Most people are unaware that national forests, state parks, and other public lands are fast becoming the new battleground in the energy wars. Stop Fracking Around Chattanooga and the Sierra Club will join forces at Sluggo’s North on April 25 to help people learn more.
Ernie Reed of Heartwood will discuss how national forests are under pressure from oil and gas drilling, as well as fracking operations and increased logging for biofuels. Reed will also discuss how conservation groups are working towards convincing the Forest Service to see forest ecosystems as carbon banks to reduce climate change. The Sierra Club will show a short documentary about gas drilling in Frozen Head State Park.
Mr. Reed’s visit is a part of Heartwood’s “Forests and Climate” roadshow that is traveling across the region. Heartwood is a grassroots umbrella group of more than 100 organizations, all trying to protect native forest ecosystems across much of the eastern United States. Mr. Reed, a native of Charlottesville, Va., says that with carbon and climate issues now a part of people’s awareness, it is important to make the connection between those issues and our public lands.
“Forests are the lungs of the Earth,” he said. “We have to value forests, especially old-growth forests, as being carbon sinks. Governments are only beginning to understand this. It’s our job to make sure that this understanding becomes a part of forest policy.”
Davis Mounger, conservation chair for the Cherokee Group of the Sierra Club and a member of Tennessee Heartwood, agrees. “We’re concerned that forest managers are turning carbon and climate issues into justifications for more logging and promoting an industrial model of forests as being somehow natural,” he said. “You’re starting to see logging projects described as preparing forests for climate change. There’s also the problem of increased oil and gas drilling on national forests in places like Mississippi, and fracking in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania.”
Mr. Reed hopes that the evening at Sluggo’s will spark a lively discussion between groups and citizens. “There’s a whole new set of environmental issues to talk about,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for groups and citizens to share and get involved.”
The discussion will take place on Thursday, April 25, at 6 p.m. at Sluggo’s North, 501 Cherokee Blvd., Chattanooga 37405.
For more information, contact Ernie Reed at 434 971-1647, firstname.lastname@example.org or Davis Mounger at 423 877-4616, email@example.com.