Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Trip To The 2008 Chicago Green Festival

For starters, I got off to a late start - one of my oldest friends was in town after a couple of years in Spain, so we were out together visiting and shooting pool until close to 1:00 am, by the time I got to bed the night before, it was close to 03:00.

At any rate, I got up late in the morning and started planning my itinerary in the festival guide.
(You can see more about the Green Festivals all over the country at )

Embedded here is a photo slide show from my trip to the fest. (Uses shockwave flash)

For those of you who may not be able to view the slideshow, there is a web album of the photos here:

A few highlights:

The main fest exhibit area - about four football fields, I'd guess.

Yours truly at the fest:

The Chicago Skyline as seen from Navy Pier:

The Navy Pier Ferris Wheel after dark - this is around 200 feet tall:

I stopped in and watched the first hour of the Patchamama Alliance's
symposium entitled "Awakening The Dreamer" first off in one of the 3rd floor lecture rooms. You can check out an electronic version on their site, I believe. It was an interesting synthesis of the bigger picture formed by sustainable economy, energy, ans society. I'd recommend it.

After wards, I roamed the booths checking things out.

I picked up some organic lime shea butter at the Trillium Organics booth for my wife Saren - she loves the stuff for skin lotion, and says there's nothing better out there.

I also got her a four ounce pump spray aluminum bottle of citrus eucalyptus spray as an organic bug repellent from Blissoma aromatherapy.

For our friend Jim, I got a note pad made out of Mr. Ellie Pooh paper. This paper is a soft, fibery, acid-free paper made from...elephant dung from Sri Lanka. Apparently, the elephants in Sri Lanka trample the farmers' crops, and so they get upset and shoot them. One way the farmers can make up the elephant damage is by making paper products out of their pooh. According to the brochure, each one produces around 500 lbs of the stuff per day, and it's all veggie and almost pre-processed perfectly for paper making.

To note, there were several other types of treeless paper at the fest; one was made from some kind of bush in Nepal that you can take most of the leaves from each year, and it grows back.

For My wife and I both, I got some red African bush tea, otherwise known as Rooibos. It is of course organic, and caffeine-free. It also tastes very nice. I'm drnking a cup as I type this for you. I got it from Eco Teas.

For myself, I picked up a set of authentic Tibetan prayer flags.

According to the label, the tradition is that you hang them outside in the breeze with a specific event in mind, such as the birth of a child, the beginning of a journey, etc. The prayers written on the flags are prayers of prosperity and success. It is believed that the prayers are carried away on the winds. As the flags become weathered and the prayers can no longer be read, the prayers are believed to have been delivered.

I also stopped by Calvert Funds to get some advice on setting up an IRA that does socially responsible investing. They're going to work out an appointment for ,me to come into their office (which is right in my train station) and look over what I can do.

All in all, I really wish I could have stayed longer.

Now as to getting to the fest, since it was on a Saturday and I got out late, I had to drive downtown - I have a night-limited parking pass for one of the ramps downtown, but on the weekends I can be in there around the clock. However, my parking space is at least four miles, possibly five, from Navy Pier. I walked. There and back. On the return journey, it was after dark and raining. Not horribly hard, but a constant medium-light rain. Needless to say, by the time I got back to the truck, I was pretty damp. (Just so you know, my pickup is V6 and 2
two-wheel drive. I'm 6'6" and 330 lbs, so I can't fit in the majority of smaller vehicles. )

Altogether, it was a great and happy day.



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