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It's Getting Hot in Here

Tell me more about Asheville!

A bit of history

Western North Carolina, or "The Land of the Sky" region, is a sacred place originally inhabited by the Cherokee and other Indo-American tribes (The Cherokee Reservation is located 40 miles east of Asheville). The city of Asheville emerged first as a small market village at the intersection of trading mountain farmers and herders. Today, Western North Carolina still depends on small communities and farmers, and Asheville remains a center for the integration of distinct cultural perspectives and economic practices. The town and its surrounding communities offer opportunities for growers, tradespeople, craftspeople, as well as artists, performers, and thinkers, to gather, trade, and develop models for a variety of sustainable living practices. In the summer time, the streets are full of tourists and homeless, backpackers coming off the Appalachian Trail, and street musicians and buskers (romantically, some do make a living by street performance!). Street festivals signify the celebratory nature of Asheville and the warmth with which its citizens coexist. 

Lifelong learning

 Asheville offers lifelong learning opportunities that attract students and teachers sharing ideals and skills for sustainable and cooperative spirituality, health (such as herbal and holistic medicine), living (such as ecovillages, cohousing, and cooperative housing), and agriculture (such as permaculture, biodynamic, urban agriculture, and biointensive methods).  Alternative models have challenged resourceful citizens to seek independence in their employment, living, energy, and finance. Retired citizens created their own center for creative retirement opportunity at the University of North Carolina in Asheville, promoting many of the same values as the youth. A dynamic model of sustainability, including, but not limited to the Asheville Transition Town movement, is found in the vision of tradespeople, avtivists, business people, and city planners.
Historic Black Mountain College (1933-1957), in Black Mountain, 25 miles East of Asheville, was one of the most influential experiments in creative and holistic education, with faculty like Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, and John Cage, integrating physical, intellectual, and visual art with design, nature, and community. While the school is now gone, its spirit and consciousness is preserved by the influence of its students in Asheville's many small public and private learning institutions that understand the value of inward motivation and lucidity before reaching outward. These institutions will be invaluable in framing our work, finding resources and partners, and promoting a mature approach to action. We intend to enrich these learning institutions through our community interactions.

        Asheville citizens are generally committed to developing multiple aspects of living within themselves and in their community. In Pritchard Park, at the center of the city, on every Friday night, Asheville citizens gather together and dance to a troupe of community African drummers. Just like Zion's Earthy celebration in the Matrix Reloaded, everyone seems to lose themselves staring or participating in this transcendent spectacle, heard throughout the city.Maybe mention all of this in the first paragraph

The Big Green Climate Scene in Asheville    

        While featuring a diversity of small, sustainable practices, Asheville is also involved in the greater climate debate and green movement at small scales but with big influence. The U.S. Government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) very own National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is located in downtown Asheville, just one block West of the Friday night drum circle. Asheville is a nucleus for transitional consciousness regarding climate change (see Asheville leaders' TEDx lectures: http://tedxasheville.com/). Institutions like NCDC (monitors climate change and conducts GIS mapping and climate change visualization), the Sustainability Institute (creates systems models for climate change used by Copenhagen), the Elumenati (promotes scientific awareness by designing visualizations for institutions like the Smithsonian Institute), and the Asheville Design Center (provides vision for socially-beneficial, participatory urban planning, architecture, and regional beautification projects by volunteers). These publicly oriented institutions promote participatory and systems based ways of understanding climate change, in the spirit of the Summer of Solutions program. There are a growing number of equitable green jobs programs and organizations, small business organizations, and local government initiatives to promote sustainable energy technology, green housing, energy efficiency, and opportunities for innovative sustainability in Western North Carolina.


Grand Aspirations empowers, connects, and supports youth leaders as they create innovative, self-sustaining, and inter-dependent initiatives that systemically integrate climate and energy solutions, economic security, and social justice.
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