Category: Step It Up


Featured on Conscious Choice, this article written by Van Jones is a really insightful and thought provoking look at the racial politics of the Green Movement. Here it is in its entirety:

April 2007 Beyond Eco-Apartheid
Is the Green Movement too White?
By Van Jones


In 2005, Americans sat before our television sets, horrified by images of an American city underwater. In 2006, we sat in the nation’s movie houses, watching Al Gore make the case for urgent action. In 2007, Americans are finally rising from our seats and demanding action to reverse global warming.

Students are planning marches and protests to push Congress to curb emissions. Consumers and investors are flocking to carbon-cutting solutions like hybrid cars, bio-diesel and solar power. Reporters and editors are moving their environmental stories from the back of the paper to Page 1A, above the fold. Corporations are stampeding each other to showcase their love of clear skies and lush forests. And both the blue Democrats and the red Republicans are suddenly waving green banners.

The climate crisis is galloping from the margins of geek science to the epicenter of our politics, culture and economics. As the new environmentalists advance, only two questions remain: whom will they take with them? And whom will they leave behind?

We know that climate activists will convince Congress to adopt market-based solutions (like “cap and trade”). This approach may help big businesses do the right thing. But will those same activists use their growing clout to push Congress to better aid survivors of Hurricane Katrina? Black and impoverished victims of our biggest eco-disaster still lack housing and the means to rebuild. Will they find any champions in the rising environmental lobby?

We know that the climate activists will fight for subsidies and supports for the booming clean energy and energy conservation markets. But will they insist that these new industries be accessible beyond the eco-elite — creating jobs and wealth-building opportunities for low-income people and people of color? In other words, will the new environmental leaders fight for eco-equity in this “green economy” they are birthing? Or will they try to take the easy way out — in effect, settling for an eco-apartheid?

The sad racial history of environmental activism tends to discourage high hopes among racial justice activists. And yet this new wave has the potential to be infinitely more expansive and inclusive than previous eco-upsurges.

Environmentalism’s 1st Wave: Conservation

But first, the bad news: no previous wave of US environmentalism ever broke with the racism or elitism of its day. In fact, earlier environmental movements often either ignored racial inequality or exacerbated it.

For example, consider the first wave of environmentalism: the “conservation” wave.

The true original conservationists were not John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt or David Brower. They were the Native Americans. The original Americans were geniuses at living in harmonic balance with their sister and brother species. Before the Europeans arrived, the entire continent was effectively a gigantic nature preserve. A squirrel could climb a tree at the Atlantic Ocean and move branch-to-branch-to-branch until she reached the Mississippi River. So many birds flew south for the winter that their beating wings were like thunder, and their numbers blotted out the sun.

Native Americans achieved this feat of conservation on a continent that was fully populated by humans. In fact, the leading indigenous civilizations achieved world-historic heights of political statesmanship by founding the Iroquois Federation, a model for the US founders.

Unfortunately, those same founders rejected the Indians’ example of environmental stewardship. Colonizers wiped out whole species to make pelts, felled forests and destroyed watersheds. Settlers almost exterminated the buffalo just for shooting sport.

The destruction of nature was so relentless, heedless and massive that some Europeans balked. They created the famed “conservation movement,” a slogan for which could well have been: “Okay, but let’s not pave EVERY-thing!”

Fortunately, the conservationists’ enjoyed some success; their worthy efforts continue to this day. But the first and best practitioners of “environmental conservation” were not white people. They were red people. And the mostly-white conservation movement still owes an incalculable debt to the physical and philosophical legacy of indigenous peoples. But it is a debt that conservation leaders apparently have no intention of ever repaying.

Case in point: today’s large conservation groups together have countless members, hundreds of millions of dollars and scores of professional lobbyists. But when Native Americans fight poverty, hostile federal bureaucracies and the impact of broken treaties, these massive groups are almost always missing in action. In that regard, Indian-killing Teddy Roosevelt set the enduring pattern for most conservationists’ racial politics: “Let’s preserve the land we stole.”

Environmentalism’s 2nd Wave: Regulation

In the 1960s, the second wave of environmentalism got under way. Sparked by Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, this wave could be called the “regulation” wave. It challenged the worst excesses of industrial-age pollution and toxics. Among other important successes, this wave produced the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the EPA and the first Earth Day in 1970.

But this wave, too, was affluent and lily white. As a result, it developed huge blind spots to toxic pollution concentrating in communities of poor and brown-skinned people. In fact, some people of color began to wonder if white polluters and white environmentalists were unconsciously collaborating. They were effectively steering the worst polluters and foulest dumps into Black, Latino, Asian and poor neighborhoods.

Finally, people of color people began speaking out. And in the 1980s, a new movement was born to combat what its leaders called “environmental racism.” Those leaders said: “Regulate pollution, yes — but do it with equity. Do it fairly. Don’t make black, brown and poor children bear a disproportionate burden of asthma and cancer.”

Two decades later, that so-called “environmental justice” movement continues to defend the poor and vulnerable. But it functions separately from so-called “mainstream” (white) environmentalism. That movement has never fully embraced the cause of environmentalists of color. In other words, since the 1980s, we have had an environmental movement that is segregated by race.

Given this history of racial apathy, exclusion and even hostility, is there any reason to expect much different from the latest upsurge of eco-activism?

The Third Time’s the Charm: Investment

Well, in fact: there is. The reason for hope has to do with the very nature of the present wave. Simply put, this wave is qualitatively different from the previous ones.

The first wave was about preserving the natural bounty of the past. The second wave was about regulating the problems of the industrial present. But the new wave is different. It is about investing in solutions for the future: solar power, hybrid technology, bio-fuels, wind turbines, tidal power, fuel cells, energy conservation methods and more.

The green wave’s new products, services and technologies could also mean something important to struggling communities: the possibility of new green-collar jobs, a chance to improve community health and opportunities to build wealth in the green economy. If the mostly-white global warming activists join forces with people of color, the United States can avoid both eco-apocalypse and eco-apartheid — and achieve eco-equity.

Discussions of race, class and the environment today can go beyond how to atone for past hurts or distribute present harms. Today we can ask: how do we equitably carve up the benefits of a bright future?

And that kind of question gives a powerful incentive for people of color, labor leaders and low-income folks to come back to the environmental table. At the same time, for all their present momentum, the newly ascendant greens cannot meet their short-term objectives or their long-term goals — without the support of a much broader coalition.

Green Rush = Green-Collar Jobs?

From the perspective of people of color, helping to build a bigger green tent would be worth the effort. Green is rapidly becoming the new gold. The LOHAS (lifestyles of health and sustainability) sector is growing like crazy: it was a $229 billion piece of the US economy in 2006. And it is growing on a vertical.

But unfortunately, the LOHAS sector is probably the most racially segregated part of the US economy — in terms of its customers, owners and employees. Changing that could create better health, more jobs and increased wealth for communities that need all three.

For example, an urban youth trained to install solar panels can go on to become an electrical engineer. Imagine a young adult trained to keep buildings from leaking energy by putting in double-paned glass — on track to becoming a glazer. Those trained to work with eco-chic bamboo or to fix hybrid engines will find good work.

We need Green Technology Training Centers in every public high school, vocational school and community college. And America needs an Energy Corps, like Americorps and the Peace Corps, to train and deploy millions of youth in the vital work of rewiring a nation.

Beyond that, people of color must also have the chance to become inventors, investors, owners, entrepreneurs and employers in the new greener world. They should also use their political power to influence the scope, scale and shape of the green economy.

It makes sense for people of color to work for a green growth agenda, as long as green partisans embrace broad opportunity and shared prosperity as key values.

Eco-Equity Is Smart Politics

For global warming activists, embracing eco-equity would be a politically brilliant move. In the short term, a more inclusive approach will prevent polluters from isolating and derailing the new movement. In the long run, it is the only strategy that will save the Earth.

In the near term, opponents of change will actively recruit everyone whom this new movement ignores, offends or excludes. California provides a cautionary tale; voters there rejected a 2006 ballot measure to fund clean energy research. A small excise tax on the state’s oil extraction would have produced a huge fund, propelling California into the global lead in renewable energy. But the same message that wooed Silicon Valley and Hollywood elites flopped among regular voters.

Clean energy proponents ran abstract ads about “energy independence” and the bright eco-future. But big oil spoke directly to pocket-book issues, running ads that warned (falsely) that the tax would send gas prices through the roof. On that basis, an NAACP leader and others joined the opposition. And the measure’s original sky-high support plummeted.

To avoid getting out-maneuvered politically, green economy proponents must actively pursue alliances with people of color. And they must include leaders, organizations and messages that will resonate with the working class.

The Hidden Danger of Eco-Apartheid

But the real danger lies in the long term. The United States is the world’s biggest polluter. To avoid eco-apocalypse, Congress will have to do more than pass a “cap and trade” bill. And Americans will have to do more than stick in better light bulbs.

To pull off this ecological U-turn, we will have to fundamentally restructure the US economy. We will need to “green” whole cities. We will have to build thousands of wind farms, install tens of millions of solar panels and retrofit millions of buildings. We will have to retire our car, truck and bus fleets, which are based on combustible engines and oil, replacing them with plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles powered by a clean-energy grid.

Reversing global warming will require a WWII level of mobilization. It is the work of tens of millions, not hundreds of thousands. Such a shift will require massive support at the social, cultural and political levels. And in an increasingly non-white nation, that means enlisting the passionate involvement of millions of so-called “minorities” — as consumers, inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, buzz marketers, voters and workers.

All For Green & Green For All

It is obvious that eco-chic, embraced by the eco-elite, won’t save the planet. Climate change activists may be tempted to try to sidestep the issues of racial inclusion, in the name of expedience — but the truth is that eco-apartheid is just a speed-bump on the way to eco-apocalypse. Any successful, long-term strategy will require a full and passionate embrace of the principle of eco-equity.

Beyond that, there is the moral imperative. The predicted ecological disasters will hit poor people and people of color — first and worst. Our society has an obligation to insure equal protection from the peril — and equal access to the promise — of our new, ecological age.

So now is the time for the green movement to reach out. By definition, a politics of investment is a politics of hope, optimism and opportunity. The bright promise of the green economy could soon include, inspire and energize people of all races and classes. And nowhere is the need for a politics of hope more profound than it is among America’s urban and rural poor.

More importantly, climate activists can open the door to a grand historic alliance — a political force with the power to bend history in a new direction. Let the climate activists say: “We want to build a green economy, strong enough to lift people out of poverty. We want to create green pathways out of poverty and into great careers for America’s children. We want this ‘green wave’ to lift all boats. This country can save the polar bears and black kids, too.”

Let them say: “In the wake of Katrina, we reject the idea of ‘free market’ evacuation plans. Families should not be left behind to drown because they lack a functioning car or a credit card. Katrina’s survivors still need our help. And we need a plan to rescue everybody next time. In an age of floods, we reject the ideology that says must let our neighbors ‘sink or swim.’”

Let them say: “We want those communities that were locked out of the last century’s pollution-based economy to be locked into the new, clean and green economy. We don’t have any throw-away species or resources. And we don’t have any throw-away children or neighborhoods either. All of creation is precious. And we are all in this together.”

A Green Growth Alliance

Those words would make environmental history.

More importantly, they could begin a complete realignment of American politics. The idea of “social uplift environmentalism” could serve as the cornerstone for an unprecedented “Green Growth Alliance.” Imagine a coalition that unites the best of labor, business, racial justice activists, environmentalists, intellectuals, students and more. That combination would rival the last century’s New Deal and New Right coalitions.

To give the Earth and her peoples a fighting chance, we need a broad, eco-populist alliance — one that includes every class under the sun and every color in the rainbow. By embracing eco-equity as their ultimate goal, the climate crisis activists can play a key role in birthing such a force.

Van Jones is the president of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, in Oakland, California (ellabakercenter.org) and a National Apollo Alliance steering committee member.

Advertisements

The author of The Shock Doctorine, Naomi Klein (not to be confused with Naomi Wolf) wrote an article for the Huffington Post this week called “Guns Beat Green: The Market Has Spoken.” The basic principle is that global private security firms are booming while green stocks are unsteady.
Here’s a clip:

The idea that capitalism can save us from climate catastrophe has powerful appeal. It gives politicians an excuse to subsidize corporations rather than regulate them, and it neatly avoids a discussion about how the core market logic of endless growth landed us here in the first place.

The market, however, appears to have other ideas about how to meet the challenges of an increasingly disaster-prone world. According to Lloyd, despite all the government incentives, the really big money is turning away from clean energy technologies and banking instead on gadgets promising to seal wealthy countries and individuals into high-tech fortresses. Key growth areas in venture capitalism are private security firms selling surveillance gear and privatized emergency response. Put simply, in the world of venture capitalism, there has been a race going on between greens on the one hand and guns and garrisons on the other–and the guns are winning.

I agree Naomi, it does seem awfully fishy that, “The greens have received $4.2 billion, while the garrisons have nearly doubled their money, collecting $6 billion in new investment funds. And 2007 isn’t over yet.”

I’m thinking it’s high time I build myself a little cabin high in the mountains and hide.

you can do your part to save the planet-while they continue to plunder it.”

My favorite local paper, The Metroland, held a cover story last week called Lights Out, on the ways in which corporations are taking advantage of the new Green Movement, while continuing to be directly responsible for the problem in the first place. Most everyone has figured this out by now, but I think the idea here is to get people to stop enforcing and upholding the problem, and instead taking the awareness of the problem and using it to FIX the problem.

Here it is in it’s entirety:

Eco-living is the new opiate of the masses. The captains of industry have duped you: Like master magicians, they have used simple tricks and toys to divert your attention from the real source of global catastrophe, tucked securely up their sleeves. They could not be more pleased that you and your fellow self-satisfied saps expend your righteous Earth-saving efforts in pursuit not of environmental preservation, but of your own lighting fixtures and water bottles—while they merrily maintain an unfettered raping of the planet.

Do you really think that the colossal effects of global warming will be staved off by household habits? Understand this: Right now, global mega-giants are bankrolling the development of emerging economies in Macao, Kazakhstan, and elsewhere. Because of our country’s policy and outreach failures, they are charging forward in ways that will maximize the return on their investments, not minimize the greenhouse-gas impact for the next century or so. The difference will be measurable in tens of thousands of teragrams of greenhouse gases a year.

Developing countries are where it’s at for controlling the problem in the long term. China probably will surpass the United States in total CO2 emissions this year, according to the U.S. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. Its output is growing at roughly 10 percent per year, largely due to the staggering pace of new coal-burning plants being built there to support manufacturing facilities, which are needed to meet the frenzied demand of its trading partners, like us. Kazakhstan—driven by oil and natural-gas reserves—increased its per-capita CO2 emissions by a stunning 60 percent from 1999 to 2004, according to United Nations data. India, with a sixth of the world’s people, is on an upward emissions curve, as are South Africa, Malaysia, Egypt, Nigeria, Thailand, Yemen, Namibia, Oman, and many other Third World nations.

Supposedly squeaky-green Europe doesn’t exactly have clean hands, either, as it accounts for some 11 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions—with numbers rising in several member nations.

Have you mentioned to your congressperson recently that you’d like the United States to get on the ball with that? Or have you been too busy riding your bicycle to the store that sells food grown within the right eco-distance of your house—or changing your lightbulbs, perhaps? As you’ve probably heard, if one million American households each changed four standard lightbulbs to eco-friendly fluorescent, we would eliminate 900,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year. That’s less than one teragram, or about one-seventh of the emissions of just the U.S. rice-cultivation industry.

Surely the directed efforts of one million households could accomplish more.

They could, for instance, join the recent call of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER). That 19-year-old nonprofit is trying to jump-start the drastically needed effort to coordinate ecological-maintenance and restoration programs worldwide, to mitigate the effects of the climate change that is already coming upon us. SER is asking governments, international-development banks, and private institutions to provide financial support, technology, and expertise.

You haven’t heard much debate about that SER plea in your corporate-owned major media. It’s exactly the kind of serious, massive, and costly effort that corporate titans desperately don’t want anybody talking about. That’s because getting serious about stopping the looming catastrophe will, absolutely, hurt the profits of many businesses, increase the spending of governments (and thus require more taxation), and slow, at least to some extent, the growth of the global economy.

While you won’t hear about these serious solutions on network television, you will hear plenty about climate change these days. That’s because we are in a new phase of obstructionism: We have moved from denial to co-option.

Global-warming denial faces its inevitable last days. Like tobacco-industry chairmen before them, the climate-change naysayers have hidden their greed-driven practices behind the phony pretense of scientific doubt until now, when the very last human finds their pseudo-claims laughable. So corporate titans have chosen the obvious next strategy: Neuter the opposition by incorporating it. They now embrace environmentalism, and in doing so have taken control of its marketing. And the marketing has one goal in mind: to convince you that saving the Earth has nothing to do with regulation or government action or corporate behavior, but is purely a consumer choice. Saving the Earth, you are told by everyone from Nike to Esurance, is something that you do, at home, by buying clothes and car insurance.

Perhaps you watched the unofficial worldwide launch of the new, corporate-subsidiary environmentalism movement: Live Earth.

An estimated 2 billion people witnessed this gelding of Al Gore, who, with the attention of all those people, said not a word to them about the global regulatory efforts he well knows are necessary. Instead, he and the corporate sponsors doled out self-directed, consumer-spending advice such as: Pay your bills online, replace your laptop with a PC, buy a bicycle, buy new energy-efficient appliances.

And, of course, buy energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs. The market for those bulbs is led by Live Earth corporate sponsor Philips. Its interests are hardly pure: In its most recent annual report, Philips crowed to investors of its plans to dominate “the largely untapped potential of energy-saving lighting systems,” which Philips plans to tap “in our pursuit of sustained profitable growth.”

This is what you are buying into when you fall for eco-marketing. Instead of making these companies more money, try making a real difference. Throw down your fluorescent lamps, leave your computer on at night, and do something about the actual problem that is destroying your children’s hopes: Call your congressperson, join an activist group, write to board members of ExxonMobil—something.

The results of the eco-friendly crowd’s wasted, misdirected effort can be seen very clearly in the grotesque, ongoing inaction of the United States government, which through citizen apathy has been allowed to fall under the control of the most shortsighted, greedy, corporate leaders imaginable.

Two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency held its annual meeting for the Natural Gas STAR Program—the United States’ primary effort to get oil and natural-gas producers, who are responsible for 2 percent of all U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions—to reduce their output of methane, a gas 20 times more potent than carbon in trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.

This 14-year-old STAR program is a big knee-slapping hoot for the industry. Participation is voluntary, and those companies that do sign up—roughly 110 of them, including BP and Chevron, representing less than two-thirds of the industry’s emissions—agree only to implement programs they deem “cost-effective” for their company. That is, they graciously agree to do things that will demonstrably make them more money.

The downsides to this commitment are nonexistent: The EPA promises these mega-emitters that they can “participate at a level that best suits your company,” that “implement[ation] of specific practices is not mandatory,” “implementation plans are not binding,” and “you can terminate your partnership at any time with no penalties, further obligation, or publicity.”

No publicity for walking out on STAR—but big publicity for joining. These companies receive the aggressive marketing of a grateful EPA, which, at the annual meeting, presents awards to roughly 10 percent of the participating companies, and then runs public-service announcements touting their accomplishments in national media. This year’s “Continuing Excellence” award, for instance, went to Consumers Energy. Just two weeks before that announcement, Consumers was facing criticism from a gathering of environmental groups in Lansing, Mich. Those groups suggest that some—any—regulations should be placed on Consumers, which currently releases more than 10 million tons of CO2 each year from a coal-firing plant near Lake Michigan, and is building another $2 billion plant in the state.

In a local article about the controversy, a Consumers official was quoted saying that people wanted the coal-firing plants: “The public has voted with its light switches.”

That’s what the corporate Earth-killers think of you. Who’s willing to do something about it?

David S. Bernstein is a staff writer at the Boston Phoenix, where this article first appeared.

I took something called the Radical Urban Sustainability Training here in Albany a few months back. It focused on working within the urban landscape (hence the title) and taught methods and tricks for growing food, remediating toxic soil, catching rain water and cleaning grey water, a whole bunch of great stuff. I’m going to do a few entries highlighting some of my favorite things that I hope to implement when I get off campus.

Today:
Rainwater catch system.
Why? It is best to water plants with rain water as opposed to public water. Clorine and flouride make plants very unhappy.
Where? In any environment there are access points to run-off. Examples include your apartment building in a urban setting or your own gutters at your house. If you live in a college setting, simply put a bucket in a place that can retrieve water when it rains.
How?
There are a few basic materials needed, but ALL can be collected from found materials or used materials collectives. I’ve posted here on those before.
You need:
~some gutters
~some clean barrels (such as the blue plastic barrels used for corn and grain at feed stores)
~some very fine grate, such as screen from a window to keep sticks, leaves and other debris out of your water barrel

Or you can build your own water collection out of cob (definition: a mixture of hay, sand and clay that is stronger than concrete and totally easy to mix yourself.)

Here’s a great website too with lots of information, called Rain Barrel Guide

* Disclaimer: While rain water is significantly more healthy for you than tap water (even in urban areas) it is best to boil water that runs off your roof. Why? Because there can be debris, bird poop, chemicals from the shingles and tar, and bacteria or organisms that multiply on your roof or in your storage bin.
Water your plants? No problem. Water to drink? Boil it!

* Do not use barrels that previously contained chemicals. It completely defeats the purpose. Look for FOOD GRADE BARREL labels

Northampton just might be on to something. Five years ago a group of folks, who call themselves The Pedal People started offering “human powered delivery and hauling service.”
Today they are doing better than ever. They aim to cut pollution by delivering groceries, picking up recycling, trash and compost as well as human powered yard care.
They are commited to educating and working personally within the community as well. I had the pleasure of meeting them at the RUST training in Albany, but that’s a post for another day.
They also offer bicycle training, open discussions about their work and a food ordering collective.
P.S. I love their mission statement:

“The Co-op uses bicycles and bicycle trailers to transport things, and is committed to using human power despite the culture of dependence on motorized vehicles. We hope that our use of relatively simple tools in sound business practice will debunk the prevailing belief that more technology is needed to solve problems.

We believe that social change is possible, and we share inspiration and education with people wanting to choose more sustainable lifestyles. We aim to make a living in a fair, noble way, exploiting no one.

We believe in the idea of low-income living as a counter to the work-consume-spend lifestyle common in America today. We also believe that by spending less time making a living, we can have more time to contribute to the community and live life at a human pace rather than a motorized pace.”

“Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.”
– Oscar Levant –

“Causing the right amount of trouble is an art form.”
– Judith Coche –

US and South American Organic Volunteering Web Site: www.organicvolunteers.com/

International Environmental Volunteering: www.volunteerabroad.com/

Idealist:www.idealist.org/

Volunteer Match: www.volunteermatch.org/

Volunteer/Vacation
Ecovolunteer:

Ecoprograms: <a href=”www.ecovolunteer.org/“>www.ecovolunteer.org/

Volunteer/Training

IICD www.iicd.org/

“Once the people begin to reason, all is lost.”
– Voltaire –

Here are a few clips on my top choices for the 2008 Dem Ticket.

*** For the record, I won’t support any candidate that is FOR Nuclear power. We have no effective means for storing toxic waste from nuclear programs,they say it’s the “green energy” but the amout of emissions and pollution from building the sites, moving the materials and mining the uranium is anything I would call green and the cost of guarding the horrifically dangerous waste adds up to billions a year. Not to mention the toxic radiation that leaks out into the communities they exist in.
PLUS, you wanna talk about National Security?? Lets add a giant bomb to hundreds more locations around the country…great idea. Here’s a supporting article , here and here(from the Sierra Club), and here (from Green Peace.)




Dennis Kucinich spanking the other candidates in Nevada. My favorite quote (not in this clip) was “Imagine having a president that got it right the first time,” commenting on the other candidates votes on the War and the (un)Patriot(ic) Act.

John Edwards, worker for DFA, alongside Dean toward a CLEAN campaign, let alone environment.

Senator Obama

Senator Clinton. I’m not a fan of her campaign finance. She takes money from all the big names. I know you gotta play the game, but damn Hillary, show some guts. She won’t state an opinion in a debate to save her life, but she’s got some ideas here…

The Capital District Community Garden offers plots to area residents in order to offer them the opportunity to grow their own organic food. I have to pleasure to serve as an intern with them next semester and I am so excited to begin!
If there is one in your area, check out their site, or better yet stop in. You would be shocked how little time and energy it takes and how rewarding it is!
If there isn’t one in your town, who better to start one than you?
There are some websites with helpful information here, here and here.

Garbage is piling up at break neck speeds, my friends. Living on a college campus, I am perpetually dazed by the amount of usable stuff that gets tossed instead of reused. Do people really have it that good that they can just throw shit away? Well yes, sometimes that shirt that sat in the closet for the last 8 months is starting to get in the way or that old copy of Pride and Prejudice you keep meaning to read again…but I bet someone else would want it.
Besides, don’t you ever wanna stick it to the consumer drive and NOT pay full price for the same old crap?
Check out these awesome sites, besides the good old Craigslist:
Freecycle
Swaptree
Bookmooch
and if you are near VT
Vermont Business Materials Exchange

know any others?

Play FreeRice to feed the hungry. It’s no gimmick. The website was developed in an effort to raise awareness and affect change through online gaming! All you have to do is answer word trivia and for each correct answer 10 grains of rice are added to your “bowl” which translates to 10 grains added to a literal bag of rice sent to third world countries.
How awesome is that???