I made my way down to Navy Pier this morning to attend this year's Green Festival, free pass in hand (thanks in part to the shelter where I volunteer). I went a few years back when it was at McCormick Place, and left with an entire bag full of free samples, including laundry detergent, energy bars, beauty products, and paper products. This year's Festival didn't disappoint, and in addition to restaurateurs, trade schools, and natural-products vendors, I noticed quite a few activists and non-profit organizations.
I spent some time chatting with the Environmental Law and Policy group based right here in Chicago, and filled out post cards to my senators and alderman to vote to close the coal plants operating near Pilsen and Little Village. I also picked the brain of a woman working to collect signatures for the Food and Water Watch, a group that was petitioning to have BP's Deep Water Atlantis rig shut down as well, because this well was missing even more safety records than the Horizon, which as we all know, blew up last month.
If I were a home owner, I would have enjoyed learning about geo-thermal energy, solar panels, eco-friendly windows and energy-efficient appliances, but for the time being I just scooted right past. There's a little something for everybody at this festival: fair-trade edibles (from chocolate to coffee) for the foodies; hemp purses and clothing for the tree-hugging hippies; one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry for the classy folk; organic t-shirts with clever quips or creative graphics for the hipsters; and volunteer/non-profit organizations passionately supporting some noble cause for the do-gooders, like me!
If you can't make it to Navy Pier this weekend, keep the 2011 festival on your radar; for anyone who's even remotely interested in all things environmental, it's worth the price of admission. And if you ride your bike or take public transit, that admission price will be reduced!