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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.

Bike Walk Oak Park Meets Up

KK Tan/Shutterstock

Bike Walk Oak Park is a new, informal group that encourages and advocates biking, walking, and transit in Oak Park.

Guest Bill McKenna, Oak Park Village Engineer, will discuss progress and challenges identified by the group at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at Oak Park Public Library, Main Branch, 834 Lake St., 1st Floor Community Room, in Oak Park.

Priorities and topics might include:

  • Bike Infrastructure
    • Bike lanes should be painted and well-marked
    • Need north-south biking artery (or two)
    • Execute on greenways in Bike Plan
    • Bike racks should be visible and plentiful
  • Sidewalks
    • Sidewalks are not friendly for walking (little space with poles, parking, outdoor cafes, etc)
    • Crosswalk lights are often not working

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A Tax We Hope No One Will Pay!


Editor’s note: Since the goal of the Oak Park single-use bag fee is to dramatically reduce the use of both paper and plastic single-use bags, we hope it is one that will rarely be applied.  Many are already using reusable bags, and plans are underway to ensure that those who need reusable bags will receive them when the single-use bag ordinance goes into effect.

The Village of Oak Park has unanimously passed an ordinance requiring stores over 5000 square feet to charge 10¢ a single-use bag. The new rule goes into effect on January 1, 2018, and will apply to both paper and plastic bags. The new 10¢ fee will be evenly split between the retailer and the Village, with the Village’s share earmarked for “environmental sustainability initiatives” which have yet to be named.

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A Shady Deal for Oak Park?

A rear view rendering of the proposed 1000 Lake Street building from the Albion Planned Development Application. The Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center is omitted.

The rumors are true: a developer is proposing to build an 18-story building on the south side of Austin Gardens, at 1000 Lake Street. In order to move forward, the builder – Albion – is asking the Oak Park Plan Commission to change the zoning on the lot, which allows only 8 stories. We need all hands on deck to understand the issues and get involved. Will you? Read more for a quick summary and 4 easy actions you can take.

What’s at stake? The developers claim the mixed-use building containing 265 luxury apartments and 9,500 square feet of retail will bring in tax revenue. Many residents and the Oak Park Park District feel the building will be extremely costly in ways we can’t fix once the project is up. They point to these problems:

  • The building will throw Austin Gardens into deep shade all winter. It will also shade the southeast corner of the park, hurting mature trees and plantings there.
  • It will cast a shadow on the rooftop solar panels of the $1 million environmental center we just built in Austin Gardens.
  • Higher winds are already whooshing down Forest Ave. due to the Vantage building. The Albion project will likely make them worse.
  • The charming, human-scale character of the downtown will be altered by yet another tall building.

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The Great American Eclipse


You may want to skip work Monday, August 21. Or at least the afternoon. On that day, the moon will pass in front of the sun, creating an 87% partial solar eclipse at about 1:20 p.m. in the Chicagoland area. In the ensuing darkness, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, and Mars may all be visible.

Those interested in seeing the full, 100% total eclipse are welcome to drive to the “path of totality” in southern Illinois or any other state along the diagonal swath that starts in Oregon in the morning and finishes in South Carolina by afternoon.

A cloudy day could ruin visibility anywhere along the route, which is why some eclipse chasers plan to camp out in Wyoming, where the likelihood of clear skies is best.

The “path of totality” has a width of 71 miles and just happens to stay within American borders all the way from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans, hence the moniker, “The Great American Eclipse.”

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What Can One Person Do about Climate Change?

Seth Wynes/Kimberly Nicholas, Environmental Research Letters, 2017

High Impact Personal Choices to Reduce our Contribution to Climate Change

A recently published scientific peer-reviewed study identified 4 high-impact lifestyle choices that produce the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The comprehensive study analyzed 39 peer-reviewed articles, carbon calculators and government sources to quantify the most high-impact personal lifestyle choices in developed countries.

“Bringing all of these studies side by side gives us confidence we’ve identified actions that make a big difference.  Those of us who want to step forward on climate need to know how our actions can have the greatest possible impact.  This research is about helping people make more informed choices.”  — lead author, Seth Wynes

The study’s findings show that the actions that would have the greatest impact on an individual’s greenhouse gas emissions are:

  1. Eating a plant-based diet (saves 0.8 tons of CO2 equivalent per year)
  2. Flying less: One  transatlantic flight (or equivalent) avoided per year (saves 1.8 tons of CO2 equivalent)
  3. Living car free for a year saves 2.4 tons of CO2 equivalent
  4. Having one fewer child would save 58.6 tons of CO2 equivalent based on current emission rates. However reducing overall national emissions could make the climate impact of an additional child significantly less.

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