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!

Reminder: Carbondale Community Resilience Fair Saturday

Virtual Event this Saturday Provides Education, Community Conversations, Networking and Celebration of Community Resilience and Sustainability

Everyone is encouraged to attend this virtual event, to find their niche in the upside of taking action on climate change. This event, held virtually this Saturday, August 28, 1-3:30 p.m., aims to accentuate bold action on climate change—action that leads to improved safety and security for current and future generations, better public health, conservation of nature and biodiversity, and business and job growth. There’s now no doubt that human activities have unnaturally disrupted our world’s natural climate systems, causing problems that will only get worse if we don’t act boldly. Global temperatures are rising and will continue to rise, leading to sea level rise, extreme weather, and shifts in habitats and growing seasons. You can register for the zoom at

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: 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 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
  • Illinois Initiative
  • Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois
  • United Nations Association of the USA – Southern Illinois Chapter
  • Southern Illinois Collaborative Kitchen
  • Buffalo Bluffs Hemp Farm
  • Local Business Directory and Pollinator
  • University of Illinois Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES)
  • SIU Green Roof Team
  • Just Transition Fund
  • Solarize Southern Illinois
  • Food Works
  • USDA – Emergency Rural Health Care Grants
  • Southern Illinois Food Pantry Network – Supporting Food Security in Southern Illinois Mini-Grants

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:

To get more information about the City of Carbondale Sustainability Commission’s Climate Action Plan, contact Jane Cogie, 618-713-7024 or

To get help organizing a resilience fair in your community, contact Amy McMorrow Hunter,, 618-713-2896.

Three Good Habits for Contributing to Purposeful Change

Three Good Habits for Contributing to Purposeful Change

If you’re like me, you’re thinking about never reading the news again because it’s so depressing, scary and confusing. I want to help but I don’t know what to do, and everyone’s pointing fingers at everyone else. Heat waves and record high temperatures out west. More than half of animal species at risk. Climate migrants at our borders fleeing or dying from drought and upheaval in their home countries. The freaking ocean is on fire.

It seems hopeless. Well, it’s not, humans are perfectly capable of making positive, purposeful change. But it is beyond urgent that everyone is making good decisions and taking action every day in relation to climate change and everything that is happening in relation to the changes. Most of the negative things happening are directly connected and related to human behavior. What does that even mean though? How do we tackle the biggest problems of our lifetimes? Well, there are three good habits you can work on that will help you do your part to meet these challenges.

First, we can and must fight unwanted disruptive change with purposeful individual AND systemic change. Pretending like something isn’t happening while it’s happening right in front of our faces is unproductive and unhelpful, and frankly dishonest. Everything is constantly in motion so there’s no point in fighting against change by denying it, and we should be aware and accountable when our behavior causes harm to others or nature. In fact, we all must take responsibility as American citizens and decent human beings to be aware of the change that is underway to the best of our ability and to act accordingly. It’s alarming and undesirable to think that we are causing harm and therefore must change our behaviors, but the great thing is this: we can make changes that are good in every way, for us and others and nature, and in the long and short term. We fight the chaos by purposefully making good decisions that are good for us in the short run and will also help reduce the chaos in the long run. That means we’re changing how we live our lives in terms of what we buy and how we behave, but it also means we have to consciously fix the systems that sustain us. We can’t always know exactly what’s going to happen but it’s sensible and responsible to be prepared.

Second, we can use a simple system of checks to determine if something is at least taking us in the right direction, and has a worthwhile purpose. When we’re looking at a behavior, making a decision, thinking about sharing a post or news article, or trying to determine if something is good or bad (or right or wrong), look at the following three criteria together:

  1. Climate: is whatever we’re looking at good for the climate, meaning good for nature, meaning clean air and water, meaning protecting animals and biodiversity? If it’s harmful in any way, we have to find a better way. It’s totally possible. Humans are part of nature, not separate from it. We don’t “have” to do things that are harmful because someone tells us there’s no other way. Of course there are other ways. People can change, and things can change, sometimes it takes time and effort.
  2. Economy: Is what we’re looking at going to be good for the economy, and that means good for the regular person and more spread out, not just big business? For example, we don’t “have” to stick to the old ways of maximizing profits for shareholders, I mean that’s not a law, it’s just something that people made up. B-corps and worker cooperatives already are doing better here. We can use our creativity and make up new, better ways for getting the things we need and want. We need economic solutions that don’t funnel all the money to the top and leave everyone else fighting for the scraps and unable to get the basic needs of life. There are lots of ways to do things that share profits, create jobs, and do all kinds of positive things, not just for the billionaire CEO’s and shareholders. We can fix this, or we can at least do our best trying.
  3. Humanity: is what we’re looking at harmful to humans? Not just in terms of human health, but also those things like mental health and feeling a sense of belonging? When we see that prices are going up at McDonalds, maybe instead of getting mad and driving off we think about how their workers are now getting paid $12, closer to a living, dignified wage. Or we reject shareholders foisting their cut in profits onto the consumer and buy from a local burger joint. Places like McDonalds and Walmart are not the problems per se, it’s the people and how we’re treating each other, sometimes in just outright wrong ways, or the laws that have been put in place that give big corporations an unfair advantage to influence how people live. It’s complicated, there’s not always a “right” answer, and there are trade-offs and different choices we can make. But in any case we absolutely can and should take the time and effort to value human life and well-being over corporate profits.

Third, we must ensure that we are getting our information on which we base our decisions from trusted sources. The truth is out there, but sometimes it’s hard to find. You might count on a friend or your pastor or a scientist or our own research for the truth. We have to make sure wherever we get our information, that they are using the 1/2/3 checks above, and not saying things that aren’t true for whatever reason. They may be trying to exploit attitudes for their own personal or financial gain, or they may be misguided by fear or ignorance (lack of true information). This is extremely common in our society.

For example: despite knowing for decades now that burning oil and gas was screwing up our atmosphere in really bad ways, oil, gas and coal companies have been deliberately misleading the public, just like cigarette companies did. This is how they protect their profits, at any cost to our society. “A few of you may die so we can make lots of profits, but that’s a risk we’re willing to take” is their motto. Well, that’s just not OK. Also, there are different levels of truth and this can be use to confuse us and kick us off the track. For example, it’s true that burning fossil fuels has raised our standard of living and taken may people out of poverty. It’s also true that it’s damaging to the environment and people’s health, and we have found better ways of doing it that won’t cause the same levels of harm. It’s also true that pumping old and gas through pipelines is safer than sending it by train, but this statement does not belie the fact that we are causing damage by burning stuff we don’t actually don’t need to burn in the first place. Another example: switching to electric vehicles causes less air pollution that causes all kinds of health problems, and is cheaper and less polluting in the long run even if you’re plugging your EV into the electric utility that is burning coal. We can’t fix everything at once, but we do now have alternatives that we can move towards instead of fighting over things that will still cause the same problems at the end. We can and should choose better, smarter ways that cause less harm. We don’t have to believe that we have to do things a certain way, or that just because we’ve always done it that way we still should. We have to be able to make the best possible decisions based on the best truth that we can. Here’s a tutorial on checking sources in relation to energy and fossil fuels.

This is not someone else’s problem to work towards purposeful change, it’s each and every one of us who needs to take up this responsibility as Americans, or we’re going to head back to the dark ages. If you don’t believe this, the mega-billionaires out there do. They’re setting up safehouses and strategies for when the sh*t hits the fan and our society falls apart, because their high-priced financial advisers and consultants are telling them that there is a high risk that the sh*t is going to hit the fan. They know it but they do their best at keeping the rest of us in the dark so they can keep making money at any cost to the long-term health of our society. But how is that going to really protect them when they’re isolating themselves? We have to work together as a society, because we live in a society with all kind of different people. We have to be aware as individuals what’s actually happening out there and take responsibility for making good decisions. This literally means that when we hear about a headline on the news, from a friend or in the paper, we should 1) take up the responsibility to get to the truth of what’s happening, 2) use our checklist to make sure something’s good for climate/economy/humanity, and 3) make sure we’re using trusted sources of information. 

Protecting nature and animals and making life more economically comfortable and fulfilling for ALL is not something that should divide us, unless we’re seriously selfish and out of touch with reality. It’s not weak, soft or shameful to show care towards other human beings and nature. For some reason, it’s a really unpopular opinion and regarded as alarmist or ignorant that we should take responsibility for reducing harm in every choice we make. That’s the main thing that exploitative organizations and people are preying on, so we have to use our personal powers to make sure we’re not getting used for someone else’s or our own selfish gain. No one is going to be perfect here, we just have to at least do our best to be true to ourselves and others. Nothing is black and white but it’s totally possible to make good choices about what to actually believe and how to act on those beliefs.

So when we read those depressing, scary, confusing headlines, instead of feeling hopeless and giving up, use these rules of thumb in order to start to change your habits. Find out the truth so you can take meaningful action to contribute to purposeful change that is absolutely the critical challenge of our lifetime.

Please add your comments and thoughts below.

Hydroponics and Local Food and Farms Events Tomorrow, April 20

Don’t forget to sign up for tomorrow’s events! Hydroponics at noon, Local Food and Farms at 4:30. Free but registration is required, get registration link at Please share!

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.

Free Online Course @UN: Climate Change:From Learning to Action

This course is available from the United Nations at the following link:

It’s free and open to the public, you just have to set up an account to take it. Here’s some additional info from the UN climate change learning website:

Think, Learn, Act Climate!

The course helps you understand what climate change is, how it affects you and others, and what can be done to address it. After completing the course, participants will be able to answer the following:

  • What is climate change?
  • How do we adapt to the negative impacts of climate change?
  • What opportunities exist for a low carbon future?
  • How do we plan and finance climate actions?
  • How do climate negotiations work?

Participants will also develop a concrete action plan or project to tackle climate change!

View all the UN courses here: