You call that democracy? How Virginia’s electric co-ops fail their member-owners


What does “cooperative” mean when you think of your rural electric provider? It’s probably not what you think. I’ve known through direct participation, observation, reading, and following the stories elsewhere, that rural EMC’s (electric co-ops) are, at best, nominally democratic despite perceptions or assumptions to the contrary.[1] One of the people I’ve followed is Seth


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


AIRE and Co-operate WNC: Making the (co-operative solar) road by walking


AIRE and Co-operate WNC have been in dialogue for several months around the questions of how do we cooperate to incubate a solar cooperative practice that harnesses the power of aggregated purchasing to reduce the cost of solar and how do we nurture a cooperative enterprise that sustains solar adoption and creates livelihoods for underserved


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


We were hungry: local and global food insecurity and great works


The World Food Programme’s (WFP) 2020 Nobel Peace Prize and reading yesterday’s Washington Post story about mothers stealing baby food to survive gives me the sinking feeling that Christmas 2020 will not be “merry” for many. The global pandemic, wars, and climate change have 270 million people on the brink of starvation according to WFP.


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


Burton Street Community Peace Gardens Solar Phase 1 Has Been Installed


The solar installation was completed on Monday, August 10th. Now we await only Duke Energy to connect the system to the grid. The advocacy community uses the term “slow walking” to describe how long that may take. Only Duke knows, but hopefully soon. The garden is producing healthy food, ideas, healing vibes, and is ready