Green-collar kites: Inmates share their ideas for sustainability

Blog post by Project Manager Jeff Muse:

Inmates often communicate through “kites,” traditionally a slang term for any hand-written note passed among offenders or to the outside world. What used be only secretive scribbling has become a formal system of communicating ideas and feedback to correctional staff and partners in the Sustainable Prisons Project.

During all of our activities, we ask inmates to share requests in order to deepen their investment in sustainability. In July 2009, offenders at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center wrote the following kites to express what they would like to learn through our green-collar education programs (courtesy of Stafford Creek employee Ruth Walker, who typed and sent these notes to me):

  • “I would love to learn about: 1) Residential solar panels and windmills – operation, cost, maintenance; what can I learn now so I can run a business selling by installing systems after prison? 2) Automotive hybrid (electric) transmissions, how they work – again, how can I learn and train now so I can sell and install such after release.”
  • “I am kiting in regards to your request for lecture ideas. A couple I can think of are water waste and pollution and the importance of turning a light off or the tv and how saving this energy will help conserve by doing the small stuff.”
  • “Wind energy – from commercial to residential to rural residential. Covering various types of windmills available and their supporting systems. Need information on the various mills and contact addresses-mail, phone, websites in order to locate all the mills available for personal and commercial use. Also, info on what each mill is capable of powering on its own off the grid. Low energy consuming appliances that can be used with and without being connected to the grid. Such as hot water heaters, stoves, fridges, and entertainment systems. These should be separate events as to be able to adequately cover the items. They should also follow each other as hand in hand so to speak.”
  • “Carbon-offset industry eg. Tree planting to offset CO2
    Wetland mitigation banking in Wash. State
    Green commercial and residential construction
    Green Publications (mags and books we can obtain to read)
    Residential solar and wind turbine systems setup and costs
    State and describe the big green nonprofits in WA State
    The Greenest for profit companies in WA
    Greenest modes for transportation people and freight/cargo
    Eating healthier in prison natural/organic items on store?  Allow 1 piece of fruit to be brought back from chain.”
  • “Discuss green business degrees. Traditional schools that offer accredited degrees through correspondence. Discuss certificates, Associates, Bachelors of PHD/Doctorate Programs. Maybe bring literature in. I received an MBA via correspondence while at SCCC, but wish it was a green MBA.”
  • “Green earth events suggestions. Water conservation techniques. Rain barrels, drip irrigation, green home water re-circulation systems; such as ponds with fish and plants, waterfalls, fountains used for aeration, cleansing and purifying used water from a home. Planters for growing herbs using grey water to water.”
  • “I was wondering, was Benj and Sara (multimedia consultants) going to come back and show us what they’ve created so far as to what they put on the web site? One idea would be to bring back those that have already been here to possibly expand on what they have reiterated already. This could be done in a two part event as to give each at least a half hr, with at least a half hr from 8-8:30 for questions.”
  • “Sewage disposable and treatment plants. Composting sewage, animal, mushroom, fish, wood waste etc. Warehouse Corp – wood waste, plywood and other wood waste manufactured products. Telephone/electric poles, fireplace logs from pulp, bark. Manufactured boards for houses and decks, fence post and boards, bolts and nuts, poles, recycling plastics. The destroying of farm lands for wall to wall urban housing and new roadways (instead of rebuilding existing roadways and bridges and rebuild them up above flood plains. Water systems for home usage, wells, springs and springhouses, cisterns, usage of rain water. Victory Garden and putting up storage of harvest. Off the grid home power vs. public power, wind, solar, water, generators, man powered, batteries. Finding many grants to buy farms, small business, tools, clothing etc. Insurance, medical, home, transportation, business.”

4 Comments:

  1. Macky Kyle

    I think that it refreshing to see that there are some in the prison system that are interested in how they can contribute once they find themselves back in society.

    Generating “green interest” in areas such as composting or solar energy are great ways to help ensure that we all do our part in preserving the environment.

    Keep up the good work!

    Macky

    GoodCompost.com

    Reply to this comment ↓

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