Chicago Hosts First Annual Carbon Day Festival

Chicago's Carbon Day festival featured live entertainment from area bands. Photo: Caryn Green

Chicago's Carbon Day festival featured live entertainment from area bands. Photo: Caryn Green

Chicago-area environmentalists gathered in Lincoln Park on September 15 to celebrate Carbon Day, which the Illinois state legislature designated as an official state holiday earlier this year, as reported on Blue Planet Green Living. The festival was ideally sited amid a beautiful stand of shade trees and conifers adjacent to Lincoln Park’s Farm in the Zoo. The event featured demonstrations, educational booths, speeches, and activist organizations. In addition, visitors learned about sponsoring companies and area businesses committed to the goal of reducing the national carbon footprint and making a positive impact on the environment.

Visitors had an opportunity to try out this battery-powered bicycle. Photo: Caryn Green

Visitors had an opportunity to see innovative transportation, such as this battery-powered bicycle. Photo: Caryn Green

Live music of different genres ranging from reggae to indie entertained the crowd, which enjoyed vegan and organic dining options al fresco while listening to the music and trolling the display booths. The event was located right along a major bus route served Chicago’s low-emission, hybrid buses. Bikers and pedestrians arrived via appropriately carbon-free modes of transportation. Chicago’s electric elevated rail system, which invites riders to bring bikes on board the trains in off-peak hours, also delivered attendees to the event.

The festival featured organic and vegan food at outdoor booths. Photo: Caryn Green

The festival featured organic and vegan food at outdoor booths. Photo: Caryn Green

Demonstrations featured speakers on tree planting, recycling, and composting, a presentation on biodiesel, and a speech from Illinois State Representative Karen May, a proponent of tax credits for green businesses who sponsored the resolution to recognize Carbon Day as an official state holiday. Vendors displayed green wares ranging from no-carbon vehicles to organic t-shirts. Visitors had the opportunity to send postcards to Illinois senators urging them to support the environment. They also were invited to add their comments and drawings to a mural depicting ways we can lower carbon emissions and combat global warming.

Chicago’s first Carbon Day Festival was an enjoyable and upbeat way of bringing environmentalists together to learn how to further their common goals.Watch for details about Carbon Day 2010 in Chicago or a city near you.

Caryn Green
Contributing Writer
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

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Carbon Day Chicago Promises “Music and More for a Better World”

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.”

Offsetting Carbon

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.

Why so many trees? The following information from the Carbon Day website show that planting trees is an important activity to help mitigate the effects of CO2 production:

  • 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.

Entertainment

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

The Giving Tree Band will appear at Chicago's Carbon Day event later this month. Photo courtesy: Two Dog Media

The Giving Tree Band will appear at Chicago's Carbon Day event later this month. Photo courtesy: Two Dog Media

. 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.

Brigette Fanning
Contributing Writer
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)