Another Illinois 'stead

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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby mannytheseacow » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:24 pm

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days at the Chicago Center for Green Technology this week. I live most of my life in a pretty rural area and try to stay far away from Chicago if I can. The traffic, stress, people..... AAAAAAAHHHHHH! I don't know how people live like that.

Anyway, the center had a lot of cool things and featured a lot of recycled technology that I've never seen before. There were several different materials there made from recycled airplane glass (I didn't realize there was a surplus of airplane glass?). Several educational areas highlight things like green building design, green building materials, and even things like milk based paint. The outside area is covered with verticle gardens, a small prairie area, edible and native plants. Three different sets of solar arrays power the place; one of which is built into the building's awnings. They also have a large greenhouse out back. Here's a picture of the greenhouse, garden, and parking area, with the city skyline behind:
Image

The greenhouse uses concrete mass on the back wall to store heat throughout the day and release it at night when the temps are cooler.

It's neat that this place exists, but I have to admit that it also seems kind of obscure when everything surrounding it for miles and miles is total and udder S**t. I mean there is so much litter all around- people can't even put their trash in a trash can let alone separate their recyclables. Not to be Debbie-Downer but it seemed like there are some real problems that need to be addressed in that city that aren't being touched by the CCGT, and they seem like major issues that are pretty relevant to what CCGT is trying to address. They should start with population control. Human populations have the highest impact on natural resources. There is no greater impact a person can have on the environment than choosing or not choosing to have children, and how many you choose to have.

Anyway, off my soapbox about that- I'm just not sold on all the emphasis that is being put on the recycling in this "green revolution". During our stay our meals were catered in in little paper boxes. After our meals we all went through this intense process of separating our paper, plastics, disposables, compost. The guy next to me proudly proclaimed "hey, this is just like at home!" I'm like "Jesus, I haven't generated this much waste in the last 10 days combined?!"

Just thinking back to basic ecology class, that whole Reduce-Reuse-Recycle theme is time imperative. Reduce as much as you can. When you can't reduce, then reuse that impact that you've made. Recycle is a last resort when you've done everything else you can. I really feel like the current theme is more like, "waste all you want, just throw it in the recycling bin when you're done!"
"Knowledge is power. Arm yourself."
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby Lollykoko » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:42 pm

Manny, there are a lot of people who fit into that mindset, I'm afraid.
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby DevilsBrew » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:08 pm

I am VERY glad you shared these thoughts on your soapbox, Manny. I struggle constantly with the current Green Revolution or whatever you want to call it. I am drawn in by the desire to make the world a better place and turned off by the negative aspects of capitalism. I encounter the dark side online and offline while selling natural products at markets and events. Maybe my problem is that I spend about 80% of my time around sales people. This site is a great escape from the madness.

As far as the Center being an oasis in a sea of concrete and trash -
"You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
Gandhi

Maybe one person or child will go to the center and realize that they too can grow food in the city.
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby GrahamB » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:46 pm

People seem to be of the mindset that if it is stamped recycleable then that's okay. Our school meals are provided by a company that is great at putting the right spin on things. This year they started by telling us what a great job they are doing by making sure the kids are getting fresh vegatables and fruit every day. I asked what they meant by fresh and they produced these small plastic pots that are vacuum sealed with a celephane top. Each pot had a portion of carrots, grapes, apple slices etc in them. I then asked how can they call them fresh when they are hermetically sealed, and for that matter, how much waste are these small pots going to make. They proudly stated that the pots were recycleable. Where do the pots end up? In the dumpster with all the other general trash. Oh and the local pig farmer that collects a lot of the waste food says her pigs haven't eaten so well since we started trying to force feed the kids with fresh fruit. The students say they have no flavor so we can only guess where they come from.
No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby mannytheseacow » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:01 am

Yeah, that's what is so frustrating about it. About the only reason I can stand going to work everyday is that I help people and get to spread this permaculture idea. Then going to the city and realizing the enormity of the problem outside of the little box that I live in... try not to think about it.

Thanks for the support, D.B. I'm a big Gandhi fan. Being in that city though makes me realize that it doesn't really matter if 1 person starts growing their own food because the other 2.7 million are still totally oblivious. Meh, time for a glass of wine. :?
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:14 am

Don't get discouraged. The tag line that I attach to all of my post says it all, Never doubt the a small group of dedicated people can change the world, Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. Keep that in mind as you work to be the change that you want to see in the world.
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby DevilsBrew » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:48 am

Last winter I started a silly little blog about growing food indoors. You wouldn't believe the number of people I encountered that didn't know what was possible, even experienced gardeners. Don't EVER think you aren't making a difference, Manny. Heck, now you have me addicted to baking my own bread. :D

All it takes is one, Manny. You are making a huge difference in the world.
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby boo » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:29 am

What everyone else said, Manny. I also feel "outnumbered" by the people I know who think that being a good recycler means filling your green recycle bin (council collection on a fortnightly basis) to the top instead of reducing the purchasing of packaged products in the first place. We can only do what we can to wake people up. I hate visiting cities too.
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby Lollykoko » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:32 pm

I recently had someone thank me for exposing them to the word and concept of permaculture. While they aren't planning a 6 acre homestead with natural lawn mower, they are building lasagna gardens and looking for places to add vining fruits and berry plants to their urban landscape. Oh yeah, they are also sharing the word, with their group of family, friends, and workmates.

I think we all all letting our candles shine in the dark. If we can light just one more and they light one ... Eventually the world will be a much brighter place.
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby mannytheseacow » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:15 am

DevilsBrew wrote:You wouldn't believe the number of people I encountered that didn't know what was possible, even experienced gardeners.


Post some of that here, D.B. I'm never amazed at how much I don't know! :lol:
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