Earth Day Events

With climate change in the news daily, the notion of devoting 24 hours to environmental concerns seems almost quaint. But when Earth Day was first celebrated, as a massive grassroots demonstration in 1970, it sparked a radical change in public awareness; many credit it with the genesis of the modern environmental movement—as well as the birth of the Environmental Protection Agency. Since then, Earth Day, traditionally observed on April 22, has morphed into more of an Earth Month. In fact one of Chicago’s largest environmental events, the two-day Green Festival at Navy Pier, doesn’t even come around till May 17 this year (see for more info). But there’s a slew of green happenings this week, many of which we’ve highlighted here; they’re all free unless otherwise noted. For an archive of the Reader‘s features on green topics, see —AnneFord


Reception: “Nothing Is So Beautiful” A “special evening of art, fashion, and sustainability,” with drinks and giveaways from sponsor Nau, an outdoor clothing company. Proceeds benefit Creative Pitch, an organization that donates recycled art materials to programs for children in need. Tickets by advance purchase only. a6-9 PM, Lumen, 839 W. Fulton, 773-395-2500, ext. 21, or, $20.


Andersonville Galleria Earth Day Celebration The galleria, a communal retail space for local artists, designers, and crafters, offers many environmentally friendly items. Ten percent of tonight’s sales go to WomanCraft, an artisanal paper studio that employs homeless and formerly homeless women. a4-9 PM, 5247 N. Clark, 773-878-8570 or

Earth Day Art Exhibition and Reception Aimed at raising awareness of global warming; benefits the Sierra Club. aSat 4/19, 5:30-8:30 PM, and Sun 4/22, 2-5 PM, Space 900, 1040 W. Huron, 312-882-8512 or

Melting Ice/A Hot Topic The Natural World Museum’s art exhibit, with work by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Subhankar Banerjee, the Icelandic Love Corporation, and others that addresses issues surrounding global climate change, opens at the Field Museum today. aThrough 9/1: daily 9 AM-5 PM, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., 312-922-9410 or, free with museum admission of $8-$14.


Chicagoland: Tearing Down Its Suburban Heritage The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers back-to-back lectures on this theme for its Saturday Symposium. At 12:15 PM Genell Scheurell of the National Trust for Historic Preservation speaks on “Sustainability, Preservation and Teardowns,” then at 1 PM Mike Jackson of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency asks, “Can Teardowns Be Green?” Lunch is included. a10 AM-3:30 PM, Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan, 312-922-3432, ext. 224, or, $45 ($40 foundation members and students).

Dollar Day Sale All proceeds from this sale at the new-and-used-clothing chain Buffalo Exchange will go to help the Galapagos Conservancy save the giant tortoise. Through 4/22 the store is also accepting donations of apparel made from real fur—they’ll go to the Humane Society’s Coats for Cubs project, which uses them as bedding for orphaned or injured wildlife. a11 AM-7 PM, 2875 N. Broadway, 773-549-1999, or 1478 N. Milwaukee, 773-227-9558 or

Earth Day Celebration Refreshments, music, and family activities, courtesy of Friends of the Parks. aNoon-2 PM, Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1400 N. Sacramento, and 1-3 PM, Bunker Hill Forest Preserve, Caldwell north of Devon, 312-857-2757 or

Earth Day Parks & Preserves Cleanups Volunteers can help clean up more than 20 Chicago parks and snag a T-shirt for their trouble (first come, first serve). a9 AM-noon, see for participating parks, register in advance at

Environmental Resource Event Drop off hazardous household waste like chemicals and paint, as well as computers, cell phones, fax machines, scanners, keyboards, and unwanted medications for safe disposal. City residents can pick up a $30 compost bin (check or money order only, one per household), a $40 rain barrel (ditto), a free compact fluorescent lightbulb, and a free reusable water bottle, trade in an old gas can for a new, environmentally friendly one, or drop off a gas-powered mower to get a $100 rebate on an electric or push mower. a8 AM-3 PM, DeVry University, 3300 N. Campbell, 312-744-7606 or

Green Expo The yogawear shop Lululemon Athletica offers environmental “tips, resources, and treats” from local businesses. a2-6 PM, 2104 N. Halsted, 773-883-8860, and 900 N. Michigan, 312-951-5923 or

Green Scene The Community for Alternative Sources of Energy, a student group at Northside College Prep, wants everyone to leave this interactive “indoor/outdoor eco-fest” with at least one idea to put into motion. a Noon-5 PM, Northside College Prep, 5501 N. Kedzie, 312-952-6736.

Green Tech U This series of free educational programs offered by the Chicago Center for Green Technology includes today’s “Ecology of Design” (10 AM-noon) and “Walking Case Study: 1316 N. Bell Ave.” (1-3 PM), which includes an on-site tour of a certified green multifamily residence. The programs are free but advance registration is required. aChicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento, (meet at 1316 N. Bell for “Walking Case Study”) 312-746-9642 or

Party for the Planet This kid-oriented event includes crafts, acorn and tree planting, bird-watching, music performances, zookeeper talks, “poop tram” compost facility tours, and appearances by one Mr. Furry Fur Fur (a raccoon puppet). At 11 AM there’s a breakfast and photo op with Fisher-Price’s Planet Heroes, for which tickets run $17.50-$33. a10 AM-3 PM, Brookfield Zoo, 8401 31st, Brookfield, 708-688-8000 or, $11 adults, $7 kids 3-11 and seniors.

Ten Thousand Villages Earth Day Celebration Get a free bedding plant today with planter purchase; at 1 PM, master gardener Judith Ramey shares tips on repotting houseplants. a10 AM-6 PM, Ten Thousand Villages, 719 Main, Evanston, 847-733-8258,

Trouble in Helenville: Population 7,197,247,000 Conrad Lawrence, author of the eco-sci-fi novel The Council to Save the Planet, presents a staged reading of his eco-themed play. a7 PM, Kate the Great’s Book Emporium, 5550 N. Broadway, 773-561-1932 or


Chicago Kayak Earth Day Volunteers with or without boats are wanted to grab garbage left in and around the Skokie Lagoons; trash bags, gloves, and pick sticks are provided, but bring your own canoe or kayak and work from the water if you like. a9 AM-noon, Skokie Lagoons, Tower Road boat launch (east of I-94 between Willow and Dundee), 847-425-9925 or

Green Apple Music and Arts Festival Meshell Ndegeocello, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Chicago Afrobeat Project, and other musical acts perform at the Lincoln Park Zoo as part of this daylong traveling Earth Day festival; shows at Metro, the Park West, the Abbey Pub, the Empty Bottle, Sonotheque, and many other venues are affiliated as well; see the festival Web site for complete schedules. Turn in an old cell phone for recycling and you could win a free round-trip flight from United Airlines. a10:30 AM-6:15 PM, Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon, 312-742-2000 or

Rock and Ride Earth Day Benefit Concert Proceeds from this concert, which features Brian Mazzaferri, Breakers Broken, the Johns, and Packy Lundholm, benefit the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. a8 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or, $10, $8 for CBF members.


Acts of Concern: Earth Day 2008 A reading of four eco-themed plays commissioned from Don DeLillo, José Rivera, Lisa Dillman, and Brian Tucker. Discussion and a Q and A session follow. Presented by the Chicago Humanities Festival. a7:30 PM, Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, 312-661-1028, ext. 27, or, $10, free for students and teachers with ID.

Recycling Building Materials: A Hidden Resource Thomas Napier of the Buildings Materials Reuse Association lectures at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. a12:15 PM, 224 S. Michigan, 312-922-3432, ext. 240, or


City Earth Day Celebration Earth-friendly demonstrations and exhibits on Daley Plaza, as well as product samples from Whole Foods and free compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Special guests include Channel Five meteorologist Ginger Zee and musicians Marty Casey and the Lovehammers. a10 AM-3 PM, 50 W. Washington, 312-744-3370,

Culinary Chicago: The Local Option Chefs Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill) and Sarah Stegner (Prairie Grass Cafe) and Kinnikinnick Farm’s Dave Cleverdon discuss the importance of local and organic food. Attendees will learn ways to support local growers. a7 PM, Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, 312-799-2254 or, $10, $8 museum members.

Green Tech U See also Saturday. At 12:15 PM Echo Design Studio’s David Hampton gives a talk, “High-Performance Residential Rehab: Challenging Assumptions of Sustainability on Two Recent Chicago Homes.” At 6 PM Derry Berrigan of Derry Berrigan Lighting Design gives a talk titled “Green and Sustainable Lighting Can Change the World.” Advance registration required. aChicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento, 312-746-9642 or

Interfaith Evening The Zygon Center for Religion and Science hosts presentations by Jewish and Muslim scholars, who will discuss their traditions’ approaches to environmental responsibility. A reception follows. a 6:30-9:30 PM, 1100 E. 55th, 773-256-0670 or

No Mower Pollution The Evanston Department of Health and Human Services offers discounts on environmentally friendly products if you turn in your old gas-powered lawn mowers; the program kicks off today and runs until Labor Day. aDrop-off sites include Lemoi Hardware, 1008 Davis, Evanston, 847-328-4900, and Northshore Towing, 2527 Oakton, Evanston, 847-864-2828. Take advantage of discounts at Lemoi, or for other offers bring your drop-off receipt to the Department of Health and Human Services, Evanston Civic Center, 2100 Ridge, Evanston, 847-866-2947 or

South Pond Build & Grow Science and Project Fair Schoolkids who’ve been studying the water, plants, and fauna in the one of the zoo’s ponds showcase what they’ve learned at this annual event. a10 AM-noon, Lincoln Park Zoo, Cafe Brauer, Fullerton and Cannon, 312-742-2186 or


Fulton Market Earth Night Boutiques and galleries will stay open late tonight and donate some of their proceeds to the nonprofit Gateway Green. Items for sale include handbags made from discarded yoga mats (at Bess & Loie, 1015 W. Lake). For a list of all participating retailers, visit a5-8 PM, Fulton and Lake between Desplaines and Ashland.


Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple: Going Green at 100 Emily Roth of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation discusses plans to reduce the temple’s energy requirements by 50 percent. a12:15 PM, Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan, 312-922-3432, ext. 224, or

Greening of Ravenswood 21st Annual Arbor Day Party This event, hosted by Alderman Gene Schulter, raises funds for Ravenswood beautification projects and includes an appetizer buffet, wine and beer, a live auction, and a raffle. a5:30 PM, 42°N Latitude, 4500 N. Lincoln, 773-549-5010 or, $65 in advance, $75 at the door, $10 for kids.

Green Tech U See also Saturday. Forbo Flooring’s Mary Cotey gives a talk titled “Life Cycle Assessment for Green Products,” which will include a discussion of how life-cycle assessment standards “promote sustainability and innovation in an ever-changing green marketplace.” a 6-8 PM, Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento, 312-746-9642,

Patrick Daily also contributed to these listings.