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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.

New Filmmaking Workshops for Kids

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One Earth Film Festival offers three filmmaking workshops for kids from 3rd through 8th grades which are just for fun or to help develop skills to enter the Young Filmmakers Contest.

High school students in need of extra help with filmmaking may partake of artist/teacher Jeff Lassahn’s free tutelage from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, at the Chicago Public Library’s YouMedia, 400 S. State St., in Chicago. Call 312-747-5260 first to confirm his availability.

Live Action Workshops for Grades 3 to 8
Live action filmmaking workshops are split into two age groups, grades 3 to 5 and grades 6 to 8. Each age group will have two classes lasting 2-1/2 hours each on Sundays, Dec. 4 and 11. Please bring an ipad or tablet, if possible. The first class will cover story, lighting, and audio, with plenty of time for hands on learning. The following week, the focus will be editing and production. Kids will have time to shoot additional footage during the week between classes.

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Connecting with Nature Through Stories (for children and adults)

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Photo from ChildrensBookGuide.com.

I love good children’s books.  Some of my most cherished moments from my children’s growing-up years were reading stories to them that inspired and nurtured me as much as them!  So when I came across this list “16 Great Children’s Books on Nature and the Environment” I knew that I had to share it.

The folks who put together this list for ChildrensBooksGuide.com shared the following reasons for featuring books on the theme of nature and the environment:  “Now, more than ever, it is time to share with [children] the beauty that lies in caring for our world and the power that they have when it comes to making a difference. . . .  A wonderful way to turn their attention (and appreciation) towards some of the things that go on in the natural world is through story books, which plant the seeds of curiosity and intrigue that in turn lead to involvement and action.”

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Nourish Your Life Through Nature Journaling

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Sallie Wolf suggested creative methods for journaling at a West Cook Wild Ones meeting. Photo by Cassandra West.

Many people nourish their lives by making writing a daily practice, like eating and exercise. Oak Park-based artist Sallie Wolf gave a presentation on nature journaling to West Cook Wild Ones last month. She showed off some of the more than 100 journals she has created over more than 50 years. These beautiful documents trace her most intimate thoughts, travels, goals, garden wildlife, and even the moon in the sky.

“My journals are a combination of an anthropologist’s field notes, a writer’s notebook, and an artist’s sketchbook,” says Wolf.

At the workshop, she walked participants through her method of creating simple journals and then explored the different ways she works in them: writing, drawing and collage. Wolf is not a perfectionist, and she uses her journals to practice, play, observe and explore. She encourages beginning journal keepers to read The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron.

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A Vision for the Chicago, Des Plaines, and Calumet Rivers

 

Ted Glasoe Photography

Ted Glasoe Photography

On August 17, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a group of civic leaders gathered at the WMS Boathouse on the banks of the north branch of the Chicago River to release Our Great Rivers, a vision produced through a community-wide collaboration led by the Chicago Community Trust, Friends of the Chicago River and the Metropolitan Planning Council.

Billed as “the city’s first-ever vision for the entirety of its vast network of rivers and tributaries,” this vision sets out a series of cumulative goals for the coming twenty-five years, leading to a transformation of the area’s river system into a post-industrial asset that is inviting, productive and living. It rests on the assumption that our rivers have always been, and will continue to be, working rivers, and takes on the task of integrating the commercial character of the network with the community and natural ecologies along its banks. Its guiding principle is that riverfront and channel development, to be successful, must be environmentally sound and sustainable.

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10 Steps to Going Solar

The Crystal and Alan Prechel Family have 29 solar panels on their roof, 4 chickens in their yard, and 2 electric cars in their garage.

The Crystal and Alan Prechel Family have 29 solar panels, 4 chickens, and 2 electric cars, in addition to 3 adorable children.

Editor’s note:  The Prechel home was one of six on view in Oak Park for the Illinois Solar Tour on Oct. 1.  Alan Prechel’s installation was unique on the tour because his was primarily a “do it yourself” project.  If you are considering solar for your home or business, whether you plan to hire a contractor or not, you will be better prepared for the task after reading Alan’s account, his steps and decisions, his hints and cautions, and his successes and failures.

Author’s note:  Please remember that I researched, designed, purchased, and self-installed my system in order to keep the total costs feasible. I hired professional help when needed and went through the required channels with the utility and municipality to ensure this system is safe and well built. You should do your own research as I did, even if you are leaning towards hiring a solar contractor to do the labor. Best of luck, I hope you have many sunny days ahead!

There are many reasons Solar energy is ‘disruptive’. The term carries with it massive environmental, economic, social, and political weight. Energy produced by Solar PV systems is clean; no carbon emissions or pollution is generated for the 20+ years a typical system will operate. Additionally, the generated power earns the owner SRECS (renewable energy credits) used by businesses to offset their dirty pollution footprint. Most PV systems can be designed to reach ROI (return on investment) well within the lifetime of the equipment, and thus they create monetary profits thereafter. System owners are insulated from utility rate hikes and inflation and are less dependent on external energy sources.

I believe if Solar PV were the norm in US residential applications there would be no energy crisis, our grid and infrastructure could be modernized to promote sharing instead of commercial interests, and our political foreign-oil policies would be flipped on their heads, but that is a conversation for another time. If you are interested in going Solar, I have laid out a few steps to guide you on that path.

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

    

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