Sustainable living and eco-friendly products often seem out of reach for those without disposable income. Buying recycled or environmentally friendly products can be significantly more expensive – it’s an option which some simply cannot choose. However, this is not the case – to live and eat sustainably can be achieved on almost any budget and thankfully Nashville is home to an organization that helps people do just that.
Urban Green Lab educates teachers and students skills for incorporating sustainability into their daily lives. It is Nashville’s only non-profit whose sole mission is to improve the lives and health of the local community through sustainability programs and education about how to live a more carbon-neutral lifestyle. This education encompasses a vast range of ideas and ways to make your life more sustainable, including:
- Growing food in urban environments
- Making windows more energy efficient to keep the heat inside
- Using rain-water collectors to water gardens and crops
- Cooking with local seasonal food to reduce their carbon footprint
- Using reclaimed materials, green design techniques, and new technology to build or retrofit more sustainable homes – e.g. vertical farming, LED lightbulbs, solar panels
With their recently built Mobile Green Lab, they are taking their message around the city, visiting schools and giving both teachers and students hands on lessons in techniques for sustainable living. These lessons can teach students and parents how to save money, improve health, and conserve resources.
Urban Green Lab provides a lesson, not a lecture! And these lessons have had an incredible impact already. According to Urban Green Lab’s website, “100% of surveyed frequent participants changed their behaviors after attended workshops,” with a high percentage saying they plan to apply the skills they learned.
They have partnered with a range of local businesses, colleges, and non-profits to build a community-wide coalition that transcends socioeconomic, religious, and political divides to try and build a better city and improve the lives of all Nashvillians.
Anyone can get involved and volunteer with Urban Green Labs community engagement programs. With the world so caught up in political tension and outrage, it is a beautiful thing to see a community come together to share their knowledge and to teach the next generation about how to look after their planet. We are all responsible for our collective future, and community projects like this show us that not only is co-operation possible, but it is also necessary to ensure that the environment that we live in is protected.