Issue 4: August 2007

Bogging Down the Courts

The fabled cranberry bogs of Shady Valley, Tennessee, were once the very image of a pastoral Ocean Spray commercial. Now mostly a faded memory, the remaining bogs are still woven into the fabric of civic pride—in the town’s welcome signs, on a big corn silo that stands at Shady Valley’s rural crossroads, and in an […]

Renewable Energy from Landfill Gas Fires Glassblowing

Hand thrown pottery and blown glass have a high aesthetic value, but they also come with a fairly high price tag in terms of energy use and environmental impact. EnergyXchange, an arts incubator project in Yancey County, is working to change that by using landfill gas that would ordinarily be wasted. “It’s a phenomenal […]

Going Green: Campus by Campus

NORTH CAROLINA Appalachian State University, Boone, NC – ASU’s wide ranging Renewable Energy Initiative began over a decade ago with the founding of the Sustainable Energy Society. It expanded in 2004 when students approved a green fee of $5 per student to fund renewable energy projects. The fee raises around $150,000 per year and has […]

Assessing the Cost of Wise County Coal Plant

By Kathy R. Selvage I am a lifelong resident of Wise County, VA, where a now bankrupt company demolished a portion of my Stevens, VA community through mountaintop removal. I know the true costs of being forced to live through sleepless nights, the dust, the noise, and the destruction of mountaintop removal. (For video of […]

Students Building Beyond Campuses for Greener Future

From campus to community to state, students across the Southeast will have a strong campaign this coming school year, pushing more schools’ administrations and state legislators to convert to renewable sources of energy and move away from fossil fuels. Students are expanding beyond just their campuses this fall by building relationships with their surrounding communities […]

Brewing up a Revolution

Sandor Katz is literally brewing up a revolution in his kitchen. The Tennessee man has authored two books on food. The first, “Wild Fermentation,” mixes Katz’s experiments with kraut, sourdough, wine and other fermented foods with the politics of self-sufficiency. His most recent work, “The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved,” tackles the food industry and […]

Great Ideas for Greening Your Campus

Institutions of higher learning have an enormous responsibility to help lead the way towards a more sustainable society, and nothing empowers and interests a university administration more than students committed to a good cause. Your individual efforts can have an enormous impact on a key institution at this moment in history. But what can […]


Young Leaders and Green Universities The strong move towards sustainability in Tennessee and North Carolina universities, described in the story on page 12, is one of the most positive trends we have noted in years. We are proud of the young people who are giving so much of themselves to lead our region towards a […]

Affrialachia Magazine Showcases Poetry

For well over a century now, Appalachia has been categorically reduced by many outsiders and insiders alike to include only white Scots-Irish descendants, with a few Native Americans thrown in for political correctness. The rich ethnic diversity that actually exists doesn’t jive with people’s stereotypes of the region, much less their jokes. Fortunately, however, many […]

Hail to the Poplar

In 1807 Thomas Jefferson planted a tulip poplar near the west entrance of his home. Over the course of two centuries, this tree and another nearby have grown to massive proportions, perfectly framing his impressive house. Almost twenty years ago on a visit to Monticello, I purchased a 12-inch tulip poplar seedling at the […]

Asheville Climate Data Center May Expand Mission

It’s a good bet you didn’t know Asheville has a weather museum, nor that it has the world’s largest archive of climate data in the world. But it does, and there’s a vision brewing for its future. “We have a gem … a ‘one and only’ in Asheville, and we as a community should take […]

Hiking the Highlands

Consider the contents: a waterfall, a tunnel and a trestle over a rocky river. It’s all waiting in Virginia’s Wise County, all within the first half-mile of the Guest River Gorge Trail. But wait, all this literally is just the beginning. Water draining out of southeastern Wise County ends up in the Guest River, roaring […]

Mountain Girls Go to Press

Tammy Robinson Smith could well be one of the characters in her own fiction. Some sort of regional literary mandate dictates that the heroine’s heart must always belong in these Southern Appalachian mountains no matter what else comes along, and Smith fills that role as if she’d been sent in from Central Casting. “I’ve moved […]