Carbon Day Chicago Promises “Music And More For A Better World”
In 1990, Brad Emalfarb envisioned a day set aside to bring awareness to the negative effects of greenhouse gases. He called it Carbon Day.
This past May, the Illinois State Legislature was among the most recent legislative bodies to designate September 15 as Carbon Day, an official State holiday. State Representative Karen May and State Senator Susan Garrett sponsored the resolution.
Illinois’ Carbon Day festivities will coincide with other activities around the globe. The kickoff event will take place in Chicago at Lincoln Park, and will feature live music, a tree tour with arborist Jose Eduardo Medina, and possibly a speech by a politician involved in environmental issues, according to Brae Hattaway, the coordinator of the event. “We put a lot of effort into getting Carbon Day moving, and we got done really quickly,” said Hattaway, referring to the upcoming Chicago event. “The time to do this is now.”
Environmentalists will acknowledge Carbon Day by planting trees on September 15, or on another date more favorable to tree-planting in their local area. So far, the organization has been instrumental in planting 4,514 trees, offsetting 74,932.4 lbs. of atmospheric CO2 per year, according to Carbon Day.
- Two mature trees provide enough oxygen for a family of four.
- One acre of trees removes 2.6 tons of CO2 per year.
- About one third of the United States of America is covered by forest.
- The average tree in an urban area has a life expectancy of only 8 years.
Carbon Day activities in Chicago and elsewhere will include educational programs to show how to reduce carbon emissions. “Essentially, we want to reawaken people that there are easy steps to reduce their carbon footprints,” said Hattaway.
Carbon Day is organized by a nonprofit group of the same name, whose mission is to promote ways to reduce carbon footprints through action, education, politics, events, and consumer activism.
The organization also has a for-profit sector called Carbon Day Automotive. A primary goal of the company is to own and operate Smartlet Charging Stations for plug-in vehicles across the country. Hattaway wants to merge the non-profit and for-profit aspects of the company for the Lincoln Park event to promote carbon-neutral transportation.
In addition to environmental education, the event will provide live music acts. The headlining band is The Giving Tree, which recently made the first carbon-neutral CD. It will debut during the festival.
The Giving Tree is an indie folk rock, Illinois band comprised of six musicians, who are dedicated to the environment
. Their third CD, Great Possessions, was recorded in the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Wisconsin, the first certified carbon-neutral building. The recording session was solar powered, and the CD packaging includes recycled paperboard casing, nontoxic vegetable inks, and shrink wrap made from biodegradable corn cellulose.
Other environmentally conscious acts will be present as well. “Cobalt and the Hired Guns are the opening act for The Giving Tree,” said Hattaway. “They’re a local Chicago band that is trying to be more carbon neutral.” This four-piece group is on a summer tour and recently opened for Dashboard Confessional in North Carolina. Their musical style is described as “seamlessly blending upbeat genres from Americana to PopPunk.”
Hattaway notes that she had to be creative this year because of a lack of money, since the economy is poor and Carbon Day is a nonprofit group. Budgeting problems also made it difficult to lock down bands. Plus, efforts to plan this year’s event had to be expedited because the resolution wasn’t passed until the end of May.
Carbon Day won’t let these issues get them down. “It was hard to get everything together,” said Hattaway. “But we’re here to stay.”
Mix and Mingle
If you’re planning to attend the Chicago Carbon Day event, be sure to plan time to meet other like-minded environmentalists at Green Carpet Chicago, Thursday, August 20, from 7 PM to 2 AM. For more information or to purchase a discounted ticket in advance, go to www.CarbonDayEvents.com.