I've spent the last few days in a suburban neighborhood. You know! The kind that are spreading out all over America!
The thing I always think about when I'm in spaces like this is ALL OF THE WASTED SPACE.
When I was growing up, I lived in a neighborhood like this and when I traveled throughout the United States, I saw neighborhoods like this everywhere! You can see them from airplanes, by highways, EVERYWHERE! They're taking over America. Where I grew up, for example, farmland sold off more and more each year so that developers could come in and make homes where food (corn and soybeans, but that's another story) was growing!
How are these neighborhoods serving us other than ease?
Personally, when I come here I start to think of all of the disconnection. Where does the water come from, the electricity, the chemicals to keep the lawns green, the food people eat, all of it! I'm not saying everyone needs to take care of these things themselves, but at least to think about who is taking care of them and in what way.
One major way I see places like this could become radical (to the root) is by looking at their green spaces differently. I haven't seen one edible plant (except for the thornless blackberry we gave my sister and brother in law and the day lilies) since running in this neighborhood everyday. What I have seen are a bunch of trees & shrubs that are simply ornamental. Edible trees and shrubs can be beautiful and yummy too! Double whammy!
A simple vision for these types of spaces would be to plant edible trees and shrubs in the place of landscaping shrubs. If people had started doing that 20 years ago, this would be a veritable food forest!!!
All of that grass also is a major water and resource suck. As I mentioned in the video, I love green spaces, but in moderation. A yard is fun to play in, but they don't need to be everywhere. Instead, transition that into gardening space where you can grow food. Just check out all of @rawutah's posts to see what I mean!! They are truly rocking this vision!!!
There are so many initiatives all over the country geared toward educating and gathering people together so that this vision catches faster.
I'm not saying everyone needs to move and change their life in a crazy way, but just to start to create resilience WHERE THEY CURRENTLY ARE.
Catch some rainwater to water your plants-- or to drink. I had a good friend in Southern California who did this at his parent's house in the suburbs and it was some of the best tasting water I'd ever had!!
There is so much possibility to create abundance and resiliency in these spaces BEFORE any type of collapse happens.
We need to start connecting the dots, creating bonds with our neighbors and switching from ornamental landscaping to edible landscaping. That is one small shift that could radically transform our world.
Some initiatives to look into:
Learn from "little permaculture villages" popping up like Green Acres Permaculture Village in Bloomington, Indiana where suburban citizens in neighborhoods are transitioning their neighborhoods:
Green Acres Permaculture Village is a small, retrofit, intergenerational intentional community in Bloomington, Indiana that integrates self-knowledge and expression with a shared culture among humans and the living Earth to encourage abundance on every level.
There is a ton of this already going on. If you have inspiring and educative examples, please share them in the comments. The inspiration is definitely not limited, but there needs to be more education and awareness raised. We truly need to see these neighborhoods throughout the USA producing resiliency and bonding with each other if we are to thrive in times to come.
As the Transition Town website says:
We are living in an age of unprecedented change, with a number of crises converging. Climate change, global economic instability, overpopulation, erosion of community, declining biodiversity, and resource wars, have all stemmed from the availability of cheap, non-renewable fossil fuels. Global oil, gas and coal production is predicted to irreversibly decline in the next 10 to 20 years, and severe climate changes are already taking effect around the world. The coming shocks are likely to be catastrophic...read more
We need to work together to shift the present and it begins here and now. Please share encouraging initiatives in your neck of the woods!