This summer households in Oak Park & River Forest tried living plastic-free – or close to it – for 30 days or more as part of the Sally Stovall Plastic-Free/Low-Plastic Summer Challenge. Named in memory of Sally Stovall, who was co-founder of Green Community Connections, this contest helped our community develop new ideas and habits that can put us on a path to a greener way of life.
Here are some takeaways from the winners of the Challenge. Give them a try. Let us know what your favorite plastic-busting tips are. Keep the conversation going on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
"Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story" will screen at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St., 2nd Floor Veterans' Room. This award-winning, compelling documentary tells the story of two people who, after learning about the billions of dollars of good food tossed each year in North America, pledged to quit grocery shopping and survive only on food that would otherwise be thrown away.
"Just Eat It" will be followed up by a Food Waste Workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, also at Oak Park Public Library, where an impressive panel of professionals will share their knowledge about reducing food waste.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Green Mountain Energy (GME) Sun Club is partnering with the Park District of Oak Park to provide $100,000 for solar panels, rain harvesting, tea composting and bees at the Oak Park Conservatory.
To secure these funds, the Park District needs your help. Click on the link below to identify actions you and your family will take to help make our community more sustainable and contribute to the overall health of Mother Earth.
My husband and I were at a restaurant recently and we noticed that there was a handful of paper-wrapped straws on the table. When we looked at one of these packages, we were pleasantly surprised to see that these straws were made from plants (not plastic) and that they were 100% compostable! Since there are 500 million plastic straws used and discarded every day in the United States alone, that’s very good news to see a restaurant that has made the choice to go in a different direction!
Understanding of the importance of reducing food waste is growing. France has recently become the first country to prohibit supermarkets from throwing away food based on its sell-by date. They are required to donate the food to a charity rather than dispose of it.
We may be a long way from mandating food donations nationally, but there is a lot that we can do in our own homes. Within the US, we are responsible in our homes for 43% of the food waste.
Local students took top prizes in the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest at the elementary and middle school levels in both 2018 and 2017. Winning films premiered at the One Earth Film Festival in March at Columbia College along with top films from across the country at high school and college levels. At that time, students were fêted with monetary prizes, certificates, T-shirts, and a reception.
Enjoy a warm breeze and the glittering lights of the city at a free, outdoor film in Chicago’s Millennium Park this summer.
One Earth Film Fest will screen the animated film “WALL-E” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. This collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events is part of the Millennium Park Summer Film Series.
Spring has sprung, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming.
Host a green show & tell event at your block party to explore ways we can do our part to support Mother Nature. You can choose from one of the following topics offered by Green Community Connections and friends or design your own event.
Dave and Ol are two Brits who work for environmental charities. Each week, they digest the latest environmental news stories, speak with experts, and spout their own opinions in their 30- to 40-minute, light comedy podcast, Sustainababble, which has as its motto: “Trying to be cheery in the face of impending ecological disaster.” Blimey.
Fun for the whole family awaits at the 2018 Earth Fest, including a wide range of activities for kids from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the Village of Oak Park Public Works Center, 201 South Blvd. Engage with more than 50 vendors and organizations who will provide hands-on activities, environmental services information, free samples and green goods for sale. Take a tour of the LEED Gold-certified Public Works facility, and check out the beehives on the building’s green roof.
This is a drive up/drop-off event to reuse/recycle items not accepted in the curbside collection. Clean out your basement, garage, and drop off items for recycling rather than sending them to landfill. The Epilepsy Foundation will be collecting clothing, shoes, and household items.
For a detailed list of accepted items and for information on the Electronic Collection Program, go here. For volunteer opportunities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Area Retailers will give away free reusable bags to customers on Saturday, Jan. 6
Beginning Jan. 1, Oak Park shoppers in many of the larger retail stores will be charged 10 cents for every single-use bag the store provides to carry home their purchases. The new local law, which applies to retail stores of 5,000 or more square feet, is intended to reduce the negative impact single-use bags have on the environment.
In mid-November, Mindy Agnew took on the role as Oak Park’s new sustainability coordinator, stepping into a post that had been vacant for more than three and a half years.
Mindy’s sustainability pedigree is already well established in Oak Park. She was a member of the team that guided District 97 to incorporate zero waste programs in the schools, beginning in 2008. Since that time, composting, recycling, and zero waste lunches have become commonplace throughout the Oak Park educational system.
With Oak Park’s single-use bag tax taking effect on January 1, 2018, now is a great time to make carrying reusable bags a habit.
Over the next few months, Green Community Connections will be launching a bag share project. If you have extra reusable bags, you will be able to leave them at one of the bag locations. If you need a bag, or you’re out and about and realize you’ve forgotten yours, you can swing by a bag location and grab a one.