The Beautiful Life


By Maritza Martinez

Disponible en español. Available in Spanish.

There’s a lot of talk about community resilience, but what does it really mean?  How can we make sure our communities are ready to survive—not only in the face of disasters wrought by climate change, but during economic downturns and whatever else may come our way? 

Green For All Fellow Naomi Davis has a solution that she calls “green village-building.” She defines it, at least in part, as having a walk-able community, with everything we need within one mile of where we live.  This vision does not include big box stores—she wants to make sure the money we spend in our communities stays in our communities. “Neighbor-owned businesses are the Holy Grail. Without them, all we have is a colony. You just exist for someone else’s wealth,” she explains.

This past weekend, Naomi, the founder of Blacks in Green (BIG), presented her model at the Green Festival in Chicago.  She described the conservation lifestyle that she calls “The Beautiful Life.” It’s based on the idea that going back to a simpler lifestyle, like the one our parents lived, is the way to alleviate many of the problems that afflict our communities. During her parents’ time, she explains, “Everything they ate, they grew. Everything they wore, they made. And wealth was having a skill, not pieces of paper.”

She uses performing arts to share the principle and teach others about The Beautiful Life. And that’s just what she did at Green Festival—using a stage show to teach participants about crowdfunding.

Recently, Naomi teamed up with Michael William Cunningham, author of The Jobs Act: Crowdfunding for Small Businesses and Startups to build  This is not just another crowdfunding site. It provides support to entrepreneurs every step of the way to make sure they are successful. Participants are raising money for gardens, new businesses, solar generators, and much more. Meanwhile, BIG has also launched BIG Black Crowdfunding Clubs to support crowd-raisers as they launch and manage their campaigns.  These clubs are being piloted in Chicago and will soon be across the country.

You can join Naomi in living The Beautiful Life, and be part of the movement to build resilient communities by supporting projects on Download the campaign packet, and like them on Facebook. Let’s ensure that all of our communities have enough resources to survive.

Read more stories in our "I am the Green Economy" campaign here

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