Seven Generations Ahead

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.

Food, Too Good to Waste: Reduce waste and save money!

FTGTW-banner Americans waste as much as 25% of all food and beverage purchases.  Oak Park households are being sought to participate in a free, two-month program to learn how to support sustainability and save money by not wasting food.  The program, entitled "Food:  Too Good to Waste," is sponsored by the Village of Oak Park, the USEPA and Seven Generations Ahead, a local organization that promotes ecologically sustainable and healthy communities.

Participants will learn to save money by shopping smarter, keeping fruits and vegetables fresh, eating what they buy and composting what they cannot eat.  A household of four is projected to save $30 a week by using the program's toolkit.

To sign up or learn more, call 708.660.9909, ext 7, or email

Energy Efficiency Workshop for OP-RF Congregations

Start the New Year off right and learn how faith-based institutions in Oak Park and River Forest can achieve PlanItGreen goals and save energy and thousands of dollars every year!

Recycle with leaves

This complimentary workshop, co-sponsored by PlanItGreen, the Interfaith Green Network, and the Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF), provides actionable steps and timelines for how Interfaith Green Network and PlanItGreen-affiliated religious organizations can significantly lower utility bills, provide a healthy environment for their congregations, and support congregational and PlanItGreen sustainability goals for 2013.

WHEN:  Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 7:00pm – 8:00pm


WHERE:  Oak Park Public Library (Veteran’s Room, 2nd Floor), 834 Lake Street

WHO:  This workshop is ideal for Oak Park and River Forest faith-based organizations operating in older facilities. Pastors, green team leaders, building operations managers, and congregation decision-makers are strongly encouraged to attend.

Participants will learn how IFF can:


  • Assess your facility's energy use and evaluate your best options for energy savings
  • Explain which grants and incentives are available to your organization to help cover costs
  • Provide affordable, flexible loans for upfront costs—and use the savings from your lower energy costs to pay the loan back
  • Oversee all energy upgrades and train your staff to help maximize savings

IFF's Energy Performance Program (E2P) has identified hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy savings for nonprofits and institutions of faith—join us on the 14th to learn how IFF can help your organization!

To RSVP or to learn more, contact SGA at or Dick Alton at