Charity begins at home and sustainable living begins with a green neighbourhood. You may have started taking small steps to make your everyday lifestyle sustainable and now it’s time to spread this green cheer to your neighbourhood. UrbanMeisters.com Founder & passionate urban greenie Mirela Orlovic gives us 3 precise steps to make a happy and green neighbourhood.
There is much to do in an urban’s life and only 24 hrs in a day to do it. There’s work to be done, home to be run, kids to be managed, family and friends to be met, fitness and food to be taken care of….there’s hardly any ‘me’ time to be had and now we add the pressures of leading a green lifestyle? UrbanMeisters.com is here to take the ‘pressures’ off you by giving you handy green living tips that don’t disrupt your everyday life but seamlessly fit in your time, budget and taste with our green living series by Founder Mirela Orlovic. From food, fashion, fitness to a zero waste, plastic free life with green commute, greening your office and travel and green laundry practices thrown in as well, we’ve covered all aspects of your urban life with our easy green tips. And today we take a step towards your immediate environment with 3 tips on how to make a green neighbourhood. Over to Mirela.
GREEN LIVING COMMUNITY TIP: Save the planet by making a green neighbourhood
When we hear ‘green’ one immediately thinks of rallying to save rainforests, coral reefs, deserts and Orang-utans. Out of reach for so many of us. But that’s just one aspect of saving the Earth. We believe saving the planet begins right on your own block! Let’s enlarge the definition of environment protection to include places closer to us like home, neighbourhood, work places etc. Many greenies stick closer to home working together with communities in building a green neighbourhood that’s happy and beautiful. So many communities across the map from New York to Copenhagen, London, Paris and other metropolis are working to make their little ‘universes’ green and glorious as I’ll show you with concrete examples. If this is is your cup of tea then join the club as I give you 3 tips to build a beautiful green neighbourhood.
›› Support sustainable establishments in your hood/ city
Identify and support sustainable establishments in your neighbourhood and at large in your city. This is one of the biggest steps you can take to make sustainability mainstream while also making a green neighbourhood.
GREEN HOT-SPOTTING: There are plenty of green establishments in the fields of health, food, beauty, fashion, services, hospitality etc that are making sustainable living in the city accessible and easy. My favourite green hot spot is HUGUETTE Maison de Famille – you can see from feature picture above- I love settling down here with a golden latte or delicious salted mueslis (try the POLLINO with spinach, tomatos, mozzarella, pine kernel, golden sesame and balsamic) while doing my research or catching up on my reading. Explore your neighbourhood and dig out such green hotspots to work or lounge.
FIND SUSTAINABLE HOTSPOTS IN CITY WITH ONE HEART SPOTS APP: Fabulous app that uses geo location technology to find sustainable establishments in the vicinity. One Heart app tracks your geo location to propose committed green hotspots in the city based on where you are. The app also displays a system of push notifications that puts forward discounts or short-lived events related to spots. The app, available in both iOS & Android versions, displays 19 categories: disabled accessibility, bars, beauty, food, health and safety, clothes and shoes, sports, services, shopping, restaurants, collection points, recycling, leisure, mobility, hotels, fair trade, environment and bio. This is green living in all spheres made so accessible to you UrbanMesiters! The innovative app has caught the attention of many with recommendations by RATP – the world’s 5th largest public transport company which virtually runs Paris city! The app is becoming operational in other licitness like New York, London, Berlin etc. I’ve been using it regularly in Paris where I discovered many green places- my favs being Green Factory where I can buy indoor plant systems and Macadam & Tournesol a great ethical furniture and accessories shopping destination with interesting DIY workshops too!
We covered a GREEN PARIS GUIDE with One Heart Spots app featuring 5 recommended green spots.
I used One Heart Spot app with ease when I went visiting New York as well and had a fabulous meal at NYC’s first Green Restaurant Candle Cafe.
One Heart Spots gave us a handy GREEN NEW YORK GUIDE featuring 5 recommended green hotspots in the busiest city in the world.
CHOOSE FARMERS’ MARKETS OVER SUPERMARKETS: Think global but buy local is my philosophy. Buying groceries from farmers’ markets is a fundamental step in everyday green living- cuts transport pollution, gives you fresher produce thus counters food pollution, cuts packaging as most markets are eco-friendly and is also great for local economy. And you’ll be surprised how many farmers’ markets have sprung up in your vicinity with new age food movements like slow food, farm to table etc gaining much popularity. London is thriving with lovely farmers’ markets and our fav London UrbanMeister Pablo who became our GREENIE OF THE YEAR recommended Broadway Market to us. Even Paris is not far behind in this scene. For a ready reference we’ve compiled an organic food market guide for London and Paris.
In New York we found the Union Square Market as the recommended farmers’ market hotspot in New York by our green urban hotspots partner One Heart Spots. Know of any good farmers’ markets in your green neighbourhood? Send in your city suggestions to email@example.com and BEE AN URBANMEISTER.
›› Be your hood’s GREEN GANSTA!
I’m not encouraging you to prowl the streets with hoodie and stealth mode on! Neither do I mean picketing and rallying. Just work with your community closely to improve the surroundings, make it traffic and pollution free for a healthier, happier and green neighbourhood.
RALLY FOR AN EASY TRAFFIC NEIGHBOURHOOD: Restrain racing traffic in your hood by limiting automobiles and promoting leisurely transportation alternatives such as bikes and pedestrian zones. You can also refer to my 4 smart tips for green urban commuting. Also curb noise pollution by limiting car alarms, lobbying for no horn zones/ timings. And thing that absolutely must go are those annoying reverse parking alarms. While many residents associations and neighbourhoods work actively in cities towards traffic restrictions, one green urban development project that caught my roving green eye is the suburb NYE being built in Aarhus, Denmark. This is a totally green neighbourhood which will be completely free of cars! Trams and bikes will be the mode of commute connecting it to city centres. I’m keeping a green watch on this because up till now car free green neighbourhoods were considered an urban utopia.
TAKE UP 1 SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY PROJECT: Often we’re so focused on making a big splash that we miss the small meaningful ways in which we can make a big difference. So start small with your green neighbourhood by promoting any one sustainable initiative in your community. So instead of getting daunted by the sheer scale of setting up a solar power plant, think small but meaningful like perhaps a recycling facility, an up cycling or DIY workshop, farmers’ market- so much to choose from. I found two wonderful recycling facilities- La Ressourcerie Créative and Recycle-a-BiCycle, running in small neighbourhoods in Paris and New York respectively. Another cycle repair and recycling facility I found in a Paris neighbourhood is Solicycle – a great place to make neighbourhood friends while recycling discarded cycles. Another very interesting project to take up is urban farming or small urban gardens.
BE THE POLLUTION & ENERGY SAVING MONITOR: Take on the role of being the GREEN MONITOR at office, gym, friends house even! Make sure you switch off the lights, wifi router, water heaters etc at your house as well as your friends’ when you spot energy being wasted. Challenge your employer or gym manager to pay heed to indoor air quality because indoor pollution is as harmful if not more than outdoor pollution. Make your office pollution free, look at indoor plants for offices, community centres and gyms etc that improve air quality.
I also highly recommend AIRY plant pots to help clean indoor air.
›› Green your hood. Literally!
Make your neighbourhood really green by planting more trees and making more urban parks. Lobby for sidewalks to facilitate romantic strolls in the neighbourhood and benches to sit and dream about life. Initiate and participate in neighbourhood cleaning drives. Ask for more neighborhood parks and pleasant tree-lined streets from community authorities to give your neighbourhood that much needed green facelift. Start urban farms and community gardens. I found this rather interesting fish fuelled urban farm in New York- Moore Street Farm in Brooklyn.
Neighborhood groups are coming together to turn weed-infested and trash-filled vacant lots into garden spaces. The American Community Gardening Association has easy tips on how to start a community garden. You can also catch hold of your local nursery and get them to help build one. By the way France just passed a law mandating all new buildings n commercials areas to have ‘GREEN ROOFS’- terrace partially covered by plants or equipped with solar panels. Paris also boasts of a grand urban gardening festival- Les 48h de l’Agriculture Urbaine. Even the smallest nooks and corners can become productive or even ornamental green patches. London is really ahead in urban farming. City authorities in association with London Food Board have founded Capital Growth– a help centre that supports local residents who want to do urban farming. But nothing beats Copenhagen which way ahead in this game. Danish kolonihaver, or “colony gardens,” are a big practice where residents grow vegetables, have green houses and some even boast of green houses!
Make your’s a green neighbourhood with these very actionable 3 tips. If you have more suggestions on how to build a green neighbourhood or other green living tips then write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned to the next GREEN LIVING tip on another crucial aspect of everyday urban life! Till then GET WITH GREEN OR GET OUT!