green map What kind of power tool did you wish for this holiday season? Grist readers are likely to be seeking something that transforms the view of their own community, highlighting all the ecological richness and green living innovations in a tapestry that weaves in local culture and justice resources to boot.

So if you didn’t get that cordless DeWalt screwgun you wanted, consider the powerful tool of the Green Map network, which has been busy creating unique community self-portraits of over 500 places around the world, from Seattle to Singapore (and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, at right). And each map is locally-created, which I find to be the most inspiring aspect: The map making groups transcend gender and ethnic lines in many places around the world, bringing together powerful groups (in 54 countries!) from among those who normally do not interact to create a sustainable vision of their city or place.

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It’s also an ideal time to get involved with these folks’ new participatory platform OpenGreenMap.org. Designed to reduce the stumbling blocks of fundraising, technology, and distribution and involve significantly more people, they are open to enhancements in any language. Every site on the map has space for your images, insights, and impact assessments, so you can help tell the story of its evolution. It’s a great place to find projects to emulate and to learn about how each site has changed the people and community it serves.

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