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Who We Are

Green Community Connections provides a place to tap into conversations about sustainability issues and to identify concrete steps you can take. We believe change is both necessary and possible and the best way to get there is together. Learn more About Us.

Community Solar Rises and Shines

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Solar energy deployment is getting super charged on Chicago’s near west side, thanks to a community-based program called PlanItGreen: Solar in Your Community. The program is developing a pipeline of community solar projects to meet the renewable energy goal in Oak Park and River Forest’s PlanItGreen sustainability plan: achieve 25% renewable energy procurement by 2020.

“The PlanItGreen: Solar in Your Community initiative will lay the groundwork for a future utility-scale project toward meeting our renewable energy goal targets,” says Gary Cuneen, Executive Director of Seven Generations Ahead which provides leadership for this project. PlanItGreen is the Environmental Sustainability initiative of Communityworks, an Endowment Fund of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 50% of Americans are not candidates for rooftop solar electricity. The reasons range from financial to logistical.  “Oak Park and River Forest is a very built-up area,” says Mark Burger, Renewable Energy Consultant with Seven Generations Ahead. “We won’t be able to get a significant percentage of our electricity from within our boundaries. Many households don’t own their roofs, as in the case of renters or even condo owners. Or they live in places with a lot of shading from trees or other buildings. That’s where community solar is an important component.”

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Cities, Universities, Businesses and Communities aren’t Waiting

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As world leaders gather in Bonn, Germany, for the first UN Climate Change Conference since the Trump Administration pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, it is clear from the surge of climate change conferences and events in the Chicago region that cities and local government entities, universities, community organizations and businesses are moving forward to take action on climate change and to activate their constituencies to do the same.

Looking for ways for you, your family or your business can get involved in local climate change fighting efforts? Here are some recent and upcoming events. Attend one and let us know what you learned, or tag us on social media:

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Zero Waste Events Are the New Normal

In the past, the list of zero waste events in the Oak Park/River Forest area could be counted on one hand, but now zero waste events are the new normal.

Zero waste events (those that generate less landfill waste through reducing, recycling and composting) in the area include the Oak Park Micro Brew Review, the One Earth Film Fest, Oak Park’s Great Food Truck Rally, the Good Life Race in Oak Park, green block parties in Oak Park and River Forest, the LemonAid annual fundraiser in River Forest, farmers market events, the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry fundraiser, and the list goes on. Green Community Connections wanted to know more about these events and how they came to be “zero waste.”

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Take Action for Clean Air, Public Transit, and Wildlife

Monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed. Photo by Andrew C/Creative Commons

Since 1975, Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) has promoted sound environmental laws and policies in Illinois. More than 80 affiliate organizations across the state collaborate through the IEC to create policies that protect Illinois’ air, water, and natural areas. IEC is the only organization that provides regular updates on the issues affecting the environment at the state level. We encourage Green Community Connections readers to sign up for the updates at the IEC website: https://ilenviro.org

Here’s a summary of their latest update. Take a few minutes to call your elected representatives during the Illinois General Assembly’s veto session going on this week.

Find your…

Representative (called the Representative District in this list; this is NOT your U.S. representative. We know, it’s confusing!)  http://www.elections.il.gov/districtlocator/addressfinder.aspx

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Newlyweds Return to Teach Young Filmmakers Workshops

David Arthur Wall and Lauren Travers Wall honeymooned in Rome, Venice, Paris, London and, of course, Liverpool.

Two Young Filmmakers Workshop teachers will guide the workshops again this year, but as husband and wife rather than an engaged couple. David Arthur Wall and Lauren Travers Wall tied the knot in June, followed by a whirlwind honeymoon in London, Liverpool (The Beatles, duh), Paris, Venice, and Rome.

“We are really excited to be teaching the Young Filmmakers Workshops again,” says Lauren. “We love sharing our love of filmmaking with kids who want to get creative and learn something new.”

Adds David, “We’re hoping to inspire children to tell their stories and one day change the world through one of the most beautiful and powerful mediums available right at their fingertips.”

Lauren graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in digital cinema in 2013. That same year, David graduated from Columbia College with a degree in film and video. So how did their paths even cross?

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Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors from the One Earth Film Festival.

    

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