J500 Media and the Environment

Why don’t we have sustain on the brain? by travisjbrown

It’s no secret that Lawrence is known for its radicals, liberals, and hippies. This reputation is one of the many reasons I am proud to call myself a Lawrencian. But there’s one more name I wish they’d bestow upon us: treehuggers.

Artist: Camilla Engman camillaengman.com

Woahohoho there tiger. Becoming a treehugger isn’t going to be that easy.

One way that Lawrence could become a green city is by building eco-communities. This seems right up our alley. The town has a long history of cooperative housing and still offers coop living opportunities . The coop lifestyle is a more sustainable lifestyle. Think abou it: you have a group of people sharing food, utilities, rides, skills. However, a coop house is not neccesarily a green house.

Lawrence has all the ingredients needed to produce green communities. We have environmentally conscious citizens, we have coop housing, we have large-scale interest in buying local and the means to do so. So why aren’t sustainable communes popping up all over the place?

People might be slowed down by the financial fears behind going green. Even though the road to sustainable living may lead to more economical living, many are turned off by the initial investments. It usually costs between $20,000 and $30,000 to install enough solar panels to fit your energy needs. The average Lawrencian’s yearly salary is just under $36,000. It stands to reason that many would be apprehensive about making the big jump. But there are other ways to take on a green lifestyle.

For example, check out the Lincoln-Dameron ecohood in Prescott, Arizona. This neighborhood transformed itself into a green community over time. It did not take heavy funding or a complete renovation. It was just developed by people who either wanted to live simple lives, cared about the environment or just enjoyed the sense of community.

Now, that doesn’t seem too glamorous. But its an economic way to be environmental. And it’s pretty damn cool.

Coop housing in Lawrence

-Travis Brown


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