Judy Mattox, chair of the Western North Carolina Sierra Club Group, shared her top five highlights from a year of advocacy with Mountain Xpress.
Whether going with the flow at the Metropolitan Sewerage District or climbing a Fairview mountain in search of herbicide helicopters, Daniel Walton had quite the eventful year. The Xpress Green Scene editor shares his pick of moments and stories from 2019.
Dawn Chávez, the executive director of Asheville GreenWorks, found many threats to the region’s sustainability in 2019. She listed the top five of her worries for Xpress’s year-end review.
On Dec. 19, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality held a public hearing at A-B Tech to discuss Duke Energy’s plans to create a 12.5-acre industrial landfill at its Arden plant. All but two of the 15 speakers at the hearing expressed worries over the proposed site, which would store coal ash and demolition waste.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19, a public hearing will take place in Room B of the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center at 340 Victoria Road in Asheville regarding Duke Energy’s plans to build a 12.5-acre landfill on its property beside Lake Julian.
As world leaders met in Spain for a United Nations conference on climate change, Western North Carolina residents converged on Pack Square for their own environmental action on the morning of Dec. 6. Organized by Sunrise Movement Asheville in conjunction with six other area nonprofits, the Asheville Climate Strike for a Green New Deal called for government leaders “to take bold action and treat this like the climate emergency that it is.”
After months of haranguing City Council over the wording of a climate emergency resolution, over 40 protesters with Sunrise Movement Asheville occupied the government building on Dec. 6 to demand that Mayor Esther Manheimer and her colleagues pass the document as written by the climate justice group.
Commissioned by the French Broad River Partnership with $56,000 in grant funding from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Ecology Wildlife Foundation and Duke Energy, the research effectively seeks to fill out the river’s books. A team led by economist Steve Ha of Western Carolina University will analyze the monetary value of a healthy river to its eight-county watershed.
Climate Change and Asheville’s Urban Forest, a symposium organized by Asheville GreenWorks for Thursday, Nov. 14, 5-7:30 p.m., brings together a broad coalition around the results of the city’s recently released canopy study. Urban forest advocates emphasize that trees are critical to help Asheville avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Less than 0.1% of all small woodlands are currently certified as responsibly managed, despite making up over 75% of all privately owned Southeast forests. The SAP pilot, a collaboration of forest product companies, the Forest Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance, is exploring how to bring those previously overlooked parcels into certified status.
Roughly 75 people, including Asheville City Council member Brian Haynes and Council candidate Shane McCarthy, took part in demanding that local government take stronger action in response to climate change. Extinction Rebellion chose the date of the march to coincide with the time local elections would have been held before they were moved to 2020 through the passage of Senate Bill 813.
In 2017, the county’s tourism board launched the Transylvania Always initiative, which has since invested thousands of occupancy tax dollars into everything from hiking trail restoration to French Broad River cleanup. “I really don’t know of anywhere else, particularly anywhere else of our small size, that is doing anything similar,” says Clark Lovelace, the TCT’s executive director.
In November, Michael Caterino of Clemson University and Paul Marek of Virginia Tech will start a three-year effort to catalog litter-dwelling arthropods — the biological group that includes such creatures as millipedes, spiders and beetles — on the high peaks of the southern Appalachians, including Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain.
Since Duke first began using the practice in WNC in 2016, said company spokesperson Jeff Brooks, helicopters under the utility’s direction have deployed herbicides across more than 500 acres. That number may increase in the future as Duke pursues what it calls “an effective alternative” to ground-based management of vegetation along power lines.
The results of a months-long public input process to gauge perceptions of the tourism industry on Buncombe County will be shared at a free event on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy announced it has protected 139 acres in the Beaverdam watershed in Haywood County, and the Better Buses Together campaign is urging local residents to advocate for increased transit funding.
Using the slogan “When in doubt, throw it out,” the statewide Recycle Right NC initiative aims to reduce contamination and improve the economic value of recyclables. Additionally, according to the National Weather Service’s Greenville-Spartanburg office, Western North Carolina is likely in for warmer-than-usual conditions over the foreseeable future.
Joining demonstrators worldwide, hundreds of local teenagers, children and adults walked out of class and work to participate in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20. Gathered in front of Asheville City Hall, the activists held a climate protest and “die-in”.
As currently drawn, the proposed districts would shift representation for large areas of Buncombe County. A 2011 state law also required that districts for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners match those of the county’s House representatives. As currently drawn, the maps would move Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara from District 1 to District 2, shift Al Whitesides from District 1 to District 3 and reassign Amanda Edwards from District 2 to District 1.