As we all begin to deal with a global pandemic, we wanted to let you know how the Sierra Club is adapting and responding, so we can keep doing the important work of protecting our natural environment and fighting for a just, clean energy future.
First, we’re prioritizing the health of our volunteers, activists, staff, and entire community. The COVID-19 pandemic is a social and economic justice issue, as well as a health crisis. Protecting our community is our number one priority, and we recognize that we have a social responsibility to be good actors in keeping others safe, too.
Here are some specific steps we’re taking:
• We are requiring all non-essential staff and volunteers to work from home between now and April 12th;
• We are suspending all Sierra Club planned events of any size for the next month, including all volunteer and staff in-person meetings; and,
• We are also drawing down Outings across the organization, and more specific guidance and planning will be issued next week.
But that doesn’t mean we’re stopping our fight to protect the environment and public health. You can and should still email or call your members of Congress and other local leaders. In fact, please take this opportunity to email your senators right now about responding to the coronavirus threat. We’ll continue to keep you informed about how you can take meaningful actions while staying safe.
And while we may not be able to meet up in public, we are continuing to build a strong community of changemakers online. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for your daily dose of inspiration, reliable information, and activism. You can also join our Resist Facebook Group to connect with other activists creating a community of positive social interaction focused on protecting the environment. You can also subscribe to our Daily Ray of Hope for uplifting and inspirational pictures and quotes.
I also want to acknowledge that this crisis is impacting all of us in different ways. Many of us are processing feelings of fear, isolation, confusion, anger, and sadness around this pandemic, and how it is being handled by a reckless administration that puts vulnerable communities last. In the past few weeks, I’ve been angered by accounts of racism and harm experienced by those identifying as Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander. I encourage you to put yourself in other people’s shoes and engage with sensitivity and care.
While voluntary social distancing may be necessary to protect our health, it is increasingly important that we come together to work through this crisis. While some will try to use this time to demagogue and sow distrust and fear, we need to overcome that by creating real community, trust, and listening to experts and science. Doing this will only help us as we get through this crisis to deal with the other issues we face in 2020 and beyond.
Yesterday, coronavirus was declared an international pandemic. Already, there are 129,589 known cases and 4,749 deaths globally.1
Now, it’s even more critical that our government takes action to protect public health. Fortunately, legislation introduced today would provide real help for struggling families. However, Republicans in the Senate are threatening to block this urgent bill.2
Speak up to demand that your members of Congress pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The Sierra Club’s mission is to protect the human and natural environment. Our environment is more than just beautiful landscapes; it is also the world that surrounds us: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the communities where we live. It’s critical we stand in solidarity through public health emergencies such as the one we are currently facing.
The coronavirus aid package introduced today by Speaker Pelosi would provide critical support for working people and families. The bill would:3
• Grant temporary sick leave for the growing number of people forced to stay home from work and school.
• Expand unemployment benefits for those laid off because of the virus.
• Increase food and nutrition access, including expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and end work and work training requirements during this crisis.
• Make free coronavirus testing widely available to adequately address the scope of the problem and better contain the outbreak.
Will you speak up now to make sure this happens?
The Trump administration has consistently attacked important safety net programs, including food assistance and Medicaid, and underfunded critical agencies like the Centers for Disease Control. This has crippled the federal government’s ability to keep people safe from the coronavirus.
Add your voice in demanding Congress place passing lifesaving legislation ahead of party politics.
The spread of this virus has made it disturbingly clear how desperately we need policies that ensure people have access to good, affordable healthcare, healthy food, and sick leave from their jobs.
We can act now to provide healthcare and aid to the millions of American families who are struggling.
Speak up to urge your members of Congress to support passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act immediately.
Thank you for showing that, even in hard times, we are stronger together.
1. “Coronavirus Cases,” Worldometer, March 12, 2020.
2. Alexander Bolton, “Senate Republicans poised to reject House coronavirus relief bill,” The Hill, March 12, 2020.
3. “H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” House of Representatives, March 12, 2020.
The current activities towards Environmental Justice and a Just Florence Recovery will be presented by Naeema Muhammad and Ashley Daniels of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and the Just Florence Recovery Coalition.
Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Place: The Harrison Center, 311 Middle Street, New Bern
Environmental Justice is the effort to promote health and environmental equity, clean industry, safe work places, and fair access to all human and natural resources, especially for low income communities and peoples of color.
The Just Florence Recovery aims to help these communities get the resources now to continue getting help after the hurricane and flooding devastation, but also to build resilience in affected communities for future climate related events.
Ashley Daniels has been an activist with the NC Sierra Club in Wilmington and a founding member of the NC Sierra Club’s Equity, Inclusion and Justice Committee. She is an organizer for the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and for the Just Florence Recovery.
Naeema Muhammad has been Organizing Co-Director with NCEJN since 2013. She has served as a community organizer working with communities dealing with waste from industrial hog operations and has co-authored publications regarding community based participatory research. She currently serves on the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Secretary’s Environmental Justice & Equity Advisory Board.
Hosted by the Carolina Nature Coalition, and cosponsored by the Craven County Branch of the NC NAACP and the NC Sierra Club Croatan Group.
All presentations are free and open to the general public. Questions and discussion are always encouraged.
Further Information: carolinanaturecoalition.org or 252-626-5100
The Craven County Board of Commissioners reversed its April 15 decision to decline renewal of the curbside recycling program in Craven County at its specially called meeting held on April 26.
The curbside recycling program in Craven County will continue, though residents will see modifications. The Craven County Board of Commissioners voted to renew the curbside recycling contract with Waste Industries for the next five years to provide a monthly curbside pickup of recyclables in a 95-gallon rolling container.
The current curbside recycling program will continue as is until Craven County and Waste Industries are able to implement the program changes. Residents will see a recycling fee increase on their annual tax bill and that fee will be determined during the Craven County Board of Commissioner’s annual budget process. The fee is expected to be between $56 and $60 per household per year. More details regarding the changes to Craven County’s curbside recycling program will be announced at a later date.
The Special Meeting of the Craven County Board of Commissioners was held in response to citizen demand for the continuation of curbside recycling services after the initial decision was communicated.
“The Board of Commissioners wants to be responsive. I am so glad so many in the community support environmentally friendly policies,” E.T. Mitchell, Craven County Commissioner, said in a prepared statement.
Craven County’s curbside recycling program accepts aluminum cans, newspapers with inserts, clear/green/brown glass, #1 PETE clear plastic, #2 HDPE natural plastic, rigid plastic bottles with the neck smaller than the body of the container (except motor oil and pesticide containers), corrugated cardboard cut down to no larger than 2’ x 3’ and steel/tin cans.
Craven County offers a host of trash and recycling programs including electronics recycling, paint exchange and scrap metal recycling. For additional information on Craven County’s trash and recycling services please contact Craven County Solid Waste and Recycling at 252-636-6659 or visit www.cravencountync.gov.
Craven County commissioners will be reconsidering a short-sighted decision to end curbside recycling following backlash from citizens upset by the decision.
Commissioners made the decision on April 15 rather than double the fee due to cost increases.
This is one of those no-win situations for the board, a majority-Republican group with two newcomers (E.T. Mitchell and Denny Bucher) hesitant to raise taxes or fees because, well, they’re Republicans.
But here’s the thing: ending curbside recycling forces people to do one of three things: discard their recyclables with the regular garbage; make trips to county convenience centers to drop off their recyclables; or toss their recyclables into the woods or by the side of roads along with their other garbage because people like that suck.
For those of us who actually try to be law abiding and who care about the environment, throwing out recyclables with the regular garbage actually violates county rules that forbid recyclables from going into the landfill.
On top of that, citizens would be charged $3 for every 33 gallons of recyclables they illegally send to the landfill.
On top of that, the amount of materials going into the landfill would increase significantly, reducing the life of the landfill. You want to talk about spending taxpayer dollars? Try expanding landfills or opening new ones.
The good news is, commissioners are going to reconsider their decision.
The Board of Commissioners will hold a special called meeting Friday April 26 at 10:30 a.m. (I know! The time sucks!) in the Commissioners’ Board Room at the corner of Broad and Craven streets. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the decision made by the board on April 15 concerning the curbside recycling contract.
So here’s the other side. If county commissioners vote to continue curbside recycling, they will be accused of increasing taxes and fees by the usual group of folks who can’t see past this evening’s episode of Hannity.
The reason recycling has become an issue is because China has stopped accepting U.S. recyclables. We as a nation do a terrible job of separating our recyclables and properly preparing them, and the Chinese have decided it’s not worth the effort and expense to process it.
I know this doesn’t apply to New Bern Post readers, who statistically are better educated about such things and care about the environment. But, sad to say, you are in the minority.
If you want to make sure county commissioners do the right thing and continue curbside recycling, show up at Friday’s meeting.
Update: The Board of Commissioners will hold a special called meeting Friday April 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Board Room. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the decision made by the board on April 15 concerning the curbside recycling contract.
Countywide curbside recycling in Craven County will cease on Friday, June 28, 2019. The decision was made by the Craven County Board of Commissioners on Monday, April 15, after learning the cost to taxpayers of curbside recycling collection services will nearly double for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2019.
Craven County and residents of all of the municipalities in Craven County are part of the countywide consolidated recycling program so this will affect all residents with curbside recycling.
“Waste Industries sells recyclables and the demand for recycled material is market-driven. At this time, buyers of recycled materials are not purchasing the same quantity the world is producing. As a result, recycle service providers are not able to sell the material for sufficient revenue and need to increase their service fee to continue providing services,” said Jack Veit, Craven County Manager.
Recycle bins currently provided as a part of Craven County’s curbside recycling program will be collected by Waste Industries on the last day of service the week of June 24.
Recycling is still extremely important to Craven County and citizens are urged to use Craven County’s seven Solid Waste and Recycling Convenience Sites for recycling. Mixed recyclables and paper can be dropped off at no cost on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the following locations:
• 3555 NC Highway 101, Havelock, North Carolina.
• 605 NC Highway 55 East New Bern, North Carolina.
• 205 Belltown Road, Dover, North Carolina.
• 7775 Highway 70 East, Havelock, North Carolina.
• 4001 Old Cherry Point Road, New Bern, North Carolina.
• 135 Sanders Lane, New Bern, North Carolina.
• 232 Bailey Lane Vanceboro, North Carolina.
Waste Industries will be offering residents subscription curbside services for most areas in Craven County. Waste Industries is currently in discussions with municipalities to determine what, if any, services they would like to provide for their residents. More details on pricing and service areas will be available after May 15.
Residents in areas where subscription curbside services will be offered can call, email or sign up for services online with Waste Industries after May 15.
Craven County’s convenience site recycling program accepts aluminum cans, newspapers with inserts, clear/green/brown glass, #1 PETE clear plastic, #2 HDPE natural plastic, rigid plastic bottles with the neck smaller than the body of the container (except motor oil and pesticide containers), corrugated cardboard and steel/tin cans.
Craven County offers a host of trash and recycling programs including electronics recycling, paint exchange and scrap metal recycling.
For additional information on Craven County’s trash and recycling services please contact Craven County Solid Waste and Recycling at 252-636-6659 or visit www.cravencountync.gov.
Join Earth Day celebrations on Saturday, April 20 from 1 – 4 p.m. at the corner of Craven and South Front Streets in the vacant lot next to Mitchell Hardware for fun afternoon of learning, children’s activities, giveaways, and an after party!
The goal is to bring people together for a fun, learning experience about our local ecosystem and discover how we can all become more socially-conscious.
“We want to start the conversation and spread awareness of how we can take steps to “Refuse, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.'”
The event will kick off with the reading of the Mayoral Proclamation of Earth Day 2019 (officially recognized on April 22).
Meet organizations who are making a difference in the preservation and conservation of our local environment. Your children will have fun with eco-conscious activities hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastal Plains with materials sponsored by U. S. Cellular.
Continue the celebration with The After Party will be hosted by NCMZ.live and the Brown Pelican held from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Brown Pelican with live music by the Carolina Swamp Dogs and the Neuse River Ramblers.
New Bern Parks and Recreation is partnering with New Bern Now to present New Bern Earth Day 2019.
Carolina Nature Coalition, 252-626-5100
Coastal Environmental Partnership, 252-633-1564
Young Living Essential Oils by Dona Baker, 252-672-5933
New Bern Parks and Recreation, 252-639-2901
NC Sierra Club – Croatan Group
Trent Woods Garden Club, 252-288-4846
Veterans Employment Base Camp
You’ll also be given a map highlighting participating Downtown Businesses.
Enjoy giveaways both at the event and at participating businesses.
Participating Downtown Businesses:
Carolina Creations – Recycled Art Exhibit, 317-A Pollock St., 252-533-4369
Hanna House Bed & Breakfast – Beekeeping, Tesla Charging Station, and Water Reuse System Exhibits, 218 Pollock St., 252-635-3209
Living Well Down East – Healthy Living and Giveaways, 309 Middle St., 252-637-0011
Special thank you:
Volunteer Members of the Earth Day Planning Committee and Day of Volunteers.
Sponsors: Boys & Girls Club New Bern, U.S. Cellular, AlphaGraphics of New Bern, Harris Teeter, NCMZ.live, The Brown Pelican, Century 21 Zaytoun-Raines, Carolina Creations, New Bern Woman’s Club, Salon #9, The Sanctuary Gallery, and the aforementioned Exhibitors and Participating Businesses.
The popular Harry Goodman Battlefield Adventure Day for families isSaturday, March 23, at the New Bern Battlefield Park.
A day full of learning activities, period games and living history,it is held annually at the Park, which has been extensively upgraded by the New Bern Historical Society. This year the event is open to guests of all ages, with special activities for children 6-12 years old. Check-inbegins at 11:30 a.m.with activitiesfrom noon to 4 p.m.
Guests will be greeted by re-enactorsfrom the 5th and 7th North Carolina Regiments.The event kicks off with a commissary lunch for all guests, provided by Moore’s Bar-B-Que.
There will be Civil War era games, crafts, and hands-on displays for the entire family. Children will participate in practice drills and Civil War period activities and crafts. Historical Society battlefield guides will provide an informative and entertaining walking tour of the battlefield.
The day’s activities will conclude with an exciting artillery live fire demonstration by McCullough Living History.
Cost is $10 for the first family member, plus $5 for each additional adult or child, with a $20 maximum for a family.Special price for active duty military and families qualifying for free/reduced school lunch program. For more information or to register: New Bern Historical Society,252-638-8558 and www.newbernhistorical.org
At the end of the day they will take part in the American Battlefield Trust’s Park Day, an opportunity for the public to lend a hand at battlefields and parks across the country. Participants will help rake out the redans. Park Day will begin after the Adventure Day activities are completeat 4 p.m.
T-shirts will be given to the first 45 participants.
New Bern Battlefield Park is located off U.S. 70 at the entrance to the Taberna subdivision at 300 Battlefield Trail. This program is supported through the generosity of the family of Harry K. Goodman, who was key to the preservation and restoration of the Battlefield Park.
GATHERED for a check presentation and celebration of a $50,000 grant award for disaster relief from the national Unitarian Universalist Association are some representatives of the Duffyfield Phoenix Project, the Craven County Disaster Recovery Alliance, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of New Bern. They are, first row, seated, Paula Saihati, Grace Hudson, the Rev. Dr. Ethel Sampson, Fred Pittinger, and Anne Schout. In the second row, Elijah Brown, Johnny Sampson, the Rev. Robert Johnson, Carole McCracken, The Rev. John Robinson, Robert Benjamin, Jim Schout, and the Rev. Charlie Davis. Standing behind are Mike Avery and Sully Sullivan.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of New Bern (UUFNB) received a $50,000 grant from the national Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Disaster Relief Fund to aid in disaster recovery in New Bern, primarily in the Duffyfield area.
UUFNB has partnered with the Craven County Disaster Recovery Alliance (CCDRA) and will coordinate efforts with the Duffyfield Phoenix Project, (DPP).
Individual Unitarian Universalists locally, and from various parts of the country, sent unsolicited donations for UUFNB disaster relief efforts shortly after Hurricane Florence created such devastation in the area.
UUFNB formed a committee to distribute the funds to UUFNB congregants impacted by the storm and in most need of assistance Concurrently, UUFNB strengthened its partnership with CCDRA to undertake a community-wide effort. CCDRA is a group of faith-based, non-profit, government and business organizations formed to provide coordinated recovery efforts to county residents. Of primary concern to the UUFNB is the large number of hurricane victims in urgent need of assistance in New Bern’s Duffyfield area.
UUFNB prepared and submitted a grant application to the UUA’s Disaster Relief Fund and was given $50,000 to support CCDRA efforts in the Duffyfield community. Ten percent is available to respond to emergencies outside of Duffyfield. The remainder will focus on priority Duffyfield cases identified by CCDRA with the assistance of DPP. This is a natural fit as DPP’s mission is to improve both the physical surroundings and quality of life for Duffyfield residents.
On Friday, Feb. 8, representatives of all three entities gathered at UUFNB to announce the grant to the press, answer any questions they had and formally turn over the grant funds to CCDRA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted by a severe winter storm moving through the southern U.S.
The National Weather Service reports that a strong storm system crossing the Southwest early Friday morning will likely take a southerly track across the southern plains to the South and then to the southeastern U.S. coast through the weekend. Snow and freezing rain is forecast in eastern New Mexico and the Texas/Oklahoma panhandles by late Friday, and continuing into early Saturday.
Heavy rain is forecast across southeast Texas. The rainfall rates are expected to be high at times, increasing the threat of flooding. Flash flood watches are in effect for this region. A slight risk of excessive rainfall exists through Saturday night for the central Gulf Coast region.
Through late Sunday, a swath of accumulating snow and ice is expected to extend from eastern Oklahoma to the southern Appalachians. Winter storm watches are now in effect from the Texas panhandle to the Ozarks of northern Arkansas, and also for the southern Appalachians and adjacent Piedmont region.
Winter storms present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food. Residents in the path of this storm should pay close attention to the forecast. FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.
Steps to follow in advance of losing power:
• Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
• Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
• Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
• Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
• Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
• Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
• Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
• Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
• Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination from thawing juices.
• Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Food safety after a flood:
• Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
• Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
• Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener.
Food safety during snow and ice storms:
During a snowstorm, do not place perishable food out in the snow. Outside temperatures can vary and food can be exposed to unsanitary conditions and animals. Instead, make ice by filling buckets or cans with water and leave them outside to freeze. Use this ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers.
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
• Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
• Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
• Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
• Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
• When in doubt, throw it out.
FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. Infographics on FSIS’ Flickr page outline steps you can take before, during and after severe weather, power outages and flooding. FSIS provides relevant food safety information during disasters on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety and Facebook.
If you have questions about food safety during severe weather, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available in English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Answers to frequently asked question can also be found 24/7 at AskKaren.gov.