The Green Scene

Grab some tofurkey and gather round the radio

If you happen to grab a bite at the Greenlife Grocery hot bar on a Tuesday night and wander over to the cafe area to chow down, be forewarned: You could end up on television.

Each week, the health-food hot spot is transformed into a combined radio-and-television studio where “Green Radio Bistro” a WPVM radio program doubling as a URTV series, is produced before a live audience. Spearheaded by singer/songwriter Ian Booth of the local nonprofit Sustainable Now, the program showcases Western North Carolina’s environmental movers and shakers, aiming to get people talking about the region as a hub of sustainability.

“Green Radio Bistro” seeks to foster a vision, says Booth. “It’s about making Western North Carolina the sustainability capital.”

Given the growing number of “green” business startups and the extensive network of environmental groups already here, “The possibilities for Western North Carolina are magnificent,” he maintains. Booth hopes the show will help “improve the literacy of sustainability” and turn people on to the idea that Asheville is ready to step into the limelight as an eco-conscious city.

The Jan. 30 edition of “Green Radio Bistro” featured a unique type of energy-efficient lighting that’s manufactured in Penrose, N.C. Co-host Dee Eggers, an environmental-studies professor at UNCA, interviewed Greg Sedgwick and Steve McNabb of American Carolina, which manufactures electronic high-intensity-discharge lights that use up to 65 percent less energy than conventional HID lighting. Booth says he was struck by the irony that American Carolina Stamping, the parent corporation, formerly manufactured equipment for nuclear power plants. Now, these same businessmen are putting their energy, so to speak, into reducing the amount of electricity consumed.

American Carolina’s lights are used along highways, in parking lots and in industrial settings; current clients include N.C. State University, the Los Angles Public Works Department and Florida state prisons. The lights can be dimmed, slashing electricity consumption when full capacity isn’t needed. Motion sensors can be added to trigger brighter lighting on demand.

Thanks to tax breaks and state loans, the lights are also a pretty good investment, says Sedgwick, who reports that up to 80 percent of the initial cost can be written off. “It allows the consumer to conserve without giving up anything,” he maintains.

But “Green Radio Bistro” isn’t all tech talk—the same show featured an interview and live performance by local folk musician David LaMotte.

“Green Radio Bistro” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on URTV and Mondays at 4 p.m. on WPVM.

IPCC scientist to deliver talk on climate change

On Feb. 2, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s foremost authority on the subject, released its Fourth Assessment Report, reporting “at least a 90 percent probability” that human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions are the primary cause of global warming. The first of three major studies that will constitute the full IPCC report, it includes input from more than 1,200 authors and 2,500 scientific experts in 130 countries.

“The take-home message of this report is that global warming is real, it’s here, and its effects will become increasingly pronounced during our lifetime,” says contributing author Brian Soden, an associate professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami.

Another contributing author is Thomas Peterson, a nationally known research meteorologist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville. He’ll give a lecture titled “Climate Change 101: A Primer on Understanding Climate Change” at the Folk Art Center (milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway) on Thursday, Feb. 15, from 3 to 4 p.m.  The talk is the first of a three-part series hosted by the Asheville chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

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