Neighborhood Watch


| September 28, 2001


Neighborhood Watch, Elizabeth Sawin, Grist Magazine
Elizabeth Sawin has always had neighbors and always had a garden. The fact that she paid more attention to her garden than to her lawn and that she sometimes kept bees, chickens, and a compost pile led to some minor conflicts with her neighbors. This gave Sawin an idea: Maybe the watchful eyes of neighbors could be used to keep neighborhoods 'green.' If neighbors can politely encourage each other to keep their yards up to the neighborhood standard of acceptable maintenance, why can't neighbors 'support and encourage each other into happily - even joyfully - making choices that take the wider world into consideration?' For instance, why not point out the fact that your neighbor's car gets lousy gas mileage, or that the food they buy is 'grown on farms that pollute the Mississippi River?' Ms. Sawin now lives on a farm she co-owns with 21 other families and has found pleasure in making collaborative choices based on environmental communal concerns.
--Al Paulson
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