One Earth Film Festival is proud and honored to be recognized by Karen Weigert, chief sustainability officer for the City of Chicago, as a regional leader for sustainability. The festival's growth over the past four years has pushed the event beyond the borders of Oak Park and River Forest, establishing a strong presence in Chicago and throughout the greater Chicago area. This expansion demonstrates that interest and participation in solution-oriented discussion and action is growing and that change, truly is possible.
On April 11, 2014, the Oak Park Village Board reversed its commitment to renewable energy and voted to change our community choice aggregation investment from green to brown. (See related Chicago Tribune article.)
It may be too late to change this particular decision by the board, but it is NOT too late -- and it is crucially important -- that we use our voice to express our continuing desire to have Oak Park take leadership in building a sustainable, resilient community and to ensure that the Village Board is "on board" with us!!
If that is a message that you would like to send to the Oak Park Village Board, please consider taking the following actions. join in the Green Energy Appeal:
- Help us pack the house during the next village board MEETING, scheduled for Monday, April 21 at 8PM at Village Hall (Lombard and Madison). Our attendance will demonstrate support for green energy and sustainability policies.
- Sign the PETITION, urging the board to recommit Oak Park to 100% renewable (green) energy now. If you want to make additional comments, write to: email@example.com to remind the members that we expect them to be sustainability leaders. Remember to say “Thank you!” to Trustee Colette Lueck, the lone board member who spoke in favor of choosing a green energy investment option.
- SHARE a link to the Oak Park Green Energy Appeal page with your family and friends via an email or social media. Watch for updates, background and additional action ideas.
- Stay tuned for information about how you can opt out of brown (fossil fuel-based) energy in Oak Park.
- OTHER CREATIVE ACTIONS as you are so inspired, e.g., write a letter to the editor at Wednesday Journal, Oak Leaves, Tribune, and/or Sun Times. Make signs to bring to Village Board meetings.
As Trustee Lueck said, “This [slight cost increase to support green energy] is a hit I could live with, because I think green is important to Oak Park. . . I also think it is important to the future of our world.”
We do, too!
On October 18, 2011, the Oak Park Village Board approved a plan making Oak Park the first municipality in Illinois to aggregate the resident and small business energy purchasing power and invest in a 100% renewable energy program. Since then, 91 communities in the state followed suit.
Just over two years later, on April 11, 2014, the Oak Park Village Board reversed its commitment to renewable energy and voted to change our community choice aggregation investment from green to brown. (See related Chicago Tribune article.)
All of the available options included rate increases; the Oak Park Village Board chose the lowest cost option. We appreciate that the board is being cost-sensitive on our behalf, but we also know that opting for dirty energy has hidden health and climate costs that are not included in the price. These are what we can’t afford to pay!
Right here in the U.S., climate change is taking a toll on people's lives, damaging land and wildlife, threatening our food supply, and hurting the economy. Think about it: severe weather was not good for Oak Park this past winter, it is not good for the drought stricken farms of the western U.S., it is not good for the flooded Southeast, and it was not good for the people who lost homes and loved ones in Super Storm Sandy.
Most disconcertingly, the Village Board made its decision just days after the release of a United Nations report on climate change that was written by hundreds of the world's leading climate scientists. The report called for immediate policy action to reduce carbon emissions. One of the best ways to do so is to invest in renewable energy.
Four ways to make your voice heard in support of green energy in Oak Park TODAY:
- Help us pack the house and ATTEND tonight's Special Village Board meeting at 8PM to demonstrate support for green energy and sustainability policies. (Room 101 at Oak Park Village Hall, 123 Madison St. - at S. Lombard Ave.)
- SIGN the petition urging the board to recommit Oak Park to 100% renewable (green) energy. (Link to petition: http://chn.ge/1tewKEo.)
- OPT IN to a 100% renewable electric energy option. You can learn details at tonight's village board meeting. Various organizations like GCC will also be sharing this information.
- SHARE this message with Oak Park friends, family and neighbors. We need your help!
Details and Updates on Oak Park's Energy Aggregation Program
Constellation, the Village’s new brown-energy contractor, says it is not possible to replace the brown contract with a green contract because Constellation has already contracted for a specific mix of energy sources, but there will be an opportunity to select 100% renewable energy. Residents will begin receiving a notice from Constellation starting today which includes the following three choices:
- Do nothing and you will be included in the DEFAULT brown energy option (a mix of coal, natural gas and nuclear) at a rate of 7.470 cents per kwh).
- Check the box at the bottom of the form which says “I do not want to participate in the Village of Oak Park Electricity Aggregation Program” and fill in the rest of the form. This results in you reverting to Com Ed as your energy supplier.
- The third option is to select the 100% renewable energy option at a rate of 7.570 cents per kwh shown in the mailing by a green box in the lower right side of the mailer. The 100% renewable option is available through Constellation’s call center only. It requires a call to an 800#. THIS IS THE OPTION THAT WE WILL BE ENCOURAGING OP RESIDENTS TO CHOOSE.
This approach -- requiring a separate phone call from each household to opt-in for green -- makes green energy the difficult option, and it will be an uphill battle to get a people enrolled. The typical community that requires that citizens to opt-in has less than 10% take advantage of the opt-in choice. Fortunately Oak Park is not typical, and we will be working hard to get a large percentage of OP residents to choose 100% renewable energy.
We will also work tonight to help the board see the bigger picture of their role in the fight against climate change and what can be done at the village level. At this stage, individual action is not enough to turn things around. We will stress with them that our Village committed over two years ago to the PlanItGreen Sustainability Plan and there is too much at stake to turn around now. In fact, rather than retreating, as a Village, we should be pushing forward with bigger and bolder policies. We will be asking the board to ramp up their support for this plan and strategies that move this plan forward.
Please join us!
Oak Park’s fourth annual celebration of green living – Earth Fest – is scheduled for 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sat., April 20, in the LEED Gold-certified Public Works Center, 201 South Blvd. This year’s event will focus on the zero waste movement. Most aspects of the festival, including event banners and food service products used for chefs’ demonstrations, will be reusable or compostable. Organizers will have sorting stations located at the event to help attendees compost and recycle as much waste as possible.
“Green living means being smart about our resources – not just consuming less but also creating less waste. This year's focus on zero waste will help folks learn about reducing waste at home, in the garden, at school and work,” said Maria Onesto Moran, an Earth Fest organizer. “Our vendors range from a restaurant using goat milk produced in Chicago, to composting experts offering free information on backyard composting.”
In addition, Earth Fest plans to partner with Oak Park’s Public Works Department to offer a close-up look at the many services provided to the community. Kids and parents can explore snow plows, heavy-duty trucks and other essential pieces of equipment.
Dozens of Earth Fest vendors will provide plenty of hands-on activities, free samples and information for families. Some of the day’s scheduled highlights include:
- Free composting and organic gardening consultations
- Up close and personal visits with urban goat farmers
- Chef demonstrations from Marion Street Cheese Market and Constructive Chaos
- Details on zero-waste lunch initiatives in Oak Park’s schools
- Car sharing information
- Tips on eco-friendly landscaping
- Important details on raising chickens and keeping honeybees in Oak Park
Back by popular demand, Earth Fest once again will feature Recycle Alley – an on-site opportunity for residents to bring items that aren’t part of the regular blue bin recycling program. Items to be recycled include blue jeans, glasses, hearing aids, prescription medication, CFL light bulbs, cell phones, rechargeable batteries and corks.
Information also is posted online at www.oak-park.us/earthfest.
[Article information taken from the Village of OP web site: http://www.oak-park.us/
With the goal of decreasing the amount of organic refuse sent to landfills, the Village of Oak Park launched its first ever food scrap curbside composting pilot program in 2012. The pilot program, which ran from April through November, was open to the 1,300 residences located south of the Eisenhower Expressway from Harlem Avenue to East Avenue. A dramatic example of the potential of the program can be seen at one local elementary school, Beye School, which began participating in the program this Fall. Beye has reduced its lunchroom waste to just 3%, meaning it is operating a 97% waste-free lunchroom. And due to its overwhelming success, the Village has decided to expand the CompostABLE pilot program throughout the entire Oak Park community. The expanded pilot will be available to single-family residences, up to and including five-flat households using Village refuse and recycling services. Participants will receive a special mobile cart for organics that will hold the approximate equivalent of three bags/containers of yardwaste that is collected in the current program.
The program will be offered on a voluntary, subscription basis. The subscription cost will be $14 per month, which is about the cost of one yardwaste sticker per week. Subscribers who use the organics cart for their yardwaste and food scraps will not be required to purchase yardwaste stickers. There are no restrictions on sharing a cart, so residents who maintain backyard compost piles or who mulch grass clippings may wish to investigate sharing organics carts and costs with neighbors.
The MOST IMPORTANT THING to know about this program is that it is not like your standard backyard composting. This program takes and composts: (soiled or clean) paper, (soiled or clean) paper napkins, (soiled or clean) pizza boxes (!!!), (soiled) cardboard. It takes ALL food waste even the darn leftovers that you can't put in the backyard compost pile. It is basically what Berkeley and San Francisco and many European cities have been doing for a long time.
Organics carts will be delivered during the last two weeks in March. Organics pick-ups will begin on your regular collection day starting April 1. Information on how to sign up for the CompostABLE program can be found here. Make sure to review the document, and return the card located at the bottom of the page to sign up. Please be sure to include your email address for monthly program updates and event information.
Residents who participate in the project will receive a 96-gallon cart for the weekly collection of organics, an under-sink collection bucket and a box of compostable bags for food scraps. Both yardwaste and food scraps may be placed in the organics cart. However, food scraps must be contained in a bag labeled compostable that meets ASTM 6400 standards.
Need more information on the Village CompostABLE program? Please contact the Village Public Works Department at Works at 708.358.5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.