Juliana Ciano – I am a mother, teacher, ADHD coach, artist and environmentalist. When I was in third grade, an impassioned public school teacher, Mrs. Marlene Rickheim, taught me about the danger our planet is in. My project idea for the science fair was this: create a tremendous vacuum that could be pointed at the sky and had a special filter to only suck in noxious pollutants. In the belly of the vacuum, using a simple formula, transform these pollutants into fertilizer. Next, flip the toggle switch and put the hose into the ground, pouring the air-pollution-become-fertilizer into the earth! The practicalities of designing this were a little bit beyond my ability at age 8, but since then, the notion of turning our trash into treasure has fascinated me. When my now-husband and I began dating, and he told me about his love of biodiesel and commitment to food and fuel security, I knew something good was to come. I love working with my family and community on sustainable living practices.
Reunity Resources is a Santa Fe based non-profit organization with a zero waste mission. It is our goal to reunite our waste streams with value for our community. Our first program was the BioFuel Collective, recycling used cooking oil from sixty local restaurants into biodiesel—an alternative fuel than can be run in diesel engines with no conversion required. We then distribute this fuel to Collective members in northern New Mexico.
After nearly a year of working with City government, Reunity Resources has just been approved by the City of Santa Fe to begin food scraps collection for compost from local restaurants, hotels and institutions. Our program is designed to divert 2,000,000 pounds of food scraps from the landfill in its inaugural year of operation. If municipal-scale change interests you, please enjoy our brief video at www.indiegogo.com/reunity-resources and consider contributing seed funds for Reunity to begin making this tremendous impact!
We are delighted to participate in the Solutions Laboratory and help change community dialogue around climate change: the way we each live our lives makes a difference.
Representing Reunity Resources
Year(s) Awarded: 2013
The Game of Local Energy Sovereignty
We would like to create local energy sovereignty and food security by building closed-loop systems that turn local waste into fuel, soil, heat, and electricity leading our community to become deeply woven with creative interdependence.
We would like to create local energy sovereignty and food security by building closed-loop systems that turn local waste into fuel, soil, heat, and electricity. Beginning in Santa Fe County, we would build an infrastructure for community members to separate organic matter for conversion into soil amendment and captured natural gas in an anaerobic composting facility. We want to create a cooperative-model program wherein members choose a level of participation on the front end (i.e. members could choose to have solar panels on their rooftops or donate all organics to the composting facility) for some a community energy exchange credit on the back end (hours of electricity, cubic yards of compost).
To lead and inspire our community in fully committing to 100% local energy sources, we would game-ify the process and track household, neighborhood and community progress. This data would also help us tailor our education and outreach for areas and populations that are yielding lower participation.
Beyond quantifying and tracking the resources we convert into energy, we would also factor in time, energy and expertise. Assisting in the composting facility, delivering local biodiesel, converting an old appliance or assisting a neighbor construct garden beds filled with healthy compost would all earn credit for other types of energy exchange. The first arm of this we’d like to accomplish is a community organics collection program and gardening outreach. Creating healthy, rich soil and laying an infrastructure for households and neighborhoods to garden with guidance and support through challenges and seasonal changes will strengthen local bonds and provide nourishment and food security in the face of our changing times.
Reunity Resources’ vision as to how their community would be different if their idea was to succeed:
With the success of our idea, our community would become deeply woven with creative interdependence. Neighbors would mentor one another in energy-efficient techniques and climate-appropriate (low water) gardening. The game-ification of the community energy tracking would be positive reinforcement for doing as much as we can to source our energy locally. Our community would stay healthy, nourished, interconnected, warm, bright and mobile in spite of foreign energy crises.
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