Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Lean Green Festival

Sunday afternoon, I dragged my Blackhawks jersey wearing, long suffering husband along to Green Festival, during game one of the Stanley Cup Finals, while Tivo taped it for later. He met many booth workers to commiserate with, but had to hold his ears and protest loudly when they tried to give him score updates off their mobile phones. Ah, the bonuses and pitfalls of living in a technologically advanced society.

Yes, the hippies all have cell phones and lap tops and eco-friendly jobs now. Most of it was the same old same old. Dug was just about sold on a carbonation machine, since he's a huge fan of San Pellegrino water, with all the attendant wasteful glass bottles and cans we recycle. And he bought a packet of "remailables" stickers to send back junk mail. But the geothermal boilers and other eco-accouterments for home improvement were prohibitively expensive.

The kids had a good old time collecting freebies, while I attended a talk by a long time friend of mine on Raising Green Children. She's been a vegan for over a decade, and is a huge proponent of kicking the meat habit, as the most effective way to green up the family. She's pictured below, with her son, Justice.Last year we came home with a gallon of organic milk, a big hunk of family farmed cheese, enough ginger and echinacea tea to last through 6 months of cold and flu season, and 3 bulging bags of goodies. This year, The Science and Industry Museum gave nice water bottles and cloth bags, but most samples were tiny bits of cut up foodstuffs to eat on the spot.

At least the sticker makers are thriving in these tight financial times! One exception was a lovely bag of soap and wool to make your own loofah. Very cool! Even the kids activity section was scaled way down from last year, when they had musicians, performers, and lots more hands on activities. Bad news--all the booths weren't sold and some smaller eco-businesses are suffering or going under. Good news--it wasn't as crowded and was more comfortable and easy to negotiate this still impressively large indoor fest.
Here's Du-Jay practicing to reduce our electric bill with people power. He pedaled hard enough to run a blender and turn on a light. Who needs a gym? Take that, Com Ed.
Sagezilla's practicing up so she can bike behind the Smartcar, and keep up, when we no longer have room for the kidlets in our two seater! Seriously, she had a great time pedaling and powering the mini replica around the world. Actually, this booth was run by an awesome organization, Working Bikes, that collects bikes locally, refurbishes them, and sends them to 3rd world countries.

Sometimes less is more. Even if it's for the wrong reasons, it's nice to see the arm of the "organic industry", which was offering us a prepackaged, wastefully wrapped, kinder gentler way to buy buy buy, growing up a little. If there's a little good news in these times, it's that people will drive and pollute less, bike more, eat more locally grown produce, reduce, reuse, and recycle and live more sustainably. It's not just trendy or PC, it's cheaper!

We still got to see a baby chick and get up close and personal with millipedes, tarantulas and worm bins. And we still got Vegan soy cream cones and lots of great info about nature related events coming up this summer. We'll keep you up to date on what's happenin' in Chicago's green spaces. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.....Read on line.


  1. Yes, evolving is the natural state of everything. Great photos. Thanks for the post.

    Rodger Bailey, MS
    Green Living Tips And Ideas