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….Kids and Neighbors are Mutual Beneficiaries

Not only is the school’s curriculum drawing enthusiastic reviews in pre-K to 8th grades; classroom facilities have been extended into the evenings, offering a lifelong learning environment. High School and college students come to participate, teaching and learning. Students are drawn to hands-on learning where socially, economically and ecologically sustainable principles are taught and practiced throughout the school and the surrounding neighborhoods.

The school’s social sustainability curriculum includes the “Growing Together” program, where students learn how to provide elder care, from running errands such as walking an elder’s dog, to helping them move into the Sage Cottage Cluster where more assistance is available on a sliding scale. This program is one example of many where students get practical self-esteem building experiences as they find their place in the circle of life in the school community.

Advanced classes give older students “aging in place” and assisted living care certification. Both are skills for jobs in demand around Santa Fe and beyond. Other “Life As Curriculum” classes include pre and Early Childhood Development, relationship and emotional intelligence skills building programs and the “Homes to the Homeless” program, where mobile citizens learn life and job skills as they transition from the streets to homes.

I’m just getting warmed up! See the next excerpt  Food-Community, Connection, Curriculum, and Cooking.


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