Sun, 06/12/2011 - 19:42 — admin
Green to Propel Event Participation
Earth Day 2011: While environmental purist have begun to shy away from the pop appeal of Earth Day, the holiday has become an appropriate time to celebrate projects. One such example is YouthBuild Lake County's (YBLC) Earth Day event. YBLC, a non-profit-organization that provides construction-based training for at risk, low-income teens, hosted an Earth Day event to showcase the first and only energy efficient home in North Chicago, IL that was built by the organization's trainees.
Jon Hirsch,Vice President, Krugel Cobbles Inc. is a current director on YBLC board. Regarding the event, Hirsch said, “We (YBLC) were able to do multiple things all at the same event. We celebrated an energy efficiency home in a low income area, the trainees and Earth Day all in one.” Furthermore, YBLC's event, which was sponsored by First Midwest Bank (Trust Division), was a success due to the presence of attendees. Laurel Tustison, Executive Director of YBLC, said “ Congressman Dold was present at the event; I think people are interested in Earth Day to learn about ways to save money through energy savings and to see what green means in a home setting."
Also held in April was the Historic Chicago Bungalow and Green Home Expo, an event that took place at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Northlight Architects, LLC of Chicago was an exhibitor. Architect Frank P. Michalski, AIA, LEED AP of Northlight said, “We (Northlight Architects) get exposure by a lot of people. There was a low immediate return though. I keep exhibiting at the expo because I've met many of my best clients at this show.” Other memorable events at the Merchandise Mart include Canstruction, a non-profit-organization that organizes competitions among builders and architects who construct structures made out of caned food. After the competition, caned food is then distributed to local food banks. Canstruction attendee Mike Borter of YAS Architecture said, “ We (YAS' young architects) are especially eager to do new things. I think Chicago has an electrified atmosphere that is new to it within the last 5 years. I think most projects have green elements these days and people want to talk about them. ”
Borter's enthusiasm is shared by organizations such as the Foresight Design Initiative. Foresight's series of Green Drinks is consistently well attended by people representing a variety of sectors. On April 27, Green Drinks focused on the State of Sustainable Business in Chicago and highlighted the leaders of the recently established Chicago Sustainable Business Coalition. Suzanne Keers, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Local First Chicago (a coalition member), presented at Green Drinks. “Green Drinks has a very receptive crowd to our message,” said Keers. Another coalition member, the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op, was represented at Green Drinks and the Co-op's founder, restauranteur Dan Rosenthal, addressed the packed house at the Environmental Law and Policy Center. When it comes to planning green events, Rosenthal, who owns several Certified Green Restaurants including Trattoria NO.10, Poag Mahone's and the Sopraffina Marketcaffe, suggests people need to remember to reduce and reuse before recycling (IE using silverware and cleaning with an eco-friendly solution is more sustainable than using 'recycled' plastic ware once). Rosenthal also points out that people should be aware that the majority of compostable products do not wind up at sites that foster proper decomposition.
Chicago's environmental spirit has become contagious in neighboring cities and counties too. GreenTown 2011 was held on April 28th at The Centre in Elgin, IL. Collectively produced by a5 and Seven Generations Ahead, the conference focused on The Future of Community. David P. Gorman, PE, Asst. Director of Public Works, Village of Lombard, attended the conference. “With the economy, I've had to directly tie sustainability to cost savings for the village,” said Gorman. Through the conference, I've learned how to avoid being a slave to the zoning code and there is real connection between health and sustainable design that promotes well being and savings for tax payers.” Also presented by a5 and Seven Generations Ahead was The County Green event hosted by the College of Lake County (CLC) on May 24th. Randy Blankenhorn, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) was the keynote speaker and discussed CMAP's Go To 2040 Plan. The plan takes a comprehensive, regional approach that also encourages participation among cities and counties outside of Chicago and Cook respectively. To learn about CLC's Sustainability Center, please visit http://www.clcillinois.edu/gogreen. The Center is financed by the Illinois Green Economy Network http://www.igencc.org/.
In May, events were widespread in Chicago. Despite lower attendance that reflected slow growth in the construction and real estate industries, Buildex Chicago still showcased 170 exhibitors. Other notable events in May included Green Festival Chicago held at McCormick Place (May 14-15) and Chicagoland Greenforce Summit and The Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative. The festival showcased numerous eco-lifestyle products and organic food that was actually competitively priced and well consumed, showcasing the public's growing demand for healthy, affordable food and companies' innovative means to deliver the goods at lower prices.
The Chicagoland Greenforce Summit, organized by Jobs for the Future (JFF) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the proceeding Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative (produced by Chicago Jobs Council (CJC) were held at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law on May 17th.
Angela M. Bailey, M.A., Policy Associate, CJC, said, “There was significant reason for Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative to help promote jobs for underprivileged workers. Jennifer Keeling, Director of City Policy, CJC added, “Last year, we had a greater federal perspective. This year was more practitioner and locally focused. This year was dealing with an economy that hasn't bounced back.”
This summer, a variety of expos, fairs, and seminars will continue to take place in Chicagoland. Some will solely be green focused and other events will include eco-themes, companies and operations into the dynamics. While clearly driven by environmentalism, green innovation and events are largely being propelled by the timely principles of sustainability and the necessity to promote new domestic markets for the creation of resources, project development and jobs.