Conference aims to educate public on environmental health, climate change

Dogwood Alliance and Science for Georgia came together Thursday to host the first Environmental Health and Climate Protection conference.
Dogwood Alliance Science for Georgia

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Dogwood Alliance and Science for Georgia came together Thursday to host the first Environmental Health and Climate Protection conference.

The organizations want to share ideas that will make an impact.

Amy Sharma, PhD,  the Executive Director for Science for Georgia, says it was interesting to hear diverse perspectives on environmental issues and climate change.

“I’ve already had two speakers email me asking for the contact information of the other speakers,” she said. “We all need to get together. The more we share our ideas across disciplines and across different perspectives, the better and more pragmatic our solutions will be.”

Vicki Weeks, the Georgia State Coordinator for the Dogwood Alliance, says they wanted to bring academics and community leaders together to learn alternative perspectives.

“We wanted to make sure this information was being shared so that alternative information was being included into thinking and how that goes into policy,” she said.

Treva Gear, the Founder of Concerned Citizens of Cook County, spoke about environmental health issues facing Georgia’s rural communities and also shared how her organization in Adel is currently fighting against two wood pellet plants.

She says communities with low socioeconomic status and a high predominance of people of color are usually the targets for these plants.

She says organizing is key.

“Find other like-minded people in your community,” she said. “Make sure you inform your community. Partner with other organizations who will champion your issue and help fight with you, and maintain visibility.”

Gear says people need to get rid of the idea of “not in my backyard,” because environmental concerns can extend much further.

“We can’t put pollution in a vacuum,” she said. “You can’t isolate it. It affects everybody. You need to care about your neighbor across town that has that industry in their backdoor, because it could be you next.”

Science for Georgia says it hopes to host the conference on a yearly basis.

Dogwood Alliance plans to post the Zoom video and professionally edited videos on its website.

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