Natural Resources

Photo by Matt Wasson, Appalachian Voices.

The decline of coal mining is a blessing to some and a curse to others. And when it comes to what’s known as ‘mountain top removal’ the disagreement runs even deeper. Appalachia is ground zero for this form of surface coal mining. And while it’s only a small percentage of all coal mining, opponents are calling for it to stop.

“Appalachia has so much potential, but we can’t realize that potential if we continue to poison our water and destroy our mountains."

Governor McAuliffe has accelerated the timetable set in a 2007 state law that requires a voluntary 10% reduction in state energy consumption—by moving its target date to 2020. 

Now an expert panel established to help achieve that goal has concluded that it needs additional data just to clarify how that should be measured.  It also says the responsibility does not just rest with electric utilities to boost their own conservation efforts.

Farmers markets in this country are growing. New ones are springing up all over Virginia.  These community markets are morphing into more than just places to buy fresh local produce.  They’re becoming places to hang out, eat, drink, shop, and more.

Ten  years ago, there were around 80 farmers markets operating in all of Virginia.  Today it’s 3 times that.

“Now we’ve got between 200 and 250. I say between 5: because the numbers keep changing, new markets are coming on.”

You’ve probably seen it in your garden, along roadways, just about everywhere: Garlic Mustard.  It’s an invasive plant that stealthily out-competes native species, threatening the diversity of forests in many parts of the country. But what if there were a recipe to change that?

They don’t call it garlic mustard for nothing. Rachel Collins is Associate Professor of Biology at Roanoke College. 

“The chemical that it’s making that smells like garlic is one of these herbivore defense chemicals like basil and all the other yummy flavors in bail and mint.”

Photo by Drew Gallagher

Last week, 30 students began an unusual protest – riding bicycles along the path of a proposed natural gas pipeline.  

Kendall King with the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition says protesters wanted to increase public awareness of plans for the 550-mile underground pipeline that would link fracking sites in West Virginia to customers in North Carolina.

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