Couple wants to spread message, practices of 'self-sustaining' lifestyle in Hickory

November 09, 2011
Rachel Zahran
Hickory Daily Record

Imagine a dense, green forest bustling with life.

Now imagine giant yellow machines biting and gnawing at the foliage, destroying the scene drawn over a hundred years.

Climate change, deforestation and over development. Some scientists predict a stern change in the world we live in, in near future.

The sustainable living project and the Transition movement, widely accepted in Europe and new in cities as close as Asheville, suggest just that, transition.

Jacqueline Riordan and her husband, Robb, are the co-founders of the local Transition movement and The Sustainable Living Project, also known as Transition Hickory.

The couple moved to Hickory a year and a half ago after living in Europe, then Bermuda, and has dedicated their time to creating a self-sustaining garden and environmentally friendly home lifestyle in Hickory on 11th St NW. 

“The Sustainable Living Project is not a business,” said Jacqueline, “it is our desire to live sustainably and to show others that it is not primitive or difficult.” 

The couple now plans to launch ‘Transition Hickory’ with awareness raising presentations at various venues throughout the winter. 

“Instead of allowing the natural resources the earth possesses to simply disappear before our eyes one day, the transition movement offers a way to withstand the shock and transition to a more self-sustaining lifestyle,” said Jacqueline.

Robb, who co-founded Transition Bermuda, completed his master’s degree in 2009 in Sustainability in the Built Environment from the University of East London Graduate School of the Environment at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. 

While living in Bermuda on a boat for several years, Robb gathered a startup group of supporters, conducted awareness raising presentations, designed and built a prototype passive solar batch heater. The heater won first prize in a innovation tournament, and he donated the $1,500 prize to the Transition movement, which funded workshops on heater construction. 

In addition, he completed research for the Energy Working Group and reviewed governmental green papers on energy, making recommendations in an advisory capacity

Some of the ways the Riordans have been making the transition at their home are with rainwater harvesting with a new metal roof and 6,000 gallons of storage; installation of a wood stove, to heat their home, fueled by scavenged wood; a passive solar design renovation on the house; raised veggie beds as part of a permaculture-based garden design; sheet mulching over most of our grass to create perennial beds; a mini orchard; a solar oven; a Reverse Osmosis water filter; and glassing in their porch to grow winter greens.

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