AWESOME!!!!

Feb. 9th, 2012 06:02 am
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A new Native American village based on tradition helps a Tribe reclaim its sustainable roots


The Ohkay Owingeh Tribe and Pueblo in New Mexico has returned to its roots with an award-winning, mixed-income housing project based on traditional Native forms. It's an exciting and inspiring project.

Built by the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority explicitly as an alternative to sprawl-type housing, Tsigo Bugeh Village is a $5.3 million residential community that reflects traditional pueblo living with attached units divided around two plazas, one oriented to the solstice and the other to the equinox, as the tribe’s original pueblo was built. As the Housing Authority’s website points out, the homes are attached, their scale and massing similar to the original Ohkay Owingeh pueblo: “this is key to our architectural heritage, and the idea of community living that is central to our way of life.”

....

The Village was built pursuant to a larger master plan to guide the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo’s future. Bestowing a national award for smart growth achievement in 2004 (when the pueblo was known as the San Juan Pueblo), the federal Environmental Protection Agency hailed the plan as the first smart growth model for Native American tribes:

“It provides a long-term growth strategy, coordinates existing infrastructure with housing and commercial development, preserves the walkable historic plazas, and encourages retail and commercial uses in a ‘main street’ style. The plan also includes design guidelines that enhance the traditional building pattern to preserve the architectural heritage of the pueblo, fostering a distinctive sense of place.”

Tsigo Bugeh Village (via Urban Land Institute and housingpolicy.org)Implementation of the plan is guided by a Tribal Planning Department and a community advisory council of neighborhood representatives.

The Housing Authority’s website points out that “Tribal leaders realized that continuing to develop sprawl housing would severely limit the land base for agricultural use and open space for future generations.” A premium was placed on involvement from the Tribal community and respect for the Pueblo’s traditions:


MOREM
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I.H.T. SPECIAL REPORT: SMART CITIES
An Urban Jungle for the 21st Century



SINGAPORE — The math is impressive. In the last 25 years, the population of Singapore has nearly doubled, to more than five million. Over the same period, its green cover — planted areas that appear green on satellite photos, from parks to rooftops — has increased from a little more than a third of the city-state’s area to nearly half.

But it is not enough. In Singapore’s next “green road map,” its 10-year development plan, the country aims to go from being “a garden city” to “a city in a garden.” “The difference might sound very small,” says Poon Hong Yuen, the chief executive of the country’s National Parks Board, “but it’s a bit like saying my house has a garden and my house is in the middle of a garden. What it means is having pervasive greenery, as well as biodiversity, including wildlife, all around you.”


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From the NYT

Hope...

Jul. 29th, 2011 12:30 am
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PAKISTAN After the Flood, Green Homes


KARACHI, Jul 28, 2011 (IPS) - Subhan Khatoon’s brand new home is nothing like the one that got washed away, along with all her worldly goods, in the 2010 monsoon floods that submerged a fifth of Pakistan and left 2,000 people dead.

Before that deluge, Khatoon, 45, could not have dreamed of owning a well-ventilated house with such luxuries as an attached toilet and a clean kitchen.

Khatun was lucky that the district administration of Khairpur identified her village Darya Khan Sheikh, on the banks of the Indus in Sindh province, as one of the worst affected, and her house as one that had been completely destroyed and, therefore, merited replacement.

Paperwork over, architects and engineers from the voluntary Heritage Foundation (HF) began designing Khatoon’s new home using locally available materials under its ‘Green Karavan Ghar’ initiative, which runs a similar rehabilitation project in the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The vision behind the HF initiative is the use of local materials and a workforce backed by students from schools of architecture and engineering.

Established in 1984 by Yasmeen Lari - incidentally Pakistan’s first woman architect - the HF basically documents historic buildings and works for their conservation, but came forward to help with post-disaster reconstruction.

"These young professionals must learn to respect the traditional ways of building and also get hands-on training both technical and humanitarian in nature," Lari told IPS.

They have already handed over 104 homes in two villages in Sindh, all built with bamboo, lime (as opposed to cement) and mud. Not only can these be made speedily, they are cost-effective at Pakistani Rs 55,000 (647 US dollars) and have a low carbon footprint.
MORE


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Women Keen to Ease Greenhouse Effect on Their Ability to Provide

WINDHOEK, Jul 4, 2011 (IPS) - A successful entrepreneurial programme in the north of Namibia that infuses farming practices with gender-responsive environmentalism may serve as a model for other countries on the African continent.

"Rural women in Africa are burdened with providing for the household. They are the farmers, working the fields, cooking and trying to make a modest cash income on the side," says Marie Johansson, the chief executive officer of Creative Entrepreneur Solutions (CES) in Ondangwa, Northern Namibia, in southern Africa.

"You see a woman, sitting at a service station selling bread and it seems like a nice way to make an income. But poverty profiles show that she gets up at three in the morning to prepare the dough, then she makes breakfast, then she bakes the bread, then she works in the field for a couple of hours, before walking the 10 kilometres to the service station.

"There she sells bread all day long, maybe making an overall profit of five Namibian dollars (0.75 U.S. dollars). After that, of course, it’s back home to cook, clean and prepare for the next day, all the way up ‘til bedtime at midnight."

For women already locked into a harsh existence, floods, droughts and higher temperatures are unwelcome guests that affect harvests and their ability to provide.

Says Johansson: "Men do mostly not have this vicious cycle of working and sleeping, so they tend to pay less attention when land issues are discussed in climate change adaptation workshops. But the women will say that the first thing they want to do is to secure the household staple food production, no matter what.

"A woman tends to take an interest in topics like conservation farming and drip irrigation because for her it is vital to get as much food from her land as possible. ‘How do I plan my farm with these floods?’ ‘Should I maybe diversify into rice production?’ These are the questions they face."

With a handful of other women Johansson started Creative Entrepreneur Solutions in 2007. She helped poor women in the townships to strengthen their small informal enterprises, or start new ones.

In 2009 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) approached CES to roll out a community- based adaptation programme in 20 communities in five Namibian provinces. The programme has been extremely successful.

"Our approach works because it is a bottom-up approach. If the donors walk out tomorrow, it will still work. Most donor-funded or government-initiated programmes fail because they don’t ask the people what they want and create no sense of ownership."

Instead, CES started self-help groups modelled on initiatives in India. Communities organise themselves in cooperatives to tackle climate change issues, or build up savings for business ventures. MORE
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INDIA 'Seed-Mothers' Confront Climate Insecurity

BHUBANESWAR, India, Jul 1, 2011 (IPS) - In eastern Orissa state’s tribal hinterlands about 200 ‘seed-mothers’ are on mission mode - identifying, collecting and conserving traditional seed varieties and motivating farming families to use them.

The seed-mothers (bihana-maa in the local dialect) from the Koya and Kondh tribal communities have reached 1,500 families in the Malkangiri and Kandhamal districts and are still counting. These women are formidable storehouses of knowledge on indigenous seeds and biodiversity conservation.

Collecting, multiplying and distributing through exchange local varieties of paddy, millet, legume, vegetables and leafy green seeds, the seed-mothers already have a solid base of 80 converted villages.

As they spread their message through the hinterland, targeting another 140 villages, the women also promote zero dependence on chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

Considering that Malkangiri is Orissa’s least developed district, with literacy at a low 50 percent and isolated by rivers, forests, undulating topography and poor connectivity, the achievement of the seed-mothers is admirable.

The struggles of Malkangiri farmers with climate change is visible in the Gudumpadar village where seed-mothers are passionately reviving agricultural heritage and convincing the community to stay with local seeds and bio-fertilisers and pesticides.

"This is the best way to cope with erratic rainfall, ensure the children are fed and avoid the clutches of moneylenders," says 65-year-old seed-mother Kanamma Madkami of Kanjeli village, who has multiplied 29 varieties of local millet and paddy seeds. MORE



xposted: to politics.
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How Rs 2,000 brought Bihar's most heartening change

After 10 years of inaction where no new schools were opened and no teachers recruited, one of the best indicators of a changing Bihar is a group of girls cycling to school.
Archana Masih reports from the state.

Three times a week Deepti Kumari comes to Kilkari after school where she does things she has never done before.

She paints, makes toys from old newspapers and reads children's magazines.

The daughter of a khaini (raw tobacco) seller in Patna, Deepti spends most of her day after school in an activity centre set up by the Bihar government for underprivileged children going to state-run primary schools.

Like her, most of the children making paper birds under a tree that afternoon, had never painted or done any craft work before.

Mukesh, a Class 9 student whose father sells bananas, is learning judo and has won two medals in a district-level competition.

Shail, a Class 6 student whose father is no more and whose mother stitches buttons for a living, is learning Madhubani painting.

Children from neighbouring schools come to the centre which provides them paints, colours, craft-material, story books and has teachers for folk dance, judo, painting etc.
The centre also has a children's bank where the children deposit as little as Rs 2 and 5 and withdraw money for stationery etc.

The little boy with neatly combed hair -- his head barely reaching the top of the table -- says he is the manager for the day, showing me his deposit ledger.

In the last five years Bihar has spent half of the state budget on improving school education.

By its most successful scheme, providing cycles to Class 9 and 10 students, it greatly reduced the drop-out rate amongst girls in the state where female literacy at 33 per cent is the lowest in the country.

The first year of providing cycles in 2007-2008, brought 170,000 girls to Class 9 which has now risen to 500,000.
MORE




Gehlot copies Bihar in cycle distribution


JAIPUR: Chief minister Ashok Gehlot proposes to distribute 1.42 lakh bicycles to ClassIX and Class X girls belonging to the rural areas. It seems to be inspired by the successful "bicycle revolution" of Bihar, which was seen as one of the factors responsible for the thumping victory of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.

The Rajasthan government will distribute cycles at a token price of Rs 100 to all such girls in the rural areas. Although the scheme was initiated during Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government and the token amount then was Rs 300, but the Gehlot government had been indifferent to it. There was hardly any focus on proper distribution of bicycles.

Bihar's "revolution: has already hogged the national limelight and Gehlot could not resist emulating it. Since 2007-08, Bihar has spent Rs174.36 crore on cycles for 871,000 schoolgirls. Girls enrolling in schools in the state have shot up from 160,000 in 2006-07 to 490,000 now. Dropouts among girls in Bihar declined to one million from about 2.5 million in 2006.

The project has been successful in Bihar as the money is given directly to the girls, who are required to show that they bought the cycle. However, it is yet to be seen as how the project is executed in Rajasthan.MORE

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Majora Carter: 3 stories of local eco-entrepreneurship
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Van Jones: The economic injustice of plastic


http://www.ted.com Van Jones lays out a case against plastic pollution from the perspective of social justice. Because plastic trash, he shows us, hits poor people and poor countries "first and worst," with consequences we all share no matter where we live and what we earn. At TEDxGPGP, he offers a few powerful ideas to help us reclaim our throwaway planet.
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The law of Mother Earth: Behind Bolivia's Historic Bill

Indigenous and campesino (small-scale farmer) movements in the Andean nation of Bolivia are on the verge of pushing through one of the most radical environmental bills in global history. The "Mother Earth" law under debate in Bolivia's legislature will almost certainly be approved, as it has already been agreed to by the majority governing party, Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS).

The law draws deeply on indigenous concepts that view nature as a sacred home, the Pachamama (Mother Earth) on which we intimately depend. As the law states, “Mother Earth is a living dynamic system made up of the undivided community of all living beings, who are all interconnected, interdependent and complementary, sharing a common destiny.”

The law would give nature legal rights, specifically the rights to life, regeneration, biodiversity, water, clean air, balance, and restoration.

The law would give nature legal rights, specifically the rights to life and regeneration, biodiversity, water, clean air, balance, and restoration. Bolivia's law mandates a fundamental ecological reorientation of Bolivia's economy and society, requiring all existing and future laws to adapt to the Mother Earth law and accept the ecological limits set by nature. It calls for public policy to be guided by Sumaj Kawsay (an indigenous concept meaning “living well,” or living in harmony with nature and people), rather than the current focus on producing more goods and stimulating consumption.

In practical terms, the law requires the government to transition from non-renewable to renewable energy; to develop new economic indicators that will assess the ecological impact of all economic activity; to carry out ecological audits of all private and state companies; to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to develop policies of food and renewable energy sovereignty; to research and invest resources in energy efficiency, ecological practices, and organic agriculture; and to require all companies and individuals to be accountable for environmental contamination with a duty to restore damaged environments.

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Corporate Control? Not in These Communities

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What’s So Special About Humans?

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via [personal profile] jhameia


Why oh WHY wasn't this frontpage headline news?

The City that Ended Hunger

“To search for solutions to hunger means to act within the principle that the status of a citizen surpasses that of a mere consumer.”
CITY OF BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL
Oh! Thats why!!!



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I just. I cannot BEGIN to describe how refreshed and enthusiatic about humanity this story has made me feel!! participatory democracy!!!! Solving world hunger!! There is a difference between theory in books and actually SEEING that it has been done and CONTINUES TO BE DONE. Oh [personal profile] jhameia THANK YOU for linking this article.


And what is participatory democracy?

2005 BRAZIL People's Assembly Builds Participatory Democracy

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2002Porto Alegre's Budget Of, By, And For the People

How would you like to distribute 200 million dollars to your fellow citizens? That’s the amount of money the city of Porto Alegre spends in an average year for construction and services—money not committed to fixed expenses like debt service and pensions.

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OMG people!! LOOK AT THIS!!! This is like, my dream of what citizenship could be like!! Why isn't this is my media? In my scifi? In my fantasy??? In my news??? Why isn't this in my LIFE?????

I just...I cannot EXPLAIN how I feel, to see that this is possible and exists!!!! Its a not pipedream!!! WHEEEE!!!!!!!!!

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