Lunching and Learning to Revitalize Proctor Creek and Nearby Communities

What’s going on at Proctor Creek? What efforts are ongoing there? How can non profits, agencies and the City of Atlanta work together to revitalize the Creek along with the residents who live near it?

Photo courtesy Ivory Young

Photo courtesy Ivory Young

Community members, Proctor Creek supporters, Fulton County and City of Atlanta staff participated in a City of Atlanta Lunch and Learn sponsored by District 3 Councilmember Ivory Young on Friday October 30th to hear more about just this At the event, held in the Old Council Chambers of City, Hall, representatives of ECO-Action, the Community Improvement Association, the Conservation Fund, Proctor Creek Stewardship Council and the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance provided updates on the wide range of ongoing initiatives in the Proctor Creek Watershed. By providing a forum where community organizations might inform City government officials of these initiatives and highlight proposed activities, Councilmember Young hoped to identify ways that agencies might work in partnership with community organizations to meet these needs.

ECO-Action’s presentation focused on the next steps in implementing community projects identified though the completion of the Proctor Creek Health Survey. Since the survey data was collected and analyzed late last year, ECO-Action and Emory University, who together led the effort to complete the survey, have been meeting with interested Vine City and English Avenue community members to identify next steps to reduce the impact of flooding on public health. Community members identified six key goals for future action arising from the study findings. These areas were:

  1. Educate to promote lifestyle change (personal action)
  2. Facilitate home repair, maintenance and pest control (individual/landlord action)
  3. Provide smart relocation resources (personal action and support through a resource support system for relocation)
  4. Promote individual and community-wide green infrastructure as a method to prevent and reduce flooding and sewer overflows (personal and City action)
  5. Provide services and support for people with asthma (personal, physician and Fulton County Health Department action)
  6. Advocate for public policy promoting healthy homes (collective action geared toward City and Fulton County Health Departments)

ECO-Action’s Dr. Yomi presented six community-identified strategies that have been develop to achieve these goals. These strategies would enhance rental unit maintenance, senior home maintenance, pest control, assist individuals in smart relocation and provide additional community education about mold remediation, pest control and green infrastructure through a series of awareness workshops.

Other presentations made at the Lunch and Learn addressed:

Photo courtesy Na'Taki Osborne-Jelks

Photo courtesy Na’Taki Osborne-Jelks

  1. Capacity building for the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council presented by Darryl Haddock, a representative of the Council;
  2. Proctor Creek Citizen Science Programs presented by Na’Taki Osborne-Jelks of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance;
  3. Advancing Community Greenway and Green Infrastructure Visioning presented by Stacy Funderburke with the Conservation Fund;
  4. Atlanta Urban Environmental Resources Center presented by Tony Torrence, of the Vine City Community Improvement Association.

As each of these initiatives were presented, Councilmember Young identified ongoing City efforts that might complement them and provided suggestions for additional funding and partnerships.

There’s a great deal happening near the Creek. Working together, non profits, City government and citizens can enhance both the vitality and the beauty of this resource in our midst while improving the lives and livelihood of those living nearest to it.

The Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition Shows the People’s Power!

turnerfieldDr. Yomi Noibi, Executive Director, ECO-Action

With the construction of the new stadium in Cobb County, the 77 acres of public land that now make up the Turner Field Stadium area are poised for new development. Housing, transportation options, and all other aspects of creating a livable community are on the table. It’s a huge opportunity for positive growth in the area, if the members of the surrounding NPU-V community can be active in the planning process. The Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition (TFCBC) is working for exactly that – an inclusive development planning process that connects the residents, stakeholders, business owners and students of the surrounding neighborhoods and honors their needs as the area is developed.

But unfortunately, the residents of these neighborhoods have not been included in the planning thus far. Instead, Georgia State University and private developer Carter worked together to come up with their own plan and process for the redevelopment of Turner Field and its immediate environs. On June 2, 2015, the stage was set for GSU and the private developer to reveal those plans at a community meeting.

On this day – the community’s first opportunity to weigh in – the people truly showed up. TFCBC demonstrated the power of community organization by packing more than 200 people into the meeting room. Their message? “You do not invite us to come see your plans for us. We invite you.” In response Carter President Scott Taylor said, the partners wanted to present a vision of “how we can collectively and collaboratively make this very special,” and vowed a transparent process involving the desires of stadium neighborhoods.

TFCMC 060215Because realistically, who is better poised to say where new housing is needed than someone who might live there? Who better to suggest necessary transportation options than someone who might use them? These types of decisions cannot be made without the people they affect sitting at the table. The TFCBC sent this strong message to Georgia State University that day, ensuring not only that they will be sitting at the table as the planning process moves forward, but that their voices will be heard.

If you would like to get involved with the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition, which is working to create livable communities that meets the needs of their residents, visit www.turnerfieldcoalition.org or find them on Facebook and Twitter @TFCoalition . ECO-Action is a founding member of TFCBC and will continue to provide ongoing support to this vital community initiative.

Downstream neighbors pooh-pooh Atlanta’s sewer system

cut the crap rally1by Maggie Lee, Creative Loafing

For the first time in 10 years, environmental rule-writers are reconsidering just how much Atlanta sewage should be allowed to wash downstream toward neighbors in DeKalb and beyond. It should be pretty much zero, activists say. Not gonna happen, says the city.

What Atlanta has now is a “third-world approach” toward sewage disposal, said Jacqueline Echols, president of the South River Watershed Alliance. The South River starts in East Point and flows through Atlanta, south DeKalb County, and points southeast before emptying into Jackson Lake.

She refers to Atlanta’s approach as such because in some of the oldest parts of the city — English Avenue and Vine City — the same set of pipes is supposed to handle both rainwater and toilet flushes. When it rains too hard, the system can’t handle everything, and some of what goes down area toilets runs into area streams without being fully treated. Running a system that allows such sewage spread shows zero respect for people on the river, Echols says.

The SRWA and some other groups are calling for environmental regulators to clamp down on pollution from sewage overflows. The state Environmental Protection Division is now in the middle of its periodic review of the pair of permits that say what Atlanta can flush westward toward the Chattahoochee and eastward toward Jackson Lake.

Read more of this Creative Loafing article here.

To learn more about this work or to connect with the South River Watershed Alliance, call us.

One Problem with EPA’s Proposed Clean Carbon Plan

By Kira Spanks

epa-clean-power-plan-figure-4Earlier this month the EPA released the 645-page document that goes into great detail about their plan for clean energy. Just one problem; within those pages the EPA is pushing for more nuclear plants to open across the country. The good news is that the EPA is shutting down a lot of oil and coal fired plants. Nuclear energy however is just as dangerous, if not more so, than the more primitive coal and oil fired plants. Below you will find some points of interest that will help lead you through the EPA’s Clean Carbon Plan Proposal.

How Has Nuclear, Coal and Oil-Fueled Energy Affected Us?

1. Communities living near nuclear power plants in Georgia suffer higher rates of cancer and economic desolation.
2. Asthma rates have doubled in US in the past 30 years. In Georgia, 8.2 percent of adults suffer from asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
3. Health risks associated with nuclear energy production are significantly increased for female individuals; especially those aged zero to five whose risk is two times as much as their male counterparts. For adult females, the risk is 50% higher.

The Intentions of The Proposal:

1. The Clean Carbon Plan proposal uses the 2005 level of carbon pollution as its baseline and targets to decrease this level of pollution by 30% by the year 2030.
2. The plan proposes to increase the reliance of the United States on alternative, longer lasting and cleaner forms of energy, such as solar, wind and hydroelectric.
3. The plan proposes to provide subsidies for nuclear plants construction which would support about six percent of each state’s energy production from nuclear plants

Negative Effects of Stimulating Nuclear Energy Growth through Subsidies

1. Many people in support of the expansion of nuclear energy technology suggest that the use of clean alternatives would increase energy costs. However, various studies have indicated that the opposite it is actually true. Costs are lowered when using solar, hydroelectric and wind energy. The number of businesses and household are that dependent on nuclear energy is very small; as low as an estimated half percent of the total United States’ electricity supply.
2. The economic value of avoiding retirement of the six percent of nuclear plants per state is not large enough to be necessarily advantageous to the industry.
3. Nuclear reactors are dangerous, uneconomical and can easily be replaced by newer and cleaner ways to generate energy. If the subsidies pass, this requires taxpayers to give money to support decades old technology.
4. Each nuclear plant is required by law to dispel the spent uranium used to generate energy at every two-years. It has released most of the energy through a fission process through which the spent uranium becomes a radioactive waste.

The rule, as reviewed, presents a positive spin on something that could have serious health consequences. The EPA is suggesting that we are heading towards a cleaner emission future, but they are not going far enough to address all of the potential health impacts. It is unrealistic to suggest that all coal, oil and nuclear-fueled power plants be removed immediately and replaced with cleaner methods of energy generation such as wind or hydroelectric. By the year 2030, the proposed date for complete implementation of the rule however, we should have done away with all of these harmful ways to generate power. What will retaining these nuclear plants mean exactly for our local communities, region and the nation?

Speak Your mind!

EPA recently held four public hearings on the rule in Denver, CO, Pittsburgh PA, Washington D.C. and Atlanta. Both the Southern Company and Georgia Power spoke in favor of nuclear power at the Atlanta meeting. The comment period on the proposal is open until October 16, 2014. People may still comment on the proposal online or by email, fax or letter: See this link for additional information on how to create and submit your comments. EPA considers all comments equally, no matter how they are submitted.

Speak Your Mind. Tell the EPA “NO MORE NUCLEAR!”

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Also, to learn more, watch the EPA’s short, informative video called “Clean Power Plan Explained,” or check out their easy-to-read fact sheet, Overview of the Clean Power Plan.