What happens when citizens reach out and meet with their representatives? If our experience at the Georgia State Conservation Day in the Capital this month is any indication, then legislators listen. Three of our great volunteers from Savannah, Claudia, Connie, and Ardis, joined me in Atlanta on March 1.
Together we met with Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle to share information from our recently released report, Treasures of the South: The True Value of Wetland Forests, on the substantial, positive economic impact of keeping Georgia forests standing.
We also shared information on wood pellet biomass industry plans to expand in Georgia – and some facts about the identified downsides of this planned expansion on health, biodiversity, and environmental justice for Georgia citizens, including their own constituents.
More than one legislator said this was exactly the kind of information they needed to begin understanding the issue.
We also spoke with Senator Lester Jackson and the House Minority Leader Representative Robert Trammell about the importance of bringing forest protection into the state and national conversation on climate change.
Our point – that trees are our best “technology” for pulling carbon from our atmosphere – was heard loud and clear.
Senator Jackson represents coastal Georgia, including Savannah, which recent studies indicate may see as much as 4-7 feet of sea level rise by 2050, so he’s deeply aware of the importance of taking action to address climate disruption. We plan to keep working with these legislators and others in hopes of bringing state legislation forward in the next session to stop forest degradation and support regeneration of our forests.
Stay tuned and be sure to check out our Treasures of the South: The True Value of Wetland Forests!
We also met up with a very cool and committed youth group at the Capital. – Youth for a Cleaner Environment (YFACE) Brunswick.
These young environmentalists who ranged from 3rd through 12th grade were right there with us calling “their senators and representatives to the ropes” to discuss their environmental concerns.
And they weren’t the only young people taking serious action this month. The Green Ambassadors from Georgia Southern University (GSU), hosted a Volunteers’ Meet & Greet Pizza Party for new members who are interested in working on the #Stand4Forests – GA campaign!
Aside from really good pizza, They had some outstanding ideas for how to expand awareness of the campaign to more of the GSU student body and faculty. We put together two new working teams for the Statesboro, Georgia area to focus on: community outreach and public speaking. I’ll be working with the teams to identify opportunities to educate the community through tabling, presentations, and meetings with THEIR representatives.