Mountain Area Information Network


New website launched to promote sustainable growth policies, practices

A regional web portal called has been launched by the nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) to link nonprofits, businesses, government agencies and individuals promoting the principles and practices of sustainability.

"Our mountain region has a wealth of organizations, businesses and experts working in the broad fields of sustainable growth, energy, agriculture, and the environment," said Wally Bowen, executive director of MAIN.

"This web portal makes this expertise available to a much broader audience by providing a 'one-stop' clearinghouse of information for citizens concerned about regional and local sustainability," Bowen said. includes directories of organizations, agencies and businesses in the following categories: food, shelter, community, economy, energy, environment, and transit.

The volunteer-run website also includes blogs hosted by local experts such as David Wallace of the N.C. Energy Office, Maggie Leslie of the WNC Green Building Council, and Charlie Jackson of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.

Leslie said she volunteered because she saw the website's potential to "facilitate education, dialogue and interconnectedness in our region so that as we grow, we can do so in a way that serves our ecological community, cultural values and future generations."

Retired physician and activist Richard Fireman serves as editor of, which includes an events calendar, daily news headlines, and a photo/video gallery.

Fireman said he volunteered to help address "widespread denial about the collapse of ecosystems, and the very short window of opportunity we have to change the direction of human culture."

"'Sustainability' is the buzzword currently being used to capture the totality of the change we must make if we are to successfully negotiate this transformation," he said.

Lee Entrekin, the website's volunteer webmaster, said he hopes will help counter the effects of rapid growth and development.

"As a relative newcomer to western North Carolina, I recogize the negative impact that growth has on the area. I hope that will encourage people to take responsibility for the impact of their own lives on our region and the planet," he said.

Organizations, agencies and businesses are invited to add their names to the directories, and add their events to the community calendar. For more information, contact Richard Fireman at: END

CONTACT: Wally Bowen, 828.255.0182