Illinois Poised to Lead the Way on Clean Energy

Illinois Poised to Lead the Way on Clean Energy

Interested in learning about the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) and Illinois’ transition to clean energy and environmental justice? Join us for a free discussion featuring:

  • Sen. Don Harmon

  • Rep. LaShawn Ford

  • Rep. Camille Lilly

  • Citizens Utility Board

  • Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition

  • Blacks in Green

  • Illinois Solar Energy Association

When: 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13. Where: Unity Temple, 875 Lake St, Oak Park. Admission: Free. Advance registration is strongly recommended.

Festival Sponsor Bill Reilly Makes the Case for Socially Responsible Investing

Festival Sponsor Bill Reilly Makes the Case for Socially Responsible Investing

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.

Goodbye to Green Home Experts--and Good Luck!

Goodbye to Green Home Experts--and Good Luck!

Our beloved all-things-green store is closing this month, and owner Maria Onesto Moran is moving on to a new mission. On Jan. 31, Green Home Experts will sell off the last of its stock and close its doors.

We will sure miss not only Maria's sparkling conversation from the front counter, but also the bright native plants and vegetables, the green school supplies, and the bulk cleaning products dispensed into our own containers. We also will miss the fun parties, classes and events that GHE hosted in its cheerful venue.

Gathering in a Garden

Gathering in a Garden

(bring your favorite dish)
to the Home of Estelle Carol
323 S. East Ave. in Oak Park
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 18

Tour and learn about a front-yard edible landscape, swap gardening stories, and organize committees for the Oak Park Area Edible Gardening Cooperative. To RSVP or for more information, contact or go to

Introduction to "Keeping it REEL"

As creator of the One Earth Film Festival, Green Community Connections believes in the power of film to inform, inspire and transform. Our new Keeping It Reel feature will curate short videos and feature-length film trailers that focus on a variety of sustainability and environmental issues that affect us all. You will find in this feature not only a variety of topics but also a variety of approaches to the topic, including factual, inspirational, light and humorous, personal stories and public advocacy. In the righthand column are two videos to start off our new series. Enjoy!

Please give us your feedback and participate by submitting your "nominations" for a future feature. Contact Sally Stovall:

Connect to Action: Attend GreenTown Chicago May 21-22


Twenty-four break-out sessions on topics from biking to fighting childhood obesity to Illinois' home-grown renewable energy industry. Eighty-three brilliant, sustainability speakers and panelists. One Swedish ambassador. Oh, and a tasty, post-event, micro-brew reception. Add them up and what do you get? The GreenTown Chicago conference, held May 21-22, where today's best and brightest ideas will inspire tomorrow's sustainable solutions to fight climate change, improve people's health and spur regional resilience. Green Community Connections members and other sustainability activists will find much to discover and learn at the conference, held at UIC Student Center East at 750 S. Halsted in Chicago. The location is easily accessible by bike, blue line, Metra or carpool.

Photo by Jackman Chiu

Designed to be an intense, focused networking opportunity for government, business and community members interested in pushing the Chicago region toward a more sustainable future, GreenTown Chicago is organized by Oak Park-based Seven Generations Ahead and a5, a strategy and design firm in Chicago.

The main conference activities occur on Thursday, May 22. Attendees will learn about sustainable initiatives in the City of Chicago, understand what's going on in the surrounding metropolitan region and gain an international perspective from Sweden, one of the world's most forward-thinking countries in the sustainability arena. Some highlights include:

  • Discover how the region is undergoing a paradigm shift from “waste management” to “materials recovery."
  • The trees we live among are under threat, but also give us enormous ecological benefits. Edith Makra, Director of Environmental Initiatives, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus will give a tour of Chicago's urban forest.
  • Panelists will discuss how the Institute of Cultural Affair’s (ICA) Accelerate 77 project is engaging leaders from across Chicago’s neighborhoods in learning about and acting on sustainability.
  • Find out how Sweden's cities are becoming more energy efficient, healthy and resilient.
  • Learn how the Climate Adaptation Guidebook for Municipalities in the Chicago Region can help communities interested in adapting their planning and investment decisions to a changing climate.

The conference's first day, Wednesday, May 21, will hold two high-level sessions on food scrap composting in Illinois and the role of colleges and universities in leading the push toward sustainability.

Click here to view the full GreenTown Chicago agenda as well as registration and parking information. GreenTown is sponsored by the city of Chicago, the Institute of Cultural Affairs, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Green Living: 10 ways to green your holidays


With the Winter Solstice, Christmas and New Year's approaching, here are some no cost and low cost ways to end 2013 with an eco-friendly bang.

Heartfelt Gifts

1. Give your time. In our "More and More" world, it's easy to forget that the gift of time is most precious. Consider giving “gift certificates” for a skill that you can teach, such as music lessons or knitting, or a service, like pet-sitting or house cleaning. No cost. 2. Give an experience. Find a local guided tour, class on a shared interest, massage at a spa or tickets to a sporting event, museum, concert or play. homemade gift3. Bake an incredible gift. Use your skill in the kitchen to bake breads, cookies, preserves, dried fruits, nut mixes or herbed vinegars...all presented in reusable containers, of course! Low cost. 4. Buy locally made gifts whenever possible. Cloth napkins and kitchen towels make especially green gifts. Discover the many craft fairs around town, as well as the Oak Park Women's Exchange at 839 S Oak Park Ave in Oak Park ( 5. Give the gift of a greener world by giving things such as a refurbished computer, backyard composter, rain barrel, refillable thermos bottle, and recycled-content stationery. If you're giving a battery-operated toy, include rechargeable batteries and a battery charger.

Dreamy Decor

6. Eat meals by candlelight. Turning off the lights is romantic for adults and fun for kids! No cost. 7. Upgrade to energy saving LED holiday lights that are up to 90 percent more efficient than conventional incandescent holiday bulbs (recycle the old ones - see #10). Low cost. 8. Put lights on timers to save energy while you're traveling. Low cost. 9. Make wreaths and centerpieces from your yard. Bonus: If you combine annual winter pruning -- trees and shrubs are dormant in December-- your plants and your home will look fabulous! It's so easy to assemble wreaths and centerpieces using arborvitae, juniper, pine and spruce. Dried seed pods, pinecones, and grasses add a nice touch. Read this Chicago Tribune article or search "natural winter decorations" on (Remember: boughs quickly lose needles in the dry air of a home, so hang homemade wreaths outside and make centerpieces the day before the party.) No cost. 10. Recycle your Christmas tree and other greenery. Many towns have tree recycling programs. And some recycle holiday lights. Look for details from the villages in January. No cost. Find more tips on reducing, reusing and recycling at

Fractured: A Public Discussion on Fracking and the Environment


On Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 12:00pm - 1:30pm, an afternoon discussion of fracking and its environmental impacts will kick-off a year-long series of events on Global Energies.Field Museum James Simpson Theater 1400 S Lake Shore Drive Chicago IL, 60605

Hydraulic Fracturing or "fracking" has transformed America's energy landscape. This newly developed extraction technique allows companies to access oil and gas trapped in shale rock and other unconventional geologic formations. However, fracking's impact on water safety, the environment, and the climate have raised grave concerns about its sustainability.

Join us for an afternoon discussion of fracking and its environmental impacts.

06062013_North_Dakota_Oil_articleFeatured presenters include Terry Evans, photographer of "Fractured: North Dakota's Oil Boom" (currently on exhibit at the Field), Margaret MacDonell from the Argonne National Laboratory , Rob Jackson from Duke University, Alaka Wali from the Field Museum, and Mike Ziri from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The event will be moderated by Mark Lycett, Director of the University of Chicago Program on the Global Environment and Interim Director of the Center for International Studies.

NOTE: Please enter the Simpson Theater through the West Door of the Field Museum — entrance is free for the lecture only, and does not include admission to the museum galleries. All other access to the museum requires regular paid admission. A free shuttle bus (first come, first served) will leave from the University of Chicago campus in front of Pick Hall at 11:15am and return to that location after the event.

Cosponsored by the Center for International Studies, the Program on the Global Environment, and the Field Museum.

First Ever GreenBuilt Home Tour Features Local OPRF Residents


The two homes we featured in this previoiusly published post will be on the Sept. 28th Green Living and Learning Tour.  We are happy to bring another opportunity to the public to tour these "green-built" homes.  Read more about them and plan to visit them on the Tour! The first ever GreenBuilt Home Tour will take place on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21 and homes will be open from 10 am – 6 pm on both days.  The tour’s theme, Living Healthy and Saving Green, features 16 exceptional, award-winning, nationally-recognized Chicago area homes, including two stops in Oak Park and River Forest. GreenBuilt_Logo_Tag3

By attending the tour, you will learn about the latest advances in healthy living, energy and resource efficiency, and cost-effective green design. Home owners, as well as the builders, architects and area leaders building sustainable homes will be onsite to answer questions and share their experience with the sustainable building process. For more information on the tour and to purchase tickets, or to volunteer, check out the website at Enter the coupon code "green" for $5.00 off your ticket price!


Featured Oak Park Home


The Doyle residence, underwent a deconstruction and gut rehab in 2012.  The project won a 2012 Green Award from the Village of Oak Park and incorporated green innovations for energy and resource conservation, while preserving the character of the original Prairie-style, American Four Square home. The home utilizes a geothermal energy system for HVAC and domestic hot water. It includes one of the first residential greywater systems in IL, anticipated to save 20-30% on indoor water use by recycling water from tubs/showers into toilets.

Ana Garcia Doyle is active member of Green Community Connections and leader of the One Earth Film Festival.  Ana and Jim Doyle and family hosted a water conservation tour stop for the 2012 Green Living and Learning Tour.  At that time, the house was still under construction.  If you haven’t seen the completed project, the GreenBuilt Home Tour would be an excellent opportunity to do so.


Featured River Forest Home


 Oak Park architect Tom Bassett-Dilley has designed the first certified passive house to be built in the Chicago area and 28th in the nation.  The new house, built for the Lema family, uses only a small fraction of the heating and cooling energy of a conventional house.  What is a Passive House?  Passive House is the most stringent building energy efficiency standard in the world; it requires that the envelope of the home is designed to minimize losses and maximize passive gains, with careful attention to building science and indoor air quality. The result is a super comfortable home with minimal operating costs, great indoor air quality, and far less maintenance requirements than a typical home. With its cost-effective emphasis on the building envelope, Passive design is a good first step toward Net Zero building.

For information and tickets or to volunteer:

It's Real, It's Urgent, and There is Something We Can Do


For three days, July 30th through August 1st, activists from all over the world participated in the Climate Reality Leadership Training held in Chicago. Oak Park residents Mindy Agnew, Milton Clark, Mac Robinet, and Sally Stovall were 4 of the 1400 participants from all 50 US states and 70 countries that participated in the training at McCormick Place.


Former Vice President Al Gore, founder of the Climate Reality Project, spent one full day with the group reviewing the science of climate change and dramatic images of climate change from all over the world that have occurred in the last few years, in the form of extreme weather including record-breaking heat waves, flooding, drought, and wild fires, and the resulting human and economic costs.  A sobering picture.  BUT, we did not go away feeling discouraged and dispirited.  On the contrary, we were encouraged and energized because we know that are things we can do to make a difference.

Jonah Sachs, one of the co-founders of Free Range Studios which produced videos like “The Story of Stuff,” “The Meatrix,” (a spoof on The Matrix), and “(Grocery) Store Wars,” (a spoof on Star Wars) also addressed the group. He talked about the power of stories to touch people and move them to action. Keep a look out for Sach’s new book is titled, Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future. I know that the “sustainable, resilient communities story” is the story that I want to rule the future, and I think that OPRF is just the right community to be telling – and modeling that story!

Submitted by Sally Stovall

If you'd like to learn more about the training, visit these Related Links: