Highland Brewing Event Seeks to Change Conversation about Climate

On Aug. 10, there will be an event at Highland Brewing in Asheville that organizers hope will help overcome the divisiveness that the topics of climate and clean energy usually produce.

The evening at the Highland Brewing Event Center will center around a screening of the 2016 documentary, The Burden, a film describing the U.S. military’s leadership role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and the resulting impact on national security.

The evening at the Highland Brewing Event Center will center around a screening of the 2016 documentary, The Burden, a film describing the U.S. military’s leadership role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and the resulting impact on national security.

The event will kick off at 6 p.m. and will include a social time, introduction and viewing of the film, followed by a discussion and Q&A with a panel of experts.

“Too often, discussions about climate, energy, and the environment are emotionally charged and politically polarized. We want this evening to be different,” said Major General Rick Devereaux, USAF (Ret.), one of the evening’s guest panelists. “By illuminating the linkage between clean energy and national security, we hope this will be a forum for bringing people of differing political persuasions and perspectives together to find common ground while discussing ways to make our nation more secure.”

Steffi Rausch, lead organizer for the Asheville chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), said “the event will be truly unique, bringing together two disparate groups who have more in common than they might realize.” Rausch explained that over the course of the evening, conservatives and veterans who believe in a strong national defense will learn, “perhaps surprisingly, why and how the Department of Defense is working hard to increase its reliance on renewable fuels and reduce its fossil fuel dependence.”

As Secretary of Defense James Mattis put it, the military needs to be “unleashed from the tether of fuel.” The audience will also hear views from several military experts on the impact of climate change on national security. Conversely, environmentalists and those concerned about climate change will learn how viewing environmental issues through a national security lens may help them more effectively communicate with political conservatives who prioritize a strong national defense and economy ahead of environmental policies. Rausch is optimistic, “We hope this evening will be a beginning … a way to bridge the gap and find common ground on a controversial topic.” Everyone is invited, although Devereaux emphasized they are “specifically welcoming veterans and those interested in national security.”

Admission will be free for veterans and their families; $5 for everyone else. Of course, Highland beer and food trucks will be available. The event is sponsored by the Asheville Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.

CCL leadership emphasizes a respectful, bipartisan approach to climate education designed to create a broad, sustainable foundation for climate action across all geographic regions and political inclinations.

Rausch is decidedly optimistic, “What better way for the country to come together than by working towards a cleaner world while protecting our national security and economy in a bipartisan way?” Come join the discussion on August 10 at Highland Brewing from 6-9 p.m. and for more information visit the Highlands Brewing event page: https://highlandbrewing.com/whats-up/event/screening-of-the-burder/ or Asheville CCL’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ashevilleccl

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the news editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for more than six years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.