Category: Green Tuesday

The Chicago Green Festival is this weekend (May 22-23, 2010), a time to celebrate what’s working in our communities. This event showcases more than 350 diverse local and national green businesses.

And the best part…
COURTESY OF THE CLIF BAR 2 MILE CHALLENGE: BIKE TO GREEN FESTIVAL FOR FREE ADMISSION!
http://www.greenfestivals.org/chicago/
http://www.facebook.com/GreenFestival

The Chicago Green Festival® is a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America. In addition to highlighting local businesses (including our friends at PoCampo), more than 150 renowned speakers will appear for insightful panel discussions and presentations. Attendees will also enjoy great how-to workshops, green careers, a Fair Trade pavilion, Youth Unity Pavilion, kids’ activities, delicious organic beer, wine and cuisine, and live music. Find out how Midwest neighbors, community nonprofits and city departments are working together to make their cities healthier places to live.

Here are the details:
May 22-23, 2010
Saturday – 10am – 7pm
Sunday – 11am – 6pm

Navy Pier
600 E Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

On Monday I read this article (and what an appropriate post for Green Tuesday):

Bicycle Commuting is green, healthy and cheap — so why don’t more people do it?

It’s May, which means it’s Bicycle Month. Cities and cycling clubs around the country are promoting bicycle riding by sponsoring group rides and bike commuter events , culminating around Bike to Work Day on May 21. But the presence on the American calendar of a designated month to encourage bicycle transportation underscores the fact that most people in this nation get around by driving cars, not by riding bikes.

Public transit and bicycle commuting are gaining ridership, but it is estimated that only 0.05 percent of Americans use a bike as their primary means of transportation — even though 40 percent of our daily trips and errands require less than 2 miles of travel, according to the National Household Transportation Survey. Continue reading full article

In March I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, and Chris Phelan, founder of the Ride of Silence, at the Michigan Bicycle Summit.
andy clarke and chris phelan
Both men had valuable insights about safe riding to share with the group.

What’s your response to get more people on bikes? I think the answer is that more and more people ARE riding bikes, commuting by bike and rediscovering the joy and functionality of the bicycle! THe League of American Bicyclists’ report on Bicycle Commuting Trends shows the increase since 2000. But, I also think that the infrastructure – and road sharing – has lots of catching up to do to truly make the roads “complete streets” and safe for all users… so that every month and every day is bike to work day!

car_free_logo

Join the celebration of the inaugural Chicagoland Car-Free Day! Next Tuesday is a worldwide event called Car-Free Day. Locally – in Chicago – the Active Transportation Alliance, along with RTA, CTA, Pace and Metra (all of our wonderful public transit options), are urging Chicagoans to pledge to go Car-Free for the day.

On Tuesday Sept. 22, Active Trans will partner with RTA, Pace, Metra, CTA and communities around the region for Chicagoland Car-free Day. The event is part of World Car-free Day, the one moment when people around the world pledge to go sans auto.

The day will only work if we get everyone involved. The more people we get to pledge to go car-free, the more fun the day will be! Plus, when you take the pledge on our website, you get a coupon for $1 off a large drink at Caribou Coffee on Sept. 22 (We’re not that crazy to ask you to go caffeine-free).

Another Chicago non-profit organization called Break the Gridlock will host a rally/networking/self-propelled action, “One Million Less* Cars!” at Daley Plaza, starting at 5:30pm, leaving at 6pm *sharp.

We will spread love and thanks for walkers, bikers, skaters, bladers, transit users etc. downtown. . . . and encourage the drivers hitting the highway ramps to join us next time.

Bring your costumes, banners, speeches, sense of humor and righteous indignation about the proliferation of the private automobile.

Most importantly, wherever you are, I hope you pledge to be car-free on Tuesday, September 22. It’s OK if you already are, too!

In Chicago, let’s celebrate and be counted in our inaugural Car-Free Day stats by taking the pledge.

It’s not about the free coffee coupon (though the caffeine certainly helps!). The more people who pledge, the more we show our support for a more car-free society.

As the World Carfree site says:

Let World Carfree Day be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars…365 days a year.

For this week’s Green Tuesday article, I’ve got something a little different…a book review, but not a typical book that gets reviewed here…

A couple months ago, I spotted an intriguing book in my library’s new nonfiction display. It is The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (Port Townsend, Wash: Process Media, 2008). This book is the third in the “Process Self-Reliance Series.”

urban homestead cover

The Urban Homestead is a handy guide to a variety of projects and techniques for living greener even in a dense urban area. The book covers a lot of bases, from gardening, composting and canning to saving electricity and encouraging alternative forms of transportation (including bicycles). Coyne and Knutzen fill the book with easy projects, personal success stories and a host of references to other Web and print resources.

It’s best to think of this book as a good springboard toward more advanced projects and techniques — it is not intended to be a “one-stop” complete guide, as such a book would be thousands of pages long. Instead, this book allows someone interested in reducing their personal environmental impact to get started without a whole lot of time or financial investment. The authors have made this book easy to stomach, with peppy writing and a good dose of humor…and it is laced with common sense tips and many “why didn’t I think of that?” moments.

Overall, if you are interested in living a greener life by growing some of your own food and saving money on electricity costs, this book would be a great place to start. It’s a fun read and can be really eye-opening in the sense that some of the mystery behind smart environmental living has been removed. I recommend this one!

As we were walking around, the items of a little booth caught my eye:

A young fellow introduced himself and told me the story behind these bags. The bags are made of mostly recycled/natural materials. They use plastic from old banners and the fiber of a plant that is very similar to Agave to create these bags. He also told me that all the bags are hand made in Colombia by women who are the heads of the household, not children. The material happens to be the same stuff that coffee bean sacks are made out of, so it is very strong and durable.

Prices will be close to their synthetic counterparts, although these handmade bags are not on their site yet, you can check out other stuff they make at www.cyclestock.com.