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Outdoors

The Global Spotlight Series sponsored by Western Carolina University's Department of Political Science and Public Affairs continues this semester with a Monday, March 2, panel, featuring four presentations about climate change.

  • Blair Tormey, coastal research scientist, will discuss "Climate Science and the Evidence for Global Warming."
  • Rob Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, will speak about "Talking to Mr. Carl About Climate Change."
  • David Dorondo, Sossoman Professor of History, will examine "European Climate-Change Policy: A Question of German Leadership?"
  • The topic of Jen Schiff, political science and public affairs assistant professor, will be "United Nations Action (or Inaction?) on Climate Change."

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Dear EarthTalk: I am in the market for a new flat screen TV. Are some models greener than others? – Michael Kavanaugh, Rome, N.Y.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans’ 275 million TV sets burn through some 65 billion kilowatt hours of energy each year, representing four to five percent of U.S. household electricity consumption. Each U.S. household spends around $200/year for electricity to power their TVs and related equipment. But while we may not be giving up our TVs anytime soon, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, as the consumer electronics industry has started to prioritize reducing its environmental footprint.

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In order to enhance the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) experience for thru-hikers and better manage this natural resource, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), in cooperation with its partners, has launched a new voluntary registration system for those attempting to hike the estimated 2,185- mile-long Trail in one year. This registration system, available at www.appalachiantrail.org/thruhikeregistration, exists to ease impacts from the increased number of hikers expected after the release of two hiking related films, “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods.”

In recent years, the A.T. thru-hike experience has at peak use times suffered severe overcrowding at the southern end of the Trail. Crowding intensifies because hikers tend to start thru-hikes around specific dates, such as March 1, March 17, and especially April 1 and weekends.

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The Appalachian Trail Community Committee met in Franklin Town Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The committee, chaired by Bill Van Horn, is gearing up for another busy season welcoming Appalachian Trail thru-hikers who visit Franklin. The AT Community designation simply means the Franklin is a hiker-friendly town on the 2,100-plus mile trail from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Katahdin, Me.

The meeting focused on the upcoming Appalachian Trail Celebration events for 2015. These events will run from the first day of spring (Friday, March 20) thru Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22).

During this celebration, the Nantahala Hiking Club will sponsor a Thru-hiker Chow down on Saturday, March 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will provide lunch for thru-hikers featuring chilidogs and homemade sweets at the Lazy Hiker Brewing Company located at 188 W. Main Street, Franklin. For additional information, call Sharon Van Horn at (828)369-1983.

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