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Sustainability

Sustainable living is the key. Whether it’s green building, green remodeling, green design, green living, or population growth – it’s all about changing our attitudes and priorities. The impact of pollution, climate change due to human activity and the need for sustainability versus using up the earth’s resources is on the minds of thinking people everywhere!  We publish information in this section about combating pollution, improving our local and regional environment, finding steps to take to gain political ears about what we would like to see happen to protect and improve our great region.
Western North Carolina Green Building Council      Riverlink Asheville    Worldwatch Institute     Women’s Voices for the Earth     Environmental Working Group     Asheville GreenWorks     Mountain True – Protecting the Places We Share Worldwatch Institute

#Global Eco Watch

offered by Joyce Metayer
 
The First Offshore Wind Farm in the U.S. Just Shut Down a Diesel Plant
Diesel-Darkened Skies – This May, the 2,000 residents of Block Island, Rhode Island are making a fresh start when it comes to powering their lives. As of May 1, Block Island is the first location in the U.S. to be powered by an offshore wind farm — a wind farm that has eliminated the need for a diesel plant that was burning about one million gallons of dirty diesel fuel annually. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), diesel produces more carbon emissions than every other fossil fuel except for fuel oil.   The Block Island Wind Farm     Image Credit: Deepwater Wind

 

For the most part of April 30, about 85% of Germany’s consumed electricity came from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric. According to a spokesman from the Agora Energiewende Initiative, a fortunate mix of sunny weather and strong winds in the south and north of the country, respectively, made this year’s Labour Day celebration even more eventful.

“Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday, April 30th, with renewable sources accounting for 85 per cent of electricity across the country,” Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende Initiative said in a statement. “Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced.”  Continue reading

~  At least 2016 was amazing for solar — 95% more solar power capacity came online than in the previous year. Almost 15GW
Last year was sure both memorable and miserable for a lot of folks but that’s not to say it was devoid of positive milestones. Surpassing even the most optimistic expectations, the United States installed 95% more solar power in 2016 than in the previous year, according to the latest market report released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
 
What’s remarkable is that 2015 was itself a record-breaking year seeing 7.5 gigawatts (GW) of new solar coming online, which was 17% more than in 2014. But 2016 simply blew all expectations with 14,6 GW of new solar power or almost double than in the previous year. This momentum won’t stop too soon judging from the quarter to quarter progress registered in 2016. As ZME reported earlier, 4,143 MW of solar PV were installed in the U.S. during Q3’16, marking a 99% increase over Q2’16 and a 191% rise over Q3’15. One megawatt of photovoltaic power came online every 34 minutes in Q3’2016, which is enough to power 164 American homes on average. 
 
~ Environmental Science Degree.com
Climate change has become the focus of a great deal of scientific scrutiny in recent years, and it has become apparent that increasingly erratic weather patterns, extinction of many species, and other significant global-scale events are directly correlated with climate change. To understand the short and long term causes and effects of global climate change, it is important to look at the past, as paleoclimatologists do, as well as the present conditions that influence the climate, including greenhouse gases, natural and anthropogenic changes in landscapes, and even the temperature and acidity of polar ice and the world’s oceans. Understanding and adapting to climate change is a massive, interdisciplinary undertaking, and the sites listed here have lots of information from every possible angle. Continue reading
 
~ Carbon emissions in the UK have fallen to a 120-year low

Last year, the UK emitted 381 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to an analysis by Carbon Brief. The last time the country spewed less of the greenhouse gas was way back in 1894. (Industrial strikes in 1921 and 1926 also resulted in lower emissions, but for unintended reasons.)  Continue reading

~ The Irish Parliament voted to go Fossil Fuel Free 

While the United States has put a climate change denier in charge of the country, elsewhere across the ocean leaders are acting responsibly. With a majority vote, a bill that will enable Ireland to divest all of its sovereign wealth fund away from oil, gas, and coal, was passed in the Irish parliament. The fund is worth more than 8 billion euros. All that now stands before the bill’s final approval is the committee stage, which according to Trócaire and Fossil Free Europe should pose no problem since almost all major political parties support it, except the Fine Gael political party.

“The Irish political system is now finally acknowledging what the overwhelming majority of people already know: that to have a fighting chance to combat catastrophic climate change we must phase out fossil fuels and stop the growth of the industry that is driving this crisis, said Éamonn Meehan, the Trócaire Executive Director, an Irish charity striving to overcome the challenges of poverty and injustice.”

Once the bill passes, Ireland will officially become the first country to divest from fossil fuels. Norway also divested its sovereign wealth fund away from coal, which is worth $900 million, but the country still has financial assets tied to oil.

 Such remarkable leadership will likely inspire other countries to follow suit just as how the divestment movement, which first appeared in 2011 with modest supporters, has now grown into a genuine phenomenon. Many big companies, NGOs, cults, and municipalities have divested away from stocks and bonds tied to fossil fuels. As of December, 2015, a staggering $3.4 trillion has been divested away from fossil.

“The support of a majority in the Dáil for this bill is an incredibly important moment for the climate justice movement in Ireland and will inspire other countries to follow our lead,” Meehan said.

On Sunday, May 8, Germany hit a new high in renewable energy generation. Thanks to a sunny and windy day, at one point around 1pm the country’s solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants were supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%. Power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity.

A group of youngsters just won a major decision in their efforts to sue the federal government over climate change. An Oregon judge ruled Friday that their lawsuit, which alleges the government violated the constitutional rights of the next generation by allowing the pollution that has caused climate change, can go forward.

This is how you install the most powerful wind turbine in the world  Fascinating!

Iran’s renewable energy market blinks at investors    I was hoping the Middle East would do this!!! Can you imagine keeping all that oil in the ground and covering the desert with solar panels? They can export energy in another form and help everybody.

  ~ Mapping how the United States generates its electricity –  Coal and natural gas are the most common sources for electricity in the country, but coal represents a declining share. The new Clean Power Plan seeks to accelerate that trend by requiring power plants to cut carbon pollution levels and rewarding states and companies that embrace clean sources of energy. Story: White House set to adopt sweeping curbs on carbon pollution

~ A Stunning Scale Model of Our Solar System, Drawn in the Desert  AMAZING!

14 Mind Blowing International Borders From Around the World     Borders – we have them everywhere, because we want to divide things up. But not all countries are alike, and not all borders are alike. Some are plain, even boring, some are difficult to pass through, while others you might not even see. Borders often highlight the relationship and differences between different countries, and here are some of the most spectacular and revealing ones.

~London has reached its yearly NO2 pollution lim  it in just 8 days, and it’s being sued     At 7AM local time last Friday, London officially breached the pollution limits set by the European Union for the entirety of 2016. It’s the fifth year in a row London has grossly surpassed its allowed limit for toxic nitrogen-dioxide gas (NO2) pollution. This is not just bad news for the environment, but also for its citizens. Regularly inhaling NO2 (which mostly comes from diesel fuels) has been linked to heart and respiratory problems.  According to to a report by King’s College London for the local mayor’s office, it killed 5900 people in 2010 alone.

 

The Solutions Project for Clean Energy – North Carolina’s Bold Vision for 100% by 2050

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 17, 2017 by Sean W

North Carolina State Representatives Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), John Autry (D-Mecklenburg), and Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-Wilson) have introduced the first legislation ever in the North Carolina General Assembly to call for the State of North Carolina and the United States to set a goal of achieving 100% clean, renewable energy for all energy sectors by the year 2050.


Turn South: Southern Women for Change

Supporting rural Southern women as human rights leaders to end poverty 

Women uniting for change  ~  Women combating sexism, racism, classism  ~ Women tackling inequality

The work is guided by the belief that to truly empower women and end poverty we must build a political culture in the U.S. that promotes and protects human rights.   Visit Turn South: Southern Women for Change


Asheville GreenWorks and Hard2Recycle

Waste reduction and recycling is a major component of our work. Establishing new recycling locations and educating the public about reducing our environmental footprint is one of our core missions. We organize the H2R collections and our Volunteers bring out the muscle for these events. If you would like to volunteer or become an event sponsor, click HERE. For more information call:  828-254-1776


How to Help Our Bees

In case you have not heard, our bee populations are in big trouble. Experts from around the world have been reporting on declining bee populations across the world, and the disappearance of our winged friends. Bee populations help pollinate the majority of our food crops around the world, and without bees pollinating our crops, our grocery stores would look very different indeed.  Continue Reading


Learning Sustainability Through Play: GBO Hawaii

Learning Sustainability Through Play: GBO Hawaii

GBO Hawaii is a 2-4 person game that can best be related to that classic real estate trading game, Monopoly. But in GBO Hawaii, investors choose to support solar installations, car-sharing services, green hotels farmer’s markets, and organic farms. These investments pay out dividends and players win by generating the best Triple Bottom Line- one that benefits people, planet, and is profitable!  Click here to read the enitre article in Green Living Ideas


EPA Tackles Five of the Worst Chemicals Under the Lautenberg Act

Washington, DC — Today EPA identified five chemicals that will receive “expedited action” under the new Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act. The provision of the law requiring this action was a priority for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families during the legislative debate. It applies only to a small number of the chemicals that are known to be Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (“PBT”). These chemicals pose unique threats to public health and the environment because they do not break down in the environment and they build up in the food chain, including in the human body.  


Nuns With a New Creed: Environmentalism

Every woman in this story is confoundingly non-descript. Short hair, often grey. Conservative dress. Unmarried; soft-spoken. Most are well into their seventies, and all will tell you that their way of life is dying out. They will also tell you, with surprising conviction, that the world is in peril.

They are Roman Catholic sisters, from a variety of orders—Dominican, Mercy, Passionist—but don’t think Whoopie Goldberg or a young Sally Field. While many of their aged peers are living out their days in quiet convents, these women are digging gardens and offsetting carbon. They’re as well-versed in solar and geothermal technology as they are in the Gospels of Luke and John, and some wear Carhartts and work boots like they’re habits. At the heart of the women’s action is a belief that the changing climate and world demand a new kind of vocation – that Ave Marias won’t cut it anymore, but maybe clean energy will. Continue reading


Want to know how much water runs off your property to our streams?

This month the EPA launched a new FREE software program that will calculate you stormwater runoff.  The calculator and directions can be downloaded HERE.  The calculator was developed as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and is an innovative tool to help Property owners, developers, land planners, engineers, and landscape architects make informed decisions to protect local waterways from non-point source pollution.  Preventing stormwater runoff, which can impact drinking water resources and local ecosystems, protects people’s health and the environment.

The calculator can be used along with our WaterRICH Program and Handbook to help property owners learn what they can do to help reduce stormwater runoff and non-point source pollution.   Including design and construction of rain gardens to help infiltrate stormwater, rain water harvesting, and a variety of other landscaping techniques which can help reduce sedimentation and pollution in our streams.


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