Archive for Sustainability


Beyond Coal

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Screenshot 2013-08-22 at 11.07.13 PM

This Saturday, you have the chance to stand together with people who are ready for our clean energy future. Gordon Smith for City Council campaign volunteers will be canvassing Saturday at 10am (details here – FB event page), so consider making a day of it! From the Beyond Coal: A Rally for our Future Facebook event page:

Let’s move Asheville beyond coal! Come take action and call on Duke Energy to retire the Asheville power plant and lead our state in renewable energy. Come out on August 24th from 2-4pm Pack Square and take action! There will be music, kids activities, and speakers, and much more! #ActOnClimate, #FearlessSummer

Currently our electric energy comes the Asheville coal-fired power plant, which is the largest single source of CO2 in Western North Carolina; amounting to over 500,000 extra cars on the road. It is polluting our air, our water and our communities. Not only that, but the coal that we are burning comes from mountaintop removal, which is destroying mountains, sickening communities, and harming the air and water of communities in Appalachia.

With music, kids games, speakers, and much much more!

Speaker Program includes:
Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign director
Terry M. Bellamy, Mayor of Asheville
Ian Somerhalder, actor (Lost & Vampire Diaries)
Hartwell Carson, French Board Riverkeeper
Drew Jones, Climate Interactive
Dr. Richard Fireman, retired MD
Nick Mullins, coalfield resident
August 24th
Pack Square


One Bag Washes The Other

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plastic-bag-rehabThat resuable bag you are taking to the grocery store might just save the planet; in the meantime, don’t let it kill you. An article last week in Food Poisoning Bulletin appeared which drove home the need to keep your bags clean. The main message is that people don’t know how serious the potential is for severe bag contamination.

With plastic bag bans going into effect in localities across the country, there is now public health data to mine to look for unanticipated outcomes. The authors of a study done last August point out that food bourn illness deaths and ER visits “spike” where and when bag bans go into effect. The main way to avoid such a problem for yourself: wash your reusable bags early and often.

Point taken. I am a reusable bag enthusiast and I will heed this advice. I’m glad that I invested in some durable cotton bags that go into the laundry machine with ease. I’ve seen some cheap POS plastic reusable bags out there that would be a nightmare to clean. It’s not that I don’t clean mine but I can see the frequency needs to go up a lot. After reading the aritcle, I ordered more bags to accomodate a larger rotation which in turn will allow for more visits to the laundry.

So clean bags are a must. But I think there is another side to this story. Read More→

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The NCGA Regrets To Inform You…

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Republicans will regret merging water system, MSD, writes Steve Rasmussen in the new Mountain Xpress.

If Reps. Tim Moffitt, Chuck McGrady and the NC General Assembly succeed in expropriating Asheville’s water system, the mandated merger with MSD will lead to more urban sprawl, Rasmussen predicts, once control of water and sewer line extension is in the hands of a regional authority. The move will spawn a political arms race on a new battlefield for developers and smart growth supporters. Rasmussen writes,

Crowded, contentious public hearings will routinely overflow MSD’s meeting room. Green activists will accuse board members of rubber-stamping applications from greedy out-of-state developers; tea party activists will claim the board is conspiring with the U.N. to impose Agenda 21. Brutal political machinations will ensue, fueled by costly fundraising campaigns to elect city council members, town aldermen and county commissioners who’ll make the board appointments each side wants. In comparison, the intergovernmental bickering that tore apart our Regional Water Agency a decade ago will look like a backyard pool party.

Messrs. Moffitt and McGrady send their regrets.

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For those of you paying attention to the changes in our NC state executive offices, here’s another brick in the wall:

Veteran lawmaker Rep. Mitch Gillespie – who in 2011 literally drew a bulls-eye target on his legislative office window aimed at the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources – will resign next month to become an assistant secretary of the agency.
Gillespie spearheaded a slew of environmental regulatory reforms in last year’s session, and said he felt he had good relations with environmental advocates. But Gillespie comes from the business side of the equation, having worked in surveying, civil engineering and land development.

He has been supported by the state’s energy company PACs.


Bioneers Conference

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Lenoir Rhyne University and New Belgium Brewing invite everyone to come participate this weekend. From their website:

A Taste of Bioneers Conference

Date: November 2, 2012 – November 3, 2012
Time: Friday 6:00pm – 9:00pm / Saturday 10:00am – 6:00pm
Location: 36 Montford Avenue, Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville

What is sustainability, and how are we making it happen here in Asheville? The Taste of Bioneers will feature streaming plenary sessions from the National Bioneers Conference as well as panels made up of local leaders in sustainability from right here in Asheville.

See the schedule, speakers, panels, and activities after the jump.

Read More→

Categories : Local, Sustainability
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Be A Part Of It

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The Health, Wellness, and Education Cluster of the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council is inviting the whole community this Friday. Facebook event page is here. This is a must-attend for anyone who is involved in local food or who wants to learn more about area food systems. Producers, processors, distributors, educators – We’re all working together to make Asheville and Buncombe County a food secure community with a thriving economy. Come be a part of it.

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Injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground beneath the water table to fracture shale and free trapped oil and natural gas? What could possibly go wrong? Mtn. X:

A contentious bill to allow hydrolic fracturing – or “fracking” – for oil and gas exploration in the state passed the N.C. Senate on Wednesday by a 29-19 majority, and is expected to be voted on today in the House.
The bill is expected to pass in the House, and then will face Gov. Bev Perdue and the possibility of a veto. The governor, who quashed an earlier bill calling for test drilling, has subsequently announced that she believes drilling can be done safely in the state.

It’s about more than just fracking. It’s also about further limiting local governments’ ability to determine their own fates:

“Any local ordinances that would have the effect of banning the wells would be repealed by the legislation, and a newly established state Oil and Gas Board would be given the power to preempt any new ordinances that have the effect of banning the wells within a local government’s jurisdiction


Energy Independence – Brownie’s #1 Priority

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From a Brownie Newman newsletter:

Asheville and Buncombe County have a history of leadership when it comes to clean energy.

It was just over ten years ago that Senator Steve Metcalf and Senator Martin Nesbitt, who was a member of the state House at the time, sponsored a bill called the NC Clean Smokestacks Act. This bill required the utility companies in North Carolina to install modern pollution controls on their coal-fired power plants which generate most of the state’s electricity and also generated a majority of the emissions that create haze, smog and ground level ozone pollution.

When local environmental groups put forward the concept of the Clean Smokestacks Act, most people didn’t give it much of a chance and few politicians were willing to consider it. Fortunately, two of Buncombe County’s state legislators championed the effort. It took more than three years to get it done, but thanks to hard work from hundreds of citizens from western North Carolina and across the state, the bill was passed, and North Carolina’s air is a lot cleaner today as a result.

I was the Director of the Western North Carolina Alliance at the time the Clean Smokestacks Act campaign was carried out, and was able to see first-hand how people working together around a common purpose could make a real and positive change.

As a member of the Asheville City Council over the past eight years, I am proud how our community has continued to be a leader for clean energy. In 2007, Asheville adopted a policy committing the City to reduce its use of fossil fuels and carbon pollution levels by 80%, which is the level that the scientific community believes is necessary to avoid the most severe and irreversible impacts of global warming on our children’s generation.

Asheville has aggressively followed through on this commitment:

Read More→

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I’m acquainted with Robert and Deborah Tornello and family through online connections, but had never seen this impressive video about their farm.

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Support Community Agriculture

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Thanks to Asheville Foodie for posting about this! Read the whole thing here.

Spring is just around the corner, meaning it’s time to celebrate and support local food and farms by signing up for a CSA. To help those who are interested find the right farm share for them, ASAP is hosting their second CSA Fair on Thursday, March 29. The free family-friendly event, to be held from 3-6 pm at the Grove Arcade in Asheville, is an opportunity to meet farmers, learn about their CSA programs, sample their products, and purchase a share or shares.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA farm share members pay a farmer in advance for “shares” of their season’s bounty. They then receive a steady supply of fresh foods straight from the farm every week.

See the list of farms at Asheville Foodie.

I’ve been getting CSAs for years now, and I love them. The food is fresh and delicious, and you get to know that your dollars are supporting a sustainable economy.

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