Saturday, June 28, 2008

Conscious Care

"Ah, it's good to be back in the land of the small car!"

This was one of the first things out of
my mouth when I landed in Paris this past spring. It had been fourteen years; I had forgotten. And since then, with the introduction of the "Smart Car," they've gotten even smaller. But still, over all that time, so many Americans apparently remain quite infatuated with the 'bigguns'.

In my travels around metropolitan Boston, it is almost embarrassing how many Hummers I come across. Or Hummer Limousines. Or beefy, manly trucks or all-terrain vehicles that I swear are a safety hazard for how they obstruct visibility for the drivers in their vicinity. Yes, there are the growing numbers of Prius and the like, and the ubiquitous Zip Car. But more broadly speaking, one would think that this city (country?) is not daunted at all by the four-plus-dollar-a-
gallon-and-rising price tag on gasoline, or the read 'em and weep realities of global warming.
It uplifts me when I discover evidence to the contrary.

Yesterday, I learned of a local project my neighbors Ken Ward and Andree Zaleska are undertaking which simply gleams with life, with the spirit of generosity, care, and consciousness--for one another and for this planet we inhabit. I find it inspiring; perhaps you will too.

...We’ve just bought the old abandoned house at 133 Bourne St. in order to rehab it as a model urban sustainable home, with wind and solar power, an organic garden, and creative use of recycled building materials. The idea is to do this mostly ourselves, and to make the process transparent, so that the community can benefit from what we learn.

After the rehab is complete, we plan to turn it into a small nonprofit, called the
JP Green House, and use the house to model all different sorts of sustainability—not just of energy, but of community and connections. We hope to create a “Green community center” and use the large central room (which used to serve as a neighborhood store) for gatherings, meeting and activities. Some of the ideas we have in mind include: free space for meetings, tours of the house, gardening and building programs for kids, meditation and prayer groups, food-based gatherings, community songfests, and a center for climate activism.

You are all welcome to drop by and get a tour of the house and garden. We are usually working there most afternoons.

I'll take the vibrant garden over "the devil's bargain" any day!


Blogger Unknown said...


Thank you so much for this lovely reference to the JP Green House in your blog. I just found it today. Are we neighbors? Feel free to get in touch at



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