On Earth Day 2021, Do Good to Feel Good: Mental Health Amid the ‘State of the World’ Crises


AIRE’s mentor was among the founders of the first Earth Day in Berkeley [1]. He argued that doing good work that benefits people and communities everyday would be more authentic and beneficial than a mere one day celebration. With his axiom in mind, let’s not be nihilistic about mental health in the title because, on


Asheville’s Bountiful Cities’ Pearson Community Garden Going Solar


Community gardens are an asset to any city. If growing good food is a good thing, then using solar to power the coolers that store the bounty and heat the greenhouses makes a lot of sense too. That’s what Pearson Garden in Asheville is doing. The community gardeners will gather together to help erect the


Pain and notes in a parking lot: the healing properties of community solar


I’m sitting in a parking lot on a cold, gray January morning waiting for my daughter to come out of a doctors appointment. I couldn’t go into the waiting room thanks to coronavirus rules. So here I sit scanning the scene for the vibe. As I tune in, I see a dialysis center straight ahead


Burton Street’s DeWayne Barton: A gardener sowing seeds of solar, solidarity, and community


It’s “…our garden. I’m just the maintenance man, I just keep it up,” insists DeWayne Barton, the humble visionary behind the Burton Street Community Peace Gardens in West Asheville. The first wave of solar at the peace gardens went up back in August. Two hundred donors came together to fund the project. AIRE developed, coordinated


Democracy Crisis: The Court, Renewable Energy and Well-Being


Note: I heard Dahr Jamail on a podcast back in the summer saying he– a brilliant, award-winning journalist and author– can’t even write in the present moment. This is a guy who went independently to Iraq to cover war up close and in the streets. Now, instead of writing, he’s immersed in grassroots mutual support


What is solar for? AIRE’s new plan for cooperative, sustainable communities solar


This guiding question borrows from the title of a collection of essays, “WHAT ARE people FOR” by agrarian writer, Wendell Berry. It is provocative because it calls our values into question and challenges assumptions. Our conversations and activities at AIRE have recently asked a similar question out of the same vein– What is solar for?


Village Wiring Vision: every place needs one


Wherever your place and community may be, you need a guiding question. DO YOU HAVE A VILLAGE WIRING VISION? Whether you’re a faith community, university, city, rural community, or other community of interest, this ought to be a central organizing question. Of course AIRE’s specific focus is community-owned renewable energy, but Sister Mary Baird gives


Solar Power, Historic Theatre Renovations & Community Building


Solar projects are obviously valuable ecologically and financially, but they can also spread enthusiasm in a community. Last Monday we had the pleasure of meeting a group of folks who are doing just that in the beautiful little town of Plymouth, in northwestern Indiana. They’re well into the restoration of their historic “main street” (N.