Embracing Sustainable Development

Lately, it seems that crisis and chaos are everywhere. Our climate needs our attention and our global conflicts, and regional disruptions are displacing entire cultures and communities. There has never been a more important time to embrace the concepts of sustainable development.

United Nations Foundation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals

If we promote sustainable development on both a local and global level, there is a path forward. We can correct our mistakes and build a future that takes everyone and everything into account. The United Nations Foundation has listed 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

These goals include:

  • Ending poverty
  • Eliminating hunger
  • Promoting good health and well being
  • quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Clean water and energy
  • Equitable economic broths
  • Innovation in industry and infrastructure
  • Protecting oceans and other natural places
  • Promoting peace and justice
  • Responsible production and consumption
  • Partnering to accomplish goals for sustainable communities and cities.

Our current systems have proven to be unsustainable and immediate action is necessary. By working together we can accomplish our goals to create a sustainable world.

Leading Sustainability Effort in the High Country of North Carolina

The High Country of North Carolina is fortunate and thankful to be home to one of the most successful and comprehensive Sustainable Development programs in the nation.

Appalachian State University located only a few blocks away from 828 Real Estate, “has more than 300 undergraduate majors and 50 minors, that allow students to examine the interdependent complexities and challenges of the world’s most pressing environmental, economic, and social problems and envision and enact creative and innovative solutions to these challenges in the context of sustainable development.”

Appalachian State students can choose from, “the community, regional, and global development; sustainable agriculture; environmental studies; or an individually designed program.” This department boasts being home to “one of the largest diversified teaching and research farms in the nation.”

Sustainable Development Programs in Boone

For a small town, Boone has a wide variety of sustainable development programs. Here are 5 community programs and non-profits in Watauga County that work to build healthy communities.

Protecting the Environment

In Boone, the non-profit, Mountaintrue, is dedicated to clean water, resilient forests, green energy, and healthy communities. This organization is focused on removing toxic substances from our waterways, protecting and promoting biodiversity, and educating the public on alternative energy.


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We only get one planet. Protecting the environment ensures sustainable development. One easy way to protect the environment is to be mindful of the natural beauty of native landscaping and flowers. Recycle, be mindful of your water usage, and encourage others to do so as well.

Providing Healthy & Fresh Food

Across the nation, access to healthy and fresh food is a huge issue. Food deserts, limited funding, and other struggles prevent people from accessing regular meals. At 828 Real Estate, we recently set up the Free Little Pantry outside of our office to supply those in need with non-perishable food items.

Other organizations in the High Country of North Carolina are doing their part to end hunger as well. The Hunger and Health Coalition, the Watauga County Farmers Market, and Against the Grain Farms are essential organizations in sustaining our local community. They work together to provide our population with organic, healthy, nutritious, and fresh foods.

Supporting Survivors of Abuse

Providing survivors of domestic abuse a safe place is another aspect of sustainable development. OASIS – Opposing Abuse with Service Information and Shelter promotes a sustainable community by supporting survivors of abuse. The Children’s Council of Watauga County, “builds upon the strengths of children, families, and educators by investing resources, information, and training toward promoting the future health and success of our greatest community asset: Our Children.”

How to Live Sustainably

Living sustainably doesn’t have to be hard. There are a few local-minded, easy ways you can change your consumption habits to positively impact your community and the world!

Limit Textile Consumption

As a nation, we throw away 21 billion pounds of textiles per year. Textiles include clothing, shoes, accessories, sheets, blankets, carpets, the list keeps going. Currently, only 3.8 billion pounds of textiles are recycled each year. This issue reveals the importance of donating and recycling our clothing.

Boone is home to a variety of thrift and consignment stores. Anna Banna’s is a fine consignment boutique in the heart of downtown Boone. They buy, sell and trade clothing and all sorts of other fun accessories.


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Habitat for Humanity ReStores is another wonderful non-profit in our community that has everything you need for home improvements. You can donate gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials, and more.

If you are looking for these items ReStore offers them for sale to the public for a fraction of the price. Who knows, you might be able to score hardwood, North Carolina furniture at a fraction of the cost!

Volunteer in Your Community

Volunteering in your community leads to active and sustainable change.  By consistently showing up for your community and its members, you are participating in sustainable development.

Our very own Jordan Sellers shows up for his community in Boone by working with the Western Youth Network (WYN). All of WYN programs focus on supporting youth in developing resilience, feeling safe to be themselves, and being compassionate about issues such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). His work helps to sustain community health through afterschool and community programming.

If You Love Where You Live, Sustain It

In the High Country of North Carolina, we love where we live. We embrace sustainable development to keep our environment and community members healthy and happy. At 828 Real Estate, our agents and team members give back to non-profits. To find organizations to get involved with, check out these organizations in the High Country of North Carolina that you can support locally.

About the Author

Susan is proud to be a native Tarheel, but as a military brat she also spent many years growing up in Kodiak, Alaska. Her father was a helicopter pilot in the Marines and then the U.S. Coast Guard, which allowed her to experience and appreciate both the South East and the Pacific NorthWest. After spending most of her High School years in Kodiak, her family was stationed back to Elizabeth City, NC. When the time came to choose a college to attend, Susan longed for something that reminded her a bit of the beautiful mossy forests of Alaska and the mountain culture that she had grown to love. Upon arrival in Boone in 2002 she immediately felt like she had come home. Although Susan is not a “true Wataugan,” she now considers the High Country of North Carolina her home. Susan loves to travel and even spent a semester abroad in County Cork, Ireland. Susan graduated from Appalachian State University in 2006 with a Bachelors degree in History, Secondary Education. Susan met her husband, David Stelling, while attending ASU. David is a Professional Fly Fishing Guide and Outfitter in North Carolina, Tennessee and Alaska. Susan spent 10 years dedicated to teaching High School Social Studies and also helped create the award winning alternative education program, Blue Ridge Academy, located in Avery County. Susan and David had their first child in 2015. Sophronia Woods Stelling and welcomed Hardiman Hill Stelling in 2019. Susan and David feel fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places and supportive communities on earth. The High Country is a wonderful place to not only vacation, but also to raise a family. Susan has been with 828 Real Estate since its creation in 2018 and has enjoyed every moment of working for a locally owned and operated firm. The last couple years have been very exciting and Susan looks forward to working with more people looking to either buy or sell in the High Country.