Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Rhizome Collective

For the first time last week I stopped into Monkey Wrench Books on North Loop to browse. As soon as I walked in I found a book, Toolbox for Sustainable City Living, on prominent display. I was intrigued, so I made my purchase and have now become absolutely fascinated with the Rhizome Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to urban sustainability here in Austin, whose founders wrote the book. The Rhizome Collective (rhizome referring to an underground root system that’s difficult to uproot) is based out of a warehouse in East Austin and is dedicated to the education of anyone interested in learning more about ecological technologies that simply, efficiently, cheaply, and environmentally-soundly sustain lands and people. In addition to their education center and teachers, they also offer a center for community groups to meet. Currently, their facilities are the meeting place for the Inside Books Project, KPWR, Bikes across Borders, Food Not Bombs, and a few others.

One of the most notable efforts by the Collective was the large scale clean up of just less than 10 acres of brownfield (land that may contain harmful environmental pollutants) in the Montopolis area of Austin. The brownfield had been a landfill and an illegal dump for years and the Collective obtained a competitive grant from the EPA to assist in the cost of the clean up. Between 2005 and 2006 the Collective “removed 680 tires, 10.1 tons and 36.5 cubic yards of trash, and 31.6 tons of recyclable metal from the site.” The effort received much local attention and the Collective was invited to speak at the EPA Regional 6 Annual Conference about their work.

It is refreshing and awe-inducing to read about groups so committed to the pursuit of urban renewal and sustainable living; particularly one that is dedicated to the education of others interested in the pursuit. Here at Austin Public Library we have a sizable collection of books on sustainable living, self-reliant living, urban ecology, and the like to tide you over until you can make it to one of the Collective’s workshops.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great article, thanks for the tip