A Look at How Wisconsin’s Community Action Agencies
Engage in a Wide Range of Innovative Energy Efficiency and Waste Reduction Practices
From food warehouse composting to aquaponic business development assistance, Wisconsin’s 16 Community Action Agencies are engaged in a wide range of sustainable “green” practices to reduce poverty in an era of diminished resources.
These efforts are highlighted in the report, All Things Green, released by the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association. Contact information for the agency staff involved in each project is included in the report.
“The state’s community action agencies are contributing on many fronts – providing job skills in energy efficient housing construction, recycling electronic hardware, weatherizing nearly a thousand homes per month,” stated Richard Schlimm, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP).
Taking the position that unsustainable practices only serve to increase poverty over time, the agencies are constantly searching for ways that low-income residents and communities can benefit from new technologies and practices that reduce waste, conserve limited valuable food and energy resources, increase efficiency and create stronger and more sustainable local economies.
The steps being taken by agencies fell into a number of distinct categories:
• Energy efficiency
• Renewable energy (solar, wind, biomass, other)
• Sustainable food systems (production, processing, recovery, composting)
• Green building practices
• Environmental preservation
• Personal and organizational practices
Specific projects include computer and electronic hardware recycling at the Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, the incorporation of solar and other efficient building practices at CAP Services and developing affordable housing units that are Energy Star rated at Couleecap. Others include Northwest Community Service Agency’s work to increase the number of community gardens in their service area and the Foundation for Rural Housing’s effort to establish a water conservation community project, pulling in stakeholders within the community to discuss water usage and to develop goals and action plans to reduce water use and waste.
“Community Action Agencies have always tackled great challenges to reduce poverty. And these challenges are even greater today with weak economies and diminished resources. The green efforts of these agencies give us hope for the future”, concluded Schlimm.