Articles from the BSC Library Sustainability in Communities Articles

  • Consumer Resistance to Green Innovations

    September 19, 2017

    Written by Rejaul Hasan Why are consumers resistant to adopting green innovations? This is a question posed by Dr. Rosanna Garcia, the Faculty Director of the Business Sustainability Collaborative at North… Read More

  • Students from Across NC Participate in 2017 Spring B Corp Clinic

    June 28, 2017

    The Spring B Corp Clinic brought together students from all over North Carolina to help various organizations with their B Certified status. Read about the many projects and sustainable solutions that students and professionals developed throughout the clinic with local companies.

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Durham schools can save millions by going solar

    February 3, 2016

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Durham school districts can meet electricity needs, save millions by going 100 percent solar. In a press release published today, February 3, 2016, two reports by the North… Read More

  • North Carolina Sustainability Center passes the torch to Poole College‚Äôs Sustainability Initiative

    April 21, 2015

    The North Carolina Sustainability Center (NCSC) on April 21 officially transferred its role as an online sustainability community to the Sustainability Initiative at the NC State University Poole College of… Read More

  • The Piedmont Farm Tour turns 20

    April 20, 2015

    John Dorsey, Cecilia Redding, and Matt Ball of Down 2 Earth Farms. Photo credit: Anna Kirby Photography. Next weekend, on April 25 and 26, forty local farms will open their gates to thousands of visitors on an annual pilgrimage. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Piedmont Farm Tour, an opportunity for local eaters to seek a deeper connection to the people and land that sustain them. The farm-to-table movement: 20 years of growth Much has changed since 1996, when Betsy Hitt of Peregrine Farm first suggested the farm tour as a fundraising idea for the Carolina Farm Stewardship… Read More

  • Business community signs up to Durham Living Wage

    March 23, 2015

    Photo: Durham Living Wage From high speed fiber broadband to the proposed Durham-Orange County light rail, there are signs that Durham's economy is on a major upswing. Many in the community, however, still struggle to get by on low and stagnant wages, and a new voluntary certification scheme is hoping to change that—providing recognition for employers who pay a true living wage and, organizers hope, creating market demand for more businesses to raise their pay.  Durham Living Wage launched this month at a packed meeting of the Durham People's Alliance at Fullsteam Brewery in downtown Durham. It is modeled after the successful Living… Read More

  • How an architect is reimagining the food system

    March 8, 2015

    Image: Community Food Lab/screen capture Food and farming isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you think about architecture, yet design plays a crucial role in influencing our food choices as a society. That's why Erin White (NC State master’s in architecture) has applied his design skills to improving the Triangle’s food system. White is the founder of Community Food lab, a design and consulting firm focused on local food systems.  The News and Observer recently profiled White's important, and perhaps counterintuitive, work: “He is a founding member of the Capital Area Food Network, which seeks to… Read More

  • Solarize races to enroll Triad residents

    February 8, 2015

    Photo credit: Creative Commons We've reported  previously on “Solarize,” a DOE-funded initiative with grassroots momentum to ramp up residential solar. NC WARN, one of many organizations running Solarize campaigns across the state, launched its first project in Durham a year ago in January. Now it is focusing efforts on the Triad region. The Solarize model aims to make home rooftop solar installation affordable through a tiered pricing scheme that drops as registration increases. Through April 17, Triad residents may enroll in Solarize Triad, which offers not only free solar assessments but also free energy efficiency audits, thanks to a project… Read More

  • ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE KEEPS AFRICAN AMERICAN LAND IN THE FAMILY

    February 1, 2015

    Though Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s (REC) primary mission is to provide members with safe, reliable and affordable electricity, it also aims to enhance the quality of life in the communities it serves. As we outlined in a previous article, the REC has a number of initiatives to empower members to invest in sustainability, and to help drive economic development in the seven counties where it operates. Since 2013, the cooperative has also taken an active role in helping prevent African American land loss through a sustainable forestry initiative. The initiative is a joint venture of the US Endowment for Forestry and… Read More

  • BOGOTA LEADER TO SPEAK AT DUKE ON URBAN TRANSFORMATION

    January 21, 2015

    Image credit: screen grab / TED Colombian politician Enrique Peñalosa Londoño will give a public lecture on "Cities, Equity, and Quality of Life," at Duke's Field Auditorium on January 22 at 6 pm. Peñalosa has advocated for urban transformation as a matter of equity and democracy. In Bogotá, where he served as mayor from 1998 to 2001, more than 350 kilometers of protected bikeways have been created. From a 2013 Guardian news article: "Peñalosa's first and most defining act as mayor was to declare war: not on crime or drugs or poverty, but on cars. He threw out the ambitious… Read More

  • 3RD ANNUAL CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION CONFERENCE COMING TO PITTSBORO

    January 12, 2015

    On Friday, February 6th, Abundance NC will host the third annual Climate Change Adaptation Conference for Farmers at Central Carolina Community College in Pittbsboro. The conference will bring together farmers, homesteaders, activists, researchers and policy makers to discuss the effects that climate change and peak oil will have on the Carolina Piedmont, and share strategies to make our region more resilient. Peter Bane, author of the Permaculture Handbook and editor of Permaculture Activist magazine, will offer the keynote. Bane is a suburban farmer and homesteader, producing an abundance of food on seven-tenths of an acre just outside of Bloomington, Indiana.… Read More

  • ASHEVILLE’S GREEN BUSINESS SCENE PROFILED BY FORBES

    December 30, 2014

    Photo: mdl70/creative commons From contributing to the state's solar boom to an expanding green events industry, Asheville, North Carolina has a strong and growing reputation for environmentally conscious business. Now the town is being profiled by Forbes in its ongoing series on innovation around the United States, and unsurprisingly, the focus is on sustainability. Among the initiatives that the article focuses on is Venture Asheville:  The brainchild of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County, the Venture Asheville initiative works to energize a local high-growth entrepreneurial ecosystem. Fittingly, investing and growing “green” businesses – those… Read More

  • DURHAM CYCLISTS ADVOCATE FOR SAFER STREETS

    December 3, 2014

    Triangle cyclists are advocating to make safer streets a community priority, in the wake of three recent bike accident fatalities in Durham and Orange County. Education and increased enforcement of existing laws were identified as areas of precedence during a community conversation on November 22, when more than 80 gathered at a public forum to discuss actions that could drive positive change for cyclists and pedestrians in the city. The event was sponsored by Bike Durham, a coalition formed last year to advocate for local bikers and to connect the community with resources on cycling issues. Advocates hope that the… Read More

  • RALEIGH “WAYFINDERS” CREATE ONLINE PEDESTRIAN TOOL

    November 24, 2014

    Credit: Walk [Your City] On a January morning in 2012, Raleigh residents awoke to find 27 signs posted at three intersections in the city, noting “minutes by foot” distances to various public locations around town. The stunt, an installation intended to promote healthy and walkable communities, was coined "guerilla wayfinding." It received national and international media attention as a successful example of tactical urbanism, civic interventions to improve the urban environment. The unsanctioned signs were taken down within a few days and then unanimously approved by the city for reinstatement as an educational pilot program. With funding from Kickstarter and Blue Cross… Read More

  • STATEWIDE YOUTH SUMMIT TO FOCUS ON CLIMATE JUSTICE

    October 30, 2014

    Credit: NC Climate Justice Summit Climate change impacts everyone, so shouldn't everyone be a part of the solution? The NC Climate Justice Summit, November 21-23 at Haw River State Park in Browns Summit, will be the first statewide gathering of youth and adult community leaders to address the links between climate change and social justice issues. The event, which is free for those under 18, will feature youth-facilitated workshops and activities to promote dialogue around the impacts of climate change on food, water, energy, housing, transportation, health, and economy in NC. Jacqui Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate… Read More

  • DURHAM CONSIDERS A FOOD POLICY COUNCIL TO UNITE STAKEHOLDERS

    October 28, 2014

    Credit: Community Food Strategies One hundred Durham community members gathered last week to learn about food policy council efforts across the state and to consider development of a council locally. Hosted by the Durham Farm and Food Network, the meeting brought together a broad coalition of stakeholders—consumers, small businesses, producers, community organizations, government, and local leaders—interested in strengthening food policy, health, access and commerce in Durham. “We want to create an open tent that includes all folks that are a part of this system,” explained Durham NAACP’s Roland Staton, in the meeting’s opening remarks. Food policy councils are emerging across… Read More

  • CARRBORO BECOMES THIRD BEE CITY USA

    October 16, 2014

    Photo: wolfpix/CC-by-nd-2.0 Carrboro, North Carolina, has long had policies that promote pollinator health. From its Least Toxic Integrated Pest Management policy adopted in 1999, through using native plants in municipal landscaping to celebrating local food and supporting local farmers, these innovations have helped brand the town as a center for sustainability and community-focused environmental action. Now community leaders are opening a new front in this effort, with the Carrboro Board of Alderman voting unanimously October 7 to become the third Bee City USA community. According to an article in the Daily Tar Heel, much of the focus will be on… Read More

  • PLANNED DURHAM “AGRIHOOD” BRINGS A FARM-CENTERED MODEL OF SUBURBAN DEVELOPMENT

    October 14, 2014

    Photo: Wetrock Farm Protecting the balance between city and country North Carolina offers a unique blend of country and city. Even the largest metropolitan areas in the state still have land in agricultural use just a few miles outside of town. Many North Carolinians find ways to enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of the country, as well as the job and cultural opportunities that cities have to offer. However, if current urban growth predictions prove correct, the rural lands outside of town will likely be taken out of agricultural use to become sprawling suburbs. A group of Durham based… Read More

  • STATE ANNOUNCES $1M IN GRANTS FOR WATER RESOURCE PROJECTS

    October 1, 2014

    Photo: Gerry Dincher/creative commons From the challenges of water management for the textile industry to Ducks Unlimited conserving over 100,000 acres of wetlands, water resources play an important role in community well-being. That's why it's important news, reported over at the Voter Update, that the state is granting nearly $1m to water resources projects.  Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday announced nearly $1 million in grants for 10 projects in North Carolina towns and counties to restore streams, reduce erosion and study future water supplies. The N.C. Division of Water Resources awarded $966,177 for the Water Resources Development Project Grant Program with… Read More

  • OLD, POLLUTED DYE FACTORY BECOMES ECO-INDUSTRIAL PARK

    September 25, 2014

    Photo: ReVenture Park/video screenshot Across the Southeast, manufacturing sites with industrial infrastructure capable of enormous productive potential sit unused and idol. These sites are the garbage piles that manufacturing left behind when corporations moved their operations overseas, to places with less stringent labour and environmental regulations. But Tom McKittrick, founder and President of Forsite Development, doesn’t believe in trash. With the help of a number of partners, Forsite Development took an abandoned, badly polluted, textile-dye manufacturing plant near Mount Holly and turned it into an eco-industrial park that has already become a hub for green-color jobs. In August, McKittrick unveiled… Read More

  • EASTERN BAND OF CHEROKEE SEEKS CLEAN ENERGY FUNDING

    September 4, 2014

    Photo: R Walker/creative commons The Eastern Band of Cherokee recently opened up a native plant nursery, growing their own supply of native plants to assist their conservation work. The tribe has also installed solar trees and solar hot water to help reduce its energy footprint. Now Triangle Business Journal reports that, with the help of the NC Clean Energy Technology Center located on NC State's Centennial Campus, the tribe is applying for  $4-$7 million in Federal grant money which will be used to fund clean energy and energy efficiency projects.  If the application is successful, the money will come from… Read More

  • FUTURE “MEGALOPOLIS” COULD STRETCH FROM RALEIGH TO ATLANTA, SAY NCSU RESEARCHERS

    August 25, 2014

    A team of NC State researchers believes we could see a seamless corridor of urban development between Atlanta and Raleigh. 

  • A NEW COMMUNITY MODEL BRINGS TOGETHER ELDERS AND YOUNG FARMERS

    August 19, 2014

    Green Building Pioneer Gets Back to Work Redesigning Retirement Giles Blunden has spent a lifetime developing sustainable models of human community. Blunden is a visionary architect and community builder, well known for his pioneering work in solar homes, green building and cohousing. His designs have received multiple awards and national recognition. Now Blunden wants to put his talents to work once again, this time to build a community which provides elders with a more dignified, stimulating way of living out their retirement, and young aspiring farmers with land to call their own. Blunden calls this integration of a sustainable farm… Read More

  • TRIBE OPENS NATIVE PLANT NURSERY

    July 28, 2014

    Naturally occurring rhodoendron garden on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. Photo: discutant/Creative Commons From Ducks Unlimited preserving over 100,000 acres of wildfowl habitat to the Audubon Society teaming up with local landowners to protect migratory birds, our region has seen significant efforts in recent years to preserve and improve biodiversity.  Cherokee One Feather reports that The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has just marked an important milestone in its environmental efforts, opening a state-of-the-art greenhouse to be used as a native plant nursery. The facility will provide plants for the tribe's frontline conservation and environmental rehabilitation work, plants which previously… Read More

  • DUCKS UNLIMITED ACHIEVES 100,000 ACRE CONSERVATION GOAL IN NC

    July 24, 2014

    Photo: Gerry Dincher/creative commons The Audubon Society aren't the only group partnering with local landowners to preserve important wildlife habitat. Ducks Unlimited, the hunting and conservation charity dedicated to preserving wildflowl habitat, recently surpassed a goal of conserving or restoring over 100,000 acres of land in North Carolina. (Nationally, the group has protected over 13 million acres.) Of the 100,000 acres in NC, approximately 19,000 were preserved through conservation easements or land acquisitions, while 87,000 acres of wetland habitat have been restored to their natural state.  While opinions on hunting can be divisive among environmentalists and animal rights activists, the… Read More

  • COOPERATIVE GROCERY STORE TO OPEN IN DURHAM

    July 7, 2014

    Image: Durham Co-op Market Durham’s already thriving food scene will soon add a grocery co-op, with shelves stocked full of locally grown and produced goods. When the Durham Co-op Market (formerly known as Durham Central Market) opens its doors in early 2015, it will be the realization of a dream that began more than half a decade ago. Thanks to the work of the Board of Directors, over 1000 community owners and a partnership with Self-Help Ventures, the market was able to sign a long-term lease on a property near the Chapel Hill Street exit of the Durham Freeway last… Read More

  • REMEMBERING JOHN VOLLMER: A CHAMPION FOR THE SOIL

    June 13, 2014

    Photo: Brandon Yow/Whole Foods One of North Carolina’s great farmers returned to the soil last week after John Vollmer died of cancer. Farmer John and his late-wife Betty navigated a difficult time in North Carolina’s agricultural history, and played a major role in figuring out a post-tobacco future for North Carolina’s family farmers. He was the third generation to earn his livelihood cultivating his family’s property in Bunn, NC, and thanks to John and Betty’s hard-work and ingenuity, the Vollmer Farm will stay in the family, with their son Russ taking over leadership. Living Through Turbulent Times After growing up… Read More

  • NC AQUARIUMS SELL WIND POWER TO VISITORS

    June 6, 2014

    Photo: DebMomof3/creative commons Fort Fisher Aquarium already does a lot to advance the cause of sustainability, educating the public on sustainable seafood, promoting biodiversity and conducting research into marine life too. Now the aquarium is offering visitors the chance to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset their own electricity use, and they'll be helping to lighten the footprint of the aquarium too: Each purchased REC provides an environmental benefit and represents one megawatt-hour of electricity generated from wind power. The wind power is generated and delivered to the national power grid. Purchasing the RECs offers direct support for renewable energy… Read More

  • ALLIANCE PROMOTES SUSTAINABLE USE OF NC’S WILD HERBS AND NATURAL PRODUCTS

    June 4, 2014

    Photo: NC Natural Products Association The mountains of North Carolina are rich with biodiversity, including many plants with valuable medicinal properties. Though resourceful residents have made use of these herbs for centuries, these plants are now becoming an important part of the economy in the mountainous region of the state, thanks to recent efforts by the Natural Products Alliance of North Carolina. The North Carolina Natural Products Association (NCNPA) has worked for over a decade to establish North Carolina as a key global supplier of premium-quality raw materials and plant-based value added products. These projects gained momentum in 2011 when… Read More

  • NC CYCLISTS ORGANIZE FOR SAFER STREETS

    May 22, 2014

    Photo: Bike Durham For a long time, biking in North America has been primarily seen as a hobby and/or a sport, not a serious mode of transportation. Yet a growing number of cyclists and sustainable transport advocates are pushing to make biking a part of everyday life. Sometimes it means pushing for better bike infrastructure. Sometimes it means supporting new pedal-powered vehicles like the Durham-made ELF. And sometimes it just means making sure that motorists are aware of bikes, and bikes are aware of motorists..  On Wednesday, May 21st, cyclists in 9 communities across North Carolina—including RTP, Asheville, Boone, Gastonia,… Read More

  • CAN CHARLOTTE CHARITY CREATE “AMERICA’S MOST SUSTAINABLE URBAN CORE”?

    May 21, 2014

    Photo: James Willeamor/creative commons It's hard to save what you don't measure. But one North Carolina non-profit is hoping to use that insight to turn North Carolina’s biggest city into the most sustainable urban core in the United States. Envision Charlotte has set itself an important goal—to utilize Charlotte's Uptown to develop first-of-their kind programs in energy, water, waste and air to conserve resources and reduce operating costs. But what does the whole integrated approach of building a Smart City entail? And what does that mean for Charlotte's competitiveness as a region? One aspect of Envision Charlotte’s efforts include social-norming energy… Read More

  • LOCAL FOOD SALES SURGING IN WESTERN NC

    May 5, 2014

    Photo: anoldent/creative commons From city farmers cooperating with developers in Raleigh to an award-winning farm-to-table restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina is not short of people working to make local food the norm, not the exception. Nowhere is that more apparent, however, than Western North Carolina, where new figures from the USDA's Census of Agriculture show direct sales alone growing 69% between 2007 and 2012. As the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) points out, these figures are note worthy because they are bucking trends seen elsewhere:  "The success in Western North Carolina is particularly impressive when compared to the rest of… Read More

  • CAN CITY FARMS AND DEVELOPERS LEARN TO COEXIST?

    April 30, 2014

    Image: Raleigh City Farm/website screen capture From community garden to growers cooperative Raleigh City Farm started in 2010, when a group of people passionate about urban farming came together to figure out how to create a farm in downtown Raleigh. In Spring of 2012, they gained access to a highly visible, one acre lot on the corner of Blount and Franklin St. and established Raleigh City Farm (RCF) as a non-profit. Beginning as an all-volunteer organization, Raleigh City Farm managed to grow thousands of pounds of organic produce, much of which was donated to local food banks. Although allowing community-supporters… Read More

  • BUILDING SMART CITIES IN NC AND BEYOND

    March 3, 2014

    Despite major advances in cutting edge technology, the Smart Cities panel suggested basic infrastructure like bike routes are qually important. Photo: JoelInSouthernCA/creative commons With RTP positioning itself as a Cor Rademaker, President, STRATEQ John Marriott, VP, OSIsoft LLC , which greatly improves air quality in port cities, through wireless electric bus charging, to Raleigh-based WasteZero's trash metering solutions, which have delivered dramatic reductions in landfill waste in municipalities around the country (see chart below), it was clear that technology has a huge role to play in reducing emissions and improving city budgets.    Fancy new technology, however, can be a distraction too.… Read More

  • IN INCLEMENT WEATHER, A REMINDER THAT RESILIENCE MATTERS

    February 13, 2014

    Photo: Anchorage Building Extreme weather is once again bringing blackouts and disruption to many parts of the state. Homes have been left without power. Commuters have been stranded in the snow for hours. And schools and businesses have had to shut down because of the weather. While talk of greener communities usually focuses on sustainability - another, complimentary, concept is worth paying attention to, especially as the snow starts falling: Resilience. In other words, reducing energy use and carbon emissions through cutting edge technology is a worthy cause, but in a world where climate change and resource depletion may bring… Read More

  • THE FUTURE OF LIGHT RAIL FOR DURHAM - CHAPEL HILL: Q&A WITH PATRICK MCDONOUGH

    February 6, 2014

    Charlotte has already received nation-wide attention for its innovative light rail, now Chapel Hill and Durham are laying the groundwork for a light rail system of their own. As the "fly through" video above shows, the route would run between downtown Chapel Hill/UNC hospitals through downtown Durham to NC Central University, offering a projected journey time of 35 to 36 minutes. Interested in finding out more about the progress of this scheme, we reached out to Patrick McDonough, Manager of Planning and Transit-Oriented Development for Triangle Transit to learn more. Why light rail? What are the advantages over other forms of… Read More

  • HOW SOLARIZE DURHAM PLANS TO TRANSFORM A COMMUNITY: Q&A WITH RITA LEADEM

    February 5, 2014

    Residents gather to learn about Solarize Durham. Photo: NC Warn We already reported on how, under the banner of "Solarize", grassroots solar initiatives are spreading across the state. This DOE funded effort has already kicked off in Asheville and Raleigh, and now Solarize Durham is the latest to get off the ground with a launch event on January 15th. We got in touch with Rita Leadem, Assistant Director of NC WARN, and to discuss what makes Solarize Durham so special. What are the origins of the Solarize concept?   The Solarize model started in Portland, Oregon, as a grassroots effort to… Read More

  • FARM COMMUNITY EXPLORES ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

    January 16, 2014

    A group of farmers, researchers and food advocates discuss annual crop production. Photo: Rachel Tinker Kulberg Back in the fall of 2012, Pittsboro, NC farmer Laurie Heise called the Abundance Foundation with a question: “How do I prepare for climate change on my small, diversified farm?” Abundance Foundation didn’t have an answer. So the Abundance staff started calling around and in doing so they found that they not alone. It seemed many farmers, thinkers and organizations were themselves wondering the same thing. An idea for a conference was born.   Over 140 farmers, agriculture researchers, and activists convened at the Farming Strategies Conference for… Read More

  • COMMUNITY-LED SOLAR INITIATIVES SPREADING ACROSS STATE

    January 2, 2014

    Photo: Andreas Demmelbauer/creative commons There is a solar surge going on in NC right now, but most of that growth has been limited to large, utility-scale solar farm projects.  At least, so far.  New schemes are springing up in several cities across the state that seek to make solar affordable for ordinary citizens, including low income homeowners. Based on a grassroots model initially developed in Oregon, and supported by the Department of Energy,  Solarize Asheville has already been signing up would-be solar system owners and using their collective bargaining power to drive down costs. In November of last year, Raleigh city… Read More

  • TINY HOUSE CONFERENCE PROMOTES LIVING LARGE IN SMALL SPACES

    December 18, 2013

    UNCC's net-zero energy solar home has won awards and captured imaginations about what buildings of the future might look like. Green building is not just about cutting edge technology, however. Intelligent use of space and materials is just as important. After all, the smaller a living space is, the less it takes to heat, cool and light it; the fewer resources it takes to build; and the less "stuff" you're able to fill it up with too.  For some, the concept might sound restrictive. For others, however, they argue that it is extremely liberating to cut both their housing costs and… Read More

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