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Green Festival News

City of Chicago: Sustainable Homes and Backyards for All Residents

chicago_dep_environmentThe City of Chicago is embracing sustainable home and garden practices in 2011. Through its Sustainable Backyard Program, the City of Chicago is hosting a number of workshops, including: how to compost, how to conserve rainwater and how to plant trees, native plants and more. The Sustainable Backyard Program is also offering rebates to residents who use local resources to purchase trees, native plants, compost bins and rain barrels. In an effort to reduce smog, improve air quality, conserve water resources and improve overall health of the Chicago community, the City of Chicago is committed to making these resources available and affordable, with the goal of increasing both incentives and demand to fight climate change and preserve the regional natural habitat.

Green Festival is thrilled to partner with the City of Chicago to discuss local resources available for residents to make their homes and business locations more sustainable. Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) leader Anthony Lindsey will educate and engage attendees on some of the simple things that can be done at home to be more sustainable as it relates to installing rain barrels, composting, weatherizing homes and more.

Celebrate World Fair Trade Day!

fair_trade_basketsIda (Yunbai) Li, Fair Trade Intern
Elizabeth O’Connell, Fair Trade Program Coordinator
Green America

There are so many special days dedicated to celebrations around the world. Some days are more personal, like Mother’s Day; while others are communal like New Year’s Eve. The celebration of  World Fair Trade Day provides the extraordinary opportunity to blend personal, communal with global implications. . World Fair Trade Day marks a day for the global community to unite in the advancement of social and just trade. It is also a personal invitation to consider sustainable consumption as it relates to our own individual habits and its effect on the global economy and worker conditions.

STOP Nuclear!

stop_nuclearTodd Larson
Corporate Responsibility Director
Green America

Become part of the STOP NUCLEAR Campaign.  In light of the recent Fukushima disaster in Japan we have to send a strong message to Washington DC!  Join Green America in mobilizing thousands of people to urge the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to suspend rulemaking on the proposed Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor.

While Japan is at still at least six to nine months away from containing its nuclear disaster at Fukushima, here in the US, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is fast-tracking a new reactor that could fail just as spectacularly.

5 Gifts for Your Green Mama

GF-MotherSunday, May 8th is Mother’s Day, the day we choose to celebrate the strong, wonderful women who give us life and nurture us throughout our lives.

When it comes to finding your green mama a special gift to show that you appreciate her raising you right, what better way than choosing a gift that is environmentally and socially conscious, and takes care of Mother Earth too!

Whether your mom is an eco-fashionista, an organic foodie or queen of the backyard garden, Green Festival can help. Here are a few affordable and eco-friendly ways to show your mom how much your care:

Fun for the Whole Family in the Green Kids' Zone

gf-chicago-child-turtleGreen Festival presents a new and exciting Green Kids Zone in Chicago this year! Bring your family to Green Festival in Chicago May 14-15 and enjoy two days of fun for all ages. Entertaining and enriching activities include animal and insect encounters, yoga, Green Kids parade and even a veggie farm in a truck! 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: John Perkins - The Economic Insider & Master Storyteller

JohnPerkinsJohn Perkins, author, advisor, advocate, and much admired change agent continues to contribute to improving our world. He challenges us to soar to new heights, away from predatory capitalism and into an era more transformative than the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. His writings detail specific steps each of us can take to create a sustainable, just, and peaceful world.

As Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm, John Perkins advised the World Bank, United Nations, IMF, U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations and countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. He worked directly with heads of state and CEOs of major companies.

Green America Takes on Hershey – Every Child Deserves a Childhood!

Hershey-Shareholder-meetingReport from: Elizabeth O’Connell, Green America’s Fair Trade Coordinator from Hershey Annual Shareholder Meeting - May 2, 2011

For the past year, Green America has urged Hershey to go Fair Trade. Why?

Hershey gets much of its cocoa from West Africa where forced child labor is prevalent. Additionally, Hershey is the only major chocolate company that has not stepped up to achieve independent third-party certification that would prevent the use of child and forced labor.

To bring this to the attention of Hershey executives, we mobilized people to voice their discontent! School children have made Fair Trade Valentines for the Hershey CEO and Hershey customers have asked for a Fair Trade Hershey candy bar. More than 2,000 people have hosted The Dark Side of Chocolate film screenings and more than 30,000 people have signed petitions that were delivered to Hershey!

Dare to Be a Social Enterprise

carbon_outreachErica Grigg 
Founder, CMO
Carbon Outreach

Green Festival, a project of Green America and Global Exchange, has gathered over 1 million conscious consumers around the United States! I’m a proud advocate of Green Festivals because it provides consumers and producers the chance to really experience the benefits of ethical products. From tasting and seeing to touching and smelling, the benefits of naturally derived products are unmistakable.

I wrote an article for Treehugger to urge American businesses to consider their role in the next developments of responsible business—especially through the “social enterprise” community. For me, social enterprise models make the most sense, taking people, planet and profit into account.


PachasPajamasAaron Ableman
Edutainer, Organizer, Author

My grandpa once said "not to let my schooling get in the way of my edumication." As an educator, I am conflicted by the truth behind this joke, symbolic of our failing national schooling system. For years, I have struggled with institutional education, like the time I was pegged with a barrage of "gummy bears" from a bunch of upset students who didn't like their homework assignment. How could I blame them? The standardized curricula I was forced to teach was rewarding 'good test-takers' with candy and gift certificates to Pizza Hut! Considering the budget cuts in our public education system, hitting low income neighborhoods and communities of color first and worst, our children are facing a kind of crisis of the mind and body that shakes me to the core. And yet, I remain a hopeful advocate for equity and inspiration in our children's lives, despite the fast food lunch lines, overcrowded classrooms and violence in our schools.

Speaker Spotlight: L. Hunter Lovins - America's 21st Century Green Business Icon

HunterLovinsA worldwide recognized leader in helping companies and communities profit from more sustainable practices, L. Hunter Lovins has authored and co-authored numerous books, including: Brittle Power (1982); Energy Unbound (1986); Factor Four—Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use (1997); Green Development (1998); Natural Capitalism (1999); and, hundreds of papers and articles. She was named as a Time magazine “Hero for the Planet” in 2000, and a Newsweek “Green Business Icon” in 2008.

Lovins is currently the President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions, a professor of sustainable business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and the chief insurgent of the Madrone Project.

The Action of Water

Joanne_HedouJoanne Hedou
Fluvial Geomorphologist 
Writing and Fund Development
C4C GroundUP

The action of water is often dangerous. This is something we forget when we receive it in the benign form of tap water every day.

I am a fluvial Geomorphologist and I love rivers. Every year I follow the activity of floods with excitement. From my city home in Seattle I watch the news about winter flooding, an increasing problem that comes with heavier rainstorms. I go out and stand on curbs, watching misdirected drainage run by me on the street. I listen to the wind and the rain, thinking about the leaky roof of my top-floor. That really doesn’t caution me enough. I hold it in as long as I can, but I can’t help myself. I have to drive out to see the rivers. I feel their power in my blood. When water moves quickly and powerfully, I am most drawn to it; so I go.