I went to Detroit last month and found myself in neighborhoods that looked like they had been attacked by enemy forces, had lost their battle and had now surrendered and in most part been abandoned. The house above looks good compared to what I’m talking about.
I didn’t just find myself in Detroit, I went on purpose to help bring books to public school kids who need them and to meet with an amazing neighborhood activist (more about that to come) who is using his creative greenius to create an alternative reality in the heart of one of the worst-of-the-worst places in Motown even in better times then these – and that was before bankruptcy was forced upon the city and its people.
And now Detroit has hit bottom and many are ready to give up on both the city and its people.
But not this Creative Greenius who says – like how it happened or not, Detroit offers a clean slate.
Detroit is an unprecedented opportunity to use the tremendous assets already in place to reimagine and reinvent its post-industrial future and address the great challenge of the 21st century – no, it’s not dealing with deficits or pension obligations, it’s adapting to climate change and building a sustainable society that can survive.
So obviously this isn’t a job for any known political figure or member of the existing power structure – none of them will ever be confused with the best and the brightest and they’re the Clyde Crash Cups who screwed the pooch to begin with.
No this is a job for the company I’ve long been a stockholder of – Google.
I have seen the future and it looks like a solar-powered greenhouse, a solar-powered pump driving aquaponics, a non-toxic termite treatment for buildings, students growing their own fruits and vegetables on their high school campus irrigated by captured rainwater, and other sustainable practices paid for by grants from corporations with no strings attached.
In a still repressed economy during an era when “no new taxes” is the mindless mantra that forces cutbacks and the elimination of educational programs and resources, the only place the dollars are going to come from are nontraditional, innovative sources. You can argue the merits of that if you want, but I’m done arguing. I just want to see projects get funded, renewable energy put to work, energy efficiency retrofits instituted, conservation measures adopted and sustainable practices replace business-as-usual before the climate crisis makes any positive action a moot point.
That’s why for the past week I’ve been working at my new job in Manhattan Beach where I’ve transitioned from the volunteer advocacy efforts I’ve been contributing since 2008 to a professional role in sustainability partnerships for CBSEcoMedia. EcoMedia employs exactly the kind of nontraditional, innovative business practices I’m talking about through their EcoAd program – the kind of innovative business practices that found me on the campus of Environmental Charter High School (ECHS) in Lawndale on Friday morning to celebrate the ribbon cutting for their new solar-powered greenhouse.
When it comes to the holiday season I’m a Thanksgiving kind of guy.
I love everything about T-Day: the focus on gratitude and appreciation, the gathering of family and friends, the sharing of a feast we’ve all contributed to, and best of all, its non-denominational inclusiveness.
In a year when there was hardly anything on the national environmental scene to be thankful for (and frankly plenty to flat out freak out over) it’s been the right time to think globally and act locally, especially if that locality happens to be Hermosa Beach where you have green champions such as:
Tired of waiting for the green economy to start offering green jobs that pay real money? Wait no more if you’re a contractor here in the South Bay of California because the cavalry has finally arrived in the form of the L.A. County Energy program. We’ve got 30,000 homes to upgrade and contractors are needed for the before, during and after segments. You’ll be hearing plenty about this from the mainstream media next month, but right now you can get make your move ahead of the crowd thanks to your Creative Greenius and my pals at the South Bay Environmental Services Center . Just read the graphic and then click on it to get all the details.
I asked Bill about the issues of optimism and pessimism and whether he still felt as he did a year ago when he told an interviewer that he no longer thought in terms of optimism and pessimism, he just got up every morning and got to work.
He said that today he draws his energy and inspiration from the young people, mostly in their 20s, who he works with. They’re not discouraged or to bummed to carry on. They know they’re being given damaged goods by the generation handing off to them and they’re ready to deal with it. They understand that the most powerful, most monied interests are lined up against them with a vengeance and they never expected it to be any different. They’re not ready to give up. And so… neither am I.
I asked Bill about the work my friends at GRID Alternative are doing and his thoughts on the adoption of rooftop solar in this final segment of my video interview with him.
In an era when most elected officials offer no substance and no positive vision for our future, DiVirgilio is downright JFK-like in his view of what must be done:
“But now is not the time to narrow the vision for our own future, to diminish our expectations for the better days ahead or to downsize the ambitions for our children’s quality of life.
Now is the time to step up and seize the opportunities available to those who act on new realities before they become mainstream trends. Now is the time to use the stimulus, grant and foundation money available to those who lead before the map is even drawn.
Now is also the time to act because we are standing at another threshold, the threshold of climate-change tipping points that may diminish the future prospects and possibilities for young and old alike.”
So we choose to go carbon neutral, not because it is easy, but because it is our best possible future, and the best path to preserving the small-town beach community and culture we all cherish and want to pass on to the generations who follow.
Courtesy of YouTube and the Hermosa Beach City website, and converted and enlarged through the magic of Greenius, we bring you this exclusive look at the Carbon Neutral ClueTrain leaving the Hermosa Beach station this week. Local mainstream media missed this story completely but fortunately for them this on-line record will exist for them to use as research. So will the reporting that the new Patch.com news group will be providing.
The story actually began last week during Hermosa Beach Mayor’s State of the City address where Mayor Michael DiVirgilio spoke about the Carbon Neutral City concept:
Mayor DiVirgilio was right back at it Monday night at the Hermosa Beach Green Task Force meeting, speaking enthusiastically on behalf of the idea:
Join us after the jump to see your friendly neighborhood Greenius and my Fratelli Verde, Robert Fortunato, following the Mayor with our own remarks.
As your friendly neighborhood Greenius continues with his efforts to help Hermosa Beach become the first carbon neutral city in the South Bay, it might help some of you to get up to speed on what we already know is coming our way here in California from climate change and global weirding.
So why not let my old pal, Governor Schwarzenegger tell it to you straight about what we’re doing here in California to prepare for what we already see coming our way:
Unlike the astoundingly large group of dumbed-down states in the USA who happily have their heads up their own asses when it comes to sharing the climate change facts with their citizens and actually taking the bold actions necessary, California isn’t lying and isn’t delaying. If we have any chance at all of stopping catastrophic climate change from making the future a moot point for your kids, the rest of the country is going to have to follow our lead with emissions cuts, energy efficiency and renewable energy use.
Many of them will have to be dragged kicking and screaming – as usual – but if we have to go caveman on them to help save ourselves, then so be it.
Ever since the Copenhagen climate treaty talks ended in impotence two months ago there hasn’t been a single ounce of positive news on the international scene about our chances of cutting the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and getting CO2 levels back down to the safe 350 ppm zone. Here in the United States our President and Congress haven’t shown the leadership or sense of urgency necessary to prevent a climate catastrophe and they’ve given the people no hope for their children’s future at the national level. Many in Congress have acted unethically and immorally with the responsibility they have been trusted with.
As the Creative Greenius and organizer of the South Bay Los Angeles 350 Climate Action Group that’s just unacceptable to me. If they can’t get the job done in Washington, DC or at the UN – and it’s obvious to me that they cannot – then we will take the reins of responsibility from them right now and we will get the job done here locally.
That’s exactly what is happening now.
Last night at the Hermosa Beach, California City Council meeting, Mayor Michael DiVirgilo, confirmed that he and the City Council are committed to making their iconic beach town a Carbon Neutral City at the earliest possible date. Hermosa Beach’s Green Task Force was directed to come up with the plan and a special joint session of the Council and the Task Force was scheduled for March 30 to get the carbon neutral ball rolling. This makes Hermosa Beach the first city in the South Bay of Los Angeles County, and the first city in all of Los Angeles County to declare their intent to become carbon neutral and sustainable. And that makes them the leadership model we will replicate in all of the other 87 cities that make up this County of 10 million people.
None of this is happening by accident.
Your Creative Greenius was there on the scene to witness the historic action and to add my remarks to note the occasion. Check out the video excerpt courtesy of Hermosa Beach’s website after the jump, and discover, in classic Paul Harvey tradition, the rest of the story…