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 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 >>

Renovating Your Neighborhood Sustainable!

Cooperation, Collaboration, a community based on common values…..Sounds so technical!  What if your neighborhood made choices like incorporating a swimming pool or a movie theater into the community??  The ownership structure could be by membership, a coop, or a private business.  The list of possible shared amenities and services is endless.

Renovating Suburbia

Transforming the American Dream

Maybe you’d like to down size in your neighborhood into a compound of casitas, small homes for seniors. Maybe your daughter would like more independence and yet would like to live nearby in one of the casitas. Maybe she has autism or maybe she’s changing careers.

The American Dream is morphing into community. We’re learning to work together to create a more abundant lifestyle, where we share more, own less, and have a higher quality of life, while living lighter on the planet.

What services and amenities would you like in your neighborhood? What would you like to give?

Share your ideas!!  together we can make sustainable real! As for the neighborhood theater?? I make the best popcorn in the world.

Image courtesy of Architectural Record

READ MORE >>

1 of 29 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR WELL DESIGNED HOME AND NEIGHBORHOOD

As we face higher gasoline prices again, we’re getting more practice in the emerging, post peak oil economy. Our ingenuity will kick in, our lifestyle will transform, all “good for people, the planet, and the polar bears”.  With this global warming dealie, time is of the essence; we can evolve faster, learn from our mistakes, share good ideas, and have fun! Share your ideas, dreams and ingenuity! We can make sustainable real!

I’ve started a list of good ideas that come about if we rethink the functions and interplay of our home and its neighborhood.  So far I’ve got 29 killer (If I do say so myself)  ideas.  The first 7 are home oriented, the last 22 are more neighborhood oriented. Add to the list via the comment area!Room for Rent sign

Home Design

#1. Rent Out a Room

Maybe one of your family boomerangs, and ends up back home. Maybe you just got sick and tired of trying to do it all yourself. Maybe you’re ready to change careers, go back to school, retire, or get divorced. Our suburban, rugged individual, nuclear family lifestyle isn’t set up to be as supportive as it can be. Just the opposite, sprawl and isolation throw up barriers.  So take a sledge hammer to it! Tear out a wall, add a door! make it a private entrance. Make life easier on yourself…. READ MORE >>

Impending Bummers-Is Your Favorite on the List?

We might as well have some fun while we deal with the Paradigm Shift. I’ve been kind of anxious as long as I can remember, biting my fingernails, a perfectionist, worried if I’m enough, if I’m doing it right.  Things usually turn out really well, and yet before that, I can find myself worrying, apprehensive about how the future event is going to turn out.  I call this low level anxiety my “fear of the Impending Bummer”. 

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy, Global Warming, Nuke Meltdowns and other Impending Bummers


Scientists and other observant citizens have been drawing our attention to accumulating social, economic, and ecological “unintended” consequences and I call these our Impending Bummers. In a world of sticks and carrots, the Impending Bummers are the sticks.
Beyond Suburbia is about making better choices; choices which have way more carrots and way fewer sticks;  A world without major bummers of our own making. I call it the emerging sustainable economy.
As we go forward, learning how to make these better choices, we need to keep our eyes open for Bummers. Join in, add yours to the list! Together we can make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

A more sustainable neighborhood…Bed ZED

Built and occupied in 2002, Beddington Zero Emissions Development, Bed ZED, helps people go green with time tested encouragements. The resident on the right took too long a shower. the one on the left failed to recycle a beer can. What were they thinking, what planet are they living on????

As you can see, my sense of humor loves to go gonzo. Twist the lines of reality and poke fun at our collective humanity. Hey, I own it…one of my favorite sayings is of the late Hunter Thompson, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

This post started out to be about Bed ZED and floor plans.  It still is, just had a zany intro…

The point I want to emphasize is the relationship between neighborhood, shared amenities and your home’s design.  In Bed ZED, the transit friendly location creates a deeper affordability as alternatives to private car ownership are expanded….WATCH BED ZED VIDEO>> READ MORE >>

Impending Bummers, Arabs, and Popcorn..OH MY!

The beauty of free speech!  I get these emails that blow my mind. So hate-filled. Outright fabrications and half truths taken out of context. I go to snopes.com and find out the truth. Today’s was about Islam considering everyone infidels, titled “What’s an Infidel?”  I included it at the end of this blog….

As you can see from snopes, http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/allah.asp , whoever created this email twisted the truth to use it to show why we should feel totally threatened by Islam…. What is the value in this??? What good comes from using hate filled fabrications and passing them off as truths???  Maybe they own an armament company and want to sell tanks!!??dead fish

Maybe people who forward these emails find the world threatening.  I too find the world threatening.  In my world view,  the evil doer is our lifestyle; the car dependant, over consumptive, polluting the air, water and soils, destroying the balance ecologically, based on an economy that often uses externalities as a way to “offshore” responsibilities, side effects, and collateral damage all in the name of progress and economic development.

We Americans makeup 4% of the world’s population and “consume” 25% of the earth’s resources.   So “we Americans” are not the problem; We’re only doing 1/4 of the “consumption”.  Much of the world’s population aspire to the Western lifestyle. When I say “Houston we have a problem.”, I am saying there is no longer a we vs them.  It is us.

The piece of this world view, as I understand it, that pisses me off the most,  is the idea of “them”; We are the good guys and they are the bad guys.

It reminds me of two kids arguing about who’s eating more than their share of the popcorn, while the theater is burning.

(what the heck, let me give the fear mongering a shot!)

Send this letter to your network. You will have good luck!

Otherwise, all manners of catastrophe will rain down!… READ MORE >>

Why own?… when you can Carshare!!

Oh my God!  We can share stuff, even cars!

Philly Carsare

Sustainable living with a carshare!

Can you imagine, you can rent out your car by the hour??!! yep, human ingenuity strikes again. You probably have heard of Zipcars, and other private car share programs.  Well, another variation on the concept,  peer to peer car sharing,  is coming on line.  RelayRides in Boston claims their participating car owners can earn up to $8000 a year by renting out their cars.  With different Smartphone interfaces, integrated web cam configurations,  and insurance packages tailored to the club program,  a variety of business models have sprung up around the planet. … READ MORE >>

Cap & Trade-smoke and mirrors?

I’ve read a couple of articles about cap and trade, and the authors seem to think it’s bogus.  Way too complicated. A boondoggle to make the same clever people who brought us the foreclosure bummer even richer.

Here’s Anne Leonard’s take on it.

The idea I like is to tax carbon, and lift taxes on income.  In this way, folks will be encouraged to take their savings and invest in renewable energy.  I cannot believe how happy newspaper stories report on increase fossil fuel production, or the good news about nuclear energy…What planet are these people living on???… READ MORE >>

Meltdowns and Other Impending Bummers

“Oh so many, ways to be wicked”
I woke this morning to the song playing in my head, Maria McKee and Lone Justice belting it out, my personal soundtrack….the Japanese Meltdown is in Day 6.

I call em Impending Bummers. When I think about doing something unknown, I can have a lot of apprehension, I can feel downright scared. I bite my finger nails, tear at my cuticles.

Maybe it’s the thousands of years of our collective worrying about getting eaten by a sabertooth tiger.  Or if Genghis Khan is going to show up in the spring this year…That may explain where the dread, this background anxiety, comes from. It certainly pushes me on a spiritual path in an attempt to find relief, but face it, as stewards of our amazing beautiful spinning green and blue planet, we suck…. READ MORE >>

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