As we celebrate Earth Day 2015, we take a look at the status of the sustainability movement in WNC. How far have we come, and how far do we have to go? We asked local nonprofits and regulatory agencies to take us to school by examining our environmental efforts — from our air to our water, from our successes to our failures — and giving us an honest assessment of how we’re doing.
On February 18, Xpress published “Tales from the Trail,” detailing the experiences of Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Gary Sizer. In the story, we met Henry Wasserman, who was seeking a transformative experience on the A.T. On March 19 Wasserman began his months-long trek north, trudging mile after mile through red Georgia clay.
If you’ve lived in the Asheville area for any length of time, you know there are certain city roads that you simply avoid at key times of day. And with tourism booming and more people looking to move here every day, traffic concerns on already crowded city streets loom large in the minds of many residents, as well as city and state officials.
“We are in a position once again to get our air cleaned up. We have a local, regional air quality board that is in process of writing a new permit for the Asheville Coal Plant. Our task is to show up at the public hearing.”
Some of Mother Earth News’ earliest “Mothers” — whose roots go back to the 1970s and 1980s — got together this past Sunday at the Mother Earth News Fair, which was held at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher. Nearly two dozen former employees and families met for brunch and to share their recollections from the decades past. I was one of them.
In an ongoing effort to connect those dispersed communities, the Appalachian Studies Association held its 38th annual conference last month in Johnson City, Tenn. The one-of-a-kind event unites scholars and musicians, activists and academics, to celebrate the often misunderstood region’s distinctive heritage, culture and physical landscape.
“In collaboration with the city of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability and Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, I am conducting a survey of commercial waste-management practices in downtown Asheville.”
Local sustainable builders and the Western North Carolina Green Building Council reached an important milestone last month with the certification of the 1,000th Green Built North Carolina home in the greater Asheville area.
Asheville GreenWorks partnered up April 11 with volunteers to transform an empty green lot at Hillcrest Apartments into an orchard. GreenWorks received a grant to plant its sixth community orchard at Hillcrest, with 24 ball-and-burlap apple trees and 36 blueberries. The goal is to promote better access to food, greenspace, shade, community pride and jobs.
When will cleanup begin at the contaminated CTS site on Mills Gap Road? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s project manager for the Superfund site— 2016.
The sun is shining on those who want more competition in the N.C. energy marketplace. A series of bills recently introduced into the state legislature aim to diversify the energy business through independent solar sources and provide incentive for energy efficiency through a tiered rate system.
The 74 homes in Southside Village are not part of the CTS of Asheville Superfund site next door, say several residents of the gated community off Mills Gap Road. In two recent letters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency backs up that assessment, saying it “does not believe contamination associated with the CTS of Asheville Superfund Site poses unacceptable risk to residents of SSV.”
From the Get It! Guide: Asheville GreenWorks’ new executive director may be new to Asheville. But her roots in environmental education go all the way back to childhood exploration in NYC.
From the Get It! Guide: Long before the age of Internet lists and online travel magazines, people came to Asheville and Western North Carolina for the intrinsic natural beauty. In fact, the beauty of our environment is what many say makes this place so special. But are we protecting what we have? What initiatives are underway to help ensure that the region remains a respite and a haven for generations to come?
The Buncombe County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority will hold a meeting on Tuesday, March 31, to consider the approval of financing new machinery for the Plasticard-Locktech International facility at 605 Sweeten Creek Road. The meeting will be held at noon at 46 Valley Street in downtown Asheville.
From the Get It! Guide: A close look at the trash collected in Asheville was shocking — 26 percent of our waste is compostable matter, 18 percent is recyclable and 56 percent is true waste, fit only for the landfill. With the city alone producing over 22,000 tons of trash a year, what is the cost of all that waste. And what is it going to take for us to reduce it?
St. Eugene Catholic Church in North Asheville announced earlier this month that it will install 146 solar panels this year.
From the Get It! Guide: Lisa Thomson, the new CEO of The American Chestnut Foundation, says its an exciting time to be a part of TACF. For the first time in the organization’s more than 30 year history, the American chestnut has a real hope of reviving.
From the Get It! Guide: Asheville is faced with a rising interest in transportation alternatives, but the path to greater advances seems to be lined with historic neglect and budgetary hurdles. The city still has a long walk ahead to fulfill its 2004 goal of building 108 miles of sidewalks. In the last decade, Asheville has constructed only about 18 miles worth.
From the Get It! Guide: Green jobs, lush community gardens, community cookouts and water quality testing — these might not be things many in Asheville picture when they think of public housing. But residents says Asheville’s public housing neighborhoods are investing in their communities’ welfare and leading a growing interest in “greening” up the neighborhoods.
Students in UNC Asheville’s chapter of the American Meteorological Society use real-world experience, integrated with social media and technology, to feed their love for all things weather-related. There are weather balloons to release in the dark of night, mountaintop weather stations to maintain, snowfall to tweet about and, somewhere, a tornado or hurricane to track.