Going Green Matters 2011, Go Green Wilmette’s 5th annual Environmental Fair at the Woman’s Club of Wilmette, was an exciting place to be last Sunday afternoon. Over 700 people from16 different communities came to see more than 60 exhibits that included travel (by rail, bike, green cars), organic gardening, composting, lawn care, home improvement (insulation, earth-friendly products, painting), home products (toxin-free products, fireplace inserts), energy efficiency (solar power, energy audits), water conservation, and more.
Go Green Wilmette staffed information tables on healthy eating, energy conservation, recycling, and safe home and personal care products. One table, devoted to the “I Can Do That” fair theme, urged everyone to take two or three steps to make their lives better through sustainable living.
One Wilmette resident said she is going to insulate her ceiling can lights. Another plans to bike more when doing short errands. A third said she is sold on using soap nuts, a natural product, for her laundry (about 25 cents/load--natural and recyclable). In her quest for zero food waste, one attendee is having her family’s food scraps picked up for composting. One man is arranging to recycle his old cans of paint. Many people plan on using healthy, non-toxic personal care products. A number of people are joining the national “Meatless Mondays” movement to reduce the tremendous amount of water used in meat production. Others are going to start an organic garden this spring.
Attendees enjoyed taking a break in the Green Cafe. The food, donated by a caterer and local restaurants, was excellent. The Green Cafe was decorated with beautiful wall hangings painted by Jane Donaldson and lovely recycled table decorations that she and Jane Litin made. All food scraps were collected for composting after the event.
Many of Wilmette’s public agencies were represented as well, including the Village of Wilmette, District 39 Schools, Wilmette Schools PTO Environmental Committee, Park District, Public Library, and Environmental and Energy Commission. The New Trier HS Environmental Club talked about their current plans including eliminating the use of plastic bags. Also, (CGE) Citizens’ Greener Evanston, the Evanston Environmental Association, and BASE (Business Alliance for a Sustainable Evanston) were represented.
Children had a special area where they could listen to stories about taking care of our world (thanks to the Wilmette Public Library) and learn to make beautiful paper beads to string into colorful necklaces (thanks to the direction of second grader, Lily Miller). Julian Staebler, an exchange student from Germany, explained the fun in worm composting—a hit with both children and adults. As people walked through, they enjoyed Therese Heyek’s lovely nature photography exhibit in the foyer.
The fair also featured a raffle. A seven-year-old girl was thrilled to learn she had won a beautiful rain barrel from Falcon Group Sustainable Services which was bigger than she was. Among other Going Green Matters’ raffle prizes were kitchen composters, a basket of green products, earth-friendly book collections for children and adults, and gift certificates from many Wilmette merchants.
Many of the exhibitors found the fair-goers to be serious and loaded with good questions. Some of the exhibitors who were at the Fair last year were pleased that people sought them out again for even more information.
People brought electronics, batteries, and other products for recycling. The process was smooth and easy, and a full truckload was collected.
Many attendees said, “We love this Fair. It’s awesome, and we wouldn’t miss it. Our family comes every year, and every year it’s a more interesting and rewarding experience.
Beth Drucker, president of Go Green Wilmette, concluded, “This fair is a wonderful example of GGW’s effort to fulfill its mission of educating and inspiring people to make a difference in their lives and to make Wilmette and the world a greener, healthier place to live.”
Be sure to make it next year to Going Green Matters 2012. You’ll find it to be one of the best free shows in town.
This column was written by Go Green Wilmette member Jan Barish. Check out Patch's video of the event here.