Life in The Climate Economy

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’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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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 (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 We also appreciate donations and volunteers. Let’s have some fun!

Press Release: Events April 20-27 on Local Food and Farms, Hydroponics, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Biochar and Local Carbon Network

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 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.”

Registration is required, please register at

On April 20th from 4:30-6:00 p.m., a round table discussion on the topic of local food and farms will take place. Panelists and topics include:

  • Marilyn Tipton – Food Autonomy Group in Carbondale – Coalition of Community Gardens and Chicken Coops
  • Jennifer Paulson – Food Works – Local Food System Development
  • Marcella Woodson – Men of Power-Women of Strength – Cairo Community Gardens
  • Stephanie Taylor – Community Development Sustainable Solutions of East St. Louis – Urban Agriculture Experience
  • Molly Gleason – Illinois Stewardship Alliance – Latest Illinois farm and food legislation news
  • Shantanu Pai, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Food Waste and Farm-to-Food-Bank Survey, Technical Assistance Program

Registration is required, please register at

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.

Registration is required, please register at

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.”

Registration is required, please register at

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.

Registration is required, please register at

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, 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, also funded by the Just Transition Fund. Everything on is free and up and running and available 24/7 so people can check in and get involved when they have time. 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. 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 is free and people can earn points and rewards for taking positive target actions.

Getting Oil Out of Our System

We are addicted to oil. It is tangled up in our lives, in everything we do, everything we use, even what we eat. But we have to stop using oil. It’s totally do-able if we look hard at how it’s tangled up in our lives, and take steps to deliberately untangle it. Here are some recent headlines.

To dive deeply into the technical and economic policies needed, read the “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States.” They break it down into three key areas:

Deep decarbonization requires three fundamental changes in the U.S. energy system:
(1) highly efficient end use of energy in buildings, transportation, and industry; 
(2) decarbonization of electricity and other fuels; and 
(3) fuel switching of end uses to electricity and other low-carbon supplies.

Yes, it’s complicated and will not happen overnight, but there’s no excuse not to do it. It’s good for us, we know how to do it, so it’s just a matter of choosing to do it. We can figure this out.

Local Carbon Network

I would like to do a local carbon network at a location just south of Carbondale, out by Blue Sky Winery. A local carbon network is where we collect organic waste (agriculture, forestry), make something useful out of it and distribute it to those in the network, and sell whatever’s left over. These guys out in CA have been attempting this. It’s along the lines of community supported agriculture or a cooperative.

So I know a business with 1-5 tons of sawmill waste/day. I am interested in making it into biochar, mixing it with local food waste and turning it into a beneficial soil amendment. I am looking into the equipment needed, and will need lots of help since this is a project with lots of angles. Here are the points I’m supposed to add since it’s an idea:

Your vision,

My vision is to sustainably utilize organic waste to produce a soil amendment that will regenerate and strengthen local soil. There are tons of things that can be made/done with biochar so the soil amendment is not the only option. See the book “Burn” by Albert Bates.

Why it’s good for the climate/economy/humanity,

Climate: sequestering carbon in the soil, also sustainably utilizing waste materials that would otherwise decay, healthier soil

Economy: new industry, jobs

Humanity: building cooperation in the community, making the environment and people more healthy and productive

What’s the target action, or the action we want people to take

I guess for now I’ll start a group, join if you’re interested. Eventually we’re going to want to raise funds, get farmers involved, etc. Lots of target actions. It’s going to take lots of planning and organization.

What’s the problem action, or the action we want to stop or change.

Waste is getting burnt or left in the air to decompose and release greenhouse gasses. We should utilize it in a sensible way that is an overall net positive.