This excellent 2014 article on tiny houses: the benefits, resources saved, and costs, as well as inspiring stories of people who have built and live in them. Read the article.
This Time article elaborates on why the maker movement is so important at this point in time.
This report by the Institute for Self Reliance profiles 31 successful programs that range from rural to urban. Programs highlighted are diverse, including community gardens, farms, schools and universities, demonstration sites, etc. Many are non-profit, and all focus on keeping their program as local as possible. The website also includes the results of a survey of community composters. Read the report.
This essay appears in the ebook “City 2.0: The Habitat of the Future and How to Get There,” co-produced in partnership by The Atlantic Cities and TED Books. It explains why the sharing economy has risen meteorically since the recession of 2008, and how the online culture of sharing has led to sharing of goods and assets in the physical world, too. Read the essay.
Community Food Centers are local places where people can learn sustainable ways to grow, process, market and distribute food. One multi-pronged example is Growing Power, which has farms and related projects in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Madison. Their website describes the Milwaukee facility as “a wonderful space for hands-on activities, large-scale demonstration projects, and for growing a myriad of plants, vegetables, and herbs. In a space no larger than a small supermarket live some 20,000 plants and vegetables, thousands of fish, and a livestock inventory of chickens, goats, and bees.” Visit the Growing Power website.
Solar City provides leases for solar equipment. The homeowner provides the roof, and they install and maintain the equipment. Visit website.
This visual presentation by the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) includes new research showing how composting and compost use created new jobs in Maryland. When communities are able to convert yard trimmings and food scraps into compost, and then used locally, new jobs are created; 1400 new full-time jobs for every 1 million tons converted, according to the ILSR. See the presentation.
This wide-ranging website features news and resources on a range of topics related to the sharing economy, including companies, links to dozens of city-based sharing networks, and renewed attention to the commons (our shared tangible assets). Visit website. It’s notable that the site includes some critiques of the sharing economy, including a post entitled “Owning is the New Sharing” that stresses the ways that cooperative ownership could be a more socially responsible option.
This database from the US Department of Energy features state-by-state information on tax rebates and other renewable energy and efficiency incentives for both individuals and corporations. Visit website.
Oakland-based Mosaic uses crowdfunding campaigns and larger investments by accredited investors to fund clean energy projects. A new platform on Mosaic’s site focuses on growing renewable energy by giving people an opportunity to finance solar arrays on other people’s homes. Visit website.
(For now, crowdfunding options are only available in California, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, and New York; investors in other states must be accredited.)
This site features a wide range of free how-to resources on home energy systems and efficiency retrofits, including hundreds of plans for DIY projects from changing a light bulb to creating renewable energy systems. Visit website.
Center for a New American Dream offers a wealth of resources for building community engagement and resilience. A Community Action Kit consists of two downloadable action guides, Guide to Sharing and Guide to Going Local, as well as a great set of resources for growing a local food system. Each is geared toward helping people organize and implement locally-based projects, with concrete project ideas, step-by-step tips, video stories, and more. A linked series of webinars contains tips and ideas from people who have already completed successful projects. Center for a New American Dream also contains a wealth of other programs around the themes of “Beyond Consumerism” and “Redefining the Dream.” Visit website.