GreenSense

Models

Examples of how people are making their visions of sustainability real.

About Us - "Lost" Links - GreenSense HOME Add a URL - Comment - Report a Problem

NEW

Small Stores Fight Back - The myth is that big stores get bigger because they can offer customers more value at better prices. The truth is a little more complicated. One of the real advantages of bigness is the ability to dominate potential customers' consciousness with your advertising. Once that happens, smaller businesses, no matter what value they offer, might as well not exist. Now, smaller stores are catching on. They're learning to cooperate on advertising to enable them to compete with larger stores.

The Community Justice Center - It's pretty obvious that our present adversarial, criminal justice system is badly flawed. Even when it works, it leaves a costly trail of ruined lives - both criminals and victims - and impoverished communities. Restorative Justice is a process for creating solutions that enrich everyone, not just the lawyers and prison builders.

Instead of dwelling on punishment and revenge, restorative justice "elevates the position of victims and the community in the justice process, allows for direct participation of community members in delivering justice, and holds offenders directly accountable to the victims and communities that have been harmed".

Have a look at how this idea is being applied in Burlington, VT.

****


Coming Soon...
Green Community Reports - Perfectly sustainable communities are rare, at best. On the other hand, many communities are doing at least something green. Let's inspire each other! Reading about each other's experiences can give us renewed energy to pursue initiatives in our own neighborhoods. Click here to share ideas and strategies that have worked in your area.

Community Indicators Projects on the Web - Inspired by the idea of Genuine Progress Indicators, People around the world are taking a fresh look at Progress and how it really affects their lives and communities. Here are Links to the websites of over seventy community indicators projects.

Poor But Prosperous - It's one of the poorest states in one of the world's poorest nations, with a GDP of $1000 per person per year. Yet it has a literacy rate of 90%, low infant mortality, and a birth-rate lower than The U.S. or Sweden. How do they do it?

Locality

The New Rules Project - Designing Rules As If Community Matters - Your community wants to limit sprawl and other community-destroyers, but where do you start? The New Rules Project identifies rules that honor a sense of place and prize rootedness, continuity and stability as well as innovation and enterprise. It contains a growing storehouse of community and local economy-building rules--laws, regulations, ordinances, statutes. The companion website to their excellent book, The Hometown Advantage.

Vermont Country Stores Form Alliance - These Vermont retailers show how to beat the big guys and save your community at the same time.

Eugene's Retailers Launch Joint Ad Campaign - The myth is that big stores get bigger because they can offer customers more value at better prices. The truth is a little more complicated. One of the real advantages of bigness is the ability to dominate potential customers' consciousness with your advertising. Once that happens, smaller businesses, no matter what value they offer, might as well not exist. Now, smaller stores are catching on. They're learning to cooperate on advertising to enable them to compete with larger stores.

Seeing the Light Regaining Control of Our Electricity System - California has shown how electricity de-regulation can harm consumers. Here is a wealth of information on how your state can avoid a similar fiasco.

Topics include: Decentralizing Authority and Control, Decentralizing Capacity, Protecting the Environment, Protecting People. There are lots of examples of good policies already in place in various states. Don't get lost in the dark! Familiarize yourself with these ideas and contact your representatives - They need your input!

****

Mothers of East LA - They've stopped a prison, 3 incinerators, a waste dump, pesticide spraying and more. Get the details...

Health Care Without Harm - is a collaborative campaign for environmentally responsible health care. This link takes you to their collection of practical resources (documents) for people working to make health care less polluting.

Green Maps - "chart the sites of environmental significance in urban places- outstanding places of natural beauty, farmers markets and green businesses, ecologically-designed buildings, environmental centers, bike paths and solar sites, and more, even the infrastructure and the toxic hot spots." There are currently (8/98) 82 places where Green Maps are published or in production. The 12 completed maps include Copenhagen, New York City, Utrecht, Montreal, Kyoto, Adelaide, and more. Find out how to create a Green Map for your community...

Solutions for Safer Streets - Cites programs in Ashville, NC, Austin, TX, Helena, MT, and Seattle, WA, in a set of recommendations any community could implement to make its streets more walkable. This is Chapter 4 of TransAct's report. Mean Streets.

Creating Better Communities With Less Traffic - Recommendations for Montgomery & Prince George's Counties (MD) to reduce traffic and create more walkable town centers from four members of Governor Glendening's Transportation Solutions Group. A good argument against new superhighway construction.

The Yellow Bike Project - The Yellow Bike Project is public transportation with a difference. The Project's free-to-borrow bikes provide an inner city option to cars and busses. Portland, Santa Cruz, CA and Austin, TX have Yellow Bikes. Find out how to start a Yellow Bike Project in your town!

EV Dream Pedals Home - If not a bike, why not a TWIKE? This article, By Ron Manganiello, describes the 3-wheeled, Swiss-made twin bike (TWIKE) he recently purchased. It's electric/human-powered, cheap to recharge, and usable year-round.

NOTE: CURRENTLY OFFLINE- Communities of Resistance - Brewster Keen tells the stories of Tall Grass Prairie Bread, a successful, worker-owned bakery that prefers not to grow, of Kapil Shah, and his locally "hefted" worms, of Farmer Dan's solution to the family farm crisis, and more.

Sawdust, Cow Manure, and Confidence - Nina Barbara Cohen describes her unusual career and tells how living in an intentional community gave her the resources and confidence to create it. At Communities Magazine.

Community in 17 Sensible Steps - By Wendell Barry. A useful checklist of things to consider when thinking about strengthening one's community.

GRACE - means Grass Roots Art and Community Effort and it's been highly successful at discovering, developing and promoting visual art produced mainly by elderly, self-taught artists in rural Vermont. One secret of their success is their unique emphasis on facilitation, rather than instruction, an approach which empowers their clients and encourages the process of self-discovery.

The People's Court - American justice typically benefits no one, except lawyers and prison builders. Read about a solution developed by Mahatma Gandhi's spiritual successor, Harivallabh Parikh. It's been used to resolve thousands of disputes, from minor disagreements to murder, in such away that people are brought closer together, not driven farther apart.

The Community Justice Center - It's pretty obvious that our present adversarial, criminal justice system is badly flawed. Even when it works, it leaves a costly trail of ruined lives - both criminals and victims - and impoverished communities. Restorative Justice is a process for creating solutions that enrich everyone, not just the lawyers and prison builders.

Instead of dwelling on punishment and revenge, restorative justice "elevates the position of victims and the community in the justice process, allows for direct participation of community members in delivering justice, and holds offenders directly accountable to the victims and communities that have been harmed".

Have a look at how this idea is being applied in Burlington, VT.

NOTE: CURRENTLY OFFLINE- Maine Issues - See how one community uses the internet to increase the dialog between citizens and government. People in the Portland, Maine area can vote online daily on a variety of local and state issues.

Free-Nets & Community Networks - The more people have access, the more democratic our society can be. Look here to find a freenet near you, or to find out how to start one.

BEST - This Portland, OR agency is helping local businesses save millions every year by matching them with providers of green services.

City Power: Flexing Municipal Muscle - An InContext magazine article by John Hart about San Jose's (California) evolution from despoiler to sustainer, a move that has saved the community more than $15 million..

Toxic Turnaround - Many local governments stock about 300 pounds of toxic materials per employee. Now there's a step-by-step guide for local government officials (municipal or county), showing them how to reduce their agency's reliance on toxic materials --toxic solvents, cleaning preparations, paints, pesticides, etc. You may want your community to have access to this information. This article reviews the guide.

Waterloo, Ontario: Pesticide Use Reduction - Does your town use pesticides on its parks and other green spaces? Waterloo went from using pesticides on 73% of its greenspace to .06% and saved hundreds of dollars/acre int he process.

TURI - The Massachussetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute was created to promote reduction in the use of toxic chemicals and the generation of toxic by-products in industry and commerce in the State of Massachusetts. As a result of this unique program, over a six year period (1990-95), 543 participating firms generated 30% less toxic waste and used 20% less toxic chemicals. Part of the secret to their success is a modest grants program, which gives companies the opportunity to test and demonstrate new cleaner technologies as well as to showcase their accomplishments. Another part is a related program that provides money for communities and municipalities to do projects that encourage learning and partnerships.

The Good Neighbor Project - A project in Cambridge, Massachusetts is empowering citizens to promote only sustainable, non-polluting industries within their communities through "good neighbor agreements."

Waste Reduction Record-Setters - More than 50 examples of cutting-edge recycling programs from around the country.

The Green Restaurant Association - recommends restaurants that have agreed to a 12 step program in pollution reduction, including elimination of Styrofoam Products, Comprehensive Recycling, Employee Eco-education, Using Non-Bleached Products, and more.

Vermont's Biomass Gasification Project - A clean, efficient and cost-effective renewable resource generation technology, BG can use wood chips, saw dust, switch grass, bagasse, agricultural residues and energy plantation crops to produce electricity. How practical is it? Here in Vermont, we expect that more than 20 percent of our overall demand for electricity could be met this way.

HORIZON - A showcase for new solutions to common world problems. Horizon works In collaboration with the United Nations, Harvard and Yale universities, and Canada's International Development Research Centre.

You'll find academically reviewed case studies of Commercialization of Biomass Stoves in Africa; Rural Solar Energy Development in the Sudan; Photovoltaics for Household and Community Use in Zimbabwe and much more.

Report From the Swedish National Committee for Agenda 21 - How Sweden is responding- both the process and its concrete results. A huge report. Lots of examples of how a country can create and set in motion the social machinery for sustainability and of how the results might look- in factories, supermarkets, neighborhoods and homes..

Industrial Symbiosis - In nature, resources are endlessly cycled and traded from organism to organism. The waste from one organism becomes raw materials for another and vice versa. The result is minimal waste and incredible efficiency. What if our industries were to take this idea seriously? Over the past 20 years, in Kalundberg, Denmark, they have. (14k)

The Carbohydrate Economy Clearinghouse - From biobased paints, inks and chemicals to biofuels and renewable construction materials, the Carbohydrate Economy Clearinghouse provides one-stop shopping for information on the latest developments in this new materials economy. Find strategies for substitution on their Biochemicals Webpage. Search Their Companies and Cooperatives Database. It's produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit that provides technical assistance and information on environmentally sound economic development strategies.

The clearinghouse includes information on hundreds of plant matter-derived products and the companies who manufacture them. Some of the topics it covers from this emerging green economic sector are: industrial uses for biobased chemicals, the state of the industrial hemp industry, and why ethanol may be increasing its market share.

NOTE: CURRENTLY OFFLINE- EcoSense - Created by CEO Ray Anderson, is a program designed to make his $800 million/year carpet tile manufacturing company ecologically sustainable. If he can do it (considering the nature of his product), anybody can.

A Pattern Language - Before you design your house, straw-bale or whatever, Have a look at this. It's summary of Christopher Alexander's incredible model for designing livable places. Alexander traveled the world, taking note of ways of building and living that work especially well. He distilled them into "patterns" that can be described and modeled. The patterns are layered, in levels of detail, all the way from "Independent Regions", about distributing and governing cities and towns, to "Necklace of Community Projects, which describes how to transform the town hall into a vibrant, community center, to "Things From Your Life", about decorating your personal space. (Index-25k, whole site is huge, but divided into reasonably sized pages.)

Houses to Save the Earth - It looks like the typical suburban house, but the ceramic floor tiles are made from flourescent bulb casings and car windshields, the rugs from plastic jugs, and the roof from cement and sawdust. This article describes Paul Loken's recycled house in Missoula Montana. (16k)

Earth Sweet Home - in Brattleboro, Vermont, aims to create an experimental green home that is completely bioregional, biodegradable, and recyclable.

Strawbale Construction - The hottest development in sustainable (and affordable) housing. This exhaustive site by Solstice tells all.

InContext - A free online journal about positive things people are doing. A great source for ideas and optimism.

Straw Bale Slides - A whole page of pics of Straw Bale buildings. Get inspired!

How to Build a Straw Bale Structure - NOTE: CURRENTLY OFFLINE- in one easy lesson, and only 4k! For more details (and stuffier language), check out New Mexico Straw-Bale Construction Guidelines.

The Composting Toilet - an ecologically responsible solution - Our current sewage-treatment system would be a joke if it weren't so tragic. There is a better way, and it doesn't require massive construction, or floating a bond issue. Scandinavia leads the way: As far back as 1982, there were 300,000 composting toilets installed in Scandinavia. At least one Swedish municipality currently equips 70% of new housing with composting toilets and plans on 100% by the year 2000. (9k)

Green Builder - An award-winning, city-funded program that promotes eco-building in Austin, Texas.

The Sustainable Building Sourcebook - Recognized by the United Nations Local Government Honours Programme at the 1992 Earth Summit as one of 12 exemplary local government initiatives from around the world, The Austin Green Builder Program was the only program recognized from the United States. Their entire 400 page book is now online. Some of the many topics are- Indoor Water Conservation, Xeriscape, Passive Solar Design, Radiant Barrier and Ridge-and-Soffit Venting, Solar Hot Water, Heating and Cooling Systems, Ductwork, Fans, Electro-Magnetic Fields, Wood Treatmen, Engineered Sheet Materials, Earth Materials, Home Recycling and much more.

Building Green Homes & Careers (A Lesson in Problem Solving ) - the Casa Verde program in Texas puts at-risk youth to work building environmentally-friendly homes for low income residents. More details here

Towards a Sustainable Masonry Heater - Paul Hawken uses the humble masonry heater as a concrete ;) illustration of the principles of sustainability. Read it then scroll to the top for a summary/review of Hawkin's book The ecology of Commerce. (20k)

Wetlands Web Walk - According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates, about half of the 200 million acres of wetlands in the lower 48 U.S. states at the time of European colonization have been lost. This site, put together by The League of Women Voters Education Fund, is a guide to how to protect wetlands in your area. It provides information on finding partners, identifying need, fundraising and maintaining momentum for community outreach efforts, as well as an overview of innovative wetlands education projects developed and implemented by local Leagues across the country.

Restoring Knowles Creek - How a National Forest, a timber company, and a nonprofit worked together to restore a salmon stream.

Saint Helena Island - Boy Scouts restore a vandalized island to create a nature preserve and tourist magnet.

Green Guerillas - In 1994, this grassroots, New York City organization $300,000 worth of gardening materials and assistance to 20,000 New Yorkers.

The Nutrition Garden Project - Albie Miles set out to grow all the food he would need for a year on a 4500 square foot plot at UC SAnta Cruz. This article describes what he planted, cultivation methods, problems encountered, and a detailed account of the results.

Farming in the City: The Rise of Urban Agriculture - This large report talks about urban farming in China, West Africa, Kampala, Ethiopia, Dar Es Salaam, Kenya and Bolivia.

Mexico City Urban Agriculture - This article describes the complex system of sustainable agriculture which has evolved in Mexico City- not with the help of government, but rather in spite of it..

Buying the Farm - A nice look at Communuty Supported Agriculture: Some history, some national statistics, and a description of what it means to be a member of Rose Valley Farm, 35 acre CSA in New York State. At Mother Jones.

Bayfront Harvest Festival - A community Harvest Festival can have a powerful effect on a community, reinvigorating the link between farmers and consumers.

Not only that, it provides a whale of a good time. There's a powerful synergy involved: The creation of jobs on the land, the formation of a regionally-based food system, a reduction in the amount of energy and transportation that goes to into trucking food around the country, and the restoration of rural communities. Read about how Duluth Minn. did it.

This is but one of the dozens of stories told at Minnesota Success Stories, developed by the non-profit, Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development.

Tips on How to Start Your Own SCRAP - 'Scroungers' Center for Re-Usable Art Parts in San Francisco, CA, acts as a nonprofit conduit for unwanted materials. SCRAP collects materials from businesses and individuals that would other wise be throw away, and distributes them to art and educational groups. Here, they tell you how to start your own SCRAP.

Local Currencies... - Are a practical way to improve local economic conditions without selling out to big business. This article by Robert Swann and Susan Witt provides some historic and economic background, along with examples and tips for implementation in your community.

Ithaca Hours - Have a look at one of the most well-known local currencies. So far, an estimated $1,500,000 has been exchanged.

Putting the 'Green' into Banking - Here's a better investment than stocks...and much safer. Read about the nation's first environmental bank.

E-DEMOCRACY 98 - Here's a good model for keeping tabs on the next election in your state. This Minnesota website kept tabs on 1998 election news and information, and provided candidate/constituency interaction. Including E-Debate postings from candidates for Governor.

E-DEMOCRACY 2000 - And here's what they're doing this year!

Fresh Water - NOTE: CURRENTLY OFFLINE- (we're looking for a current address) Millenium Institute's detailed guide to learning about your local water supply and taking action to improve it.

The Calcutta Wetlands: Turning Bad Water Into Good - Municipal wastewater from Calcutta proves to be not an incredible source of pollution, but a valuable resource that supports the world's largest ensemble of wastewater fish ponds. The wetland ecosystem purifies the wastwater, and in a process that pays for itself, creates food for the fish. This has has led a major wetland conservation effort, now known all over the world and recognized by United Nations,

EPA's Pay-As-You-Throw Program - The more you toss, the more it costs. Over 2000 communities are using this new model for garbage collection and the result is an average 25 to 35 percent reduction in waste. Here are some success stories and better yet, the guidlines for setting up a Pay-As-You-Throw Program in your community.

Greener Cleaner - A report on "Wet Cleaning", an environmentally friendly alternative to the usual toxic technology for dry cleaning of clothes. Read about it (17k), then click here for a U.S./Canada list of cleaners using Wet Cleaning.

Earth Shell - NOTE: CURRENTLY OFFLINE- What do you get when you mix potato starch, water, natural limestone (calcium carbonate) and a small amount of cellulose fiber? A strong, insulating packaging material that's like styrofoam, but much kinder to the environment. After use, it can be quickly composted, and will even break down into harmless materials if it is tossed away as litter. It's currently being tested by McDonald's as a possible nationwide replacement for styrofoam. (7k)

TOP

Vision - Models - Living - Family - Balance - Action - Sites - Books

The Wild Garden - MarketPlace - Green Cuisine

GreenSense General Store

About Us - GreenSense HOME

Add a URL - Comment - Report a Problem




Copyright 1997 - 2000 Alan Wagener