The Green Scene

Coal Country documentary premiers in Asheville

Last June, 14 activists were arrested in West Virginia for hanging a protest banner from a 22-story-high dragline used in mountaintop-removal coal mining. Among the "Dragline 14" was local filmmaker Kurt Mann, who was documenting the event for Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network.

Owner of the Asheville-based American Green, Mann recently announced a weeklong fundraising drive that will help support ongoing nonviolent, civil-disobedience efforts coordinated by the nonprofit organization Climate Ground Zero, which aims to "expose the truth" about modern coal mining.

The drive includes the premier of two documentaries. Coal Country, which will be shown at Asheville Pizza and Brew on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 9:30 p.m., provides a dramatic look at mountaintop-removal coal mining. It features both activists and miners telling their stories. And One Water is the result of a collaborative University of Miami project aimed at engaging the media so as to increase public awareness about the global water crisis. The film will be shown at Carolina Cinema on Friday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception and panel discussion with journalist Joseph Treaster. For more information, contact Azure Samuels at 606-1373. A $10 donation for each film is recommended, but no one will be turned away, says Samuels.

Green hotelier Dennis Quaintance at WWC

"I've come to believe that it is an urban legend that employing sustainable practices with new construction is too expensive," says Dennis Quaintance, CEO of Greensboro's Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels. The hotelier will speak Sept. 25 at Warren Wilson College to kickoff the school's 2009-2010 Sustainable Community Seminar Series. Quaintance's company owns and operates the Proximity Hotel and the adjacent Print Works Bistro — the first facilities in the hospitality industry to achieve LEED "platinum" certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The hotel, which opened in 2007, uses about 41 percent less energy and 33 percent less water than a conventional structure of its size.

Quaintance will be joining Margo Flood, director of the college's Environmental Leadership Center, to offer the series' opening seminar, "Introduction to Sustainability," 3 to 5 p.m. in Canon Lounge.  Prior to the seminar, at 1 p.m., a "Green Walkabout" will highlight the story of sustainability at Warren Wilson.

Both the seminar and walkabout are free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required. Contact Phillip Gibson, ELC research and community outreach director, at 771-3781 or pgibson@warren-wilson.edu. Or visit www.mountaingreenwnc.org/ and click on "Schedule" at the top.

Got a biking/walking plan?

The N.C. Department of Transportation is accepting proposals for the 2010 Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative. The program gives municipalities across the state an opportunity to develop comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plans.

"Developing a good local plan is the first step in establishing comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian programs," Transportation Secretary Gene Conti said. "With this grant program, it is our goal to ensure that communities throughout the state have the tools to develop plans that help achieve their long-term transportation goals."

Sponsored by the department's Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation and its Transportation Planning Branch, the program has awarded nearly $2.3 million to 92 municipalities across the state since it began in 2004.

Grants will be awarded not for one specific project but rather for developing plans that demonstrate a comprehensive strategy for expanding bicycle and pedestrian opportunities within a given municipality. These plans address facilities, programs, services and regulations that encourage safe walking and bicycling.

For more information, contact Bob Mosher at (919) 807-0773 or rmosher@ncdot.gov; John Vine-Hodge at (919) 807-0772 or at javinehodge@ncdot.gov; or Helen Chaney at (919) 807-0780 or hmchaney@ncdot.gov.

Give teachers a sustainability scholarship

The Ashevillage Institute and Pollinate Consulting are donating two two-day Sustainability Education Scholarships to area teachers for either AVI's Backyard Sustainability workshop (Oct. 2 and 3) or its Rainwater/Greywater Catchment workshop (Nov. 7-8).

Through Sept. 25, you can nominate a teacher from any school or community center in the Asheville area by submitting their name, e-mail address, phone number, school or community center, and age, as well as one paragraph about why and how you feel the teacher would utilize knowledge about sustainability in their classroom, community center or school. Teachers can also nominate themselves.

Tax-deductible contributions are being accepted to help fund the Sustainability Education Scholarships.

Submit donations and recommendations to pollinateconsulting@gmail.com or call 989-8361. Scholarships will be awarded on Sept. 28.

Send your environmental news to mvwilliams@mountainx.com or call 251-1333, ext.152.

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About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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