Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Things That Make Me Optimistic: The Buffalo Edition

I've revised this post to include a fourth bullet.

Tonight, I (Don Duggan-Haas) attended the opening ceremony of the North American Association for Environmental Education annual meeting in Buffalo, NY.  The nature of the conversations I had with folks there made me optimistic, in largely the same way I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.  In short: smart people working hard on things that matter.  But, I'm not going to write about that as it's revisiting old ground.

Instead, I'll bring attention to a few organizations that are doing interesting work in Western New York.

  • PUSH Buffalo is doing exciting work that includes not only performing energy retrofits on low income housing, but also using the the housing stock as an educational laboratory to teach folks how to do that kind of work and construction trades more broadly.  PUSH is an acronym for People United for Sustainable Housing.  They are also in the process of renovating one home to bring it to a net-zero energy use, meaning that over the course of a year it will use no more energy than it generates.  I'll be visiting the Net Zero House tomorrow and expect to write a bit more about it next week.
  • Buffalo ReUse also engages in training using Buffalo's aging housing stock as both a teaching opportunity and a rich resource of materials.  Buffalo ReUse deconstructs houses slated for demolition, saving tons of materials from landfills while preserving historical and often beautiful architectural elements.  The picture at the top of the post shows green deconstruction in action.  You can buy beautiful and useful things at their store: The ReSource.  Pieces of my kids' tree fort came from there.
  • The Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo is now hosting a web site with information about much of the important work going on in the area.  Check that out at  
  • The Massachusetts Avenue Project is another non-profit working in downtown Buffalo.  It's tag line is "Building the local community through food, urban farming and entrepreneurship"and they work toward that goal in a variety of interesting ways, including running a small urban farm that includes aquaponics in a hoop house.  If you don't know what that means, check out their website.

I'm PRI's only telecommuter and I live just barely outside of Buffalo (in a little place I call PRI West).  Ithaca, of course, is famous for the groovy things that go on there -- but you've got some competition out this way...


Dugganhaas said...

Remember the tour of green buildings this weekend too:
It includes the PUSH Buffalo Net Zero house.

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