Living

She's redefining green

Anita Maltbia

Art: Nat Damm Anita Maltbia Director, Green Impact Zone Kansas City, Mo. Anita Maltbia is spearheading the transformation of 150 square blocks of Kansas City, Mo., from blight to bright. The Green Impact Zone project, which she directs, is resuscitating this economically depressed African-American neighborhood by putting local residents to work weatherizing the zone’s 2,500 homes and by developing a bus rapid-transit system that will connect the zone to other parts of the region. With $50 million in funding from the federal economic-stimulus package, the initiative will also offer community policing, job training, and health and wellness programs. Maltbia, who has 30 years of …

She's redefining green

Dorothy Le

Art: Nat Damm Dorothy Le Planning and Policy Director, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Los Angeles, Calif. Dorothy Le wants to get you out and about on two wheels. Not sure where to start? Watch her series of videos on how to find the bike that’s right for you. At the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, she works to make the archetypal car-obsessed city more welcoming to cyclists and to make the cycling community more welcoming to women and people of color. Le has organized community bike tours, women’s bicycle rides, safety workshops, a bicycle count. While a student at UCLA, she led E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity, …

he's redefining green

Rob Jones

Art: Nat Damm Rob Jones Cofounder, Crop Mob Carrboro, N.C. Like a growing number of young folks across the country, Rob Jones, 27, likes to get his hands in the dirt, making his foodshed and community more robust and vibrant. Once each month, Jones and a band of young agrarians alight upon an area farm. Calling themselves the Crop Mob, they do a big project together—say, break new ground for raised beds or harvest a labor-intensive crop like sweet potatoes. The host farmers make a big meal, and everyone eats together. Sustainable agriculture is “way, way, way more labor-intensive than …

She's redefining green

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart

Art: Nat Damm Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart Founder, Vaute Couture Chicago, Ill. Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, 27, launched Vaute Couture last year with a line of chic, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, ethically and locally produced coats that are warm enough for Chicago winters. As a vegan, model, and MBA, she brings a unique perspective to her work—and strong values too; all profits from one of her styles are donated to Farm Sanctuary, a haven for rescued farm animals. Vaute Couture also sells vegan-themed T-shirts and jewelry. Hilgart tells you about it all on her blog. Watch Hilgart talk about her business:

She's redefining green

Zakiya Harris

Art: Nat Damm Zakiya Harris Founder and Executive Director, Grind for the Green Berkeley, Calif. Zakiya Harris, 32, founded Grind for the Green in 2007 to use hip-hop to move youth of color from the margins to the epicenter of the green movement, helping steer them toward educational opportunities and green careers. The group puts on the solar-powered G4G Eco-Music Festival in San Francisco, and this Earth Day it’s rolling out a Get Fresh campaign that aims to get young people educated about and active in environmental issues. Harris also makes her own music as one half of the eco-conscious …

he's redefining green

Matt Golden

Art: Nat Damm Matt Golden President, Founder, and Chief Building Scientist, Recurve Sausalito, Calif. Matt Golden, 35, has become a golden boy of the nascent energy-efficiency industry. He started Recurve—formerly called Sustainable Spaces—back in 2004 before retrofit was hip. While Recurve works on a software-driven solution to scale up the energy-efficiency business from mom-and-pop shops to a sustainable industry, Golden spends much of his time in Washington lobbying for Home Star and other legislation to fund energy-efficiency work and create thousands of jobs. Read more about Golden in a Grist article on Home Star and a Grist article on Sustainable …

he's redefining green

Cisco DeVries

Art: Nat Damm Cisco DeVries President, Renewable Funding Oakland, Calif. Sure, you’d love to have solar panels on your roof, but where would you get tens of thousands of dollars to install them? Cisco Devries, 36, has come up with an innovative answer: Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new type of financing program that lets private property owners pay for energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects over 10 to 20 years via an addition to their property tax bill, instead of coming up with the cash up front; the financing comes via municipal bonds, and if an owner sells the …

he's redefining green

Jim Cochran

Art: Nat Damm Jim Cochran Farmer, Swanton Berry Farm Davenport, Calif. Despite what many consumers may think, organic rules don’t ensure fair treatment of workers—and tight profit margins mean that working conditions and pay on organic farms are too often no different from those in conventional operations. But Jim Cochran, 62, who launched California’s first organic strawberry farm in 1987, refused to accept the established norms. In 1998, he became the first organic grower to sign a contract with the United Farm Workers union—and he approached them. Then, in 2005, Cochran rolled out what might be the nation’s first stock-ownership …

She's redefining green

Valerie Casey

Art by Nat Damm. Original photo by Brian Smale. Valerie Casey Founder, Designers Accord Oakland, Calif. Designer Valerie Casey, 37, wants to green not just her own projects but her entire industry. She started the Designers Accord—aka the “Kyoto Treaty of Design”—in 2007 to encourage the creative community to integrate the principles of sustainability into all design practice and to share knowledge with each other. So far, she estimates, more than 600 design firms, 30 corporations, and dozens of colleges and universities from more than 100 countries have ratified the accord. It all started in 2007 with a manifesto Casey …

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