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!
The good news is, we have the solutions. Our outdated laws, energy and economy can and must be adapted to reduce the harm and disruption that they cause to humans, animals and natural systems. People have the power to change the outdated and harmful institutions and to build out clean energy and ecosystems that reduce pollution, create jobs and economic systems that equitably benefit workers, and allow all to lead purposeful, healthy lives.
More information about the event agenda, speakers, and network partners is available at the Resilience Fair website: http://resiliencefairs.com/. This free event is for anyone in the Carbondale and surrounding communities interested in community sustainability and resilience. Everyone is welcome to join us and participate in discussions of our community’s future. Registration for attending is at the website address above or directly at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYvdeyorD8sHN1k6wm2o_vH16Hl3Heg_CO2. This event is the first in a series in Carbondale and other locations across southern Illinois and is aimed at helping our community members navigate these challenging times.
The key to meeting these challenges is our working together to accomplish goals we all can agree on, such as better health, conservation of nature and more and better jobs. The old ways that are causing harm need to be stopped, their workers and communities supported, and the new ways built out and celebrated. Thus the first hour of this event, 1 to 2 pm, will focus on education: on the impacts of climate change and on new models, such as worker-owned cooperative business models, that will help our community bring about positive change for our community and for the natural environment we are part of and depend on. During this first hour, speakers include:
Dr. Justin Schoof, Director of the SIU School of Earth Systems and Sustainability, and Professor of Geography and Environmental Resources. He will discuss climate change impacts for southern Illinois, and the recently released IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on climate science.
Sean Park, Program Manager of the Value-added Sustainable Development Center at the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. He provides technical assistance and training on business plan development and business start-up to cooperatives and other rural businesses in all sectors. He will discuss worker cooperatives and the opportunities for local worker-owned business models.
Gary Willams, Carbondale’s City Manager, and Saxon Metzger, Carbondale Sustainability Commission member, will update the community on the City’s initiatives for advancing Carbondale’s sustainability and on progress made thus far by the Commission on a draft of the Sustainability Action Plan.
Hour 2 of this event, 2 to 3 pm, will be devoted to a community conversation on concerns those attending have about issues their neighborhoods face and on their ideas for bringing about positive change that will make their neighborhoods more resilient. This conversation, focusing on priorities for community resilience, will be guided to bring out ideas that can be integrated into the five areas of the Sustainability Action Plan. Community members are encouraged to attend in order to add their voices to this community conversation and to the Sustainability Action Plan.
A number of groups are already at work on innovative community projects that will make Carbondale more resilient. To promote awareness of this work and promote networking across shared interests, from 3-3:30, during the “celebration” part of the event, several organizations will share their stories about local resilience, information about their resources, including funding available, and how to get involved. Several organizations locally and regionally already provide resources and will be at the event for networking and sharing:
City of Carbondale Sustainability Commission
Southern Illinois Cooperative Business Fund
The Climate Economy Education Inc
SENSE (Students Embracing Nature, Sustainability, and Environmentalism)
Shawnee Group Sierra Club
The Women’s Center
Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois
United Nations Association of the USA – Southern Illinois Chapter
Southern Illinois Collaborative Kitchen
Buffalo Bluffs Hemp Farm
ShopSouthernIllinois.com Local Business Directory and Pollinator
University of Illinois Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES)
The upside of taking bold climate action is immeasurable in terms of better public and environmental health, jobs and sustainable economic growth. We have the technology and all the models and information we need; what we need most is for every person, every member of every community, to be taking action. Attend the resilience fair and find your niche. Contact information:
Get more information about the August 28 event in Carbondale, as well as other events coming up across southern Illinois this fall at the Resilience Fairs website: http://resiliencefairs.com/.
To get more information about the City of Carbondale Sustainability Commission’s Climate Action Plan, contact Jane Cogie, 618-713-7024 or email@example.com.
To get help organizing a resilience fair in your community, contact Amy McMorrow Hunter, firstname.lastname@example.org, 618-713-2896.
April Event Series Continues Efforts for “Community Opportunity Organizing”
April 15, 2021, Southern Illinois – Clean energy and climate change adaptation and mitigation opportunities are the biggest moment of our time. A series of events this April and May are kicking off a concerted #AllTogetherNowSI effort to organize our communities around the efforts to bring these new opportunities to the southern Illinois region, for the benefit of current and future generations. All event schedules and related information are at AllTogetherNowSI.com or you can link directly to Zoom registration at the links below.
On Tuesday, April 20th at noon, Monica Gehrig, Curriculum and Professional Development Manager at Green Our Planet, will present on their turnkey School Garden and Hydroponics Program. She will also cover how GoP pivoted to offering online education to students over the last year. For an additional twist on the hydroponics opportunities, Hilary Scott-Ogunride of Macedonia Development Corporation is going to tell us about SLIP, St. Louis Indoor Produce, their innovative business model and sustainable lighting solutions. Hilary’s work is focused on development of the clean energy and jobs development pipeline. She said,
“When you think about your future, your children’s future…Think green, think clean, think how, then act now.”
On Wednesday, April 21st from 4:00-5:00 p.m., we’ll be hearing about the future of public housing with ReGen Villages by James Ehrlich:
Engineering and facilitating the development of integrated and resilient neighborhoods that power and feed self reliant families around the world.
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to enable thriving and flourishing communities with surplus energy, clean water, high-yield organic food that support urgently needed neighborhood regenerative resiliency.
Partnering with regional land developers, architects, construction, universities and brand manufacturing firms to maximize cost-benefit efficiency that enable global scaling of development projects.
On April 23rd at noon, we’ll be hearing from Tim Michels of Energy Resources Group, long-time proponent of energy efficiency and renewable energy. He has a plan for revitalizing and strengthening our southern Illinois communities and growing jobs with energy efficiency and renewable energy. Over the years, Mr. Michels has developed a variety of appropriate technologies, building designs, and economic development plans to meet the needs of economically disadvantaged populations. He visited Carbondale in June 2019 for the first Climate Economy Kickoff Event. With more time to talk this time around, Tim’s going to go into much more detail on how to get past “net-zero” to “restorative.”
On Tuesday, April 27th at noon, we’ll be hearing from Dr. Paul Anderson. Dr. Anderson has long experience in biochar equipment and producing biochar, and he’ll be sharing some of his insights for southern Illinois. Also, a new local group is aiming to establish a “local carbon network” for collecting local organic non-food waste and forestry waste to produce biochar, combining it with local food waste compost, and supplementing our soil. There are many benefits of applying biochar to soil. There are also many other uses of biochar. We’ll be launching our new local carbon network over this event and the coming months.
Amy McMorrow Hunter, President/CEO of The Climate Economy Education Inc (TCE), is the host of these events and moderator of this discussions. Additional sponsors include the Just Transition Fund, experts in helping coal communities transition their economies after coal shutdowns, and ShopSouthernIllinois.com, a locally-owned business directory. TCE’s events are always recorded and put up on our YouTube channel. The change that we need will come from our communities. We can learn what’s happening in our communities to create positive change, and learn how we can get involved today.
The Climate Economy Education Inc is a local nonprofit for education on business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity. TCE also runs the CLimate Economy Action Network at CLEANetwork.com, also funded by the Just Transition Fund. Everything on CLEANetwork.com is free and up and running and available 24/7 so people can check in and get involved when they have time. CLEANetwork.com is all about making it super easy for people to take target actions that reduce harmful emissions, increase community resilience, increase civic engagement or help others. Online courses are available so people can hone their skills on the hottest emerging topics that are relevant to southern Illinois. Also, we’re building our community. CLEANetwork.com facilitates online groups, discussions and project management so when the time is right, we take it offline and get some work done outside. Youth programs are also available. It’s all an evolving, long-term project for southern Illinois. Signing up on the CLEANetwork.com is free and people can earn points and rewards for taking positive target actions.
April 8, 2021, Southern Illinois – Clean energy and climate change adaptation and mitigation opportunities are the biggest moment of our time. A series of events this April and May are kicking off a concerted #AllTogetherNowSI effort to organize our communities around the efforts to bring these new opportunities to the southern Illinois region, for the benefit of current and future generations. All event schedules and related information are at AllTogetherNowSI.com.
One of our biggest here-and-now opportunities is solar energy (yes there are more big here-and-now opportunities and we’ll be talking about those too at other events in April). Coal plants in southern Illinois continue to close because they’re not economically competitive, people are losing jobs and communities are losing their tax base. Rebuilding our communities with solar energy brings good union jobs, great investment opportunities, cleaner air and water, and educational opportunities for our youth to help prepare them for their renewable energy future. This is a long-term effort, and there are many things already happening in southern Illinois where people can get involved and benefit from change to business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity. That includes solar energy.
We’re having a panel discussion of solar experts who are working in our southern Illinois communities on April 14 at 4:30-6:00 p.m. All the event details, links to registration and sponsorship opportunities for this long-term community effort are at https://all4.earth/events/go-solar-si/. Here is a list of our panelists:
Beau Henson will talk about Solarize SI, the solar group buy program that is currently underway. They’re just kicking off their second year of the program.
Aur Beck of AES Solar, will talk about Coal2Sol, a solar program for nonprofits. Third-party investment in solar systems for nonprofits benefit the investors, the nonprofits and their communities.
Shannon Fulton of StraightUp Solar will talk about “Cooperative Owners for Solar.” Cooperatives in the region have higher energy prices and less options for solar energy. Member-owners can help fix that.
The main topics covered by the panelists will be followed with Q&A so we can dig down deep into the southern Illinois issues. Scott Allen of the Citizens Utility board said:
Significant changes to the way we generate, deliver and use electricity are coming, not just in Illinois, but nationally and globally as well. This massive infrastructure overhaul will create new economic opportunities, allow for corrections to established systems, and re-determine the way that we interact with utilities. In Illinois, we have an opportunity to ensure that the status quo is overturned. We can make policies that create wealth more equitably, protect human health, and prepare our grid for the future.
Amy McMorrow Hunter, President/CEO of The Climate Economy Education Inc (TCE), is the host and moderator of this discussion. Additional sponsors include the Just Transition Fund, experts in helping coal communities transition their economies after coal shutdowns, and ShopSouthernIllinois.com, a locally-owned business directory. TCE’s events are always recorded and put up on our YouTube channel. The change that we need will come from our communities. We can learn what’s happening in our communities to create positive change, and learn how we can get involved today.
The Climate Economy Education Inc is a local nonprofit for education on business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity. TCE also runs the CLimate Economy Action Network at CLEANetwork.com, also funded by the Just Transition Fund. Everything on CLEANetwork.com is free and up and running and available 24/7 so people can check in and get involved when they have time. CLEANetwork.com is all about making it super easy for people take target actions that reduce harmful emissions, increase community resilience, increase civic engagement or help others. Online courses are available so people can hone their skills on the hottest emerging topics that are relevant to southern Illinois. Also, we’re building our community. CLEANetwork.com facilitates online groups, discussions and project management so when the time is right, we take it offline and get some work done outside. Youth programs are also available. It’s all an evolving, long-term project for southern Illinois. Signing up on the CLEANetwork.com is free and people can earn points and rewards for taking positive target actions.