Green on the ground in Lorain County

Submitted by rnojonson on Sat, 10/24/2009 - 17:13.

Wow Man!! did you see that??????????

It was on the front page of the Plain Dealer for Saturday October 24, 2009. The second headline read, "Green idea for Oberlin: a sustainable arts district".

This is the greatest thing ever (especially since I expressed the same idea). First taking all that we know about green energy, sustainability and building an living environment among real common folk, starting with a city block, doing green on the ground and practical. Then, using the arts as a catalyst, a seed to grow the green culture and grow businesses around it.

I don't know how it will work out, but if you don't start, it won't happen at all. So, from retro-fitting older buildings to designing and putting up brand new buildings, the green opportunity is there. And just like when Cleveland was rejuvinating parts of itself, invite the arts community. Why??? Because the arts community knows how to embrace the new and live with transitions and transformations of culture. I also think Oberlin is a fitting town because of a history of transitions, from the Underground Railroad to today.

You got to have a green proof of concept in Ohio, not California, because it is different here.

So, everyone get that paper, get it laminated, read it over and over and get pumped.

I read it and it is good

I read it and it is good news.  My brother-in-law lives in Oberlin with his wife and son.  I will have to send him the link to the article as he does not often read the newspaper.  Thanks for the post.


Communities that THRIVE

  The sun is shining today--my neighborhood Brooklyn Centre has one solar demonstration project that already puts energy back into the grid. 

How can this energy be harnessed to benefit the immediate community by reducing our collective energy costs?  I see flat roofs and angled roof lines on public buildings throughout my neighborhood.  The library, the churches, the schools, and the vast untapped roofs at Steelyard Commons...

Ask yourself, would you want to LIVE in a community that works together to provide lower energy costs for its residents? 

I know that I would.


my opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer, my spouse, my cat, my neighbors, my extended family or anyone I happen to acknowledge on the street, bus, etc.

Communities that suck energy from the grid

No sunshine in unreal NEO.

Laura, surely you know about the Cleveland Foundation Co-Op to put solar on top of Case.

That is the Cleveland+Foundation+University way... use government money and support to subsidize cost reduction, revenue generation and bragging-rights initiatives for our universities, as the people suffer and pay and pay.

How did your fire department get its solar installation, and what is the cost benefit to taxpayers, really?

Another Science Center lawn ornament?

Bill McD, what is your knowledge on current support for solar in NEO, at the real on-the-streets level - I didn't see the PD promoting your solar job creation efforts... anyone flying you around the world and wining and dining you to help grow soal in NEO?

Disrupt IT

institutionalized energy should not be the focus.

For every so many square feet of solar put on public and institutional buildings, some also should be put on residential buildings, else what's the point.

The university should put the solar on the dorms to reduce the cost of student housing overhead. If solar/wind is not brought down into day to day lives of students how do you expect them be a part of this green movement? You folks have got to quit trying to institutionalize solar/wind to where it is another grid utility you pay to use. Bring the students as close to this green technology as possible so when they take the related classes, they are familiar, are informed and have ideas on where this technology can go (develop the nerds, techies, geeks, gurus, hobbiest and potential product market).

And let me tell you that solar/wind energy is not about jobs yet. You can't talk about jobs until you create a product market which requires a culture and a climate where anything green can be accepted, understood and appreciated. By exposing the need people invest and the consequence is that the global agenda is met.

I hear over and over the words "cost competitive with existing energy cost", if this is our measuring stick we might as well clean coal. Our cost stick should be recalibrated and adjusted because of what traditional energy sources are doing to the environment/us and what solar/wind do. Otherwise we are paying for our own slow destruction. It is a slow death where our quality of life requires the Cleveland Clinic to extend. I'll be living on a coal fired respirator and consuming the pill diet when I'm old.

I will put it in plain words. An atomic bomb is instant total destruction we have in our collective history. We take measures to ensure this does not happen again. Global warming we can't comprehend inspite of the signs we don't fully understand. We don't know what measures to take, we can't put them in order, and it is slow change. We are adapting to the new conditions and doing the wait and see thing. If it gets worst, we will wait until we are told to panic. Even public panic has been institutionalized at this point. If all of nature is the canary in the coal mine, we need to shut the mine, find another way to make energy, oh wait, there's solar and wind and various natural gas and fuelcells and.............

Please don't joke about Cleveland's former burning river, we still burn coal to the same end. The river is way better now even for fish because we stopped dumping. We should leave the coal mountains to grow flowers now that we have the technology to get energy other ways,  stop burning coal.

Instead of carbon credits, let them invest in green energy until it is viable enough to replace the toxic energy sources.

I've said enough for now, don't keep an open mind, words will go in one ear and out the other. Instead challenge, wrestle, handle and explore what ifs, talk out loud, go past the slogans, slang and buzzwords, do details later and if you ask why also ask why not. Personnaly I look for hybrid solutions rather than either or solutions because our track record for finding the sweet-spot is awful.

Oberlin will help free the energy slaves if it is not swallowed by big business.




What if?  What do we have

What if?  What do we have here in Ward 14 in abundance?  Oengus noticed that we have an abundance of freeways.  What if we could somehow harness all that energy of all those cars and trucks whizzing past our area into energy. 

I was talking to my son today about Ward 14 and why it was the lost area surrounded by areas that are more prosperous.  He said it was because this area doesn't have anything special to offer.  I have been complaining about the freeway noise and now we have this discussion about energy.  This caused me to think about the possibility of harnessing all that freeway traffic into some kind of energy.  Don't ask me how...I have no education in that area...but it was just a thought....what if. 

where's ward 14, how far from Oberlin?

Well, I don't know where ward 14 is and what that has to do with green in Oberlin of Lorain County (also in NE Ohio), but to explore the possibilities is a good thing.

The problems with larger cities have to do with pre-existing conditions. Just like with health insurance, you have to pay through the nose for regular stuff because of the overwheilming concern about pre-existing conditions. But just like with everything that is the fruits of the industrial revolution, the healthy and wealthy pay for the sick and ones unable to work. The reality today is that there are fewer wealthy who care, fewer healthy obligated to pay. Why? Today's work requires less workers, the wealthy who invest, put their money in global concerns, emerging markets, developing countries. Maintaining and improving life in America is not profitable, they are scared of investing here. It is better to fund what you know in a different country than dump money here in new technology threating to change everything.

Wadding through crap is real. Businesses and universities will get a token solar panel here and there and the cost of producing them will never go down, the cost of buying them will be for rich folks only. And you will never if ever see a solar panel on any residence along the Euclid Corridor. The dollars are stretched thin and the overpaid lawyers will haggle time away, utilities will keep things as they are, gov reps will push and kick to sway folks this way and that. People will raise the stink about taxes, who is paying and who benefits. Some of everybody is going to be dis-satisfied and speak out loudly to further twist and distort things.

First, I can't say "coming to a neiborghood near you, green energy", all packaged and ready for you to plug in. Because we are talking about changing life as we know it, our support systems, our supply lines and our thinking, we need to see it to comprehend it. Show us the working model, then we can adjust it to our needs. A college town, Oberlin, is perfect for this.

In the 60's and 70's hippies experimented with the green idea, then someone built the Eco-sphere (self sustaining world in an enclosed geodesic dome (for Mars/Moon living not Earth living)) and then Disney World had a future food thing. No one remembers or talks about these things anymore. Don't put anymore dreams on display to sell tickets, when we awake things aren't changed. Put the technology to real use in real homes and businesses with real people. Even a homeless shelter can be solar powered to lower operating cost. I don't care about the huge insurance company going green, what about Joe's Diner or Jimmy's barber shop or my house?

Many cities have older homes that need replaced. Do not stick build homes, especially the smaller homes on city lots. Build them in factories (jobs) to efficient specs with recycled and other materials (not from China). Not everything has to be so high tech, many energy use things are simple physics and rather passive. They are not promoted because the utilities would rather sell you a unit you can pay for without thinking, forever. OK bankers, either property or homes should be cheap. If you decide land is cheap then homes should be leased and depreciate. If you build them in a factory, they can be upgraded or replaced much easier. Life in America should not be about dreams if being awake is a fruitless struggle. American awake just doesn't sound right, yet dreams mean we are asleep and we are being taken advantage of.

Isn't Cleveland supposed to be the center of North East Ohio progress toward greeness in this region? Well, it is a funny thing about taking the lead, it doesn't garantee an opportunity to do it. I think Cleveland is greatly distracted by too many other things to be going green in big ways. And when you put green in front of corporate focused people you get a token solar panel on a well mentioned building. It is publicity boosting and false bragging-rights. The Euclid Corridor was planned before the green urgency, so green was not part of the planning. Oh and who would foot the bill, the people who live along there? So there is no solar/wind or other green stuff to boast in. Where is the Ward 14 anyway? Ward 14 should invest in it's own people culture, what attracts folks to come spend time there, spend money there. Count all  the assets before you discount the area, small business and cultural entities. The sound barriers along the freeways could have solar panels on them and some wind turbines could also be along or over the highways, perhaps not the pinwheel design.

Oberlin is a perfect place, they already have some green efforts and the local politics aren't totally ruined yet, and the college can use the boost to the arts, engineering, farming research and energy research and energy application. Mainly the thing that is going to change is our values. The culture of day to day living will also change. I would suggest the "Solar Ark" research by John/Nancy Todd, I read about them and their work back in the 70's. They talked about whole systems, solar heating, solar farms, natural sewage systems and built and operated the real stuff. It's 40 years later and I am sure the technology is better. We waste too much time fighting about who's paying, who's buying, maybe we should redefine what is ownership. Also look at the primise of Pablo Soleri, his work is perhaps too fantastic, but the idea to fund and build a city from the ground up is pretty cool. He also is using the arts as a catalyst. We don't have to go to the edge, after all this the mid west and the heart of the US.

So what if all that green info from the 60's until today was collected in one place, reviewed and digested and updated and implimented? College rebellion is not about  living on distant planets, it is about living here on Earth. Hey man if you can't go forward stay and debotch yourself, it don't matter. If you look progress in the eye, life on Earth (in my neiborghood) has not changed since my birth (50+). The International Space Station is the Yellow Submarine the Beetles sung about. It's where rich boys might go in their space yachts, then the moon, then mars, then................. But when a guy doesn't promote debotching or off world living, he's a flaming radical, hide your money, he's gona change what we know and love, we'll be taxed to death, socialized, he'll turn us all into communist or commune-ist or community-ist. Hey, go sit on a burning chunk of clean coal! That doesn't exist either.



I know where Oberlin

I know where Oberlin brother-in-law lives there and my husband and I have been there many times.  I agree it is a good area for setting up and trying the new green energy. 

Ward 14 is located on Cleveland's near westside.  It is about 35 minutes away from Oberlin if you take the highways.  I am not a politician or a business person or a rich person, I am simply a resident that cares about what happens in the area I live.  I have no hiddin agendas. 

You wrote a lot so it will take me awhile to digest everything you said...but thanks for your response. 

Don't mean to ruffle

Don't mean to ruffle personal feathers, just wanted to get some bearings. A resident who cares is a great thing, too often overlooked until election time. I get mad when lawyer/politians/corp leaders haggle over this green issue till the only thing that's viable is a raise in the utility rates and or taxes. With the cost of living so high and the job situation so precarious, there seems to be no remedies in sight for average folks.

I was on the planning commission in a small town a couple years. I learned a bit about looking at a communities assets and building on that. It too was a wierd place near the highways and not much land free and clear. We were always rejecting truck farms and gas station expansion because they provided too few jobs and tax revenue for the space they took up. It took creative zoning to curve it. In your ward you got to pull together symbiont networks between the assets. The arts, the shops, historic spots, what ever is there and promote yourselves as a community. Establish a ward 14 development group, gather the neighbors and talk about what you like to see, starting with what you have. Decide if this is going to be a fix it or a what if meeting. If it's a fix it meeting be prepaired to hear nothing but complaints and no solutions.

Let's say ward 14 needs a library, but can't raise bucks for a big building. Set up a smaller library, have public PC stations, a web site and the ability to access every online book, ebook service, etc. It is mostly what you all think about yourselves and what you are willing to risk to be a community. Kids need stuff besides sports to do. The Karamu House has been in a struggling area for decades, not University Circle. A community house is very cool, a place where art can be hung and bought, kids can put on a play, or music groups can jam, a family place.

Pardon me, I do tend to ramble.

Your ideas are welcome, they

Your ideas are welcome, they don't sound like rambling to me.  New ideas often light the spark that is needed to try something new and get an entire neighborhood out of its duldrums.  Thank you for the suggestions.