Looking forward: Graduate students in Lenoir-Rhyne’s new sustainability studies program are hoping their research projects will make a big community impact. Pictured from left to right: Lenoir-Rhyne Director Paul Knott; students Maria Wise and Alisha Goodman; Professor Keith McDade. Photo by Shara Crosby.

Future vision: Local sustainability graduate research targets real-world benefits

The first group of students in Lenoir-Rhyne University’s new sustainability studies program may be small, but the fruits of their research might eventually have a big local impact. Based at the Asheville campus, the new master’s degree program requires students to complete a “capstone” project combining graduate-level research with real-world conditions and needs. This spring, […]

Shrinking the footprint: Challenges emerge in county plan to curb carbon-attachment0

Shrinking the footprint: Challenges emerge in county plan to curb carbon

The international debate over climate change came home Dec. 3, as the Buncombe County commissioners butted heads over a proposal to reduce the county’s carbon footprint by 80 percent over time. Now, county staff is trying to figure out how to begin implementing the directive and determine how to measure the progress.

Commissioners to consider big carbon reductions, elect new vice chair-attachment0

Commissioners to consider big carbon reductions, elect new vice chair

At their Dec. 3 meeting, Buncombe County commissioners will consider a proposed Energy Independence Initiative that would commit the county to achieving an 80 percent reduction in its carbon footprint. Commissioners will also elect a new vice chair to succeed Commissioner Holly Jones, who is finishing up a one-year term in the role.

Local conference highlights renewable energy economy-attachment0

Local conference highlights renewable energy economy

Of the 30 utility-scale solar projects built in the Southeast last year, 21 were in North Carolina. That’s the kind of good news business leaders heard when they gathered June 19 in Asheville to celebrate the successes and discuss the challenges facing the rapidly growing renewable energy industry. (pictured: Ivan Urlaub of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association; photo by Max Cooper)

Crowd shows up to object to Progress rate hike-attachment0

Crowd shows up to object to Progress rate hike

At a five-hour hearing conducted by the North Carolina Utilities Commission last night, every speaker except those representing the Council of Independent Business Owners and Biltmore Farms objected to rate hikes proposed by Progress Energy. The speakers’ reasons for opposition ranged from the impact of the rate increases on the working poor to projected environmental damage. Photo by Max Cooper

Beyond Coal

There’s an ironic juxtaposition of the old and new along Interstate 26 as you approach Asheville, said Bruce Nilles, the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign director. The Progress Energy plant burns coal day and night to provide power to consumers across Western North Carolina, while a short distance away, along I-40 a six-acre solar farm […]

SEE Expo ends after 10-year run-attachment0

SEE Expo ends after 10-year run

Organizers of the annual Southern Energy & Environment Expo announced yesterday that the exhibition is ended, after a 10-year run for the three-day event. They also announced the closing of Our Southern Community Center, opened earlier this year to provide year-round public access to sustainability tools and information. The center will close June 11, when it holds a ‘gone out of business’ sale offering solar products and office furniture.

Looking down that lonesome road

I feel sad about the dialogue that isn’t happening concerning choices that have lasting, detrimental effects on our children and the planet. Sad that environmentalists are seen as a threat. Sad that the environmental community remains stuck in its own groups and doesn’t pool resources, efforts, hearts and hands to create the future we want […]