Environment & Climate Change

Resources

Union of Concerned Scientists “was founded in 1969 by scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That year, the Vietnam War was at its height and Cleveland’s heavily polluted Cuyahoga River had caught fire. Appalled at how the U.S. government was misusing science, the UCS founders drafted a statement calling for scientific research to be directed away from military technologies and toward solving pressing environmental and social problems.” They offer a variety of resources as well as their Take Action link.

Southern Environmental Law Center works in 6 southern states and has an office in Asheville. With a team of qualified and dedicated attorneys, this satellite of our state headquarters office in Chapel Hill serves the land and people of western North Carolina, with a special focus on protecting the rivers, streams, and forests of the Southern Appalachians.

Blue Horizons Project was formed through the former Energy Innovation Task Force, a working group convened in April 2016 by the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and Duke Energy. Blue Horizons Project’s role is to enlist public support and provide easy access to resources that allow everyone to be a part of the clean energy future. Services include free Home Energy Chats, a virtual consultation available to all Buncombe County residents to discuss their home energy needs. The goal of the calls is to answer any questions you may have and be able to provide tips and resources to lower your energy use and energy bill. Our Neighbor to Neighbor Solar program exists to provide no-cost solar installations to income-qualified residents.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby offers virtual and in-person presentations to any group, school, or club or organization wanting to learn more about how to become a more effective climate advocate as a citizen lobbyist pushing for a federal bipartisan climate solution. They also provide monthly virtual or in-person meetings, regional and national conferences, and many online resources.

Energy Savers Network (ESN) works to lower the energy cost burden of limited-income families in Buncombe County while helping to reduce energy consumption in the fight against climate change. They train volunteers to weatherize homes with energy-efficiency upgrades; they hold workshops to build storm window inserts for households with single pane windows; and they canvass low-income neighborhoods to seek more clients. They also encourage corporate or organizational groups to join in on the volunteer fun. Learn new skills and enjoy meeting new people while increasing your “happiness” factor by doing some good hands-on work that makes a difference in someone’s life. ESN is funded by the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, grants, and donations. They are a partner project of Blue Horizons and Green Built Alliance. To connect locally, email  volunteer@energysaversnetwork.org or check out their website.

Key Allies

MountainTrue is the oldest grassroots environmental non-profit in Western North Carolina, with offices in Asheville, Hendersonville, Murphy and Boone. Their mission is to champion resilient forests, clean waters and healthy communities in our region. MountainTrue engages in policy advocacy at all levels of government, local project advocacy, and on-the-ground environmental restoration projects. Primary program areas include public lands, water quality, clean energy, land use/transportation, and citizen engagement. MountainTrue houses the Creation Care Alliance of WNC, a network of congregations and people of faith working to preserve the environment, and the Asheville Design Center, a socially equitable community planning program for Asheville and surrounding counties. They are also home to Riverkeepers for the French Broad, Watauga, Green and Broad Rivers, who are the primary defenders and spokespeople for these waterways.

Get involved: Connect with Susan Bean at susan@mountaintrue.org or (828) 258-8737, ext. 216.

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Citizens’ Climate Lobby is an international, nonpartisan grassroots organization that is 1) laser-focused on getting bipartisan federal climate change legislation passed and 2) empowering citizens to become effective climate advocates. Their goal is noted here. CCL is looking for citizens who want to get involved in this effort, as well as businesses, community leaders, and organizations or clubs that want to endorse their proposed legislation. They welcome people from all political persuasions, especially conservatives who want to support this market-based bipartisan approach. 

Get involved: To connect locally, email asheville@citizensclimatelobby.org or check out their local Facebook page.

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The Sierra Club – WNC Group covers Buncombe and counties west except for Henderson, Polk and Transylvania. As the nation’s oldest, largest, grassroots environmental organization, they work to protect our environment at the local, state, and national level.  Their website lists regular meeting dates and times.

Get involved: Contact local leader Ken Brame at ken.brame@sierraclub.org or (828) 683-2176.

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The Blue Horizons Project (BHP) Community Council convenes monthly on the second Tuesday of each month as part technical and policy advice and part community listening and engagement. Three sub-committees also meet monthly: Technology Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and the Community Engagement Committee. To achieve Buncombe County’s goal of 100% Renewable by 2042, action will need to be taken across all of Asheville and Buncombe. Nominations for new members will be made by BHP Council members throughout the year. Elections of new members will take place each December during a Community Council meeting, or during a regular scheduled meeting.

Get involved: Connect with Jamie Wine at jamie@bluehorizonsproject.com or call (206) 830-0015.

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The North Carolina Council of Churches works to improve our environment through the NC Interfaith Power and Light.

Get Involved: To learn more or help, contact Director Susannah Tuttle at susannah@ncipl.org.