See how your neighbors & friends are making ripples in their community, and share what you’re doing!
Ripples’ sustainability column in The Free Weekly, “Making Ripples”, has just added a new feature today: “People Making Ripples”. We’ll be interviewing and featuring local residents doing something large or small to make their lives more sustainable. This will accompany the usual Making Ripples column as a photo series, replacing some of the stock photos that would have otherwise been used in that space. People Making Ripples isn’t a series of blog posts, but will appear exclusively in The Free Weekly, so go get yourself a copy and meet people making ripples in our community today!
My apologies that the column’s references to people being featured in People Making Ripples is off by a week in each case; it was intended to begin last week, but space limitations made it impossible to fit into last week’s issue, I was told. So instead we’re beginning this week with Alena DeGrado, and next week we’ll be featuring the work of Brad Volz. If you know of someone doing something sustainable, or would like to share what you’re doing, submit your photos and a brief description to: MakeSomeRipples@Gmail.com
Check out this week’s issue of The Free Weekly for a concept design of one acre for Making Ripples!
Ryan & I have been thinking hard since August 2011 about how to make the most ripples on a small piece of land. There are so many wonders to be created on just one acre for Ripples, if it’s healthy, protected and sustainable: native pollinators, trees, and wildlife; rainwater harvesting systems; technology that makes a difference globally; alternative power sources like solar panels; fresh organic vegetables and herbs; healing pathways through the forest, and much more! These are just ideas, but some of them are already alive and well: technology help for non-profits, our blog and column, a rain barrel, bicycles, and more. But we can’t make a more tangible difference in Northwest Arkansas without the land. Have you seen this acre? If so, let us know by emailing MakeSomeRipples@Gmail.com
So often I’m studying science, technology, or some other such subject like organic gardening and earthbag building, that I forget about creativity. Ripples isn’t just living without a car and making vegan dinners, it’s also about admiring the rainbows reflected in a prism catching the afternoon light from our window, and playing with the swirls of white “fire” after pouring coconut cream into a cup of black tea. And, yes, it’s about dreaming of rainbow lollipop trees, with rippling branches and spreading roots. This logo was sketched on paper with copic markers and ink, but later converted into a digital representation of what we’re trying to express. Organic. Social Justice. Deep roots. Ripples of change. And before you think, “Wait, nature doesn’t make rainbow trees!” Think again: I had the enormous pleasure of seeing in person a park full of “Rainbow Eucalyptus” trees when I visited Costa Rica.
I need to remember that our homestead without an artistic spirit is really just a building. It’s our creativity and personalities which make it come to life with a new message for sustainability-seekers: this is fun. This is creative. This is going to make people happy.
We’re continuing with our redesign of Ripples, to include more hand-drawn art in the margins, header, and background of the site. Expect more changes in the months to come, and please give us feedback on how these changes affect you and touch your experience of Ripples. We want it to be fun to read about conservation. We’d like you to laugh when you read about capturing rainwater. So let us know how we’re doing in the comments below our posts or on our Facebook Page.
What do you think of the new logo?
So far, about 50 people have seen it without commenting or clicking “like”, so I’m beginning to wonder if they’re just busy this week or if I’ve created some socially-taboo tree or something…
We’re getting ready to build our earthbag house…and you’re invited!
I’m not sure how to write this post. This will be a refreshing change from writing how-to guides, recipes, or links to factual and inspirational sites on the internet. This post is what is literally going on at Ripples this week! It isn’t about the future or dreaming, it’s about right now. For some reason I think “right now” details will sound boring to you. But they’re very exciting to me! View full article »
I find it really hard to write about Ripples as an entity, with measurable effects on the world. Of course, things are measurable: number of NGO’s helped, number of blog posts receiving readers, number of comments, number of columns written about sustainability…but are they visual? Not nearly enough. This video, shared with me by my friend Teresa, illustrates the way I see Ripples. I guess technically Ripples is just Ryan & I, and you could argue Ripples includes projects with our partner organizations, and the growing list of volunteers wanting to build with earthbags. But when I picture what Ripples actually does, well it looks more like this video.
So I invite you to watch this video and enjoy these scenes, then watch it again and replace them with scenes from the past year at Ripples. Notice in the video that the love flows both ways Same with Ripples. Here are our real life “scenes” painted with words so you can see them better as you watch the video (I’ve tried to keep identities anonymous just like the video). Ripples’ scenes are about gardening, websites, compost toilets, sharing information, and little acts of kindness. Someday I would love to actually put together a video with photos and live scenes from Ripples! For now just try to imagine it:
A toilet built with locally harvested bamboo in Kathmandu, Nepal, inspires a girl in the United States to use local bamboo to build a solar shower with a 5-gallon bag.
Better publicity makes sponsorships grow for a trail maintenance organization, encouraging more people to enjoy and protect our parks after the re-development of their website allows the web developer to learn more about web development for helping non-profits in the future.
235 youth in Cameroon are trained in fundraising after a local leader learns about capacity building via the internet, sparking more support for free access to the internet.
Writing about raising baby chicks inspires people in other locations to consider urban farming.
A child with food allergies is able to enjoy eating a totally safe cookie, so his mother helps pay for a solar platform for Ripples’ blog.
An Armenian organization supporting people with disabilities creates a Facebook page after receiving training in the importance of online communication.
A woman with experience in gardening helps a youth learn to grow herbs, and the resulting cilantro and basil are given as gifts to neighbors.
One girl receives training in non-profit management and contacts an international organization to provide curriculum materials for an online class taken by students in 34 countries who then pass the materials to their organizations, improving them with their own ideas.
After learning in workshops about native species and their needs, native habitat is created and publicized on Ripples’ blog, helping a city become the first in its state to receive certification due to the whole community working together.
A trip to a sustainably built retreat center inspires us to use cob for sculpting shelves in the walls at Ripples’ future homestead, and our post on sustainable building inspires a family to get in touch with us to learn more about how they can do it, too.
Yesterday, I participated in my fellowship’s tradition of Bread Communion, when everyone brings a loaf of bread to pass around in baskets during the service. Each person takes a piece of bread, and together the congregation reflects on gratitude for each other and nature’s gifts. View full article »
As Ryan & I decide on our best choice for transportation to & from our Ripples homestead in the future, we have many factors to consider. The midwest isn’t necessarily the best place to own an electric vehicle, for one thing. This infographic from CarInsurance.org fascinated me, and pushed me further in the direction of starting a car or truck co-operative among friends to share costs and avoid owning a personal vehicle that wouldn’t be used as often. What do you think? View full article »
Missing the potlucks that shaped the woman I am today.
For those who have never been to one, a potluck is a fantastic way to share food among many people. Everyone brings one dish of food and receives a full meal made up of many dishes. And I felt lucky to eat from so many pots! For me, potlucks used to be a chance to share a dish that you liked, sample a variety of foods that others brought, spend positive time with friends or new faces, and enjoy interesting conversation (including recipes!). Nowadays, potlucks just make me feel hungry, embarrassed, and guilty. View full article »