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Avram is the Executive Director and one of the founders of the Canary Coalition, a Clean Air advocacy organization originated in western North Carolina in the year 2000. The Canary Coalition now has more than eleven-hundred-fifty organizational, business and individual members in 23 states in the Greater Appalachian region.

Since the mid-nineteen sixties Avram has been a community and political activist for social and environmental causes.

He helped form the anti-nuclear movement in Oregon. While living in Oregon he coordinated the petition drive in Portland to place a referendum on the ballot that prohibited the further construction of nuclear plants in that state. This ballot measure became the first anti-nuclear measure to pass in the country.

In 1986, after moving to Western North Carolina, Avram founded Citizens for a Choice on Nuclear Waste that initiated a petition drive for a referendum on a DOE proposed high-level nuclear waste dump in western North Carolina. Through the lobbying efforts of this organization the referendum was placed on the ballot statewide and 93% voted against the location of the nuclear waste facility in North Carolina.

The Canary Coalition was one of the grassroots organizations responsible for introducing and promoting the NC Clean Smokestacks Act that was passed by the NC General Assembly in 2003. It is currently taking the lead in advocating for The Energy Futures Resolution in the N.C Legislature.

Read Avram's Blog

Paul Gallimore is an educator, author, consultant, and planner in renewable energy, environmental design, permaculture, appropriate technology, and recycling/resource recovery.

He is the Founder and Executive Director of Long Branch Environmental Education Center, Leicester, NC, 1974 - present, and the Coordinator of the Environmental Resource Assessment Service. The Center strives to encourage conservation of all natural resources, including air quality, water quality, soil, and all biological diversity; to educate the public about strategies relating to ecological literacy, natural resource conservation, renewable energy, community self-reliance, appropriate technologies, and practices of sustainability; to design and demonstrate sustainable systems; to advocate for conservation of all natural resources and biological systems; to engage in research programs in conservation biology, renewable energy, community self-reliance, appropriate technologies, sustainable systems, and to practice ecological restoration; and to encourage sustainability as a measure of every human endeavor.

He has served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Renewable Resources, Solar Lobby, National Recycling Coalition, Southern Unity Network for Renewable Energy Projects (SUNREP), North Carolina Coalition for Renewable Energy Resources (NCCRER), North Carolina Solar Energy Association, Carolina Recycling Association, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and many other groups in the Southern Appalachian Bioregion. He has taught at Southwestern Community College, Sylva, NC, Blanton's Junior College, Asheville, NC, and the University of North Carolina, Asheville.

One of the early projects that actively captured his attention and physical involvement was People's Park in Berkeley, CA in 1969, one of the first grassroots' attempts to create and reclaim urban greenspace in North America. The inspiration for People's Park was that the human community could actively pursue peaceful, imaginative and creative ways to rediscover and physically restore the underlying harmony between humans and all other living beings. This inspiration continues to circulate through his ongoing efforts to promote the message of CEDARS - Conservation, Education, Design, Demonstration, Advocacy, Research, Restoration, and Sustainability.

His book, co-authored with Al Fritsch, Healing Appalachia: Sustainable Living Through Appropriate Technology will be published by the University Press of Kentucky in May 2007.

Read Paul's Blog

Gracia O'Neill is the Assistant Director at Clean Water for NC, a statewide environmental justice non-profit based with offices in Asheville and Durham. CWFNC promotes empowered communities and safe, accessible water for all North Carolinians through organizing, education, advocacy and technical assistance.

Since 1984, we have partnered with rural and low income communities, as well as communities of color, to increase grassroots participation in environmental justice. Over the past 22 years, Clean Water for North Carolina has assisted dozens of communities with organizing, strategy development and power analysis, and technical support as they face a wide range of water, toxics and other environmental justice issues. Our staff provides information and referrals to over 150 requests each year and work in statewide coalition with groups working on water and air quality, precautionary approaches and environmental justice.

To learn more about our work and volunteer opportunities, visit our website at or call our Asheville office at (828) 251-1291.

Read Gracia's Blog

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