Posts Tagged ‘networks’

Teaching neighbours to build small renewable energy projects for resilience

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 31st, 2012

Source: Resilience


Photo via JfS

From “Transition Town Fujino goes for local energy independence” by Carol Smith via OurWorld 2.0:

Fujino is one of three fully functioning Transition Movement initiatives in Japan, although over twenty are in the works. Established in the fall of 2008, Transition Fujino (which we’ve featured on Our World a few times in the past) started up by sharing information on the core issues through events like briefings and film presentations.

Then a local currency, the Yorozuya (meaning “general store” in Japanese), was launched and began playing a major role in stimulating local networking. The Yorozuya project started with 15 members in 2009 and has now grown to include 150 households. Those participating can exchange goods and eat at restaurants using the currency. The network also thrives by targeting local needs, such as providing pet care, weeding vegetable gardens, and picking up children. It further serves to connect those in need with those who can give a hand. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the network displayed a great ability to support disaster-affected areas by collecting cash donations, gathering and sorting emergency relief supplies and regularly holding charity events.

In the wake of the [March 03 2011] disaster, the working group Fujino Denryoku (“denryoku” meaning “electric power”) was established to help people break away from their dependence on electricity provided by the traditional power utilities and transition towards self-sufficient, locally-distributed energy created with the participation of local people.  The group’s first project was to supply power for lighting and sound systems at a local festival. Project teams also went out to festivals in the earthquake disaster zones in the Tohoku region and offered support to the affected areas by supplying power generated with renewable energy.

The working group also holds monthly “Solar Power System Workshops”, where participants, including beginners, can easily assemble a home system by connecting photovoltaic (PV) panels and batteries, etc., as part of a campaign called “An Energy Shift Starting at Home”.  At the first workshop in December 2011 participants initially learned from one another, but the workshop began to attract attention from a wider public and within six months it was being introduced on TV and in magazines. Now the workshops host not only local residents, but increasingly people from outside communities.

Read the full article on the Resilience website to find out more about Transition Towns in Japan, energy independence and local resilience, or read the Japan for Sustainability (JfS) newsletter article by Yuriko Yoneda that this article was based on.

 


Toolbanks: Shared resources for neighbourhood non-profits

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on July 17th, 2012

Source: The Atlantic Cities

Photo: Christian City via volunteerpublishing

From “The Awesome Power of Toolbanks” by Andrew Zaleski:

[…]

Picture a massive shed stocked with shovels, rakes, power tools, wheelbarrows, ladders, water hoses, work gloves—even a tiller and a generator. Since opening last year, Charlotte’s ToolBank has equipped more than 11,000 volunteers at 500 different projects, lending tools with a combined retail value of $243,000 for only $7,200. It now provides 134 nonprofit agencies with tools.

The Charlotte location is just one of several ToolBanks nationwide. The original, Atlanta Community ToolBank, celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Baltimore’s ToolBank opened at the end of May, and another is scheduled to open in Cincinnati later this summer. Local nonprofits can rent tools for just three percent of the cost of the tool, multiplied by the number of weeks it’s needed. A shovel that normally costs $30 to buy? A paltry $1.80 cents to rent it for two weeks from the ToolBank.

The rentals fees are just “enough to get people to bring the tools back,” says Patty Russart, who has served as executive director of Atlanta’s ToolBank for nearly four years.

But the ToolBank means more than the convenience of having a warehouse brimming with inexpensive power tools. According to Angela Munson, the executive director in Charlotte, ToolBanks do two significant things: increase nonprofits’ capacity to serve by allowing them to spend less money on expensive equipment while at the same time transforming volunteerism by turning fewer people who want to help away. “By having access to our tools, projects get done faster, and you can put everybody to work at the same time,” she says.

[…]

Perhaps the bigger triumph for ToolBanks is the money they save cities. In Charlotte, nonprofits that offer to do painting and landscaping work for public schools regularly head to the ToolBank to rent equipment. In Atlanta, neighborhood planning units looking to spruce up city blocks turn to the ToolBank to cut down on equipment costs. Last year, after Atlanta initiated its Love Your Block program to provide mini-grants to people who submitted community clean-up projects, the ToolBank formed a partnership with city government and the Home Depot Foundation whereby the foundation provided tools to the groups at no fee.

“The city couldn’t do that with their limited funding,” says Russart.

Not to mention the benefits for volunteers, who aren’t waiting around for their turn with the sole wheelbarrow or tiller. “Volunteers hate being asked to bring their own stuff,” Munson says. And allocating adequate resources to volunteers can be a crucial component to keeping them coming back in the future, according to the Urban Institute.

The ToolBanks’ biggest advantage, according to Rink? “You create bigger and better opportunities for companies to give back to the community,” she says. “You can’t beat it.”

Read the full article by Andrew Zaleski.


Meals on (Bicycle) Wheels: One part of a smart sustainable community system

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on June 27th, 2012

Source: Nourishing the Planet: Worldwatch Institute

From “Santropol Roulant: A Leaner, Greener Meals on Wheels” by Phillip Newell:

Santropol Roulant (Santropol is community, roulant means rolling in French) is an [intergenerational] organization providing healthy, sustainable meals to homebound Montreal citizens. Instead of relying on fossil-fuel powered cars like traditional Meals-on-Wheels, this group delivers with a more carbon-friendly option—bicycles.

But eliminating petrochemicals from their delivery routes wasn’t enough for the organization, so the group hired Natural Step (a non-profit sustainability research and education group) to help them further reduce their environmental impact. This is accomplished through Eco-Challenge, which is an action plan designed by Natural Step to help Santropol Roulant become even more sustainable.

Taking their organization’s sustainability two steps further than biking to deliver meals to the disadvantaged, Santropol Roulant grows a variety of fruits and vegetables on an organic rooftop garden, and recycle their food waste in the basement through vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is using worms to help decompose food waste for compost. That compost can be distributed to urban farmers who are starting their own backyard or roof-top gardens.

In addition to using a low-emission transportation source, Santropol Roulant also sponsors a community bike shop, where it educates local residents about maintenance and repairs.

[…]

Read the original article by Phillip Newell for Nourishing the Planet.

 


Solutions for a Hungry World: AlertNet

Posted in Opinion, Research, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on May 14th, 2012

AlertNet have released a special report “Hungry World“.  We heard about it via Nourishing the Planet, who featured the article “Top 10 Food Trailblazers”  in their newsletter recently.  The report includes articles on a range of issues to be considered when we think of feeding the world in 2050, such as Africa feeding the world; Growing food in cities; Land grabbing for food security, and food commodities speculation.  As well as the articles, the report also features a “package” of videos and a series of blogs.  It’s all too much to try and include here, so follow the links and explore!

http://www.trust.org/alertnet/multimedia/in-focus/hungry-world/

 

 

 


Jayride: Ridesharing to save money, reduce emissions, and meet people.

Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on February 28th, 2012


Photo: Mosman Council

Carpooling and ridesharing are about sharing your travel. By filling spare seats in your car you can save money, reduce your carbon emissions, meet people and have fun. There are plenty of reasons to carpool. Australian based start-up Jayride helps you get from A to B, suggest carpooling and ridesharing opportunities, as well as buses, shuttles, and other options if there are no carpools operating where you need.

From “Meet Jayride, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Winner [Social Capitalist Category]” by Anthill Magazine:

Looking for a lift from here to there? Jayride wants to be your thumb.

Since 2008, the business founded by businessman/ride-sharing advocate Rod Bishop and web developer Ross Lin has been one of Australia’s leading sources of carpooling… wait for it… evangelism.

Jayride, one of the Anthill’s Smart 100 earlier [last year], uses a slick website structure to link auto drivers and riders. But if the business’ service stopped there, it would be nifty and little more. What makes Jayride cool is how it pushes its brand and how it has plugged in a revenue model designed to keep the company motoring along and driving toward its ambitious goal of extending beyond Australia.   As Bishop puts it: “Traditional carpool marketing sucks. A traditional slogan such as ‘it’s cool to pool’ means nothing, and it’s certainly not cool.  “By contrast, Jayride teams up with music festivals, solving transport problems and piggybacking Jayride onto the festival’s branding. Jayride touts itself as the ‘ultimate warm-up act,’ letting guests ‘meet fun randoms’ and ‘have great roadtrips with likeminded music lovers.’”

3,000 cars carpooled to Splendour In the Grass festival, with 500 people using Jayride. Jayride targets students, and helps tourists see sights in ways that are greener and more fun.  Jayride, which to date has about 7,000 members who have shared 80,000 rides.

[…]

Jayride notes that consistent carpoolers save 1.38 tonnes of carbon emissions a year — a save about $2,400 over the same period. By helping Australians fill empty seats in cars, buses, trains and ferries, Jayride takes a bite out of gridlock and the nation’s fuel dependency.  Jayride’s founders actually didn’t devote themselves full-time to the business until the middle of this year, when they put the revenue model in place. Now they’re ready for the long haul.  “The coolest thing about Jayride,” says Bishop, “is that it has found its niche problem and designed a niche solution that has the ability to deliver real, effective change in people’s lives.”

Jayride recently received $400,000 in seed funding to continue expanding their service and coverage.

Check out jayride.com for more details.

 


More Than Money: Report on reciprocal exchange systems

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on February 14th, 2012

Source: Experientia


Image from the More Than Money Literature Review

From “More than money“:

It’s increasingly clear that we live in collaborative times. Many of the most interesting innovations of recent years have at their heart ideas of sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, exchanging or swapping. These are age-old concepts being reinvented through network technologies and a cultural shift driven by the more civic minded millennial generation.
The [More Than Money] report, with the subtitle “Platforms for exchange and reciprocity in public services”, was commissioned by NESTA and nef in an attempt to learn the lessons from the past and to provide a framework for understanding the many different approaches to complementary currencies and other platforms for reciprocal exchange.

An associated literature review brings together the existing evidence of impact, outcomes and cost that exist across reciprocal exchange systems. Time banks, complementary currencies and peer-to-peer platforms for collaborative consumption are all examples of these reciprocal exchange systems, and to structure this review we have created a typology of different types of systems to organise the evidence.

Read this article on the Experientia blog.


The Rough Guide to Community Energy: Free book

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on January 9th, 2012

What can we do to create sustainability in our own communities? How can local people work together to save or generate energy and tackle climate change?

The Rough Guide to Community Energy has the answers. Packed full of practical advice and inspiring case studies, it covers:

  • Local energy groups – how to set one up and keep its momentum going
  • Types of project including solar, wind, hydro, biomass, CHP and energy efficiency
  • Getting a project off the ground, from fundraising and planning to construction
  • Real-world advice from successful groups all over the UK

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or you already have a local energy group, The Rough Guide to Community Energy will help you make your project happen.

>> Get your free copy.

Check out the Resources section at the back of the book for websites and further reading.  KA


FoodPool: Re-distribution at the neighbourhood scale

Posted in Models, Movements, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on November 18th, 2011

Via  City Harvest


Photo by T Gibbison via flickr CC

About FoodPool:

Our backyards are home to a wealth of gardens and fruit trees, many of which bear more produce than the gardener can consume, or more at one time than is desired. Often people end up with piles of unwanted zucchini, plums falling off trees to rot on the ground, peas that grow old and hard before they can be picked and shelled, and other garden produce that goes to waste. At FoodPool, we see the “problem” of excess garden abundance as an opportunity! It is an opportunity to help provide those in need with fresh, ripe, homegrown produce. The only obstacle lies in linking growers with their hungry neighbors.

Our answer is FoodPooling. Our mission is to create small, local groups to gather backyard garden produce and deliver it to food banks and food pantries. These “FoodPools” are modeled on carpools – neighborhood based, easy to set up, and a big win for everyone involved! By creating numerous small, local groups, we feed our neighbors while strengthening our communities.

Through the influence of people like Michelle Obama, Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and many others, more and more people are returning to growing fruits and vegetables in their yards. At the same time, due to a host of factors, there is an ever increasing number of Americans going hungry, eating food of questionable nutritional value, and without access to quality produce. Now more than ever there is a real need for a garden produce donation program on a national scale – hence, FoodPool.

There are already groups gleaning produce in various places – groups whose work we heartily applaud. What makes FoodPool different from existing organizations that gather and donate fruit and/or vegetables is our goal of actively building a network of new gleaning groups in places where they don’t already exist. We seek to spread the notion of assisting the hungry with backyard produce through promotion of this FoodPool “brand” on a national scale.

Find out more on the FoodPool website.


Mo-bility: Design Concept for Integrated Transport Credits

Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on November 9th, 2011

Via Sustainable Cities Collective

mo“ – a flexible mobility system for the city of tomorrow

mo is a new mobility system – it helps make the city a better place to live. mo subscribers can rent bikes, cargobikes, ebikes and cars or use public transportation with just one card. With mo it pays to be eco-friendly: choose an eco-friendly transport or use your own bike to collect momiles. The more momiles the lower your bill. For instance if you mostly ride bikes, renting a car gets cheaper. Cycle and save money.

About the design concept: Under the direction of Munich design agency LUNAR Europe, a “human-centred” design process has been used to develop an innovative mobility system by the name of “mo”. The concept study, developed in collaboration with environmental organisation Green City e.V. and the University of Wuppertal, is based on a flexible, affordable and sustainable combination of bike rental systems, local public transport and car sharing.

>> Read more about mo.



Human Microphones: Mass Word of Mouth

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 19th, 2011

Via No Tech Magazine


Photo by Mat McDermott via flickr CC

From We Are All Human Microphones Now by Richard Kim:

Anyone who’s been down to Occupy Wall Street and stayed for a General Assembly will instantly recognize the call and response that begins, and frequently interrupts, each meeting.

“Mic check?” someone implores.

“MIC CHECK!” the crowd shouts back, more or less in unison.

The thing is—there’s no microphone. New York City requires a permit for “amplified sound” in public, something that the pointedly unpermitted Occupy Wall Street lacks. This means that microphones and speakers are banned from Liberty Plaza, and the NYPD has also been interpreting the law to include battery-powered bullhorns. Violators can be sentenced for up to thirty days in prison. Further complicating the matter is the fact that Liberty Plaza is not actually a public park. It’s privately owned by Brookfield Office Properties, landlords to Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, and in addition to amplified sound, they’ve also sought to ban sleeping bags, tents and other equipment from what they call “Zuccotti Park.”

So despite all the attention given to how Twitter, Facebook and livestream video have helped spread the word, the heart of the occupation is most definitely unplugged. But the protesters aren’t deterred one bit; they’ve adopted an ingeniously simple people-powered method of sound amplification.

After the mic check, the meeting proceeds:

with every few words?/?WITH EVERY FEW WORDS!

repeated and amplified out loud?/?REPEATED AND AMPLIFIED OUT LOUD!

by what has been dubbed?/?BY WHAT HAS BEEN DUBBED!

the human microphone?/?THE HUMAN MICROPHONE!!! (jazz hands here).

The overall effect can be hypnotic, comic or exhilarating—often all at once. As with every media technology, to some degree the medium is the message. It’s hard to be a downer over the human mic when your words are enthusiastically shouted back at you by hundreds of fellow occupiers, so speakers are usually pretty upbeat (or at least sound that way). Likewise, the human mic is not so good for getting across complex points about, say, how the Federal Reserve’s practice of quantitative easing is inadequate to address the current shortage of global aggregate demand (although Joe Stiglitz valiantly tried on Sunday), so speakers tend to express their ideas in straightforward narrative or moral language. […]

Read the full article by Richard Kim.  Check out Occupy Melbourne.