The Climate Economy Education Inc’s strategy is based on educating every individual on how they can live their passions and earn a living while nurturing human and environmental health. We call it “thriving authentically.” There are so many factets of each individual and their situation that make them shine. We want to teach every young person from an early age that they are each one of a kind and posess their own happiness, and that their future is whatever they make it (so make it a good one!).
The core of The Climate Economy’s strategy is to build “Cooperative Climate Venture Centers” (CCVCs) in low-income and marginalized communities up and down the City of New Orleans Amtrak trail line (for starters and first in Carbondale, IL). These centers will provide a nurturing creative cooperative safe space for young travelers. They’ll also serve as engines for growth in The Climate Economy, where business models and lifestyles are good for the climate, economy and humanity. Students can hop from place to place and learn about the depth and beauty of our American tapestry, and contribute their own efforts. In The Climate Economy, Life (yes, with a capital L) is about 1) discovering and growing your passions, 2) traveling your journey without destroying nature and human health, and 3) sharing and participating with others, all while having a blast. That’s Life Baby!
Here is a condensed version of The Climate Economy’s Vision for CCVCs:
The CCVC is located in a locality that has traditionally been left behind, with easy access to the Amtrak station and multi-modal transportation center in Carbondale. Anyone, at any time of day or night, can come into the center for humanitarian aid, study or work time, just for leisure, or in case of a disaster or emergency. There are places to shoot hoops and let out physical energy.There are even temporary living spaces like youth hostels for travelers and students; CCVCs spreading across the country become the destination for students taking a gap year. There’s plenty of space to accommodate the various stakeholder groups, healthy food and water available, a health clinic, restaurants and shopping on the premises and nearby, and people can easily move between spaces while maintaining personal safety, authority and initiative.
Spaces for hands-on educational exhibits inspire and inform on what’s possible, including a local focus on jobs and industries that are locally present or nascent. Tourists and student groups fill up this space during the day. After school programs for high-school age and up are offered in the evenings throughout the facility. Maker and manufacturing space enables education, training and making in a new distributed small-batch world of essential products, as well as processing and use of materials grown and harvested in the region. The facility also includes equipment for things like hydroponics and aquaponics and actually produces food for the facility, and a community kitchen for education and use by climate ventures. A computer lab is available for pursuit of online education and training, and meeting space is available to accommodate maker and other group activities going on at the CCVC. A community energy committee is established to help steer towards 100% clean renewable energy and good jobs. Meetings for each section and for the CCVC as a whole are regularly scheduled and open to all and follow the adaptive action format, so people get used to solving problems together in sustainable ways in a rapidly changing world.
Every community needs a CCVC! Your community’s CCVC doesn’t have to have all the components or be right on the Amtrak line, there are no “absolutes” in this model. The key is that it’s youth-led, and you grow it collaboratively and organically in your community. It’s a process, you don’t have to have a big fancy business plan, tons of money. Having a champion, or a “catalyst,” in your community helps, this is someone who herds the cats (using CLEANetwork.com’s tools for his of course). Anyone can be a catalyst. There is no one single person who has all the energy required for this kind of effort, but everyone has a role they can play. CCVCs are the ultimate “climate venture,” a business model or lifestyle that’s good for the climate, economy and humanity; it’s the climate venture of climate ventures. It’s a vibrant, nurturing petrie dish of people-centered creative cooperative caring growth and innovation like the world has never seen. We’re going to reinvent our lives, our communities and our country for the betterment of all life.
The whole idea of CCVCs came out of the first Youth Climate Economy Ventures cohort back in 2019-beginning of 2020. The students at the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale learned about business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity, and did a community climate SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Out of those efforts, the idea of a “youth community center and maker space, always open, free, with mentors and training” For Carbondale came to life. I think it’s the best freaking idea I’ve ever heard. I’m working to track down the students that were part of that effort so that they can get credit for it. So these efforts are student led, community supported. You can read about all of this here (PDF).
On a practial level, the CCVC contains elements that are well proven:
- The main components of a CCVC (science centers, maker spaces, community kitchens, resilience hubs, youth hostels) have well-proven histories and best practices to follow. There’s no mystery here. Why not have them all together in one space?
- Almost everyone in an enclosed community will come around to supporting efforts that are for youth. In my experience, the most successful efforts have been around fundraising for youth; while requiring lots of human effort, it also has the best results. People believe in it.
- Youth have shown to respond to and even embrace the specific innovative teachings (cooperative business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity) in the CCVC package. We’ve worked with youth at the Boys and Girls Club and the Jackson County Youth CEO program, and we’ve gotten excellent results in both.
We are just at the beginning of our journey. Everything we do at The Climate Economy Eduacation Inc is to build CCVCs and the support structure they need to thrive, including a thriving local business community. Building out this vision is not going to happen overnight, but we do need to try and move forward a little bit (or a lot) each day, whatever our personal capacity allows. So yes, I’m saying that adults out there can get involved now in making these things happen. You don’t have to be a teacher or any special profession. This is a really fun volunteer opportunity starting out, which can lead to lots of new jobs, productive projects and businesses in your community. Talk to your kids about it, listen to what they say.
Every community can develop their own version of a CCVC. There are many ways to go about getting started. You can grow as you go. You could have a kickoff event, or a resilience fair, to bring people together. You could ask around about what’s going on in your community and what people are already working on, to see where you might be able to collaborate with ongoing efforts. You can join the CCVC Group on CLEANetwork.com (registration required, no cost or other obligations), where we’ll be providing tips and tricks for getting started and moving things along, while documenting our ongoing efforts in Carbondale to get this model working. You can always connect with me here on CLEANetwork.com. We also appreciate donations and volunteers. Let’s have some fun!