Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the volunteer climate policy advocacy organization, held its 10th annual International Conference and Lobby Day this past June in Washington, DC.
The conference began on the afternoon of Saturday, June 8, and lasted through Monday evening. It included advanced seminars on diversity, climate policy and climate communications. Over two days, more than 40 workshops and panel discussions explored structured lobby training for new climate advocates, skill-building and political strategy, and up-to-the-minute lobby training to prepare all the volunteers for the Tuesday Lobby Day.
Pembroke Township, in the southeast corner of Kankakee County, is full of treasures of both place and people. From its black oak savanna to its black rodeo, topography and culture meet to create a one-of-a kind, rural community.
This summer, six area high school students participating in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) documented some of what makes Pembroke so unique via three Young Filmmakers Workshops with Matt Wechsler of Hourglass Films.
The GreenBuilt Home Tour offers you a look inside 18 sustainable, energy-saving homes in Northern Illinois, and allows you to meet the builders, designers, and homeowners who made these homes possible. This all takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3 and 4.
The tour features two categories of homes: Twelve Certified Green Homes, meaning that third parties have verified their adherence to nationally recognized standards (you can visit these homes on either day of the tour), and six Green Renovation Homes, meaning that owners have embedded sustainable features into green projects (you can visit these on Saturday only).
People who are curious about easy, affordable ways to add beauty to their home landscapes or who want to attract more beneficial wildlife to their yards can attend the “Birds, Bees & Butterflies: A Native Garden Tour” from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 10, in Oak Park and River Forest.
Appropriate for beginning to advanced home gardeners, the tour will feature eight enchanting Oak Park and River Forest native gardens featuring Illinois native plants, including shade, sun and rain gardens, according to Pamela Todd, director of West Cook Wild Ones, the tour’s organizer.
Did you know that the Midwest’s largest zero-waste craft beer festival happens right here in our own backyard?
The Oak Park Micro Brew Review, which started out 12 years ago as a fundraiser for local environmental non-profit Seven Generations Ahead (SGA), has grown in popularity along with the boom in craft brewing and eating locally and sustainably. With nearly 4,000 attendees, 80+ craft brewers, and dozens of vendors, the Micro Brew Review has the potential to leave a huge mess, but SGA founder and executive director Gary Cuneen and his team have developed a formula for events with great taste and zero waste.
Out of Oak Park, Forest Park, Maywood and Berwyn, one community earned the title of “greenest suburb” when comparing per capita carbon dioxide emissions, but the winner may surprise you.
Author, researcher and former Oak Park resident Susan Subak will reveal the answer on Wednesday, July 10, when discussing her 2018 book, “The Five-Ton Life: Carbon, America, and the Culture That May Save Us.” The presentation will include Susan’s research on the low carbon culture of west suburban Chicago compared to other environmental leaders on the East Coast, a slideshow and a book signing. The event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Oak Park Public Library Main Branch, 834 Lake St., in the Veterans Room on the second floor.
A month after losing Sally Stovall (co-founder of Green Community Connections), we are so very thankful for the hundreds of people who reached out to share memories of her, attend a memorial service and even help to continue her work. If you feel inspired to do so, please contact us to help with or attend any of these initiatives.
Sally Stovall Memorial Plastic-Free/Low Plastic Summer Challenge. Plastic-free living was a cause Sally was working on shortly before she passed away. Reduce your plastic waste and compete for a prize and bragging rights.
Join a book discussion of "Braiding Sweetgrass" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave., in River Forest. Sponsored by the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Nature Book Club.
This collection of essays was a favorite of GCC’s co-founder, Sally Stovall, who passed away a little more than a month ago. “It opened up a whole new way of looking at things,” she said about the book a few years ago, when she organized a five-week reading group around it. Later, in writing a brief review, Sally wrote, “The stories in each chapter have delighted and nurtured me in a way that I find hard to describe. From the first essay on, I have been sharing my enthusiasm for this book like an evangelist!”
This summer, GCC’s “I Can Fly” mentoring and garden education program is returning, bigger and better than before in the Austin neighborhood. The program has a new name and new energy, thanks to new funding and a stronger partnership with Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development (BUILD), an organization that has been serving at-risk youth in Chicago’s most challenging neighborhoods for 50 years. Their mission is “...to engage at risk youth in schools and on the streets to help them realize their potential and contribute to our communities.”
Can we fight climate change with a tomato? We’ve fought with food once before. . . and we’re not talking about in the cafeteria.
Today, a new round of Climate Victory Gardens are popping up across the country to address our climate crisis, according to Jillian Semaan, food campaigns director at Green America, a national nonprofit that is leading the charge.
We’ve been so very good this year! We elected you Governor of Illinois and that is a first! We think a progressive (fair) income tax is a great idea for all of us worker elves. . . we deserve a raise too, but a fair tax is a great start. . . .
IDOT is asking for 52% of the goods in this gift package for new roads and new highways. Bah humbug! IDOT has not been a good boy for decades. They’ve hired hacks and built programs that give us sprawl and ever more congestion. Their bread and butter puts more carbon dioxide and diesel pollution into everyone’s holiday stew. To choke on their brew is not a gift, it is a curse. Don’t give in to them, Santa!
When most people retire, they kick back, take cruises, and visit the grandchildren. Sally Stovall was not most people. She did, indeed, relish visiting her grandchildren, but after she retired from a career in organizational development, Sally embarked on a new, vibrant career as climate activist and community organizer.
In September 2010, Sally and her partner, Dick Alton, were worried about global warming and decided to hold a community meeting to see if others felt the same way. Out of the woodwork poured a cohort of people with the same concerns --no real surprise in progressive Oak Park.
When monarch butterflies migrate over 2,000 miles to Mexico during the winter, they head to the same places within the fir forests each year. This fact may not sound impressive, but the monarchs who fly to Mexico may be fourth generation butterflies who have never seen the mountain forests and do not have any living ancestors to lead the way from experience.
Doug Taron, chief curator at Chicago Academy of Sciences’ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, will speak about the life cycle and migration of monarch butterflies at a West Cook Wild Ones monthly meeting from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, at the Oak Park Public Library Maze Branch, 845 Gunderson Ave.
It happened suddenly, almost overnight. Just 700 feet from young children playing, MAT Asphalt, LLC appeared on the southern border of McKinley Park, at 2055 W. Pershing Rd., in Chicago, in early 2018. The plant produces up to 890,000 tons of asphalt per year.
Almost as quickly, Neighbors for Environmental Justice (N4EJ) formed in response; they are a group of local citizens who claim the plant brings dust and fumes, which could damage children’s lungs, increase rates of asthma, and possibly worse.
Not many people would let a tarantula crawl across their hand and consider it a “magical” experience. Nor allow an octopus to grasp their arm with its suckers, but author Sy Montgomery did both, telling stories about the animals in “How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals.”
The Nature Book Club of the Trailside Museum of Natural History will hold a free discussion of “How to Be a Good Creature” at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2. The museum is located at 738 Thatcher Ave. in River Forest. For details, contact 708-366-6530 or email@example.com. “How to Be a Good Creature” is a New York Times bestseller, and Montgomery is a National Book Award finalist.
With 40% of all food being wasted in the United States, the Interfaith Green Network, in conjunction with several sustainable organizations in the area, want to help us all become Food Waste Warriors. Two programs are lined up to help us become more aware of the problem of food waste and what we can do about it at home.
Those who didn’t catch the documentary WASTED! at last year’s One Earth Film Festival have another chance next month at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Oak Park Library. Doors open at 6 p.m. for this free screening. All ages welcome. Please register here.
Visiting friends or family via airplane this holiday season? Don’t forget to bring Mother Earth a present by offsetting the carbon emissions from your flight.
Carbon offsetting involves financially supporting Earth-friendly projects, such as planting trees or building wind farms, which reduce the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide that your flight generated. Burning jet fuel produces carbon dioxide, one of the harmful greenhouse gases that is causing climate change.
Six One Earth Young Filmmakers Workshops started in the heat of summer, on August 11, and finished up amid a winter chill on December 9. Recent art school graduates and accomplished, award-winning film directors taught content, which ranged from stop-motion to live action.
Bill Reilly recalls being invited to participate in a panel on socially responsible investing in Oak Park a few years ago. That’s when he first learned about One Earth Film Festival.
A senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Reilly since has become a festival supporter. In 2017, his team of Merrill Lynch financial advisors, Oak Brook-based The Reilly Group, were Festival sponsors. And they plan on being sponsors again for the 2019 Festival, he says. This year, for Giving Tuesday, Reilly was a matching donor.
Each day’s news seems to pitch us deeper into the pits of despair: climate change action feels stalled, or worse, rolled back.
According to the latest report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a body of the world’s most respected scientists from 195 countries), climate change is here, and it’s accelerating faster than many models predicted. What’s more, climate change will usher in catastrophic food shortages and natural disasters by 2040 unless we change course.
If you curl up with A Sand County Almanac by a window, you may soon be looking outside and seeing a passing dog as a “professor” of scents. You may imagine how if a nearby chickadee worked, it would have a “Keep calm” sign above its desk. Aldo Leopold’s classic book combines such memorable and humorous observations of flora and fauna on his Wisconsin sand farm, as well as his thoughts and philosophy on conservation.
For seven months now, a group of 20 people, give or take a few, have been practicing Sacred Wandering at Thatcher Woods, the third Saturday of each month. We start with some community-building conversation, a standing meditation, and then we walk slowly to our first meditation spot where we sit for about 15 minutes, focusing on the nature surrounding us.
Grace Lutheran Church and School in River Forest is co-hosting one of Faith in Place’s itinerant indoor Winter Farmers Markets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, November 10. The market is free and open to the public. These markets move from one location to another each weekend to provide more communities with access to local foods and give vendors the chance to meet new customers.
At a time of year when most summer farmers markets have closed for the season, this market will offer attendees the opportunity to purchase items such as meat, eggs, honey, salsa, jam, bread, pastries, seasonally-available produce, and more.
Saving food starts with your mindset. It’s a skill, as well as a passion. Like a muscle, it strengthens as you use it!
We can make a big difference by becoming food waste warriors! We don’t usually think of food being a major source of greenhouse gases that cause climate change, but according to research published in 2017 in the book, DRAWDOWN, edited by Paul Hawken, “reduced food waste” was ranked as the 3rd most effective of the 80 solutions that could actually reverse global warming.
At the closing celebration for the One Earth Film Festival, Isaiah Mākar presented his Spoken Word piece, “Earth’s Breakup Letter: Please Don’t Leave Me for Mars,” on March 11, at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Recently, he answered a few questions about his journey from a shy kid to a Spoken Word entrepreneur. This interview is followed by his Spoken Word poem from the closing celebration.
Practicing self-care is essential in 2018. It’s been a year of soul-crushing news about the climate, the state of our democracy, and #metoo. If you enjoy walking, you might try forest therapy. Called forest bathing (shinrin yoku) by the Japanese, this beautiful practice combines mindfulness and a slow stroll in nature, under the direction of a certified guide, often in the company of others.
Jim Gill and Elaine Petkovsek are creating an oasis for birds in their backyard. Directly underneath the overhead bird feeder, they will plant an American Hazelnut which will be visible from their patio table (behind).
Ana Garcia Doyle and Jim Doyle’s garage was falling apart, the slab was cracked, and they had received citations. They knew they wanted to add solar panels to a new garage they planned on building behind their Oak Park home. In order for Ana and Jim to fit enough solar panels to provide 100 percent of their home’s electricity and for the garage to be at an optimal pitch to capture the sun’s rays, the structure would have to be much taller than a typical garage. Therefore, Ana and Jim decided to build a large, two-story garage with a greenhouse attached and a top floor that could be used as an office or a room for community meetings.