Village people

The seeds for the Ashevillage Building Convergence were sown a dozen years ago when a small group of people in Portland, Ore., transformed a run-of-the-mill intersection into an attractive public gathering space. They built an earthen teahouse, planted gardens, erected a kiosk for fliers and poetry, painted a vibrant design on the pavement, threw a […]

The works

According to Asheville Sanitation Division Director Wendy Simmons, skilled garbage-truck drivers can guide the automated claw that grabs brush waste with enough precision to pick up an egg. Not a very practical skill, perhaps, but it serves to show what a $250,000 refuse truck is capable of—especially in the hands of an experienced driver who […]

The Green Scene

Progress Energy’s bid to build an oil-fired power plant in Woodfin ground to a halt about a year ago after hundreds of residents decried the potential health and environmental impacts during a public hearing held by the town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment. That same night, the agency rejected the utility’s request for a conditional-use permit, […]

Pump it up

What does it take to ensure that all of Asheville’s water customers have safe, potable drinking water every time they turn the faucet? In short, three water-treatment plants, 152 employees, a system consisting of approximately 1,625 miles of main lines, 52,000 water meters and a great deal of maintenance, monitoring and adjusting to meet greater […]

The Green Scene

In a country that’s grappling with an economic downturn, rising food costs and a surge in requests for food assistance, it might seem absurd that about one-quarter of the food produced nationwide gets thrown away. Yet, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that’s exactly what’s happening: From farmer’s fields to commercial kitchens to markets […]

The Green Scene

A May 6 article in The Guardian of Manchester, England, offers a chilling glimpse of massive toxic dumps in Ghana, where heaps of discarded computers, televisions and other electronic waste from the United States and Western Europe wind up. Thousands of tons of such trash—commonly called e-waste—are illegally shipped there from the developed world, laden […]

Re-energizing Asheville

About a year ago, the Asheville City Council set an ambitious long-term goal for reducing the city’s contribution to climate change: an 80 percent cut in city government’s carbon emissions by 2050. That means looking for ways to conserve, retrofitting city facilities with more energy-efficient technologies, and generally shrinking Asheville’s carbon footprint at a rate […]

Blazing a pathway out of poverty

Sometimes, the solution to a problem is … another problem. Last year, 32 low-income residents of Richmond, Calif., participated in Solar Richmond, a training program for installing solar panels. Within weeks of completing the program, all of them interviewed with potential employers. In New York, an organization called Sustainable South Bronx has helped low-income workers […]

The Green Scene

High atop Mount Mitchell, an air monitor installed by the state tracks ozone. Oddly enough, it sometimes detects unsafe levels of the pollutant, a respiratory irritant, in the middle of the night—when no cars are passing through, and temperatures have dropped far below the level favorable for ozone formation. Why? O No: It’s officially ozone […]