Our History: Where We Have Been

Historical Review

1998 Marked 10 years of Environmental Activism and Advocacy!

The Foundation for Global Sustainability (FGS) was founded in Owensboro, Kentucky in June of 1988 by Stephen Smith and Jeff Werner.

Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) was formed in the Summer of 1988. OREPA held a large Hiroshima Day commemoration in August of 1988 where the first acts of civil disobedience were held in Oak Ridge against continued nuclear weapons production.

FGS was recognized as an IRS Tax exempt 501 (c)(3) organization in February of 1989.

FGS' first project was the Oak Ridge Education Project, a sister project to OREPA, and it received funding for the first Citizen's Guide to Oak Ridge, which was published in August of 1989.

The Oak Ridge Education Project and OREPA organized the largest-ever Hiroshima Day commemoration and demonstration. More than 600 people attended and 29 were arrested for civil disobedience.

Leaf and Cielo Myczack's Broadened Horizons Riverkeeper Project joined FGS in the Fall of 1989 to form the Clean Water Project, which was FGS' second project. They sailed the Tennessee River and identified issues of concern along the river. The Clean Water Project publishes A Citizens' Guide to Pollution of the Tennessee River.

During October of 1989, FGS hosted Rainforest Awareness Week in Knoxville as a member of the Rainforest Action Network. This was the origin of the Forest Protection Project which is now the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project. Soon thereafter, FGS organized a colorful demonstration against a local Mitsubishi dealer, calling attention to Mitsubishi's involvement in the destruction of the rainforests of the Pacific rim.

FGS established the Center for Global Sustainability on White Avenue in Knoxville in the spring of I990. Many activist groups used the center as a hub of activity.

The Center for Global Sustainability 1990, White Ave, Knoxville

FGS coordinated Knoxville's largest Earth Day events in April of 1990. Events in Knoxville were highlighted by an FGS-organized parade in which Al Gore marched. The parade culminated in a funeral for Third Creek and an eco-fair attended by hundreds of people.

FGS initiated Green Television, a public-access cable TV program that produced regular programs on environmental and social issues which were then broadcast several times weekly for almost three years thereafter.

OREPA and the clean Water Project teamed up to release information on the contamination from activities on the Oak Ridge Reservation in the Watts Bar Reservoir. Contaminants included plutonium and mercury. Our press release received nationwide coverage, including prompting a story in the New York Times.

In June 1990, FGS helped Project Witherspoon, a local community group, organize a march and rally protesting three nuclear and chemical waste dumps in the economically depressed Vestal community in South Knoxville. Al Gore, speaking at the rally, initiated an EPA investigation.

OREPA hires staff for project, and thirteen are arrested at Hiroshima Day Event in August of 1990.

FGS leads efforts for Knoxville's first Tennessee River Rescue in April of 1991. Tens of thousands of pounds of trash and over 500 tires were pulled from the river. This later becomes an annual city-sponsored event now undertaken by the Knoxville Water Quality Forum.

Center for Global Sustainability serves as headquarters for Pledge of Resistance group, of which thirteen members were arrested in a sit-in protesting Al Gore's vote in favor of the Gulf War.

Public education starts on the streets...

Center for Global Sustainability began a Recycling Program at the Center on White Avenue. Hundreds of tons of glass, paper, plastic and aluminum are diverted from local landfills.

OREPA organizes the largest public hearing in the history of Oak Ridge to stop the relocation of the Rocky Flats Plutonium Facility to Oak Ridge. Four hundred people spoke over the two day event in August of 1991.

Clean Water Project organizes the largest action against the Champion Pulp and Paper Mill In Canton, NC. in March of 1993. Four hundred people attended the rally.

FGS establishes an Energy Project to raise awareness about the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Nuclear plant in Spring City, TN. Together with Katuah Earth First!, SPEAK, and Greenpeace, the Energy Project works to form the Snail Darter Alliance, which conducts a number of demonstrations, press conferences, and rallies at Watts Bar and at TVA headquarters in Knoxville. Demonstrations at Watts Bar draw hundreds of participants.

1995, FGS relocates its new office to the Knoxville Peace, Justice and Ecology Center, later to be known as the Center for Global Sustainability. Located in East Knoxville at Howell's Nursery (2743 Wimpole Avenue) many groups such as the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, the Tennessee Valley Energy Reform Coalition and FGS use the beautiful facility for their operations.

Knoxville News Sentinel, May 1995

1995: Biodiversity Project successfully sues the U.S. Forest Service to stop logging in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

1995: FGS commits to producing a State of the Region Report; dozens of volunteers begin gathering information for FGS's first book-length publication.

FGS establishes the Sustainable Living Program, May 1995. Greenhouse facilities and gardening space from Howell's Nursery become available for usage. A Community Gardening Project is started.

FGS stages the First Annual Global Dinner in April and the first Children's Ecology Festival in August of 1995.

On Earth Day 1997, FGS releases What Have We Done?: The Foundation for Global Sustainability's State of the Bioregion Report for the Upper Tennessee Valley and the Southern Appalachian Mountains, a book-length bioregional narrative painting a large-scale picture of what we have done to this land and to ourselves. 

FGS's State of the Bioregion Report

Tennessee Green, a 1992 quarterly newspaper dedicated to improving the East Tennessee environment through fair and factual reporting, joins FGS at the end of 1997.

1998: FGS marks its 10-year anniversary, celebrating a decade of commitment to environmental issues and activism.

For information about the Foundation for Global Sustainability call (865)-465-9665