Every one of us can do something to protect and care for our planet
It’s tree planting time! Chattanooga has been a Tree City every year since 1990. Since then we have planted lots of trees. Gene Hyde, our City Forester, has led that charge. He estimates that conservatively 6,250 trees have been planted during his 25 years of jurisdiction. This is prime tree planting time. That’s why Arbor Day is the first Friday of March.
To celebrate Arbor Day, Chattanooga Mayor Berke, our Tree Commission, County Mayor Coppinger, and Commissioner Mackey dedicated a commemorative flowering cherry tree at the walking track in Murray Hills subdivision. Neighborhood and Volkswagen volunteers planted 29 additional trees.
It was noted that not only do trees add beauty and summer cooling to the neighborhood, but such gathering places enhance social fabric and encourage walking to support health and fight obesity.
Plenty of tree planting happens this month in Tennessee. It’s the right time as hardwood trees begin to break their winter dormancy, and coming warm weather gives plenty of time for new trees to stretch their roots and settle in before cold arrives.
The Tennessee Environmental Council just completed its annual 50K Tree Day on February 27. This Tree-mendous event enabled volunteers in every Tennessee county to plant trees in church, school, business and private yards. Volunteers are planting 600 trees in Woodland Wetland Park on Standifer Gap Road. These trees will help with flood and temperature control while increasing biodiversity.
Meanwhile, sister city Hamm, Germany provided an innovative idea for creating new forests. People can commemorate a special occasion or a loved by donating a tree to Sculpture Fields Commemorative Forest to re-forest Montague Park. Further, Wedding Forest is being planned by Sister Cities Association later this year along Tennessee Riverpark and South Chickamauga Creek.
Planting trees is so important! Growing trees hold on to carbon, a free service we badly need to slow the rate of climate change. Of course, trees also treat water, condition the air, provide homes and food to wildlife, and control flooding, not to mention economic values for building, heating, furniture while providing places for kid climbing. With extensive tree loss due to wildfires out west, that's all the more reason to save existing trees and plant new ones.
Celebrate trees on Earth Day, April 22 at Coolidge Park for “Of Trees I Sing”, a Nature Conservancy film plus live music, beer, and exhibits.
In other news, are you perhaps looking for a beautiful piece of property along Guntersville Lake? One may be available soon in Hollywood, Alabama. This 1600-acre site is in rural Jackson County with the small town amenities of Scottsboro, Alabama nearby. Sure there are a couple of never used cooling towers, nuclear containment hulls, and large buildings maintained since 1988, but there is power.
Yes, TVA has (wisely) withdrawn the request for an operating license for Bellefonte nuclear reactors 3 and 4 that were envisioned, but never built. Reactors 1 and 2, dubbed zombie reactors because they wouldn’t fully die, were never completed. Eventually existing equipment was cannibalized for use in other places. For the health and safety of citizens, this is very good news.
What's next for this site and best for Jackson County citizens? Sell it or keep it? Housing? Agricultural farmland? Shopping mall?
Here’s my best suggestion: Create a solar-powered amusement park modeled after Wunderland Kalkar in Germany where a nuclear plant was built, but never used. Brightly painted cooling towers can become climbing walls with a vertical swing tower or a merry-go-round inside. Amusement rides and educational exhibits can feature energy with an actual Energy Park using alternative energies on part of the site.
Eventually hotels, marinas, restaurants, and shops would follow, building a tourist economy and much-needed job pool for Jackson County without radioactive waste. $4 billion should do it. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandra Kurtz is an environmental community activist and is presently working through the Urban Century Institute. You can visit her website to learn more at enviroedu.net