Going Green Maters

From solar to backyard birds – Find eco-friendly solutions at Going Green Matters

By Nathan Ouellette
Medill Reports

Going Green Matters, will feature more than 100 eco-friendly vendors this Sunday, offering everything from solar power to pedal power. Wilmette’s annual environmental fair has been showcasing clean energy solutions and technologies to Chicago area residents for 12 years.

The fair, co-sponsored by Go Green Wilmette and the Village of Wilmette, opens at the Michigan Shores Club this year and gives visitors one-stop shopping on how to introduce new sustainability practices into their everyday lives.

This year’s fair takes a special focus on solar.

“We want to get solar installed as cost-effectively as possible,” said Jack Ailey, co-owner of Ailey Solar. “We do it for environmental reasons and to be fair to our workers.”

You can meet these 10 vendors among dozens of others  at this year’s Going Green Matters.

Ailey Solar: Founded with the mission of providing options for generating solar energy as cost-effectively as possible, Ailey Solar plans to expand operations with the growing solar market to spread across a broad swath of communities.

Habitat for Humanity Lake County and ReStore: Habitat for Humanity constructs homes for families in need across the country. Habitat for Humanity Lake County participates in Going Green Matters to provide information, take donations and sell items from the non-profit’s ReStore to the public.  Filled with donated household goods, appliances and furniture, the ReStore offers these items at inexpensive prices and uses the proceeds to build homes.

Habitat by New Trier Solar System Fundraising: As a partner with Habitat for Humanity, New Trier High School seniors will be at Going Green Matters to fundraise for their annual Habitat for Humanity home building project – the 18th house built by New Trier High School seniors. The home, to be located in Waukegan, will be the first Habitat for Humanity house in Illinois outfitted with solar panels.

Illinois Right to Know GMO: Similar to other Right to Know GMO organizations, Illinois Right to Know is a small all-volunteer organization that provides consumers with their right to know information about whether their food is genetically modified. With an emphasis on education at this year’s Going Green Matters, Illinois Right to Know will concentrate on providing resources for  consumers to make well-informed choices.

Intrinsic Landscaping:  Intrinsic Landscaping specializes in the installation of green roofs and living walls – self-sufficient vertical gardens. Since installing their first green roof in 2001, Intrinsic has outfitted approximately 4,000,000 square feet of rooftop vegetation nationwide. Family owned and operated out of Glenview, the company will highlight the benefits of residential and commercial green roof implementation.

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization: Founded in 1994, the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, popularly known as LVEJO, is a non-profit that has promotes taking action against environmental injustices such as industrial cleanup on the Southwest Side. In partnering with the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (P.E.R.R.O.) in 2012, LVEJO was part of the Clean Power Coalition that successfully retired the Crawford and Fisk Coal-Fired Power Plants.

Marcello’s Food Truck: Vehicles of all kinds can run on solar energy. Marcello’s Food Truck, an offshoot of Marcello’s Father and Son Restaurants, will be at Going Green Matters with a solar-powered food truck. As a substitute for generators, Marcello’s solar panels generate power for the truck’s oven, which bakes pizza in 3.5 minutes, and for refrigeration. Marcello’s is looking into installing green roofs on the brick and mortar restaurants as a way of expanding the family’s  environmental mission.

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago: The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system on Earth, holding 20 percent of the world’s supply. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago works to protect and improve the water supply of Lake Michigan, protect businesses, homes, health and safety of the public within its service area. MWRD will be at Going Green Matters to distribute information on storm water management, reusing resources, keeping Lake Michigan clean and the proper disposal of medicine. The district will raffle off a rain barrel and distribute free tree saplings to the public.

Wild Birds Unlimited Glenview: A diversity of wildlife in your backyard can bring bird calls to your day and help support a strong and healthy ecosystem. Wild Birds Unlimited will be at Going Green Matters with a focus  how to attract songbirds to your backyard with bird feeders and birdhouses, as a way to make people feel more connected with their environment.

Working Bikes: Working Bikes is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit that rebuilds and refurbishes abandoned and donated bicycles. The bicycles and spare parts for sale at their storefront on the Southwest Side only make up a fraction of the operation.  Working Bikes gave 86 percent of the bikes they acquired in 2017 to local and global charities that help provide bikes to those who might not otherwise have access to transportation or basic mechanics. Working Bikes will be at Going Green Matters to promote environmental sustainability.

Photo at top: The signs are everywhere. Going Green Matters Environmental Fair, co-sponsored by Go Green Wilmette and the Village of Wilmette, will be held Sunday at the Michigan Shores Club, 911 Michigan Ave., Wilmette. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)