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Press Release: Sierra Club Awards Earth Flag to Local Environmental Activist

Jan 4, 2023 | Community News, Metallic Mining, News, Press Releases, Top Stories | 0 comments

Sierra Club Energy Chair Scott Ziemer with Heidi Berthoud

For immediate release

For more information, contact Donna Shaunesey (434) 996-0392 or

Sierra Club Awards Earth Flag to Local Environmental Activist

Heidi Dhivya Berthoud has been awarded an Earth flag in recognition of all the extraordinary work she has been doing to protect our communities from fracked gas pipelines and polluting gold mining while developing a local Rights of Nature program. 

She was a “nature girl” from childhood as her family spent time camping, skiing and exploring beaches.  Over the years she became the farm manager at the Twin Oaks community and learned about living on the land.  Heidi’s wake up call to action came when the Atlantic Coast Pipeline threatened her home at Yogaville and there’s been no looking back since then.  She was everywhere in this battle, helping to organize a broad coalition to fight the pipeline as well as doing lots of behind the scenes work like handling the website and newsletter for Friends of Buckingham.  A month before the pipeline was stopped in 2020, the Friends discovered the gold mining exploration project.

Launching into a new fight, Heidi, and Friends have led the way in research about the potential hazards of gold mining like heavy metal pollution of groundwater and rivers and the permanent damage created by runoff from open pit mining and the accompanying cyanide waste lagoons.  Her research has even led to collaboration with a local gold miner who is starting to reclaim one of the 457 abandoned gold mines in Virginia from as far back as the 1850’s. Friends of Buckingham has been the lead mover and shaker on getting the state to study the potential hazards of mining metals in Virginia.

If that weren’t enough, Heidi cofounded the Virginia Community Rights Network and serves as its President.  This group guides, supports, and encourages local efforts to recognize and legally secure the Rights of Nature and Communities to a healthy environment through self-government at the city, county, and state level.  Communities across the world are working to recognize that rivers, lakes and entire ecosystems have rights and are creating local ordinances to enact that.  One recent stunning example of that process happened in New Zealand in 2017 when the country passed a groundbreaking law granting personhood status to the Whanganui River.

When Heidi’s not saving the world she maintains an active massage therapy practice (though it’s hard to see how she finds the time!)  We are so lucky to have Heidi working to preserve protect nature and make the world a better place. 

For more information contact Donna Shaunesey, shaunesey@hotmail, 434-996-0392 or check out Heidi’s great organizations to find out more:

The Piedmont Group of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club serves Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, Greene, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock, Nelson and Buckingham – we currently have over 1500 members.  The Sierra Club mission is to explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the earth and locally we work both to celebrate the natural world and to protect it on a wide range of fronts.  We have been awarding Earth Flags to local unsung environmental heroes to make sure they get the recognition they deserve. 

Heidi Dhivya, Donna Shaunesey, Jane Fonda.
Firedrill Fridays Climate Emergency Rally in Washington DC 12-6-2019

The Farmville Herald publishes an article on this press release January 4, 2023. Click here for pdf.


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