With the notable exception of the IDA-certified dark sky park at the PARI in Transylvania County — one of only two such facilities in the state — no sky in Western North Carolina is untouched by light pollution. Central Asheville can reach as high as a 6 on the Bortle Scale, in which 1 is complete darkness and 9 is the Las Vegas Strip.
Approximately 65 people, mostly city employees and public officials, participated in an Oct. 20 ribbon-cutting atop the North Fork Reservoir and Water Treatment Plant dam’s new auxiliary spillway, one of several upgrades to the facility’s safety and climate resilience.
Six years in the making, a 300 kilowatt-hour solar array at Asheville’s Isaac Dickson Elementary School was officially dedicated Sept. 24. The $428,000 project is expected to save the school over $1.3 million in utilities costs over its 30-year operational lifespan.
On Aug. 12, a subsidiary of nonprofit Conserving Carolina completed the $7.8 million purchase of the currently unused Ecusta rail line, stretching 19 miles between Hendersonville and Brevard, from the Blue Ridge Southern Railroad.
According to the N.C. Climate Science Report prepared by N.C. State University’s Asheville-based N.C. Institute for Climate Studies and other experts, the area will likely experience more landslides in the coming years due to climate change.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, just 0.2% of workers in the four-county Asheville metro area commute by bike, less than half the national average. But the owners of Asheville’s first electric bike dealership, as well as and regional transportation planners, think e-bikes are likely to change that number.
The Solarize rate of $2.45 per watt of electricity generation is roughly 9% cheaper than the statewide average of $2.67 per watt listed by EnergySage, an industry website. The program, spearheaded by the nonprofit Blue Horizons Project, is able to offer the discount through bulk purchasing of solar equipment for Buncombe County residents.
“What is emerging is the idea that we’re now able to quantify what’s happening,” says Jennifer Harrison, agriculture and land resource director for Buncombe County, about the ability of farmers to combat climate change through practices like cover cropping and rotational grazing.
Local artists and arts leaders discuss the state of racial justice in the creative community, one year after George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter protests.
“I hope that one day in the future — 200, 500, 1,000 years from now — those generations can stand next to a 6- or 8-foot diameter chestnut tree in our mountains and be able to trace the story of that tree back to today,” said Joey Owle, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians secretary of agriculture and natural resources, in a press release announcing the agreement.
Bulk sections, where customers bring their own containers, can cut substantial plastic waste from the shopping experience. Yet concerns over coronavirus transmission have led some co-ops to change how they offer bulk products or even stop them altogether.
In early April, Mars Hill University professor of religious studies Marc Mullinax debuted his new book, Tao Te Ching: Power for the Peaceful, a translation and interpretation that blends a scholarly awareness of the text’s original historical context with an accessible connection to the contemporary American experience.
Smith Mill Works is a sprawling, formerly abandoned greenhouse complex in West Asheville. The property’s revitalization began with in 2014 with the involvement of Michael Klatt. Now home to a diverse array of resilient businesses, the facility provides insight and inspiration toward a sustainable future for Asheville and the region.
Local bands have sustained and grown their fan bases through various creative means during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asheville could prosper, believes Mack Pearsall, by monetizing a unique yet little-known asset: Its federal archive of climate and weather data — the largest such collection among all the nations on Earth — curated by a local talent bank that includes several Nobel laureates and scores of climate scientists.
The WNC Purchasing Alliance, along with Solarize Asheville-Buncombe, promise to lower costs and shift how consumers choose to spend their dollars.
“[Ginseng] has tremendous benefits to the human body,” says Eidus.
On April 22, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy shared news of a 7,500-acre donation in the Roan Highlands. That same day, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina announced a 332-acre donation along Wilson Creek.
“There’s a desire to grow food that is deeply nourishing and has all the minerals and love in it that humans need to survive,” says Maayan Chelsea of Soul Gardens. “We find that just taking it back into our own hands is the best way to achieve food sovereignty.”
All signs indicate that the area’s growth isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Making good on waste-reduction goals has become significantly harder with more people entering the equation, but local waste management teams say that just means it’s time to double down on their efforts.
For decades, the prevailing narrative around fire has been one of destruction and devastation. Adam Warwick, stewardship manager for the Nature Conservancy of North Carolina’s Southern Blue Ridge chapter, is working to break that misconception.