The Georgetown community got a green thumb this weekend as talks of saving energy and the environment happened at the Gullah Geeche Environmental and Energy Conference. Taking place Oct. 25 -26, the Gullah Geeche Chamber of Commerce held this “lean green” conference in order to better educate the community about their roles as environmentalists and business opportunities in the growing green, renewable energy industries. Other companies in the community such as Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic (SODA), South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP), Winyah Rivers Alliance, NAACP and others helped sponsor the consultation to advocate for environmental change.
On the first day of the conference, members met at the Rice Museum to hear Albert George, Director of Conservation of SC Aquarium, discuss climate change. George showed a map and spoke about the future impact of the issue of the rising sea level in the communities and “decisions we need to make” about the issue.
“This is not one of those (something) you just ignore or is hope goes away. If you big invested interest in this community you need to be dealing with the real data,” George said.
On Saturday at the Howard Center, the conferences kicked into full gear with guest speakers from Ed Piotrowski, Chief Meterologist at WPDE, Arnold Singleton, Amy Armstrong and others. Piotrowski took everyone back for a look at Hurricanes Matthew, Florence and Dorian and their effect in the area. After which, “The Future of Energy in SC” discussion started with Arnold Singleton, Senior VP at Santee Cooper, talking about the plans of Santee Cooper and the energy problem in SC. Followed with him was Peg Howell with SODA and Cassie Ratliff, Regional Field Director at Conservation of Voters of SC.
In “de Community Gaardin will save de world” discussion, panelists talked about the importance of healthy living and gardening to the audiences. With each panelist giving a personal story about them changing their dietary habits to have a healthier lifestyle. Following this other panels included:
“Save the Environment, Save the World” with Amy Armstrong, SC Environmental Law;Deanna Miller-Berry, founding organizer of Denmark Citizens for Safe Water; and Janae Davis, American Rivers.
“Plastic vs Planet” featuring Goffinet McLaren, Chirping Bird Society
“Becoming an Advocate for your Community and Environment” featuring Coastal Conservation League members Jasmine Gil and Erin Pate.
“Having our Voice at the table for Environmental Justice & Green, Renewable Energy” featuring Marvin Neal, president of NAACP.
Marilyn Hemingway, CEO of Gullah Geeche Chamber of Commerce, calls this conference a successful turnout and wants people to realize their role in protecting the environment.
“If we don’t save the environment, we’re all gone it doesn’t matter who you are. What’s even more important is the role that I chose to take is to work with my community in our partners and save all of us” Hemingway said.