Monday, October 21, 2013

True Sustainability, it is catching...Gringos Project, Day 3

Today we spent the better part of the day on a roof looking out over the city of Greenville.  We are still in that phase of thinking about what can be done and what should be done and how.  The problem is not too few options, but too many and we like it that way.  I only had a little time because I had another meeting, but more on that later.

Today was basically a look at what we are up against.  It is a lot of bare white space...Just what we wanted. Elizabeth and I spent a good hour brainstorming and flying through all of the options.  The main thing is to cover every bare surface that can support something with something green.  That is pretty much end of plan.
So what are our next steps?  Well, funding and manpower.  There is a part of me that believes in the power of people to get things done when faced with an idea and a facilitating factor.  I hesitate to say that something is simple, but when faced with zero obstacles, why would it be hard to do the right thing? Like I said, there is a hesitation to say that something is easy, but this seems to me to be a no brainer.

I say a lot of this because I spoke with two leaders in our community who feel the same way.  The first meeting was with a man who wanted us to put a window box in his parking lot.  It was bare gravel and it looked hideous and out of place. It was about 11:45 a.m. and I told him that I had to meet Elizabeth in 15 minutes.  He held up his finger to indicate that he wanted me to wait, wrapped up the phone call with his mom about Mah Jhong and we looked outside.  It took five minutes to reach a consensus about what was going to go in there and how.  I told him that we wanted to build a reclaimed pallet planter and he said go for it.  That was that.

I hurried to Gringos to meet Elizabeth and she was already there, hanging out.  She bounced up and we headed outside.  Jacob found a ladder but the only place it could be used was next to a table of guests seated on the patio.  No biggie.  Elizabeth and I talked about what we could and could not do.  Like I said, there was little we could not do and so many options.  Jacob allowed for us to go crazy with thoughts and ideas and then I had to go to a meeting with John Cocciolione.

John is the new director of the Greenville County Special Needs Board and we were set to sit down and chat at two, but he was running late.  He was putting out figurative fires as I would later find out and again, it was no biggie.  Elizabeth and I just went and hung out at Snack Works up the street and she learned a little about what Patrick is doing there and had her first wheat grass shot.  They hit it off and we all parted ways.

I took another swing past where I was to meet John and he was coming out with a water in hand and we sat down to talk.  It was a good day for collaboration, because the one word I was not hearing AT ALL was "no".  We talked about how to engage his staff, the properties the GCSNB, and the clients more in the green movement to make his organization more streamlined, efficient, educational, and possibly profitable.  We talked about how to engage his clients in useful activities like gardening and possibly business and how to give them a place to be rather than just go.  Yes, it was a good meeting.  John, like me, is from elsewhere and the beauty of the things that we want to do is that we are not reinventing the wheel.  It has been done...a a lot of other places that we have been.

We are excited to bring it to Greenville and with people like this, leaders in the community, behind this, it will not be hard.  With all that we have to work with, the hardest place to find purchase is the one square foot of space in the human head.  My hardest job is changing minds and to date, there are not many that I have had to convince, just connect.

We have set a goal of $7000 to get this and other projects going through the winter and dawning into spring.  If we keep it up, I think we can hit it.  Please contribute!  You'll breathe easier...literally.

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