Student Engagement with Community Revitalization Facilitated by ReCitizen
Free online tool prepares youth for careers restoring planet Earth
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ReCitizen, L3C is a new organization providing free tools that enable students worldwide to help renew their communities and their planet while also connecting them with training, internships, and job opportunities in the fast-growing $2 trillion/year "restoration economy."
ReCitizen has just launched a set of free tools at http://recitizen.org. With these tools, anyone worldwide -- students, professionals, retirees, etc. -- can use their smartphones (or digital camera + computer) to document local restorable assets: natural, built, or socioeconomic.
In uploading these photos and ideas -- which takes just 2 or 3 minutes -- these student "REsearchers" accomplish three things:
- They help create a map of local renewal opportunities, which helps revitalize their community by creating a local "restoration economy";
- They help create the first global database of restorable assets, which will help accelerate and improve the global restoration economy; and
- They will be creating a personal restoration economy that could renew their own life. The person who originally uploaded each asset is permanently identified on the ReCitizen project page. This can lead to offers of internships and jobs, as well as public honors and even cash rewards from real estate developers.
But ReCitizen doesn't stop at crowdmapping renewal opportunities. It offers an integrated system of crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, team building, institutional partnering (for large projects), and project management tools, all free (except crowdfunding, which charges a small percentage of money raised).
These leading edge CrowdRenewal™ tools (U.S. patent pending) enable members to suggest, discuss, design, fund, launch, and manage projects and enterprises throughout the lifecycle. Students thus learn aspects of business, policymaking, engineering, architecture, planning, and life sciences.
Storm Cunningham, CEO of ReCitizen, says, "Restorative development might be the single most overlooked growth opportunity for technical schools, colleges, and universities. Every community needs socioeconomic revitalization and natural resource restoration, but how many schools offer courses -- much less degrees -- in these burgeoning fields?"
Cunningham distinguishes restorative development from sustainable development, pointing out that sustainability is a necessary and noble public dialog, but it's not a real industry. Thus, it offers few career opportunities. "Sustainable development is popular with politicians and large corporations precisely because it's not measureable: they garner goodwill, but don't have to actually do much, and they can't fail."
He further points out that restoration, reuse, renovation, and most other "re" activities are eminently real. We can measure how much more a restored historic theater is worth. We can measure how many more fish are in a restored river. We can measure how much healthy topsoil has been rebuilt on a restored farm. We can measure how much more biodiversity inhabits a restored meadow. We can measure how much less toxicity is in the ground at a remediated old industrial site.
Membership in ReCitizen is free. Teachers are encouraged to send their students out into the community to document local restorable assets: vacant lots that could be community gardens; crack houses that could be demolished; eroded streams that could be restored, public parks that could be renovated, etc.
Membership in ReCitizen helps students provide a public service, while simultaneously being taught to see local problems as opportunities. Cunningham claims "Nothing teaches us more -- or exposes our ignorance faster -- than trying to bring places back to life. But nothing inspires and rewards us more than actually doing so."
ReCitizen is currently recruiting a global network of colleges and universities that wish to develop regenerative research, curricula, certificates, and degrees.
"We sit at the convergence of three global trends," says Cunningham, "restorative development, citizen leadership, and crowd technologies. The vast majority of professionals working in the sciences and industries renewing various aspects of our natural, built, and socioeconomic environments learn their skills on the job. This is deplorable situation. Kids these days are looking for meaningful work. They've lost confidence in the ability of both government and big business to create a better future. They want to do it themselves. Schools that fill this need best will position themselves for 21st century growth."
About Storm Cunningham:
Cunningham is a leading public speaker on regeneration (see http://StormCunningham.com). He's the author of two books, with a third, Recivilizing, on the way in 2014. His first book was The Restoration Economy, the groundbreaking 2002 work (from Berrett-Koehler publishers) that was first to document the eight sectors of restorative development that today comprise industries measured at over $2 trillion of dollars annually.
His second book, ReWealth (from McGraw-Hill Professional) has been called "The bible of community revitalization and natural resource restoration." Cunningham himself has been called "the world's thought leader on community revitalization and natural resource restoration" by George Ochs, Managing Director at JP Morgan.
For more information, contact Storm Cunningham: Email, (202-684-6815)
Read more news from ReCitizen here.