From void into vision, from vision to mind, from mind into speech, from speech to the tribe, from the tribe into din.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupy Green

This idea may be moot after all the forced evictions of the Occupations from public spaces but I thought I'd share it anyway.

I've visited the Occupations in Wall Street, Boston, and Providence, RI. Every time I go to one of them, I try to connect with somebody about making the Occupation green with, as yet, little success. In New York, I saw the greywater treatment system Mobile Research Labs set up and talked to a couple of people about using some simple solar techniques. In Boston, I've tried to connect the winterization team with the student Energy Clubs at some of the local colleges and universities and alerted my own network of solar enthusiasts to Occupy Boston's efforts. I've also tried to do the same by contacting OWS's Sustainability Group. In Providence, I talked with the only occupier I saw up and around early on a Sunday morning. He was picking up trash around the park and was disappointed that the group hadn't organized themselves enough to do recycling. I gave him my card and my elevator pitch for a green occupation and he said he'd pass it on.

I look at the Occupations and see economic refugee camps and a possible test-bed for emergency response and sustainable economic development around the world. Some may say that's crazy but the links are there if you look.

Occupy Wall Street had the aforementioned greywater treatment system and bike generators in NYC built by Time's Up. In October, Greenpeace brought solar panels to the site (video at ). There was even a system for carrying compostable "wastes" to community gardens by cargo bike.

In Boston, Revolt Lab designed and built a portable solar charger (more at ). Sage Radachowsky built a winterized micro house and brought it to the Occupation.

There is even an effort to Occupy Rooftops on Community Solar Day, November 20, by Solar Mosaic, a group which has been building community solar projects one panel at a time.

All of these are great ideas and a good start but there are many other things that are possible.

How about the 99% expressing solidarity with the Other 90%, the poorest people around the world, by using the solar cooking techniques that has been used in African refugee camps for years:

I especially like this video because it not only shows you how to use (and make) a simple solar cooker but also demonstrates an old slow cooking technique, the hotbox or haybox cooker. This is simply an insulated container into which is placed the a pot of food once it has been heated up to cooking temperature. This is an idea that goes back a long ways into our history and is just as useful today.

Rainwater harvesting is another simple idea that the Occupations could use as access to water has been an issue for most Occupation sites since they started.

Sanitation is an obvious problem that has not been adequately addressed. I wonder if the Drink Pee Drink Pee Drink Pee process where you can pee in a container and "then perform a biochemical reaction that transforms the nutrients in your urine into an immediately usable fertilizer to feed your own plants" might be applicable.

The US military is now making solar and wind powered forward bases. Can some of their technology be adapted by the Occupations? Does Architecture for Humanity and Crisis Commons have any interest in trying out emergency response ideas through the Occupations?

These ideas are only a beginning of what is possible.


All I know about simple solar is at

Trash Technology and Recycled Solar: Plastic Bottles

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