Alabama Sierra Club Retreat Set for October 4-6 at Lake Guntersville State Park

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The Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club will hold its annual retreat at Lake Guntersville State Park October 4-6. This year’s theme is Climate Change and Energy Efficiency: The Butterfly Effect.


According to the announcement for the event, climate change is fast becoming a hot topic even in Alabama, no pun intended, apparently. According to the National Climate Assessment draft released earlier this year, the U.S. average temperature has increased by about 1.5 Fahrenheit since record keeping began in 1895. More than 80 percent of this increase has occurred since 1980, according to the data.

The most recent decade was the nation’s warmest on record in the U.S, according to overwhelming scientific evidence. Temperatures are expected to continue to rise. Because human-induced warming is superimposed on a naturally varying climate, the temperature rise has not been, and will not be, smooth across the country or over time. It’s projected that by 2040 in Alabama, the number of “hot” days with the high temperature 95 degrees or hotter will increase from 30 to as high as 70 days, with fewer colder nights.

According to a White House fact sheet on The Threat of Carbon Pollution: Alabama, “…Carbon pollution is contributing to a higher risk of asthma attacks and more frequent and severe storms, floods, heat waves, and wildfires, driving up food prices and threatening … communities.”

“How do carbon emissions impact our weather, threaten our food supply, cost of living and general well-being?”

“What choices can we make today that will secure our grandchildren’s tomorrow?”

“And what can we do to off-set our increasing utility costs?”

These questions will be addressed at the retreat.

On-site registration will begin at 1 p.m. Friday and the retreat will run through noon on Sunday. Cost for the retreat will be $70 (for early registration) in addition to lodging costs at the park.

For recreation, Lake Guntersville State Park has an 18-hole golf course, a beach area by the lake for relaxing or swimming, miles of hiking trails for the beginner or seasoned hiker that pass former whiskey stills, wildlife, rock formations and other natural beauty and a fishing pier. Boat rentals are also available nearby where the serious fisherman can “pursue a catfish the size of a car,” according to local legend.

The lodge, nestled on top of a Taylor Mountain, offers several sitting areas by burning fireplaces and the balconies look out over the lake. The lodge rooms have a private balcony and patio. Some have a view of the lake. The rustic chalets, within a short walking distance of the lodge, offer sleeping for up to 6. The campground offers both tent and RV camping, a bathhouse with hot showers, a playground and a country store.

The Goldenrod conference room is spacious with a large window and balcony with “picturesque” views of the lake.

Scheduled speakers include:

David Rickless, Jacksonville State University on-line editor for Energy Action Coalition and organizer for Coalition of Alabama Students for the Environment.

On Climate Change: Science and Solutions

Michael Mullen, Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper will make a talk on “Climate Change: It’s Real, It’s Us, It’s Bad, Science Agrees, We Can Fix It,” and a dinner speech on “Fighting and Winning the Battle Our Grandchildren Can’t Afford for us to Lose.”

Dr. Dawn Lemke of Alabama A & M University will talk about “Invasive Plants of the Southeastern Forests and the Implications of Climate Change.”

Daniel Tait, Program Manager Nexus Energy Center, will talk about state and federal legislation, TVA Energy Efficiency and Renewables and the President’s Climate Plan.

Adam Johnston of the Alabama River Alliance will talk about the need for a comprehensive water management plan.

Gary Pace of Synergy Home Performance LLC will talk about home assessments for energy efficiency and “What we can do to offset our Increasing Energy Cost.”

Daniel Tait will give a talk called “Consumer Beware.”

Michelle Sneed, an educator and Permaculturist will talk about “Living Green in Alabama.”

For more information on registration, see the Alabama Sierran.

Lodging is not included in the price. You can reserve a room or cabin by calling 800-548-4553. For a campsite call 800-760-4108. The City of Guntersville also offers lodging.

© 2013, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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