JUSTICE FOR ALL: Participants from New Alpha Community Development, Dogwood Alliance and other organizations pose at a Justice First Tour event in Charleston, S.C. Photo courtesy of Dogwood Alliance

Dogwood Alliance tour sparks conversati­on on environmen­tal justice

In collaboration with the Sierra Club, New Alpha Community Development Corporation and Kingdom Living Temple, Dogwood Alliance is traveling across eight southern states to engage vulnerable communities and build solidarity around climate crises. Emily Zucchino with Dogwood Alliance says the event will tie the community’s poverty and gentrification issues together with the greater environmental context.

UNC Asheville students sample aquatic organisms.

Regional watersheds expected to recover after record rainfall

While the flood’s immediate aftermath may negatively impact water quality and populations of aquatic life, research suggests that WNC’s watersheds readily recover from similar events over the long term. But area experts emphasize that humans do play a role in maintaining the resilience of the region’s streams, rivers and lakes as development continues along their banks.

PRICELESS PROPERTY: DuPont State Recreational Forest encompasses waterfalls, trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, and open space for public enjoyment. The forest has received funding through the state's Natural Heritage, Parks and Recreation and Clean Water Management trust funds. N.C. legislators are considering allotments to those funds as well as other spending related to the environment as they meet in Raleigh to finalize the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Photo by Rob Travis courtesy of the Friends of DuPont Forest

WNC environmen­tal programs and agencies could see more cuts in new state budget

Local legislators and environmental advocates share their thoughts on which state budgetary and policy decisions could have a big impact on WNC’s environment in the coming fiscal year and beyond. They cited issues including the state’s response to novel contaminants like GenX chemicals, the budget for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and funding for the Clean Water Management, Parks and Recreation and Farmland Preservation trust funds.

SMALL YET MIGHTY: The power line serving an emergency radio tower atop Mount Sterling near Cataloochee experienced frequent outages related to bad weather and downed trees, so Duke Energy decided last year to replace it with a self-contained microgrid consisting of a solar array and battery system. Photo courtesy of Duke Energy

Storing power key to expanding use of renewable energy

The success of the county’s and city’s goals to increase their use of renewable energy, say local experts, hinges on the availability of battery storage — and lots of it. With one very small local battery installation under its utility belt, Duke Energy Progress is developing two storage projects in Western North Carolina — but will those and future projects be large enough to make a meaningful difference?

MAKE DO AND MEND: Volunteers Ken Huck, left, and Tom Harter helped an attendee repair a broken pot handle at the first WNC Repair Café, held earlier this year. In addition to saving money and building new skills, the workshops keep repairable objects out of the landfill, says Dan Hettinger, who leads the effort locally. Photo courtesy of Dan Hettinger

WNC Repair Café returns to Living Web Farms

Got a broken toaster or sewing machine? Maybe a lawnmower that won’t crank after its winter hibernation? Check out the WNC Repair Café on Tuesday, April 24 in Hendersonville. At the free event, which is run by the local incarnation of a global network, residents can get help fixing common items, resulting in saving money and keeping repairable objects out of the landfill.