The Real Life Adventures of Polar Sam-Village in a Box Hits the Streets

A polar bear, sent by his people to save their way of life, finds himself driving an ice cream truck around suburbia, on a mission to reverse global warming, one ice cream at a time.

Polar SamEpisode #4

Village in a Box hits the streets.

EPISODE #4 (previously…..Polar Sam is unveiling Village in a Box; He brushed all the thoughts away to focus on the task at hand, and gleefully announced to his small but entirely captivated audience. “It’s Show Time!”)

The same lively village scene that was on the outside of the Village in a Box container, filled the entire side of Polar Sam’s truck.

“This”, said Sam, “is how you could be living. Suburbia can be transformed into a…” Like an orchestra director, Sam raised his arms, and while pointing to the words across the bottom of the scene, he led his audience in a group chant “mixed use, mixed income neighborhood, with lifelong learning and open space……everywhere!” the boys cheered. Doc and Kid Suburbia clapped and grinned, totally caught up in Polar Sam’s enthusiasm.

Blown up to the size of the big screen, the details became clearer. “Look! there’s little sail boats in the lake.”

“Remote controlled” chipped in Sam.

“And a guy kayaking” “and two swans”, “and three ducks!” “ and those people are fishing?!” All the water captured the boys’ imaginations. The Santa Fe River hardly ever ran, and then only for a month at the most in the Spring. Or during a big rain in August’s “monsoon season”.

“Where would we get the water for all this?” Doc Plaza asked skeptically. “Certainly compelling, but as Santa Fe’s gotten bigger, the water’s all gone to new homes, and the river’s pretty much dry.”

“Those ‘Living Machines’ are remarkable. Imagine every block had a couple of greenhouses. The biologies can break down any thing, even PCBs!” Sam was on a roll now. “So we tap into the sewer lines, solar pump to the greenhouses and in a series of those above-grade translucent fiberglass tanks, the water gets purified by the biologies. Add a UV sterilizer, and Wallah! fresh water, higher quality than the original tap water! So the neighbors get fresh fruit and vegetables and fish raised in the aquaponic tanks, the river gets filled year round, the aquifer is replenished, and the water ends up feeding back to the Rio Grande without any pollutants like pharmaceuticals!”

The boys cheered again. Kid Suburbia stared at Polar Sam in disbelief. In his ice cream delivery “Uncle Sam” vest and tails, and with his Red and White stripped top hat, “he looks a bit like a buffoon,” Kid thought to himself. But seeing the elegance and beauty of the vision before him…”The guy’s a genius”, he muttered to himself.

Out loud, Kid Suburbia jabbed, ”ya get this off a Peace Pop stick?”

Sam just grinned back at him. “Oh, there’s more!”

Sam continued, “ Ya know how you were saying what a bummer it was, there’s a bunch of elderly ladies still in the homes in your neighborhood, living by themselves in a 2400 sf house? the kids have grown up, and either the husband died, or they got divorced, but she’s living alone and she wants to stay in her neighborhood? Well, imagine one of these little plazas surrounded with casitas. Your lady friends can downsize and stay in their neighborhood. She can stay independent, live within walking of long time friends and shopping. And get assistance from the kids at the local elementary school if she needs it.”

Doc Plaza chimed in, “Sounds like a new version of the way it used to be, like an extended family. I could live with that.”

Kid Suburbia laughed. “Yeah, that way all your girlfriends would be in one place.”

“Hey, don’t be knockin it”, Doc fired back. “If I don’t shoot you first, you could outlive your wife, and having folks to conveniently do things with in the middle of the day is a really good deal.”

Kid Suburbia got quiet. “My best friend Harold has been complaining about moving to a smaller place. He wants to stay in the hood, but he’s tired on keeping up such a big house. I was missing him already. If our neighborhood had one of these Senior Placitas that would be really great!”

“Hey Bro!”, Sam nearly shouted. He held up his paw for the Kid to high five ‘em. “Welcome to the amazing power of Village in a Box!“ High fives were exchanged by the entire audience of four.  None of them knew exactly why, but the Bear’s enthusiasm had them sold in that moment. READ MORE >>

Fridgehenge

Once upon a time, in a far off corner of the world…..People would pilgrimage to Santa Fe New Mexico and stare in amazement at what the ancients had created.  Right up there with Machu Picchu, Stonehenge, and Chaco Canyon, perched on the old landfill, set one of the testaments to the creative ingenuity of man.

Build with simple tools, and tuned to the cosmos, every solstice earth renewal ceremonies would once again align the planet.  Time dealt Fridgehenge harshly, as did the city fathers.  It’s now a memory, a long gone relic of a time when the humans began to come to grips with their unsustainable ways.

I love the creative, whimsical, surprising gifts we are. I imagine neighborhoods filled with celebration and artistic expression, from 4 year olds telling jokes on open mic evenings, to roof top viewings of the sunset.

What ingredients would you add to your neighborhood? As it is said “If it ain’t fun, it ain’t sustainable!”  Share your ideas, your stories….Together we can make sustainable real!

Image courtesy of bizarrebytes.comREAD MORE >>

Transform the Burbs, one service at a time!

What service would you like to provide out of your suburban home?

Imagine your neighborhood filled with home occupation services and businesses!

On Saturday, April 23, busloads of visitors are expected to descend upon Levittown for the unveiling of nine style renovations of local homes.

Rich Santer at 47 Pebble Lane will have a “House Dress, Family Games” theme where guests can play games for a fee.

Anita Thompson at 29 Winding Lane will host “Public Pantry” where guests can participate in a shared kitchen and purchase food from her kitchen and pantry. 

open for business

Transform the Burbs, open your business at home!

Jim Hudak of 20 Wood Lane in Wantagh will host “House of Signs” where guests will make their own signs to take home. 

Lisa Vanderberg of 2910 Carlyle Road in Wantagh will host “Family Time Restaurant” and partake in a museum setting of Levittown, with souvenirs, a café, and a house tour.

Polly Dwyer of 39 Old Oak Land will host the “House of Advice” where visitors can gain peer counseling, or hear a bedtime story.

 

 

 

Joseph Barsallo of 21 Wood Lane will host “Future Open Houses.” A map of Levittown and scale model will be on display for guests to see the future of Levittown… READ MORE >>

The Real Life Adventures of Polar Sam- The Hot New Product Revealed

A polar bear, sent by his people to save their way of life, finds himself driving an ice cream truck around suburbia, on a mission to reverse global warming, one ice cream at a time

Polar Sam

Episode #3

The Hot New Product Revealed

(previously…… Polar Sam is about to introduce a new product line. What now, lemon flavored Krill oil?!”, exclaimed Doc Plaza. An involuntary shiver went through his body as he recalled last week’s  ‘Hot new product’. The memory caused his upper lip to curl in disgust.

“No, no, this is the real deal. Village in a Box!” Sam pulled out a book sized cardboard box, with a lively village street scene on the front. The three of them crowded under Sam’s oversized beach umbrella, and examined the front graphics).

“Shops below, living upstairs”, Doc Plaza remarked.  “Reminds me of the life downtown Santa Fe when I was a kid.’

Kid Suburban observed, “I like the people fishing in the town lake.  What’s this ‘Living Machine’ greenhouse thing?”

“Those are tanks of biologies where the water from the lake is cleaned and recycled back into the lake; keeps the algae blooms down and supplies filtered water to the greenhouses,” Sam replied matter of factly.

“Hey, look, people are growing food, and playing volleyball, and shopping, right next to the Post Office!”  Kid exclaimed.

Polar Sam couldn’t resist a little sarcasm,  ”That mixed use dealie is weird, huh?!  they don’t need to drive to everything.”

Sam turned down the sarcasm and continued, pointing out features.  “And those kids have a tree fort, right in the little plaza where they live.  Shops below, homes one and two stories above.  And the parents are over under the umbrellas barbequing”.

“Look at all those solar panels on the roofs. And the grandfather playing checkers with a young person. I wish Jason lived nearby. That kid makes me laugh”. Doc Plaza’s grandson and his daughter Irene moved 60 miles away last year, as the real estate prices of Santa Fe had gotten so steep.  A deep pause enveloped the men and the white bear.

“ I like the Community Forest and biomass power generation facility”’ Doc continued. “ Putting everything nearby is just better.  I’m telling ya Kid, the mixed income workforce housing is so important, how can you be so blind??”

Kid Suburbia suppressed his urge to choke the old man. “So what’s this Village in a Box thing?”

A wave of excitement passed over Sam.   He’d spent a whole weekend at the Sustainable Institute preparing for just this “magical sales moment’ moment.

A couple of kids showed up with a handful of coins. “Hey Polar Sam, I want a frozen snickers. Yeah, and I want a cherry popsicle.”

“You’re just in time for the premier showing of Village in a Box” Sam exclaimed.  He handed them their treats. “Here, help me set these up.”

Down from the racks on top of the ice cream truck came a couple of folding chairs and a little table, and from the Styrofoam box in the front seat came a projector.  The make shift movie theater on the sidewalk set up in seconds. Sam took the DVD out of the Village in a Box container, inserted it into the projector, pulled the movie screen down on the side of his truck, and “Wallah!”  Doc and Kid Suburbia starred in amazement, the kids cheered.

“Grab a seat,” said Sam, trying to be casual, while at the same time he could hardly contain himself.

Thoughts came pouring in. “If only my mother could see me now!!”

He flipped the remote video cam on. “Wait til the gang back home sees this!”  The thought of his friends, family, and the Elders, sitting around the iceberg, peering into the clan’s one laptop, waiting for the satellite feed to download, was overwhelming.

He brushed all the thoughts away to focus on the task at hand, and gleefully announced to his small but entirely captivated audience. “It’s Show Time!”

The Adventures of Polar Sam- A new weapon added to the arsenal

A polar bear, sent by his people to save their way of life, finds himself driving an ice cream truck around suburbia, on a mission to reverse global warming, one ice cream at a time

EPISODE #2

A New Weapon Added to the Arsenal

(previously…. Kid Suburbia and Doc Plaza are exchanging icy stares in a long running feud, a gunfight on the streets of suburbia… Off in the distance a familiar sound came floating through the air. They both picked up the sound of the ice cream truck jingle coming off of Pine Street. Kid Suburban broke the icy silence between them. “how bout I buy you a snowcone?”Polar Sam

“I prefer a Nutty Buddy” replied Doc, lowering his hands. “Eatin ice cream sounds better than pluggin your sorry ass”.)

Polar Sam’s Snow Cap Frozen Delights came slowing cruizin into view.  Two years ago, the Council had sent him to America, “If anybody is going to turn this global warming catastrophe around, it’ll be the Americans leading by example”, the Elders had told him. So here he was, driving around suburbia, “saving his People, one ice cream at a time”.

Up ahead he could see Doc Plaza and the Suburban Kid were at it again.   “Third time this week” Sam muttered to himself “I keep expecting to see blood, but every time ice cream seems to cool them out!  People are so weird.”

“What I’d give to be back North, sitting around an ice hole, contemplating the silence, waiting for lunch to show up.  But no, here I am in this monkey suit, sweating like a doomed glacier, without a ring seal within 3000 miles…. damn global warming!” Thank the Great Spirit they got the freezer unit going again in the cab….”… READ MORE >>

The Real Estate Bubble takes out another

HGTV doesn’t have a real reality show….this could be the pitch for the pilot!… READ MORE >>

Is your neighborhood playing with A FULL DECK OF CARDS?

is your neighborhood playing with a full deck of cards?

To help folks become conversant in all the parts that go into a sustainable neighborhood, while having fun at the same time, how bout a deck of playing cards??!  Like baseball cards, but with a different component on each card; An illustration on the face, and info on the back…”Collect em all!”

The cards could tie into Lessons Learned, Ideas, Tools, How to… , Sustainable Rules of Thumb, Indicators, etc and maybe the big village scene.  Hey, submit your ideas for cards, and if your idea(s) is chosen, we’ll send you a pack of cards!

Make em totally fun, and yet informative, and empowering. Remember, the challenge is to make sustainable neighborhoods as popular as cell phones, so they’ll spread across the planet like wildfire!

Hey, how can we be making sustainable real, if your neighborhood isn’t playing with a full deck of cards??!!

Submit your ideas Here!!

Polar Sam-On a mission to save his people, one ice cream at a time

A polar bear, sent by his people to save their way of life, finds himself driving an ice cream truck around suburbia, on a mission to reverse global warming, one ice cream at a time

The Real Life Adventures of Polar Sam

Episode #1-a Shootout at the Eco Corral.

Scene: A shootout on the streets of suburban Santa Fe, a couple of miles west of the Plaza.

Santa Fe: beautiful, expensive capitol of New Mexico with aspirations to become the sustainability and alternative energy capitol of the country. The City Housing/ Econ Development Department wants to maintain the quality of life and have affordable housing.  The Mayor dreams of having the river run year round.

Kid Suburbia: Long time resident recently retired, has lived for 30 years in Casa Solana, one of Santa Fe’s original suburban tract. Currently fighting the proposed Northwest Quadrant Affordable Housing Development.

NIMBY : “Not in My Back Yard” the cry of suburbia dwellers trying to stop poorly conceived, or any kind of growth.

Doc Plaza: in his 80’s, a fourth generation born and raised in Santa Fe,  Doc longs for a simpler, walkable, more affordable way of life. Santa Fe used to be a mixed use, mixed income, pedestrian friendly community with a plaza at its heart, where the whole community came to shop and hang out. Now the downtown is mostly empty of locals; it’s become the third largest art market in the US, a shadow of its former self; Still beautiful, but missing a realness, a vitality lost to a tourist economy, gentrication (expensive), and sprawl.

Polar Sam: A polar bear on a mission to save his people; selling ice cream, frozen fish and sustainability out of his ice cream truck….  READ MORE >>

If it ain’t FUN, it ain’t sustainable!

I think that says it all!  “If it ain’t Fun, it ain’t sustainable!”

I can get overwhelmed by the immensity of it all; the Impending Bummers, the complexity of all these systems within  systems, trying to figure out how we are gonna learn to collaborate on such large scales, when we’re so busy it’s hard to get three people together at any one time.

As a visionary wannabe facilitator of sustainable neighborhoods, who’s  been going for “What else can we do beside suburbia?” for 30 + years, I’ve learned some useful tools along the way. A major learning is working with the inspiration within. At times I call it “Letting go, and letting God”.  Now I know we have deep convictions about separating church and state, and I don’t want to use language that might create separation between us, so please just consider this concept, and substitute the words that work for you…. READ MORE >>

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