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Environmental endeavors show us what’s possible

In Greenability magazine, the Challenge stories featured the extraordinary environmental efforts of many local people. They’ve inspired us by growing their own food, planning green weddings and funerals, planting water-saving gardens, composting, growing edible orchards, saving energy, building electric cars and recycling everything.

Take the 100-mile food challenge

Photo by: Pam Taylor

The 100-mile Diet Team members challenged each other to support local farmers, grow their own food and eat within a 100-mile range from home. Here they enjoyed a summer meal of locally harvested food. July/August 2007

Roeland Park family takes the Greenability Challenge

Photo by: Paul Versluis

When it comes to making changes that lead to a more sustainable and “green” household, small actions truly add up. Or so Jeff and Andrea Onnen of Roeland Park discovered when they took part in the Greenability Challenge, a new project designed to help Kansas City families introduce “green” lifestyle alternatives into their households. Partnering with Metropolitan Energy Center and Bridging the Gap, Greenability helped local families get an energy audit and learn how to reduce their energy use. The Onnen family cut their energy use by 27 percent after getting an energy audit, insulating and changing light bulbs to CFLs. November/December 2007

KCK resident gets energy-saving advice

Photo by: Paul Versluis

Vanessa Vaughn lived in her West Heights Neighborhood home in Kansas City, KS, for a year — long enough to have a sense of what works pretty well in the 70-year-old, Tudor-style house and what still needed some tweaking, or in some cases, a total overhaul. Making her home energy-efficient and comfortable was a big goal. The energy audit showed air leakage throughout the house, and infrared photos illustrated the air escaping through the roof as well as around windows, doors and the foundation — a major problem for most houses. Vaughn also learned about energy-efficient, electric heat pumps and how she could receive a rebate from Kansas City Board of Public Utilities. Vaughn, a community relations officer for United Missouri Bank and a member of UMB’s Green Team, participated in the Greenability Challenge to educate herself – and others — about sustainable living. July/August 2008

Eat healthy, organic and locally on a food-stamp budget


Jody Drake knew she could eat healthy, local food, but she wanted to see if she could do it on a low-income budget. She shares how she fed her family of two on a food-stamp budget of $5.54 per person per day. The centerpiece of her success was a hormone-free chicken that she used parts of for several meals, and the hearty, vegetarian choices she made for other meals. January/February 2009

A green wedding: Taking eco-steps down the aisle

Photo by: Chad Hickman

Given today’s environmental awareness, inviting 300 people to a wedding isn’t calculated solely in dollars per head. It’s calculated in footprints — carbon footprints. On their big day, Allison and Kevin Pinkowski took every step to lower those impacts. The couple’s friends chipped in for the ultimate wedding gift for eco-conscious newlyweds – a bicycle built for two. March/April 2009

Daily commute becomes eco-friendly triathlon

Photo by: Paul Versluis

At 62, Chris Jensen, a Rockhurst High School English teacher and Ecology Club moderator, challenged himself to make a personal triathlon of his 46-mile daily round-trip commute from Leavenworth, KS to 93rd and State Line Road. He chose a combination of driving, riding a bus and biking. He drives from Leavenworth to Parkville, where he parks his car and bikes or rides the bus to work in south Kansas City. May/June 2009 

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