Friday, June 19, 2015

Resilience Counterpunches

Many of my recent posts have chronicled the bad news that is the unraveling of the mainstream American psyche, and the ways in which certain elements of mainstream America are taking out their dysfunction on minorities and people of color.  But all is not bad news.  In minority communities, there is a growing awareness of steps which these communities can take to become more resilient.  I'll give just two examples. 

First, there is the educational clinic about which I wrote several months ago.  I am one of the tutors for that clinic.  We (the tutors) are planning a solar energy science activity for the kids at the apartment complex we visit.  Specifically, we are planning to build solar ovens.  Our aim is to provide enough materials so that kids from five or six households can construct the ovens.  As for the ovens, they are not just some science-fair craft that is good for nothing more than melting chocolate.  Rather, these ovens will be the real deal, capable of cooking some serious food.  The design for these ovens was invented by Maria Telkes, an appropriate technology pioneer of the 20th century.  We obtained the design for the ovens from Engineers Without Borders.  We are planning to build the ovens over four sessions with the kids.  Next to their apartment complex is a large vacant lot with plenty of sunshine where they can try the ovens out.  I'll try to take and post some pictures or video of the project as it progresses.  We will also teach the kids the theory of operation of the ovens and use that teaching to further strengthen their math skills.

Second, there is the Detroit Water Brigade, a grassroots organization which has arisen in response to the Detroit city government shutoff of water to tens of thousands of Detroit residents.  Not only is the Detroit Water Brigade involved in providing water bill assistance and collection of drinking water, but they are also teaching residents the basics of rainwater harvesting.  Such efforts are geared toward enabling large numbers of Detroit residents to adapt to life without a utility system which is not only aging and increasingly unreliable, but which has been turned into a weapon against them.  If anyone wants to help, you can send donations to them, or to the Detroit Water Project.

I am sure that there are many other initiatives springing up, but I haven't had time to research them all.  As I hear of them, I will keep you all posted.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

Aimee said...

What a great project, thanks for posting the links. Rngineers without Borders is a wonderful organization - I have a neighbor who is one of them and worked in.... I want to say Nicaragua? doing small and medioum scale infrastructure projects with locals.