One argument against sustainable practices is that they’re just too expensive. It costs money to go green, or so the naysayers claim — those CFL bulbs and solar panels don’t come cheap. But those naysayers may be surprised to get a look at Baltimore’s first climate-resilient block. It’s not in Mt. Washington or Federal Hill or even Charles Village. It’s in an East Baltimore neighborhood that, in the past, made headlines for its crime rate.
In aiming for climate resiliency, the residents of the 2400 block of Jefferson Street are making small-scale, collective changes that they hope will lead to longterm changes. Step one was turning the current neighborhood’s underused community garden into a rain garden. “Over the years, outside organizations have come in to create a space, only to leave soon after. With a lack of long term motivation and community ownership, the community garden fell quickly and became overgrown, which attracted illegal dumping and rats. Learning from past mistakes, we are taking a different approach,” writes Jonathan Erwin, a recent MICA grad student who is helping run the project with funds from a grant from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Erwin will be working with residents and homeowners all year, figuring out how to take advantage of local and state programs, as well as how to use the resources that are already there. He’ll be posting about his efforts over at GOOD — we look forward to seeing how it goes!