CHICAGO — It’s in a green space on the City’s North Side where we find the environment planting deep roots.
Eco Fest at Welles Park in the Lincoln Square neighborhood is celebrating year no. 2 of being a place for those in the community to gather and revel in their shared interests of learning to help the environment on an individual, person-by-person scale.
“We’re talking about ways you can compost,” said Ald. Matt Martin (47th). “Ways you can reduce the use of plastics.”
“There are a lot of experts in their field here,” said Linnea Stanton.
Stanton helped organize the event and focused on developing material displaying realistic ideas on how to help out as changes in our environment are seen on a much more regular basis.
“We’ve had poor quality here in Chicago earlier this summer … The terrible flooding on the West Side, then you look beyond to what’s happening in Maui, and forest fires, and the Southwest with heat,” Martin said. “It’s here. It’s now and there are things we can do, day-in and day-out, as Chicagoans and that’s what this is all about.”
Another main focus of the event is to inspire the next generation to take action in the face of change — change that parents at the event said they have already seen — leading to them wanting to take action for their kids.
“I’m worried about it, but at least it seems like there’s much more awareness in this generation,” said Marc Wasserman, a Chicago resident at Eco Fest. “Just the fact that the weather is so weird, fires seem to be popping up everywhere. It makes you re-evaluate.”
And as those in Chicago re-evaluate their own environmental impacts, organizers like Martin hope it leads to a brighter future — one block, one ward, and one city at a time.
“Meeting them where they are to say, ‘hey, you can change one or two or three habits, you can have a really meaningful impact in terms of keeping our city clean and sustainable,” Martin said.