Guest Blog by University of Pittsburgh Student Jeff Gordon
The Kingsley Association, a community-based organization in East Liberty that was founded in 1893, is hard at work on a green initiative in East Liberty called Imagine Larimer. Imagine Larimer hopes to engage and transform their community by increasing housing options, expanding healthy food options, and creating local, family-sustaining jobs. Green collar jobs are a big part of these plans.
The Association is running its second annual Energy Auditors Training, which takes 15 community residents and teaches them how to examine homes for energy loss and make recommendations to increase energy efficiency. The program will last six weeks. Last year’s program started January 31 and sign ups are happening now.
Kingsley’s goal is to revive the community, by teaching residents to be more sustainable, who will then teach their neighbors and friends.
On its 29th community gathering, Kingsley Association brought in Mark Dixon to boost awareness of sustainable technologies and inspire the community to continue its green transformation. Dixon, who has worked as a programmer in the Silicon Valley, quit his job and joined two friends to travel across all 50 states in search of answers about the environment.
Driven by their own need to learn about the environment, this adventure became “Your Environmental Road Trip” or YERT, a funny, informative film about environmental actions that people all across the country are taking.
Throughout the trip, they challenged themselves on multiple occasions to reduce their environmental impact, and attempted some quirky challenges, like eating only corn for three days. The documentary looks at problems around the world like peak oil, the separation of people from their food, burning coal under Centralia, Pennsylvania, and some sustainable innovations.
Imagine if all the known green technologies were implemented today. What if everyone lived in Earthships, which use a combination of recycled goods and passive solar design? Instead of driving on petroleum-based asphalt, we could be driving on solar highways, which have solar panels and LED road signs under a glass road.
Instead of seeing acres of corn being grown for animal feed or to saturate our food with sugar, travelers could see wind farms and be amazed at the beauty of renewable energy. What if your farmer was a friend who you see weekly, not some unknown cog in the food industry machinery? People all across the world are doing big and small things to reduce their impact on the planet, and hearing their voices is entertaining and inspiring.
The goal of “YERT” and the green initiatives of The Kingsley Association is to inform people that technologies for a sustainable world are available. The methods for change exist–we just need people behind the effort. If we get enough like-minded people together, we can change our communities. And that’s how we change the world.