Occupy Sustainability


Occupy- To take over (a place) by settlement.
Sustain- To keep (something) going over time or continuously.

This pamphlet is created and updated regularly to provide information for the worldwide OCCUPY movements. Its purpose is to teach the Occupations sustainability to not rely on the Government for power, water, etc.; to minimize and eliminate waste; to last longer on donations from supporters; and to be an example of social and environmental responsibility.


1. How to start a sustainability volunteer group and why.
2. Power
3. Water
4. Hygiene
5. The 3 R’s
6. The 4th R
7. Food waste
8. Set sustainability goals (and exceed them)

Chapter 1. How to start a sustainability volunteer group and why.

Social responsability and environmental responsibility go hand-in-hand. As an Occupation, it is your responsibility to maintain a clean and green environment. Creating a sustainability volunteer group in your occupation is easy and vital.

Creating your sustainability group: This group, like all other groups in your occupation, is volunteer-based. No one should ever be pushed to participate. But it should be noted at GA’s and group meetings that it is important for occupiers to help. Make an announcment at your GA that a group will be formed, and have your first meeting right after the GA. Explain the reason for creating the group, its responsibilities, and the roles of the volunteers. The more people the better. Anyone can help. Although certain people knowledgeable in certain areas can be especially helpful, such as electricians, eco-consultants, and carpenters), make it clear that everyone’s skills and participation are valued.

After the group is formed, set a daily meeting time that will not conflict with marches, GA, demonstrations or other tasks. The Occupy Houston sustainability group has its meetings at 5 p.m. every day. Address more vital issues first, such as electricity, water, hygiene, and site cleanliness. After those issues are covered and the projects are started, continue to brainstorm and research projects that will further increase your sustainability. The more sustainable you are, the less reason your city will have to evict you from public property. Be an asset to your occupation site, not a liability.

ASK FOR DONATIONS. There are thousands, if not millions, of people who support your occupation. There are more than two million (2,000,000) people in Houston alone. Do not be afraid to ask, and ASK BIG.

Chapter 2. Electricity

Computers. Cellphones. Coffee pots. These are just a couple of things that rely on electricity to work. Producing your own electricity can be very important if your city doesn’t allow you to use the power that’s available at your occupation site. Even if you have city power to use, it is better to use your own generated power so as not to cive your city another reason to evict you. There are plenty of ways to generate and store power but I will only cover one here.

Solar power. Here is how Occupy Houston generates solar power.

3 solar panels
1 solar control box
5 marine batteries
1 1000w inverter

Connect the panels to your solar control box. Connect your solar control box to your marine battery. Connect your marine battery to your 1000w power inverter. Connect your electrical device to your power inverter.

You need the solar control box between the panels and the battery. The inverter converts the battery power (DC) to power that can be used to run and charge your electronics (AC). I learned how to do it in an hour. Disconnect the panels from the battery when there is no sun to charge them.

Marine batteries should be charged to 13 to 13.5 volts (DC). An electric meter is needed to check this. After charging, the batteries can be removed from the solar control box and used with the inverter until the batteries run out of power.

Rechargable AA and AAA batteries can be charged by solar power and are therefore highly useful. You can also use solar lawn lights to charge AA’s. Remove the spike and unscrew the bottom panel. Remove the old battery and insert a new rechargable one. It will charge one (1) battery at a time.


Chapter 3. Water

Water is very important. Encourage donors to give jugs, not bottles, of water, to reduce the need for recycling of plastic water bottles. Reusable BPA-free plastic or aluminum bottles should be HIGHLY ENCOURAGED. Five-gallon water jugs and a gravity-feed water dispenser are very effective. It’s only a few cents per gallon and provides clean drinking water.

If you rely on city or well water, use a filtration system to make it safe for drinking, cooking, and washing.

Chapter 4. Hygiene

Yes, the dreaded hygiene. Hygiene is more important when you are living, eating, and sleeping
outdoors than when indoors. Handwashing stations should be available. Showers and restrooms should be available.
You can become very sick and make others sick through poor personal hygiene. Shower daily and wash your hands before eating, after smoking, and anytime they become soiled. Use soap that is safe for the
environment so that,¬†when it goes down the drain, it won’t damage the ecosystem. Vegan soap is what
Occupy Houston uses.

Chapter 5. The 3 R’s

Reduce. Reduce the amount of waste you produce. Switch to reusable water bottles. Use
reusable dishes and utensils. Use washable hand-towels instead of paper towels. Think hard enough and you
will find many ways to reduce the need for waste managment. Talk about it at every group meeting.

Reuse. Boxes can be reused for storage. Paper can be used as scrap paper for notes. Newspaper can be used in your compost bin as bedding. Use your imagination, but research. Single-use plastic water bottles should not be refilled because the chemicals can leach into the water.

Recycle. RECYCLE EVERYTHING YOU CAN. Do a google search for nonprofit

recycling facilities that will loan you bins and pick up recyclables for free. If none exist near
you, request bins as donations and have volunteers take them to recycling facilities when they are

Chapter 6. The 4th R

Repurpose. You can use old items for new purposes. Use paper towel rolls as sign handles
(in Houston we can’t use stick larger than 1/4″ x 3/4″ for signs). Use old newspapers to make signs
(like the anonymous ransom letters in old movies). Use shoeboxes for storage. You can
repurpose just about ANYTHING. Be creative. Come on…you can do it.

Chapter 7. Food waste

Food waste happens. There is virtually no way to avoid it. But you can turn a lot of your food waste into compost.

Chapter 8. Set sustainability goals (and exceed them)

Set goals for your sustainability efforts and set them high. With hard work and ingenuity you
will reach them. And with even more work you will exceed them. Do not be scared to ask a lot from
your volunteers and community supporters. Goals can include generating enough power to run your
IT group’s electronics, eliminating trash waste, 100% recycling, starting an organic garden for food,
and so much more. Make it fun and inform your volunteers how important it is to reach these goals.
We are all working for change. And we will succeed.