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Chasing Ice 8.5x11 PosterECO is hosting its 6th annual Environmental Film Festival on Friday, Nov. 7 at the Hendersonville Little Theater, 229 S. Washington in Hendersonville. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The first film is a preview of David Weintraub’s soon-to-be documentary film about sea turtles and human culture, “Call of the Ancient Mariner.”

The film project started “as a personal quest to learn about sea turtles along the coast of South Carolina, and it became a study of ecology, environmentalism, culture and human nature,” Weintraub said. “It explores the turtle’s quest, parallel to our own, as we both learn to share this increasingly smaller blue marble in the universe.”

The feature film is “Chasing Ice,” an adrenaline-infused story of a team of photographers that capture the first visual evidence of climate change through time-lapse photography of disappearing glaciers. Since premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, it has proven to substantially shift opinions about climate change.

Acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. Traveling with a team of young adventurers across the brutal Arctic, he risks his career and his wellbeing in pursuit of the biggest story facing humanity. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion. Chasing Ice depicts a heroic photojournalist on a mission to deliver fragile hope to our carbon-powered planet.

Tickets can be purchased here.

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Washington, D.C.— State representatives from the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators this week submitted a sign-on letter calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) to swiftly finalize strong coal ash and toxic water pollution standards for coal-burning power plants. The letter comes just eight weeks before the agency’s December 19deadline to finalize a rule on coal ash standards.

Delivered to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the letter signed by 155 state representatives notes that dangerous waste from burning leaches into drinking water and pollutes the air of communities near toxic dump sites because there are no federal safeguards for disposal. The letter also notes that EPA itself has determined that coal-fired power plants are responsible for at least 50 to 60 percent of the toxic water pollutants discharged into U.S. waters. Yet, at present, four out of five coal plants in the U.S. have no limits on the amount of toxics they are allowed to dump into our water. Many of these toxic pollutants pose serious health and environmental damage even in very low concentrations, which is why, the signatories argue, strong standards are essential to protect our communities, drinking water, and wildlife.

“We urge the EPA to protect our waterways from toxic coal pollution by adopting strong, federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal and reuse under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and for water pollution discharges from coal plants under the Clean Water Act quickly,” stated the letter. “Without strong federal standards to safeguard our waterways, coal-burning power plants will keep sending toxic sludge into rivers and streams, which provide recreation, habitat to fish and wildlife, and drinking water sources.”

“Right now, the EPA has the opportunity to meet its responsibility to the American people and put into place actual, strong measures that will prevent coal ash disasters that have been plaguing American communities for far too long,” said Dalal Aboulhosn, Senior Washington Representative with the Sierra Club.

Signatories include many distinguished elected officials across the country, including several from North Carolina who have dealt with the lack of federal safeguards firsthand when a burst stormwater pipe underneath an unlined coal ash pit dumped 140,000 tons of coal ash and toxic wastewater into the Dan River earlier this year.

“Our experience in the Southeast, including the Dan River disaster, has shown that communities cannot count on state agencies and state law alone to protect their clean water nationwide.  Our communities and our rivers need strong national safeguards to protect them from coal ash pollution and coal ash catastrophes,” said Frank Holleman, Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

“Representatives are asking for strong regulations because they know these rules will protect the health and economic wellbeing of their constituents,” said Lisa Evans, senior administrative counsel at Earthjustice. “Coal ash pollution places a heavy burden on local communities across the nation, but help is on the way.”

“EPA needs to end the “free pass to pollute” that power plants have gotten for the past thirty years.  Power plants have gotten special treatment that allows them to dump billions of pounds of toxic chemicals into our nation’s waters, including rivers and streams that are sources of drinking water.  This special treatment has come at a huge cost to our nation’s waters and to our health,” said Jennifer Peters, Clean Water’s National Water Campaigns Coordinator.

To read the full letter, please click here.

winterwarmerlogoMark your calendars for the 8th Annual Asheville Winter Warmer Beer Festival from 3-7 p.m. Jan. 24, brought to you by by co-hosts: ThreeSheets:Design and Brews Cruise, Inc.

This year’s Winter Warmer event will be held at the U.S. Cellular Center Asheville (Asheville Civic Center) again, in downtown Asheville. Thanks to all of you, each year’s festival is bigger and better than the year before – so hopefully, 2014’s Winter Warmer Festival will be the best yet!

TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW ONLINE – CLICK HERE

We highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance, as the last five years’ events have sold out. This year’s venue allows for a few more to attend, but we have already received many inquiries about this year’s festival, so don’t miss out on this wonderful Winter Warmer!

Non-Profit Partner for 2015

This year, Winter Warmer will once again support the Western North Carolina Alliance (WNCA) non-profit organization (our partner since 2013)

For more than 30 years, the Western North Carolina Alliance has been a trusted community partner, marshaling grassroots support to keep our forests healthy, our air and water clean, and our communities vibrant. Utilizing a combination of policy advocacy, scientific research and community collaboration, the Alliance and its chapters throughout Western North Carolina unleash the power of citizens’ voices to protect the natural heritage of our region so that people and the environment can thrive.

For more information, or questions about this event, please email us at info@ashevillebeerfest.com

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connemaraJoin the Western North Carolina Alliance and Creation Care Alliance of WNC on a beautiful, Sunday afternoon hike from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 2 on the Glassy Mountain Trail at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site.

We’ll have ecological guidance, as well as an interfaith reflection, as we soak in the late colors of autumn. This hike is free and open to all ages.

Registration is required. 

Meeting place & time: 
1 p.m. Nov. 2 in Earth Fare’s parking lot in Westgate Shopping Center, and organize a carpool to Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site , about a 35-minute drive. We’ll return to Earth Fare no later than 5 p.m. 

What to Expect:
This is about a 1.5 mile round trip hike that starts flat and ends with a moderate climb to the top of Glassy Mountain. We’ll hike slowly on the climb, taking in the beautiful surroundings, before reaching the awe inspiring vista of Mount Pisgah and beyond.  Josh Kelly, WNCA’s field biologist, will interpret the flora and fauna along the way, and Pastor Scott Hardin-Nieri of CCAWNC will lead an interfaith spiritual reflection.

What to Bring/Wear:
•    Water bottle (and snacks if you like)
•    Medications for any allergies, etc.
•    Camera
•    Supportive shoes
•    *Be prepared for rainy or cold weather – raincoat, warm jacket/layers as needed*

We are greatly looking forward to our first ever joint WNCA & Creation Care Alliance of WNC outing! 

Register for the hike here!

To learn more about Creation Care Alliance of WNC, click here!

 

Categories Events Calendar, Trips & Outings
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Local Business Community Unites in Call for Clean Energy Economy
Friday, October 17, 2014

Contact:
Adam Beitman, Sierra Club, (202) 675-2385 or adam.beitman@sierraclub.org
Melissa Williams, Western North Carolina Alliance, 828-258-8737 x 216 or Melissa@WNCA.org

Medea Galligan's business is located near Duke's coal-fire power plant.

Medea Galligan’s business is located near Duke’s coal-fired power plant in South Asheville.

ASHEVILLE, NC – Eighty businesses across the greater Asheville area have signed a joint letter to Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good demanding retirement of the city’s coal-fired power plant, and several of the business owners gathered to mark the signing at an Asheville Beyond Coal reception Thursday evening.

Along with calling for a transition away from coal, the letter calls for increased investment in a clean energy future for “the health of our local economy, our community, and our planet.”

Among the signers are well-known local businesses, including Cúrate, Blue Ridge Biofuels, the Asheville Grown Business Alliance, Katuah Market, Black Mountain Yoga, Blue Moon Water and Sundance Power Systems. Many of these businesses have incorporated best practices for sustainability into their business model.

“This is a wakeup call to Duke Energy from small business owners, who are the heart and soul of Asheville’s economy” said Dayna Reggero of Accelerating Appalachia, a local business accelerator based in Asheville.

“Burning coal is a dirty, polluting form of generating electricity that is harmful to our air, water and health, and using it to power our city doesn’t match with our community’s values of healthy living,” said Medea Galligan, owner of Medea’s Espresso and Juice Bar, which is located in the vicinity of the power plant. “We are on a path to become a green city, but the coal plant here is the largest source of climate-disrupting carbon pollution in Western North Carolina. I would like to see our community powered by clean energy instead.”

Duke Energy’s Asheville-area coal plant is the largest source of climate-disrupting carbon pollution in Western North Carolina. Years of data confirm that toxic pollution is leaking from its coal ash pits into both the river and groundwater. This plant is the the largest industrial source of air pollution in Western North Carolina as well.

In October 2013, the Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on Duke Energy to responsibly retire the coal plant and transition to cleaner forms of energy.

The Asheville Beyond Coal reception for the businesses included a special cocktail menu at Sovereign Remedies in downtown Asheville. Drinks crafted especially for the evening — with names like “Hazy Day,” “Duke’s Up” and a “Coal Ash Martini” — were on tap for the event.

 

On Saturday, Oct. 25, Environmental and Conservation Organization (ECO) will host an easy half-day paddle trip on the French Broad River to admire the beautiful fall foliage. The trip will start and end at the Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard.

Canoes will be provided but you’re welcome to bring your own. 

Cost is $20/per person and spaces are limited. Please join us for a leisurely day on the French Broad River as we admire the beautiful fall colors!”

Call the ECO office for details and to reserve your space: 

(828) 692-0385. 

A black bear is caught on a candid camera in the Grandfather District of Pisgah National Forest this past summer.

A black bear is caught on a candid camera in the Grandfather District of Pisgah National Forest this past summer.

Over the summer, the U.S. Forest Service in the Grandfather District of Pisgah National Forest deployed 50 motion-triggered trail cameras in the forest to determine how animals use a prescribed burn area compared to a non-burned area.

The composition and function of plant communities has been changed, inadvertently, from fire suppression. This biological shift also affects animals’ foraging strategies, and the USFS is interested in quantifying how animal communities are changed in response to the lack of fire.

 WHAT: We many still images as data and we need volunteers to help us look through and count the animals that the cameras photographed in the forests.

 WHEN: Between now and Nov. 1. The USFS must present phase one of the results in mid-November. They want to know which species were in which locations and how many times they were photographed. After Nov. 1, there is opportunity to continue working with the data using more refined biostats analysis to get an even better sense of how animals perceive habitat.

 WHERE:  29 N. Market St., Suite 610 (WNCA’s office). Volunteers will look over the data sheets and collect some memory cards. Volunteers can work with our Forest Keepers Coordinator Alexandra Guest, or on their own, depending on schedule flexibility and their confidence level in managing data.

 WHO: Anyone, particularly those interested in wildlife ecology and data management. This is a great resume builder for students, lifelong learners, etc. Volunteer collaborators’ names will be listed with the project when it’s presented by the USFS.

ITEMS NEEDED: Volunteers need a computer with photo software so that they can pull images off of an SD card. Nothing fancy (We use iPhoto). Also required: Excel and some proficiency using it.

Interested volunteers should contact WNCA Forest Keepers Coordinator Alex Guest at Alexandra@WNCA.org

 

princesstreeYes, we realize that princesses are usually a good thing (at least according to Disney), but when it comes to our natural world—not so much.

Therefore, our first Forest Keepers event of the season will focus on the removal of Princess trees in Linville Gorge. Princesses (Paulownia tomentosa) are non-native deciduous trees, which also happen to be the fastest growing trees in the world.

We’ll meet at 9 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Earth Fare in the Westgate Shopping Center and carpool to Linville Gorge from there.

We’ll hike into a Princess-tree infested site that the U.S. Forest Service recently found and will use handsaws and pruners to cut down the trees, and also collect this season’s seeds to keep them from further invading the site. 

Many non-native invasive plants have faster growth rates and higher seed yields than native plants, and the competition for soil resources, light, and area is intense. Also, a number of these species are highly efficient in transporting their seeds and expanding their root systems.

It’s important to identify and manage heavy invasions to protect the great biodiversity we enjoy in Western North Carolina.

We need volunteers for this outing, hosted by our Forest Keepers program. It’s open to anyone who’s interested, although space is limited to eight people.

Volunteers will need hiking boots with ankle support for a six-mile moderate-to-strenuous hike in Linville. (It’s steep out there!) We’ll also work in a post-burn area so everyone should wear clothes that they don’t mind getting get dirty and sooty.

Bring at least two liters of water, lunch (and snacks as necessary) and extra layers.

Cameras are recommended (but not required) because the fall foliage is going to be spectacular and gawk-worthy.

All work equipment will be supplied!

If you want to volunteer, please contact WNCA Forest Keepers Coordinator Alex Guest by emailing Alexandra@WNCA.org or click HERE.

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 28

Time: 5 p.m.

Location: Asheville City Hall Building, 70 Court Plaza, Council Chambers

Duke Energy representatives will present an update to Asheville City Council on the future of the Asheville coal-fired power plant. Duke Energy is required to remove all the coal ash from the impoundments at the Asheville plant and is currently considering the option of retiring the plant.

Come to learn more and show your support as we call on Duke Energy to make the right decision for Western North Carolina and retire the coal plant.

AVLBeyondCoalFloat

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chief_bigOn Sept. 25, a legend and true warrior for environmental justice passed away. Lenny Kohm will be sorely missed by hundreds of friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

During the decades that he traveled across the country to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling and later to end mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, Lenny has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people.

A memorial service will be held in his honor at 3 p.m. Oct. 25 in Boone.

Click here to find out how you can join family and friends to celebrate the life, love, and legacy of the late, great Lenny Kohm.

 

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