I arrived at Dana Gray’s home in the Southwest Garden neighborhood of St. Louis enthused about my travels in the city. “I could see the arch from the top of Cahokia Mounds, and I saw the mounds from the roof of the City Museum.” Dana laughed and burst my bubble. “Those aren’t the Cahokia Mounds you saw; it is the landfill in Illinois. It’s much higher than the Native American site.”
Dana and her husband Jerry manifest the familiar slogan, ‘Think globally, act locally.’ They own a handful of early twentieth century properties in their urban neighborhood; live in one and rent the others. They’ve organized an ‘alley’ neighborhood of connected families and planted their yards with gardens and orchards. Honey produced in their back yard won a state fair ribbon.
Jerry is AV electrician for individuals and companies; Dana is an art appraiser. Their home is full of striking art, and they’ve installed sculptures in front of their properties: all part of their effort to improve their immediate neighborhood in the hopes their efforts will spread.
Dana also does research on sustainable cities, focusing on alternative transportation such as bike paths and pedestrian ways. When did walking become an ‘alternative’ mode of transport?
How will we live tomorrow?
“I hope we will be undoing our mounds of excess.” – Dana (referring to the landfill in Illinois)
“We have to localize and downsize. How do I get that into one sentence? In the near future: poorly. In the distant future: probably not at all. I hope that awareness comes up. It’s not the next one hundred years that matters. It’s now that matters.
“My life is short from this point. My son and my grandchildren will live in a very different world if corporate greed goes unchecked. Look at the arctic dumping. We are changing our climate. Our current slope is a slippery down. If we can switch to centralized power we can do it cleaner.
“How do we get off our major industry being built for war? I thought the Internet would connect us, but it can be shut off at any time.
“I have a Jimi Hendrix quote on my refrigerator. ‘We will have peace when the power of love exceeds the love of power.’” – Jerry