For anyone wondering how a green jobs revolution might look in their neighborhood, here’s a new video that explains the Switch Project already up and running in Seattle. It’s a relatively simple idea that creates jobs, saves people money on utility bills and strengthens community connections at the same time.
Crews of trained young adults have been knocking on doors in lower-income neighborhoods, offering to install compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow showerheads along with other basic home weatherization tasks. They do it on the spot, but also connect renters with programs to save even more through additional conservation projects. It may come as a surprise that people are willing to open their doors, bedrooms and showers at the drop of a hat. But that’s the beauty of a homegrown program that employs people who live in a community to talk to their neighbors, while benefiting everyone involved.
The Switch Program sounds like a great program. What is fascinating to me is how it builds social capital, saves money, energy, and is a how grown effort. Here at the University if Vermonts Institute for Global Sustainability we are trying to help develop within students and citizens the skills necessary to spearhead such efforts. For example, our Collaborative Management foci (http://learn.uvm.edu/igs/collaborative_management) provides students with an opportunity to learn how best to lead and succeed in settings that require partnering with others to achieve common goals and outcomes. The Switch Program is a perfect example – and there are many more like it, waiting to be created!