We are the ones we’re looking for

The Great American Quest, ” life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” has led us to the mountain top, the shopping mall. We sat there in rapture, beaming and gleaming in the sunlight streaming into the food court, all the abundance of our bags full of awesome stuff. We filled our homes up with the awesome stuff, and then we filled up our storage units.

And we find ourselves still waiting for the rapture. We set up ingenious manufacturing supply systems, global supply routes of mining, processing and sculpting our planet’s resources to fill the shelves of the malls, as if we lived in infinite abundance.

Somehow, I was blessed with eyes to see, and ears to listen, “the emperor has no clothes”, well at most he’s wearing a Speedo. I chose a path less followed, a path I once judged as kind of spineless, “a weed in the wind”, a wandering around, trying to find my own pursuit of happiness…. READ MORE >>

A Sustainable Way of Life Becomes the Curriculum! Part 6

Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining  together to become  a sustainable community with the school at its heart -Part 6

Locally Created Services and Products – the Sustainable Economy Emerges

As homes and business were renovated into multiple-storied, zero emission buildings, more space was created for residences, services and commercial usages. A network of used clothing stores trades across town with other recycle stores. The clothing fashion center teaches sewing and clothing design and runs a brisk business featuring student consignments.bicycle repair shop

Bicycle sales and repair, a computer lab, a graphics design shop and café, a library and bookstore, a woodshop/metal shop and an eBay store have all opened with help from the Business Incubator Loan Fund. Entrepreneurs of all ages are encouraged with micro-loans, business skills training programs and affordable facilities, to create products and services that evolve into locally created jobs.

Mentors and apprentices share their love for teaching and learning. With the abundance of affordable housing, young adults can stay in their community and the long traditions of Santa Fe’s cultures are sustained…. READ MORE >>

A Sustainable Way of Life Becomes the Curriculum! Part 5

Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining  together to become  a sustainable community with the school at its heart.

Living machine

Biologies on the roots, detoxify water!

Science Rules! Tapping into the Power of Biologies; Community Composting and Recycling Water – Part 5

Throughout the neighborhood, attached greenhouses provide essential composting, soil studies and crop production opportunities. The solar recharged neighborhood electric cart collection service gives teens an opportunity to make money by driving household food scraps to the community composting bins.

“Living Machines,” water recycling tanks, demonstrate how bacteria and microorganisms purify water.

Living Machines, invented by Dr. John Todd, use plants and microbes to clean water instead of chemicals. They can handle household waste, and easily tackle industrial wastes, turning 600 to 750,000 gallons of waste per day into hyacinths and snails… Dr. Todd (a student of Bucky Fuller BTW), has been working with Living Machines for decades has found that there are certain plants or small animals that love certain kinds of waste. What he does is let the water run through a series of cisterns with different plants in each. What one plant likes to eat, it turns into other forms of waste, so in the next cistern he has the plant that considers that waste food. By the time the water comes out, it’s 5 times cleaner than traditional waste water treatment….

Part 1  Part 2   Part 3 Part 4  Part 5   
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A Sustainable Way of Life Becomes the Curriculum! Part 4

Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining  together to become  a sustainable community with the school at its heart. Part 4

“If it Ain’t Fun, it Ain’t Sustainable”

snow fun

If it ain't fun, it ain't sustainable!

Students of all ages have learned that working together with the whole community, coming up with inspired ideas on how to live more affordably and lighter on the planet, is fun.  Out of a Community Design Day session, a recreational waterslide was created utilizing the rooftop of the 2-story addition.  In the winter, a used snow-making machine, donated by the Santa Fe ski basin, turns the waterslide into “the Luge,” a great playground for the entire community. The water park and snow playground are the source of many lesson plans; hands-on everyday science.

 

So what kind of fun would you add to your future neighborhood??…. READ MORE >>

A Match Made in Heaven

Foundation Investing and Your Vision of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Foundations grant 5% of their assets and invest 95%.  As I understand it, the branch of the foundation that invests has very little connection to the branch that makes grants.  In fact, sometimes their actions are running against each other.

The beauty of socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable neighborhoods, is they meet both objectives! The social mission of empowering, resilient, health lifestyles, uplifting,  poverty busting, social justice,  ecologically sound, and local economic development all gets handled in  ”mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods with lifelong learning and open space” .

The investment mission gets handled in creating large opportunities for investing in real, lasting values!

So… submit your ideas, your vision of the sustainable life you want to be living. As the needs aggregate, the existing market demand for sustainable neighborhoods becomes more apparent. Once the construction industry, from builders to banks to investors, finally accepts the go-go days  are gone, they will become more open to this new form of community based in real, lasting values. National foundations will have something to invest in that meets their asset needs. And their funding branch will see their missions move forward.

Your vision of your desired future sustainable lifestyle and billions of foundation $$$ assets ….A match made in heaven!!…

READ MORE >>

A Sustainable Way of Life Becomes the Curriculum! Part 3

Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining  together to become  a sustainable community with the school at its heart. Part 3

Working Together to Get to a Zero Carbon Emissions Lifestylegone green

The “Gone Green” Neighborhood Renovation program continues to transform energy inefficient homes into zero emission homes.

The “Whole Home Audit” documents the existing water and energy consumption of each home as well as the homeowner’s financial status and comes up with a comprehensive plan that works for the owners as well as the surrounding neighbors. Two man teams of students conduct home surveys and get amazing hands on experience of the challenges residents face. Working with an architect mentor, the homeowners and  the student teams, they come up with three different options,  which eventually get turned into the “Gone Green Action Plan”.

Single-story homes often have been granted zoning variances to allow the neighborhood to go mixed use. Commercial and residential additions and resulting revenue streams are tailored to fit, ensuring a retirement plan that gives great comfort to each household. The local residents not only get to retire in familiar surroundings, but in many cases, their home’s equity is converted into their retirement funds and the neighborhood gets a mixed-use community. The resulting walkable pedestrian-friendly streets are alive and safe with neighbors out and about. Kids bicycle everywhere and families enjoy the affordability of viable one-car families. Mass transit, the train and car-share services are affordably available to all, and based on usage, are highly successful.

The “Gone Green” program has also evolved into a local bank… READ MORE >>

Create Your Desired Future, Thriving and Sustainable!

Share Your Vision!

As a country, we’ve spent the last 60 years getting really good at mass producing suburban sprawl and now the economic, social, and ecological collateral damage has gotten too big to ignore.  So what do we do now??

Here’s how I see it…if you are willing to design a sustainable lifestyle, and move in, you are in the driver’s seat! The construction/development industry needs YOUR vision so the emerging sustainable economy can…..emerge!

You zero in on the floor plan that works for you, the amenities you’d like to have in your neighborhood, as well as the price you can afford.  The planners, architects, city policy department, and investors will do their dangest to pool your ideas with other prospective neighbors and come up with scenarios that meet your needs.

I want to facilitate your efforts in any way I can and here’s another attempt to give you a breakdown of areas that you might consider.

You get your own page , and can come back any time and make changes. (until Buddy Press is set up, enter your ideas in comment below!). If  you want to think about some elements for awhile, don’t feel obligated to address all the elements. Other contributors will propose ideas you can spark off of.

Creating a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable is a complicated challenge. Together we can make sustainable real!!

  • Describe the floor plan of your future home.
    • Maybe you only want 500 sf (see floor plans for ideas), maybe you’d like to rent out a room to supplement your income.
  • Describe the amenities you’d like to have in house or would be willing to share.
    • Maybe you’d be ok with sharing a washer/dryer with others, as long as it was really conveniently located, and water and energy efficient. Maybe having an affordable guest room would be just the thing.
  • Describe your neighborhood.
    • What shops and services do you need nearby?
  • How about water features?
    • A pond in the neighborhood? how about an outdoor shower?
  • What about food?
    • Need a garden? How about a place to do outdoor grilling? a personal compost pile, or a community composting service?
  • Describe your preferences around transportation.
    • Car share, bike, skateboard, bus, pogo stick, walking?
  • Fun!
    • Recreation, hobbies, sports, entertainment
  • Open space, nature, habitat.
    • Would you incorporate nature into your neighborhood? How?
  • How about career/jobs?
    • Lifelong learning, startup support, professional development?
  • What would work for your retirement scenario?
    • Working out of your home as a consultant?
  • What about health?
    • Healthcare plan,  preventative healthcare, aging in place strategies? Need some help with your relationship skills?
  • Giving and Receiving
    • Are there specific services would you like to give? services you would like to receive?
  • Quality of Life
    • Aesthetics, spiritual/religious considerations

 

A Sustainable Way of Life Becomes the Curriculum! Part 1

Together, we can transform our way of life sustainable! By sharing our visions and ideas of our desired future, we can “build it on paper”.  That’s how real estate development works.  The proposal gets created, the numbers are crunched, the financing lines up, and building permits are issued.  It all starts with the vision!

Puzzle pieces coming together around a shared vision

Puzzle pieces coming together around a shared vision

The prospects for sustainable “mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods” has never been brighter. Suburban sprawl has run its course. Gasoline prices are facing a new era of worldwide Post Peak Oil production. Those of us who have a vision and want to move in are in the driving seat of the emerging sustainable economy; the construction industry is all ears!

Be bold, Dream Big, envision with all your heart. In that way, we will have a “big enough why” to be as creative and innovative as necessary to make sustainable neighborhoods real!

Here’s my vision of a sustainable, quality filled neighborhood that lives lightly on the planet.

Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining  together to become  a sustainable community with a school at its heart.

The entire community is experiencing a wide range of benefits since neighborhood residents, the city, local service providers, nearby businesses, parents, students, teachers and the school’s administration decided to work together to create mutually beneficial facilities. Benefits include job creation, an increase in city revenues, a pedestrian friendly lifestyle, safe streets for children to play, a huge jump in test scores, a much lowered dropout rate, a big increase in workforce housing and a less consumptive, more affordable lifestyle that allows Santa Feans to live lighter on the planet…. READ MORE >>

Share the Vision of Your Thriving, Sustainable Future

If the current state of affairs is the best we can do, we are in trouble! With all the Impending Bummers, we got problems Houston.  What the world needs now, is a vision of where to go! We got the hell part down, now, where is heaven??? Share your vision of daily life in your future thriving, sustainable neighborhood !

vida streetscape

A Sustainable Neighborhood Streetscape

Just in case you want some ideas to jog your vision, here are some of the Goals and Guiding Principles… READ MORE >>

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