Protests against smog-shrouded cities, poisoned waterways and the deterioration of the Earth marked the first Earth Day on April 22,1970. Forty years later, eco-conscious Americans work within their communities to take up the environmental challenges such as climate change.
From park clean-ups to educational lectures to a movie screening, Chicago offers a wide array of Earth Day activities this April. Here are our top six picks for putting your green foot forward.
1. Save the Oceans
Northwestern University hosts a lecture by Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the late Jacques Cousteau, Thursday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m., Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the Evanston campus. Cousteau's lecture, "The Other 70 Percent: Understanding the Earth's Underwater Ecosystems" will provide a close-up view of an often-unseen world and a look at Cousteau's work with the family non-profit, Ocean Futures Society. The society is committed to protecting the oceans and promoting scientific research of one of the few remaining frontiers of our planet. The event is free to the public, but limited seating is available. Register at http://www.tinyurl.com/earthday2010-jmc.
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle, 847-467-1475, http://www.northwestern.edu/onebook/
Also on Earth Day, a 4 p.m. panel at Northwestern features pioneers of the 1970 environmental movement who will discuss how you can pick up the torch and make changes today. Read more.
McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, 847-491-2050, http://www.northwestern.edu/onebook/
2. Green Your Footprint
GO Green Management in Chicago combines education and celebration during Green Your Footprint, their 3rd annual Earth Day event on April 22 at Flair Tower. Enjoy complimentary eco-friendly Veev cocktails (the company donates money from every bottle to the Brazilian Rainforest), appetizers from local restaurants, and a chance to win a raffle prize. Ginger Zee of NBC Chicago will host the educational mixer, which begins at 6 p.m., where industry leaders will discuss sustainable practices.
Green your footprint, 222 W. Erie St., admission $30, http://earthday2010.eventbrite.com/
3. Get a Runner’s High on Green Living
Work out for the Earth in the inaugural 5K for Earth Day and Green Living Expo on Saturday, April 24. The timed Humboldt Park race culminates at the Green Living Expo, which will showcase 35-40 sustainable and health exhibitors as well as a farmers' market. Local school children will sing "Happy Birthday" to Earth Day with an organic birthday cake during the opening ceremony of the Green Living Expo, following the end of the 5K.
5K For Earth Day, race starts at Kedzie and North Ave; Green Living Expo, Humboldt Park Boathouse Pavilion, 1301 N. Humboldt Blvd, 77-209-0153, http://www.earthday5kchicago.com/
4. Eat Green
If fine dining is more your scene, spend the week of Earth Day dining a la sustainable. At Wilson Spring’s Vie, Chef Paul Virant offers his Earth Day menu on Wednesday the 21st and Thursday the 22nd. Diners will enjoy a three-course meal including a salad of local ramps and radishes, rushing waters rainbow trout and Bordeaux spinach, and an organic whole-wheat crepe with poached rhubarb.
Vie, 4471 Lawn Avenue, 708-246-2082, http://www.vierestaurant.com/events.html
5. Catch up with Nature
For a more traditional take on Earth Day, spend the day exploring the McDonald Woods on a nature walk. The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is hosting an Earth Day walk on this 100-acre oak woodland on Saturday, April 24 at 1 p.m.
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, 847-835-5440, http://www.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/gardenwalks.php
6. Watch a Movie, Save the Earth
Are you interested in how America’s food systems work or how your shopping choices affect the planet? On Earth Day, proceeds of the screening of Food, Inc at the Showplace Icon Theater benefit the Hull House Kitchen, which offers lectures on sustainable living.
Food, Inc., April 22, 7:30 p.m., Showplace Icon Theater, 150 W. Roosevelt Road, 312-564-2104 http://www.active.com/community-services/chicago-il/earth-day-showing-of-food-inc-2010