 463-0123. Royce.West@senate.texas.gov


Et Cetera

Recommended reading

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Dallas-Fort Worth by Joanie Sánchez

This detailed guide presents the best day-hikes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Each hike description features key information on length, hiking time, difficulty, configuration, scenery, traffic, trail surface, and accessibility, as well as information on the history and natural history of the area.
This book is available locally at REI and at Barnes & Noble, and online at Amazon.com.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best Tent Camping: Texas: Your Car-Camping Guide to Scenic Beauty, the Sounds of Nature, and an Escape from Civilization by Wendel Withrow

The Lone Star State provides a spectacular backdrop for some of the most scenic campgrounds in the country, from the High Plains of the Panhandle to the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. But do you know which campgrounds offer the most privacy? Which are the best for first-time campers? Wendel Withrow has traversed the entire state and compiled the most up-to-date research to steer you to the perfect spot!

Whether you seek a quiet campground near a fish-filled stream or a family campground with all the amenities, grab Best Tent Camping: Texas. It's not only a guidebook; it's an escape manual for all who wish to navigate the back roads of Texas to find those special locales that recharge the head, heart, and soul. This guide is a keeper.

This book is available locally at REI and at Barnes & Noble, and online at Amazon.com. To get a signed copy of Wendel's book, contact him by email - Wendel@DallasSierraClub.org

Limerick
I know a Sierran named Mike
Won't litter when he's on a hike.
     I'm confident Michael
     Will always recycle.
That's something about him I like.

- by Kirk Miller

Feedback is welcome (comments, suggestions, letters to the Editor, etc.). Please submit items to newsletter@dallassierraclub.org


Calendar

Here is our calendar for the next two months. For complete listings, visit us at www.DallasSierraClub.org.

 Apr 13 (Tue) Dallas Sierra Club General Meeting
Technology, Economics, & Collaboration: How To Bring Solar To Any Neighborhood
 - Everyone is invited.
Details are at the top of this newsletter and on our homepage.

 Apr 22 (Thu) Earth Day
Do something to honor Mother Earth. Click this link for a partial list of Earth Day events.

 Apr 24 (Sat) Electronics Recycling & Document Shredding
The City of Richardson's annual Trash Bash (9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.) will include many drive-thru activities including electronics recycling, document shredding, used book/record/CD/DVD collection, used cooking oil collection, and a collection event for Network of Community Ministries. Click here for details.

 Apr 24 (Sat) New Science about Fracking
Liveable Arlington is organizing an online presentation by Dr. Sandra Steingraber on the health, community, and climate impacts of fracking. She is an impressive speaker - a scientist with the soul of a poet who brings a moral urgency to environmental issues. The presentation will be followed by a Q and A and recognition of some community heroes at the end. The event is free and open to the public. Here is the event page where you can register to receive a Zoom link for the event. https://fb.me/e/5zu8Z8Xix

 May 5 (Wed) Dallas Sierra Club Executive Committee Meeting
The Executive Committee (Excom) is the elected governing body of the Dallas Sierra Club and meets at 6:30 p.m. via ZOOM. For more information, contact the Dallas Group Chair.

 May 11 (Tue) Dallas Sierra Club General Meeting
Canada's Ocean Plastics Charter: A Move Toward Sustainability
 - Everyone is invited. Details are on our home page now.



Dallas Sierra Club | PO BOX 800365, Dallas, TX 75380

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