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Green Festival News

Shifting our Disposable Cup Habit and Creating Community-wide Change

disposable-cupsHere in Seattle, we have taken the lead in recycling. Now, we need to push the envelope by shifting to reuse. In the United States, we use about half a million disposable, hot-beverage paper cups every 15 minutes. That number has increased by a third in a mere four years.

Take a close look at this picture of the Statue of Liberty. It is an image produced by Seattle photographer, Chris Jordan, for his recent TED talk. The frame is filled with columns of stacked paper cups. See the little notch on the bottom left? That is two tiny people looking up at the mass of cups America uses in a single day.

Our addiction to convenience is getting out of control. Recycling items is better than sending them to landfill but does that mean we get to be wasteful, extruding a veritable torrent of disposable, single-use items, and plowing through the resources burned-up for the sake of a product used once and then tossed? Let’s take a closer look…

The Power of Creative Community

artaffectAbby Kuranz and Dan Mahle
The Art Affect

Environmental justice is defined as no group of people, including racial, ethnic or socioeconomic groups, may bare a disproportionate share of negative, human caused environmental impacts. One of the most overlooked and under-represented groups in this cause are America’s YOUTH.  Climate change is a challenge that youth are already experiencing unprecedented consequences to their health, their homes and their communities. It is a challenge with no boundaries or discrimination; affecting generations to come in every community regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic class.

Chicago Green Festival this Weekend!

gf-chicago-overviewGet ready, because the Chicago Green Festival is this weekend, May 14-15 at McCormick Place Lakeside!

Discounted tickets are still available online. The deadline for you to purchase your discount online tickets is Friday May 13 at 5pm CST. You can also purchase your tickets at the box office on Saturday and Sunday.

Ride your bike and use the Bike Valet, or take public transportation for discounted admission at the door! Students with ID and seniors also receive discounted admission. All Green America, Global Exchange and Sierra Club members get in free, as well as all city, state and federal government employees!

Author Book Signings and Bookstore with Chicago's Women and Children First

amy-goodman-book-signingGreen Festival is proud to partner with local business, Women and Children First, to create a wonderfully diverse Green Festival Bookstore!

Located in a new location in a spirited and diverse northside Chicago community, Women & Children First began in a modest storefront in 1979. Staffers include teachers, graduate students, professional writers and storytellers, political activists, board members and poets. The purpose in beginning the store 31 years ago was to promote the work of women writers and to create a place in which all women would find books reflecting their lives and interests. Women & Children First strives to do this in an atmosphere in which all are respected, valued and well-served.

Art, Music and Culture

folk-musicians_webTake a break from the Green Marketplace and step into a gallery filled with art, music and culture. Immerse yourself in all manner of artistic expression, from music and song to spoken word and storytelling. Plus, indulge your taste buds with a chocolate and coffee pairing. If you feel your creative juices flow, you can even participate in a wide variety of interactive art projects, as you learn about local and global environmental issues we currently face.

Speaker Spotlight: Amy Goodman

goodman“Going to where the silence is. That is the responsibility of a journalist: giving a voice to those who have been forgotten, forsaken, and beaten down by the powerful. The Exception to the Rulers.” – Amy Goodman

Award-winning journalist, Amy Goodman breaks through corporate media lies, sound-bites and silence with passionate reporting as host of Democracy Now!, airing on more than 800 public television/radio stations worldwide. In 2002, Goodman enlightened attendees of the first-ever Green Festival with her presentation, “Independent Media in Time of War.”  That same year, Democracy Now! became an independent nonprofit organization and has since grown to become the largest public media collaboration in the United States. Her latest bestseller, Breaking the Sound Barrier, proves the power of independent journalism in the struggle for a better world. From community organizations in New Orleans, to those struggling to survive in Haiti, Goodman illuminates ordinary people who are standing up and speaking out.

Speaker Spotlight: Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr.

rev_yearwoodDonning a sleek baseball cap and a swagger to match, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. bellows into a microphone, calling to action the hundreds of young people ready to take a stand for a healthy environment in front of the White House. The crowd raised their fists in the air, and all chanted after his lead, “One Planet, One Voice!” Showing his love for hip-hop culture and an enthusiasm for environmental justice, Rev Yearwood, President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, engages urban communities all over the country to join the fight in preserving the health of our planet.

Rev Yearwood is connected to environmental policy and the entertainment industry alike. He is able to develop trendy ways to go green. Moreover, he is devoted to urban youth and has created a new facet of the green movement. “Green Mojo” is what Rev Yearwood describes as the need for the green movement to further grow as a multiracial, cross-class force across the nation. Speaking truth to power, you can watch Rev Yearwood share his thoughts this Saturday at 2:30 PM on the Main Stage at Chicago Green Festival.

Hip Hop Vs. Pollution

hip_hop_revReverend Lennox Yearwood Jr.
Activist, President & CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus

Asthma rates in the United States have been steadily rising. Unfortunately, the youth are the ones that suffer the most. Across the board, children have higher rates of asthma than adults. African American children are especially susceptible. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, there has been a 50% increase in the rates of asthma for African American children during the past ten years. An estimated 17% of African American children now have the disease. Even though it is a common disease, many people undermine its lethality. The Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology also states that nine people a day die from asthma.

Green Matters in the Regional Transit System

s-CTA-large_1In and around Chicago, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) gets you where you’re going with three transit operators: the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus and rail system, Metra commuter rail, and Pace suburban bus service. 

As the second largest public transportation system in North America, the RTA prides itself on providing a safe and comfortable ride around Chicago and all over northeastern Illinois. The RTA takes environmental concerns seriously and works to provide transit that is energy efficient and utilizes clean energy whenever possible.

Transit operated by the CTA, Metra and Pace in northeastern Illinois is responsible for keeping over 5 million metric tons of carbon out of the environment – that is equivalent to over 1 million cars. Since 2005, the region’s transit system has become more emissions efficient. Emissions per vehicle mile have been reduced emissions by almost 4%.

Fun for the Family in the Green Kids' Zone

seattle-kids-zoneGreen Festival presents a new and exciting Green Kids Zone in Seattle this year! Bring your family to Green Festival in Seattle May 21-22 and enjoy two days of fun for all ages. Entertaining and enriching activities include fitness and yoga, Green Kids parade, creepin’ critters, arts and crafts and a special kids’ musical performance! Visit the Green Kid's Zone and meet Flow the Water Woman and Aquaman - these time travelers from a land far away will lead kids on a journey through the natural world as they learn to reduce, reuse and recycle as well as love and protect Mother Earth. Explore the wonder of the world and learn why it is important to protect and conserve water, eco-systems, animal species and habitats.

Speaker Spotlight: Jeffrey Smith

jeffsmithThis weekend, at Chicago Green Festival, connect with change agent Jeffrey M. Smith, the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Jeffrey documents how the world’s most powerful Agriculture biotech companies bluff and mislead the public and put the health of our society at risk. Jeffrey has counseled world leaders from every continent, campaigned to end the use of Genetically Engineered (GE) bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST), and influenced the first state laws in the United States regulating GMOs.