While everyone seems to be making their best-of lists for 2012, below are some highlights of Global Green USA’s work from the past year. In 2013, Global Green USA will continue its important work, while accelerating our efforts in response to help communities rebuild greener, healthier, more resilient neighborhoods in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Global Green USA Accomplishments – 2012 Highlights
Supporting Local Green Heroes
The launch of our national Citizen Entrepreneur Contest put a spotlight on local green heroes who take responsibility for improving a corner of their world. Cassie Parsons, a farmer and chef/restaurateur from Charlotte, NC, took the top prize for creating an urban farm in a low-income community, and buying their produce for the restaurant.
Transforming Waste Into Assets
After our successful coffee cup recycling pilot with Starbucks, our Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) team is partnering with New York City public schools to create renewable and recoverable alternatives to Styrofoam lunch trays. We are also working on more pilots for our groundbreaking work to reduce and use the mountains of food waste that come off the island of Manhattan each day.
Greening Schools Nationwide
Our National Green School Makeover Competition invited teachers, students, and their families to submit ideas for greening their school for a chance to win a $130,000 makeover — the winner was the Texas School for the Deaf, which is already saving money on energy, water, paper, and plastic, not to mention reducing waste.
Rebuilding New Orleans
At our Holy Cross Project — a sustainable village in the Lower 9th Ward — we sold four of our green homes to deserving families, with one family reporting an energy bill of $28 during August, one of the hottest months of the year! We started construction on our Community Development and Climate Action Center, and continued our citywide energy program.
We helped eight cities across the country — from Louisville, KY, to Philadelphia, PA — to create greener neighborhoods with our work on the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. Closer to our headquarters, we worked with the City of Santa Monica to bring a bike share program to the city starting in 2013, brining 35 stations and 350 bikes to one of the epicenters of LA traffic.
Solar and Energy Efficiency
We delivered solar systems for homes being rebuilt in San Bruno, for women and girls at the City of Joy in the eastern Congo, and nonprofit partners and schools in Haiti. In California, we helped get a first in the nation energy-efficiency law implemented and successfully pushed for closing a corporate loophole to finance school retrofits.
In June we released our report on the feasibility of urban farming as an economic opportunity – we found it can create jobs, and successful small businesses — in post-industrial cities like Youngstown and Detroit, and helped crafted model codes and ordinances to enable growing food in our nation’s shrinking cities.