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Who We Are

Green Community Connections provides a place to tap into conversations about sustainability issues and to identify concrete steps you can take. We believe change is both necessary and possible and the best way to get there is together. Learn more About Us.

A Crash Course in Garden History

Orangery at the Palace Versailles, near Paris, France. Takashi images/Shutterstock

Landscape Historian Barbara Geiger, will teach “A Crash Course in Garden History” from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, at Dole Library, 225 Augusta in Oak Park.

In this lecture full of images Barbara will hit high points in the story of gardening through the ages. How the constraints of water, gravity, soil, and climate shaped design. How major design styles leapt national boundaries to take root in new environments. We’ll visit the great Midwestern naturalistic designers O. C. Simonds and Jens Jensen. And finally a few late 20th-century designers who saw no need for plants at all. Which gardening style have you inherited?

BARBARA GEIGER is a landscape historian who has taught the subject for over 20 years at cultural institutions such as the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Newberry Library. She presented her enormously popular program, “Downton Abbey: Centuries in the Making,” well over 100 times at libraries all over the metropolitan region. As a specialist in the Prairie School designers, Barbara published her biography of Chicago landscape-gardener O.C. Simonds (Graceland Cemetery, Lincoln Park, Glenview Club among 1,000+ projects) in 2011. Her motto is:  “Each of us needs to know about the landscape we inhabit if we are to create true sustainability.”


Oak Park/River Forest Resilient Communities Forum

On Wednesday, Jan 31 the Oak Park and River Forest area residents are invited to participate in the Resilient Communities Forum. We will hear first-hand how nations and communities are addressing the challenges of climate change, and explore practical ways in which we can make a real impact locally. The event takes place from 6:30-8:30 pm, at the 19th Century Club, 178 Forest Ave in Oak Park, IL. The evening begins with refreshments, followed by the program at 7:00 pm.

Cathy Yen, Executive Director of the OPRF Chamber of Commerce, will host the program featuring Village President Catherine Adduci (River Forest) and Mayor Anan Abu Taleb (Oak Park), both of whom participated in the North American Mayors’ Climate Summit in December. The mayors will share their takeaways from the conference and what they mean for us locally. Resident climate experts and sustainability leaders will share the global perspective from the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, as well as updates on regional and local initiatives happening in our communities.

Following the panel discussion, participants can explore action opportunities and resources that can equip and connect us during the year ahead. Interested attendees are asked to RSVP at tinyurl.com/resilientforum.

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Save Our Earth–Bring Your Own Bags


Area Retailers will give away free reusable bags to customers on Saturday, Jan. 6

Beginning Jan. 1, Oak Park shoppers in many of the larger retail stores will be charged 10 cents for every single-use bag the store provides to carry home their purchases. The new local law, which applies to retail stores of 5,000 or more square feet, is intended to reduce the negative impact single-use bags have on the environment.

The fee applies to paper as well as plastic, officials say, because paper bags consume enormous amounts of natural resources to manufacture and create their own type of environmental issues when not disposed of properly.

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At Chicago Community Climate Forum, Participants Connect Around Solutions

Chicago Community Climate Forum | The Field Museum | ©Spoon Photo & Design 2017

Dallas Goldtooth, an activist with the Indigenous Environmental Network who helped stop the Keystone XL pipeline, is still advocating for sustained demonstrations and non-violent actions.

“We need a story of change…of resistance,” he told a gathering of close to 1500 civic leaders, community members, and representatives from 70 civic and environmental organizations that attended the Chicago Community Climate Forum, held Dec. 3 at The Field Museum.

The centerpiece of the forum was the unveiling of a Chicago Agreement on Climate and Community. The agreement outlines a set of principles and commitments by the city’s neighborhoods, institutions, and organizations to curb climate change. Just as the Paris Agreement facilitates collaboration among nations of the world, the Chicago Agreement offers a way for community members and local organizations to contribute to practical climate solutions.

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Jason Funk Talks about UN Climate Change Conference


Oak Park resident, Jason Funk, attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, in November. Jason, the Associate Director of Land Use at the Center for Carbon Removal, answered a few questions about his experience:

Q:  How did you participate at the Bonn Climate Change Conference?

A:  I participated as an observer organization, along with hundreds of other NGOs from around the world. Observers aim to influence the negotiations by engaging with Party delegates, talking to the media, and working together to amplify our voices about environmental integrity, human rights, and other issues.

Q:  What were some of the accomplishments and main takeaways from the Bonn conference? 

A:  One of the main takeaways was simply the fact that countries worked hard to stay on track to meet the Paris goals, despite the announced withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. In fact, the bluster from the U.S. administration seemed to galvanize the rest of the world, and they worked diligently, making good progress toward the implementation of the Agreement in 2020.

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Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors from the One Earth Film Festival.