July eNews:  Discount Solar Program comes to Oak Park & Chicago, Meet an Eco-Pioneer in New Passive Solar Home, Prominent  Climate Scientist Advocates 3-Part Strategy to Stabilize the Planet.

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New Discount Solar Program Comes to Oak Park & Chicago

Solar Chicago is a new, community-wide group solar discount program offered by the City of Chicago, the World Wildlife Fund and Vote Solar, a non-profit organization working to bring solar energy into the mainstream. This initiative is available to Oak Park residents as well.

This program is intended to help homeowners pool their buying power to secure significant discounts that make installing solar more affordable than ever. Solar Chicago simplifies the process of researching and choosing a solar provider, making it easy for you to save money and produce clean, renewable energy.

Continue reading for more details and next steps.


Julie Carlson and her River Forest Passive Solar Home
This month, the 2014 GreenBuilt Home Tour stops at two innovative homes in Oak Park and River Forest: one is a thoughtful green rehab with a greywater system, the other is a spectacular custom-built, passive solar home. The self-guided tour, which showcases the best in sustainable design and construction in home building and remodeling in Illinois, runs Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27. We chatted with one of the homeowners, Julie Carlson, about her River Forest passive solar home.

Read on to learn Julie's biggest challenge in building the home. (Hint:  Julie, an editor by profession, acquired a whole new vocabulary to meet the challenge.) Plus, discover which stainless steel appliance is her favorite green feature of the home...but it's not for cooking!

Continue reading for the answers and more.


 Eminent Scientist Advocates 3-Part Strategy to Combat Global Warming  

“Continuation of high fossil fuel emissions, given current knowledge of the consequences, would be an act of extraordinary witting intergenerational injustice.” -   James Hansen, Assessing Dangerous Climate Change

Let this quote sink in for a moment. It was written by James Hansen, widely considered the world's greatest climate scientist.  He has been researching global warming since the 1970s, and has been raising the alarm since 1988.  In 2013 he ended his 46-year career at NASA to put all his energy into global warming organizing. 

Earlier this month, Dr. Hansen wrote an essay, “The Wheels of Justice,” in which he advocates a strong, actionable strategy required for success in the struggle to stabilize the planet.

Read on for a summary of the strategies and a link to the full article  


One Earth Film Festival Needs Talented Volunteers 

The success of the film fest depends on an enthusiastic, dedicated group of volunteers who can help select an amazing lineup of innovative, solution-oriented environmental films that will inspire change in the Chicago metro region. If you love watching films, and the words "sustainable planet" make your heart sing, please email Ana Garcia Doyle at

Upcoming Community and Regional Events

Citizens Climate Lobby - Chicagoland West Meeting, Saturday, July 12, 11:30am-2:00pm,  at the Dole  Branch of Oak Park Public Library, 255 Augusta St, For more info:  773-344-7172 

Genetically Modified Foods 101, Saturday, July 12, 1 pm  Learn and discuss the pro's and con's of GMO foods.  OP Conservatory, Instructor: Julie Ann Howlett

Parent/Child Woodland Ramble, Sunday, July 13, 1 pm, Trailside Museum Enjoy a woodland walk as we look at trees, wildflowers and creatures great and small. Register by 7/11.

Dog Days of Summer Hikes  Bring your well-mannered, leashed dog on a one-hour guided hike on our trails. Family program., Saturday, July 19, 10 am, Trailside Museum

West Cook Wild Ones will host “Beyond Hostas: Native Plants for Shade” presented by Patricia Hill, author of Design Your Natural Midwest Garden on Sunday, July 20, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Lewis Hall at Dominican University (7900 W. Division, in River Forest).

Communitywide GREEN Block Party, Sunday, July 20th, 3:00-7:30pm, Dominican University campus quad:  Celebration of the many vibrant sustainability and green initiatives available in the local area, bring a picnic super; plus 6:00 film screening of FernGully:  The Last Rainforest in Lund Auditorium. 

Thatcher Woods and Trailside Museum Master Plan Open House, Wed, July 23, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, @ Pavilion at Thatcher Woods, 8030 Chicago Avenue, River Forest


Film Screening:  Resistance, Not all Germs are Created Equal, Friday, July 25th, Doors open at 5:30 pm and Film begins at 6:00pm, at the Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave, Oak Park, Sponsored by Food & Water Watch.

Sugar Beet Co-op's 3rd Annual Edible Garden Tour, Saturday, July 26th, 10:00am-3:00pm, Ticket Sales and Map pickup the day of the tour 9:30-2pm:at The Sugar Beet Co-op 812 Madison Oak Park, IL.

GreenBuilt Home Tour, Saturday, July 26th and Sunday, July 27th, 10:00am-4:00pm.  The 2014 GreenBuilt Home Tour features 17 exceptional, award-winning, and nationally-recognized Chicago area homes which highlight attractive, affordable, and sustainable building practices.

Zero Waste Volunteers Needed, Sunday, July 27, 11:30AM-6:00PM for Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America , Navy Pier, 600 West Grand Ave, Chicago.  Benefits include: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Volunteer t-shirt, Beer Camp food voucher and your choice of a complimentary ticket to the Oak Park Micro Brew Review on Saturday, Aug 16, OR a $45 Visa gift card. To volunteer, please contact or (708) 660-9909

Smart City USA Sign-ups:  Oak Park residential property owners should act now to be considered for a pilot project which includes installation of solar panels at no cost to the homeowner.  Link to the online Participant Interest form.

Oak Park Farmers' Market offers high quality, locally grown produce, every Saturday from May 24 through Nov. 1, 2014,  7 a.m. - 1 p.m. The market is held in the Pilgrim Church Parking lot at 460 Lake St.

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