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 >>

Neighborhoods as Crepes…Add Your Filling!!

As I was driving around the neighborhood just south of downtown Albuquerque this weekend, I kept wondering how come the 50′s deco corner buildings were empty? Why isn’t this neighborhood more alive?

Yeah, all the homes are one story, simple 50′s suburbia, sidewalks, nothing glamorous, but friendly. The corner buildings look like old gas stations, or malt shoppes. Where’s Betty Lou on roller skates??

The image of thin pancakes popped into my mind. Ya  know, when there is too much water in the batter, and the baking powder hasn’t kicked in yet.  Crepes!  Hey I like crepes…ya fill them with stuff, roll em up….sweet or savory.

Crepes

What amenities would you add to your neighborhood to make it tasty!?

But thin neighborhoods are boring. They appear vacant, nobody’s walking to anything. No kids playing in the streets….Don’t these neighborhoods have kids??!… READ MORE >>

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 >>

350 ppm-A number we can live with

350 is a pretty dang  good batting average. It’s also the amount of carbon in parts per million that scientists have agreed upon that makes for a sustainable planet. In other words, if we want to avoid a lot of the impending bummers that come with Global Warming, we need to figure out how to get the amount of carbon in the atmosphere back to 350 ppm (carbon sequestration). And we need to then stablize the amount of carbon we release each year to 350 ppm.

I think we are currently at 387 ppm.  not so good for ocean levels rising from melting ice…etc.

I’ve listed 350 ppm as an Indicator.  We need good indicators so we can tell how we’re doing. As we redesign our neighborhoods sustainable, we need a “killer” modeling tool (s) to give us feedback.  ”Are we there yet??”

Every decision comes with a bunch of consequences…If we can keep our carbon spew down to 350, we have a good idea we are getting close to one aspect of ecological sustainability.  I’m so amazed at how complicated our lives have become.

It seemed so easy to just crank out suburbia, go to work, manufacture stuff, go shopping, retire and play golf into the Golden Years.  Alas, those days are gone. With great modeling tools and sound indicators, we can figure out how to live on the planet with billons of our fellow citizens.

We can do this, we can make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

WANTED: Killer Modeling Tool to Sell Sustainable Urban Villages! Part 3

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — New construction of U.S. housing units plunged in February, erasing a sharp gain in January and coming close to an all-time-low level. March 16,2011

Bed ZED

Bed ZED is different. We're not in Suburbia anymore, Todo!

If we want to revitalize the US Economy, we have to do things differently.

If we work with the 1/3 of the Boomers, and 88% of the Millennials that want to move into vibrant, alive, pedestrian friendly walkable neighborhoods, we can resurrect the construction industry and send us on a path to a prosperous, positive future! What is required is using a whole systems approach and designing for an exponentially more efficient way of life… READ MORE >>

Life Long Learning+Innovation= Reinventing Ourselves Sustainable

To me, waiting our car-dependent, sprawl suburbia economy to rebound is like waiting for the Easter Bunny to show up. Wisely renovating,  retrofitting,  redeveloping our neighborhoods and communities is the base of our future prosperous economy.

two chocolate bunnies

Easter Bunny Waiting for the Suburbia Economy to Recover

In other words, we are going to be studying  and applying what works for the rest of our lives.  Learning isn’t just for kids any more, learning is a way of life.

I’m reading Creating Learning Communities-Models, Resources, and New Ways of Thinking About Teaching and Learning, edited by Ron Miller.

24 years (as of 2000) of innovation has created a learning atmosphere that is “systemic or comprehensive” rather than piecemeal change, “transformational learning outcomes,” “real world linkages” for learning through experience, “learning experiences…that are child-centered, life-centered and brain-based,” Personal Learning Plans,” “elevating the position of teacher to ‘facilitators of learning,” “students viewed as powerful resources and participant in decision making, vigorously involved parents,” partnerships with other entities in the community, CLCs as “headquarters for learning for the community” and programs based on needs that are “family centered and family supportive.”… READ MORE >>

Resurrecting the Economy…Sustainable!

In my last blog “What to do about the Economy?”  I was saying “we need ‘sustainable mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space…..everywhere’ “. Let me explain that a bit.

In 2006, Arthur C Nelson has been warning that the over supply of large lot suburban homes will be 22 million by 2025.  Currently, $1.2 trillion dollars of commercial is underwater, with leases due to renew between now and 2013.  Much of this commercial, as I understand it, serves the outer reaches of suburbia, the very same neighborhoods where the majority of residential foreclosures have occurred.  So with all this oversupply, you might ask, how can I claim “We need sustainable mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space….everywhere?”

Well, simply put…”It’s the Boomers, and their children, the Millennials!”  Turns out in surveys, 1/3 of the Boomers (24 million or so) want a simpler, walkable lifestyle.  And 88% of the Millennials (27 million???) want a more vibrant alive urban kind of lifestyle.

If all these demographic surveys are accurate, all we have to do to Resurrect the Economy is build higher density, vibrant alive, mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods!… READ MORE >>

What to do about the economy? Go Sustainable!

The thing to do these days is get a more affordable lifestyle. Lower your gasoline bill, lower the monthly heating bill, lower the housing payment, lower healthcare costs….you name it…make it lower. The problem is gas prices are going up! and that makes everything more expensive.  It’s time to get creative. It’s time to go sustainable.

This is where we are as a planet, in the middle of reinventing ourselves… We need an affordable lifestyle…..one that is economically sustainable. Coincidently, there is a good chance our more affordable lifestyle is going to live lighter on the planet too.  So this reinvention, this retrofit, this more sustainable living is going to be good for the polar bears as well.

President Obama brought it to our attention in the State of the Union address… Americans have always invented themselves, and the time is here again…. READ MORE >>

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