Sustainable Lawrence In Action

Our SWELL Neighborhoods
SWELL is our way of abbreviating "Sustainable Where wE Live in Lawrence"

Do you live in a SWELL neighborhood?

In a town like Lawrence, the key to long-term sustainability may be how we relate to each other in our own neighborhoods, the ways we connect in daily life.

Something we've learned from studying other communities: positive change comes about when people connect with each other around things they care about. Putting it another way,
Lawrence gets more sustainable every time one neighbor talks to another about how they can "go green" together.

Why? Things we do at home – cutting energy use, eating smart, eliminating toxic substances in lawn care, to name a few – are important, and we extend and magnify these benefits when we cooperate and stay connected with people living nearby. Opportunities for saving money, using environmentally smart practices, and building a sense of community are only limited by our imaginations.

It’s the job of Sustainable Lawrence's
Outreach Coordinator Tahirih Smith

to help you and your neighbors figure out the more ways to realize the benefits of living sustainably.
Tahirih can help you and your neighbors organize to save money, protect the environment, build your community, and add to the quality of your life. Contact her today at 609-731-1818  or

Project Porchlight Volunteers

As part of the SWELL neighborhood outreach, Sustainable Lawrence and Project Porchlight organized a neighborhood "blitz" to distribute free CFL light bulbs in the Eldridge Park area of Lawrence Township.  On June 5th, over 25 volunteers from GEPNA, The Community, LHS and Notre Dame participated in the event to distribute over 850 bulbs. "The day was hot, but the volunteers were very cool!  Everyone had a great time and the neighbors were very receptive.  Some of them had already changed all the bulbs in their homes!" said one of the volunteers.

Here are some things you can do to be more sustainable and save money

  • Share equipment: lawn mowers, snow blowers, hedge trimmers, cooking utensils, etc.;
  • Trade books, video games, CD’s, and other entertainment media;
  • Share freezer space, clothes lines, outdoor grills;
  • Run errands together, especially those involving heavy bundles, such as trips to food stores, farmers’ markets, garden supply stores;
  • Share magazine subscriptions;
  • Trade pet sitting, baby-sitting, elder care services;
  • Share garden plots for both vegetables and flowers.

and one of our favorites...

  • Potluck suppers: share leftovers, good times, good company, and good stories.

In Lawrence Township, we know…

  • A woman who keeps chickens and gives away the eggs to all her neighbors;
  • Two families on one street sharing a weekly magazine subscription;
  • A guy who leaves his extra home-grown vegetables on the porches of all the houses around his;
  • A number of people around town who hold annual block party picnics in their back yards;
  • Several “Mom’s Clubs” that pool clothing and other “kids’ stuff”, including child-rearing ideas;
  • Countless examples of people borrowing and lending everything from computer cables to pick-up trucks.

Let us know your favorite examples of neighborhood cooperation!

There’s an old folk song that says, “The heart of any town is the people that you know.”  We believe this.

We also believe there is important environmental benefit when we share or work together.  Anytime we do something together that we used to do separately, it uses less energy and saves us real money.  But it’s not always easy.  We have busy lives, and we don’t always know our neighbors. 

Sustainable Lawrence can help you and your neighbors organize to save money, protect the environment, build your community, and add to the quality of your life. 

Contact Tahirih Smith today at 609-731-1818  or