Forever Green

Eating From your Backyard

Zahra Lalani

Current student at Illinois Wesleyan. I love the city and playing sports.

The information that appears below has been extracted from the book, The Cheap Bastard's Guide to Chicago by Nadia Oehlsen. 

Green Grocer
1402 W. Grand Ave. (at Noble St.)

If you prefer food with a low carbon footprint, stop by this shop to sample organic delectables, most of which come from midwestern farmers and food producers. Check the store's Web site for information about free food-related classes, lectures, and other events.  

Urban Chickens (and Bees)
A growing number of Chicagoans are relearning the old practice of keeping chickens in their backyards. Some, particularly in some Chicago Hispanic Communities, have been keeping chickens for years. Unfortunately, there have bee a few - ahem - ruffled feathers between urban chicken activists and some baffled city alderman. Count me in the camp of those who argue that Chicago ha no ordinance saying you can't keep chickens in your backyard and never should. Just don't keep a rooster. Then we've got issues, and I've got rooster soup, dear neighbor. Want to learn how to keep pets that contribute to the household with free eggs? Check out these local organizations, Web sites, and blogs"

Angelic Organics Learning Center
6400 S. Kimbark Ave. (inside church at E. 64th St.)

Midwest organic grower Angelica Organics provides classes and helps organize community gardens and other initiatives for better urban food from this center in Woodlawn. Classes include all aspects of urban farming, from growing vegetables in gardens and on rooftops to keeping chickens and bees. Most classes cost around $30, but you can earn back your learning costs in free food. &

Both of these sites provide how-to tips and news from chicken-dwelling cities around North-America.

Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council
2215 W. North Ave.

The information that appears above has been extracted from the book, The Cheap Bastard's Guide to Chicago by Nadia Oehlsen. 

Talk Greener, Talk High End

Zahra Lalani

Current student at Illinois Wesleyan. I love the city and playing sports.

In the past six weeks the Girl Scouts Forever Green initiative has challenged youth in the greater Chicagoland area to collect used cell phones. As we do our job and properly dispose of used cell phones, leading cell phone producers are designing their products with the earth in mind.


Samsung Blue Earth

In October 2009 Samsung launched Samsung Blue Earth. This cell phone is made from Post Cosumer Material (PCM) extracted from plastic water bottles; this helps reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption during the production process. It also uses a solar panel to recharge the battery; this means that you can use the phone anywhere at anytime without worrying about carrying around a charger. This is one of the best way to reduce energy usage from non-renewable resources. It is designed to use minimal power. Even the printing on the packaging is green: soy-ink. The phone is not only ecofriendly, but also sleek in design and advanced in technology (it has a touch screen). The phone has a special feature called "Eco Mode" which sets the screen brightness, backlight, and Bluetooth to an energy-efficient mode. The phone also comes with the "Eco Walk" application which functions as a pedometer counting the steps you take and converting that amount into how many trees you have saved by walking.

A densly populated city like Chicago has a lot going on in a regular day. Hundreds of people are driving to and from work, mail, food, and construction trucks are passing through the city and plants are chumming away in production. Wouldn't it be interesting to know if the area you're walking through is dense with polutants? A groud of researchers have developed a small silicon chip that can be embedded into cell phone and detect dangerous chemicals. It can detect gas leaks, toxins, and carbon monoxide.

Thinking about investing in a new phone? Look into phones like Samsung Blue Earth that combine advanced technology with a regard for the enviroment. And save money as you do it!

"I think the enviroment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?" - Robert Redford

Always Friendly,

Zahra Lalani


Girl Scouts Making Environmental Change


Hello my name is Kierra Franklin, I am 14 years old. I attend Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep Academy. I try to be “green” as possible, I use the energy efficient light bulbs, turn off all electronics not being used,and I try to recycle materials

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Maria Wynne, CEO for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

Hello Everyone, of late I had the pleasure of speaking with Maria Wynne, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, the largest Girl Scout council in the country. She is the first CEO of the council that includes tons of resources that create new opportunities for nearly 95,000 girls and 24,000 volunteers in 245 communities in sixllinois counties and 4 Indiana counties. She is an inspiring and dedicated woman who really enjoys her job.

"The best part about being the CEO of the Girl Scouts is to have the opportunity to work with so many tremendous volunteers, girls and staff who are also ensuring girls today can reach their full potential to make an impact on the world today." but she also says "the CEO's job is the best job in the whole world and it's fun"



We talked about her vision of creating opportunities for girls for girl leadership, how Girl Scouts has no boundaries for creating possibilities for girls, and her feelings on the Forever Green movement.

Maria feels passionate about the girls and how Girl Scouts has made an impact on the world.

When I asked her should we take more precautions when it comes to the earth, she answered without hesitation, "Absolutely."

Maria is a recycler herself. She tries to set an example for the public to follow in her footsteps. The Forever Green movement has also inspired her to become more resourceful in her everyday life.

"I recycle plastic, plastic bags, I recycle card board. Most I would say are common items, I also recycle bottles. "

She cares about the fact that her recycling will actually make a difference in someone's life.

"It makes me feel really good because I know that at some point the product that I recycled will show up in something else that will be good for someone else"

She explains the Girl Scout partnership between Motorola and the Chicago Sky. Motorola has shown tons of support for the Girl Scout's Forever Green movement. The Chicago Sky has partnered with the Girl Scout's to host a Forever Green Festival on June 5th.

"Well we decided to partner with the Chicago Sky and Motorola for a couple of reasons. We have had a previous partnership with the Chicago Sky where girls ran the entire game last year and it was the first time it had ever been tried and it was an effort to help allow girls to experience how to manage in the world of sports. We wanted to plan an opportunity to continue to work together. At the same time, at the national level Girl Scouts of the US were looking for an initiative that would commemorate the 100th anniversary which is coming up in 2012 and had decided that the effort to call to action would be called Forever Green. We felt that we had the perfect opportunity to strive for the success of people and to ignite the beginning of that effort and responsibility. Then we were very fortunate to have Motorola which had been a partner of ours on the national as well as the local level that has been very supportive of science, technology, engineering and math and that is also a leading corporation in its corporate responsibility which, environmental sustainability is one of them, to have them to express a desire to support this effort, which is so phenomenal being able to bring together three organizations in partnership to bring attention to how we can be better citizens of the planet and to educate on recycling particularly on cell phones and batteries and helping people to understand how important it is to recycle them which we felt was a phenomenal opportunity."


Girl Scouts has been a source of new innovation for years and will be for years to come.

"Well I think that in the Girl Scouts the opportunities come in many ways. One of them is that, we begin at the very early age of five to educate girls on their environment and their respect on the environment around them, as they progress we also introduce them to principles of science, technology, engineering and math that are related to the environment, and we begin to see the world in a larger dimension."

The girls have always been taught about the environment and Maria thinks that is extremely important. 

"Girl Scouts has always been environmentally friendly however the challenges of the modern world are really calling on us to educate people on how everyone can be environmentally friendly so as a series of communities. I think the Girl Scouts could make a huge difference in making sure everyone understands how on the individual basis little by little we can make a big impact and make a big difference on the planet."

The primary responsibility of the Girl Scouts has always been to the empowerment of the girls. However, while empowering girls is the ultimate goal, giving girls skills that will help them in the future is also a goal.

"The mission of Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character that will make the world a better place. The primary responsibility that we have as an organization is to provide those experiences that allow a girl to fulfill those traits, they come in a form of inspirational learning, in a way of discovering something about herself, connecting with others in a meaningful way, and then taking action in the world around them, to make the world a better place."

She also gave tips on how to become more environmentally friendly.

·         Educate yourself about GREEN..... Learn

·         Get involved in a community project

·         Go camping (GS of GCNWI has thirteen incredible camping areas)

She shares the most important thing she has learned on being environmentally friendly. She gives the example of the aerosol spray movement in which everyone got behind the effort:

"The power that bringing people together can have on a particular effort..."

Interesting Info: Power is in the Numbers.

Don't forget to sign up for the Forever Green Festival on June 5th (and make sure you bring your friends and family).

Always and Forever,


Motorola: A Proud Supporter of Girl Scouts

Zahra Lalani

Current student at Illinois Wesleyan. I love the city and playing sports.

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A few days ago I had the good fortune of interviewing Eileen Sweeney, Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Philanthropic Relations, Motorola, a proud supporter of the Girl Scouts Forever Green Community Action Project. Sweeney has had fifteen years of experience in corporate philanthropy and believes that regardless of what product a company is selling there is a certain amount of social responsibility that comes with production.

"You have to look at the impact in the communities where employees live and work," Sweeney said.

Fifteen years ago when she was working with the United Airlines, groups would send grant applications through the mail, each one averaging about 15 to 20 pages. However United Airlines' commitment to creating an online application process has cut down on a great deal of paper usage. 

Sweeney feels very passionately about Motorola's partnership with the Girl Scouts on this initiative because she believes it's important to protect the environment for the future generations. 

"I am a mother of three. And I am concerned about the planet that my children and grandchildren will live in," she said. 

In her leisure time, Sweeney loves to swim, especially in open water. Over the years she has participated in many triathlons and outdoor sports and attaches a high value to nature and wants to preserve it so that future generations can experience the same enjoyment. 

"Being able to swim in clean water is the greatest enjoyment of my life, and it's a precious rare commodity. After work I can bike to the lake and go for a swim, and I love being able to do that." 

Motorola plays a big role in preserving the natural beauty that many similar to Sweeney enjoy so much. For the past five years we have held an annual company-wide "Global Day of Service."  Three years ago Motorola began a new initiative for the Global Day of Service called "Green&Global" where Motorola employees all over the world work on green projects and are encouraged to reuse T-shirts. Motorola motivates its employees by promising to plant one tree for every volunteer who participates and four trees for each employee who re-uses a shirt.  In 2009, Motorola Foundation funded the planting of more than 25,000 trees on behalf of the volunteers. 

"Six percent of our grant making funds green education, green research and support of environmental initiatives such as planting trees.  Anybody can write a check, but at Motorola we are trying to get our employees involved. We try to do more. We try to bring the partners that we already have to other partners to create larger networks." 

Sweeney strongly believes that the youth are leaders of change especially in the area of sustainability. Youth are often found using re-usable water bottles and biking, and these habits can influence how businesses and corporations think about recycling. 

"You have to see how fragile the world is. My experience has taught me that small changes can make a big difference and that being aware of the environment can be cost saving." 

All of the cell phones collected at the Girl Scouts Forever Green Festival at Allstate Arena on June 5 will be sent to a recycling center where they will be refurbished and redistributed as usable phones; the unusable phones will be recycled.  Collecting these cell phones is strongly emphasized in the Girl Scouts Forever Green Initiative because there are highly damaging consequences on the earth if the cell phones are not disposed of properly. 

According to Sweeney, "Girl Scouting is cool and important in the 21st century. It is a place to learn leadership skills and become familiar with the world and its diversity. Girl Scouts plays a very important role in the suburbs as well as in the city and can be such a life-changing experience for so many. We are truly proud of our partnership with this organization." 

If you haven't had the chance to register for the Girl Scouts Forever Green Festival on June 5th please take a moment to do so here.

Forever Green, Earth & "Sky"



Margaret Stender: Chicago Sky CEO & President, amazing Forever Green ambassador!

Hello Readers!Recently, I had the unique opportunity to interview the very awesome Margaret Stender, CEO & President of the Chicago Sky women's basketball team (which, as you know, is the Girl Scouts' major Forever Green partner). We discussed the Forever Green initiative, the exciting festival & "Go Green" Game on June 5th, and what it all means to her. She had so many insightful and inspiring things to say, and personally, she reinvigorated my passion for this movement and my faith in the Girl Scout commitment to truly "make the world a better place." Read on to find out why!


Why is the Chicago Sky partnership with Girl Scouts so important to you?

 I believe in girls; I believe in the power of role models, and building inspiration and aspiration around that. It makes sense to me that a professional sports team should and could collaborate with the Girl Scouts to help provide those role models and work together to make the world a better place.

 As CEO of the Sky, what do you do to encourage and inspire the young women you work with?

I work a lot with my coaches to create a game plan for the season that we follow to try to meet our goals, to set objectives and stay focused on those objectives. This summer, I've been sending out a daily "inspiration quote" - we call it Skyway Daily Inspiration - and just think about where we are, what our challenges are, what we've learned from what's happened, and how we move forward. I try to stay as positive and encouraging as I possibly can.


Why is it so important for young women to be at the forefront of efforts that revolve around the environment?

There are so many challenges in the way we deal with in our environment today. The pain of what's going on in the Gulf right now with the oil spill just brings all the complicated nature of that right to the forefront. If young women and young girls who may see the world in a different way can help participate and increase their sensitivity to the challenges of keeping our environment safe and clean, when they grow up to be young women I feel quite confident that they'll help create solutions for things that seem so difficult to tackle in today's world.


Forever Green is really a huge and exciting initiative for both Girl Scouts and the Chicago Sky. Is this something that the Sky has ever done before?

Nope! This is our first year! We hope to make it an annual event in partnership with the Girl Scouts. We feel that it's a really neat collaboration between our two organizations, and it's something we know will build and build over time as we seed it into the community. I'd think of it as the "first annual." Many more to come!

Through working with this initiative, is there anything new you've learned about our impact and what we can do to make our lives a little "greener"?

I did learn from our Motorola partners that there is special recycling that goes around the cell phones, which is very exciting. Some of the individual components can be reused, and then the phones themselves can be recycled to families who might not otherwise be able to afford them, which is a pretty cool concept. That seems like a really positive aspect of this project that I didn't realize was available.

What can people expect to see when they come to Allstate Arena on June 5?

In the parking lot across the street from the arena, we'll have some big bins where people can bring all of their recycled material. We'll have a DJ playing music from Radio Disney. We'll have all the Girl Scouts that are Gold Award winners with environmentally-connected projects displaying their amazing work. We're partnering with lots of other community organizations that also have an interest in environmental awareness and safety, and they will also have booths to showcase. Various museums from around downtown, like the Peggy Notebaert Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry, will also have booths, along with the Citizens Utility Board and several other large community organizations that just want to come out and educate and help support. It'll be just like a big festival: there'll be lots of food, drink, and music, hopefully some dancing, and some education

What are you most looking forward to at the Festival?

 I'd love to see the Gold Award displays. Talk about role models! The Gold Award winners are really paving the way for community service, activism, and positive change; it's very inspirational to see what those young women have done, and it's definitely one of my favorite parts. And then of course, after we close out the festival, we get to go watch some great basketball!

What do you expect the audience to walk away feeling or inspired to do after that event?

Just being more environmentally sensitive - there are little things we can all do every day, right? From turning out the lights, to collecting batteries, to being more conscious about turning off our computers at the end of the day; to then bigger, more activist-orientated things, as it relates to more regulation for the big oil companies, if that might be necessary. It's an awareness and education opportunity. Hopefully, the more that we make large groups aware, the more active they will become, and that's what helps make our communities so much better.

What do you personally do to protect the environment?

I actually do many of those things I mentioned before. I try to unplug every night. My family has cut way back on our water bottle purchases, so we use a filter at home and lots of refillable water bottles to try to cut back on all the plastic that's out there. We recycle; I live in the city, so we use blue bags and recycle bins. We have a couple different trash bins in our home, so we sort our trash and put some things in the blue bin to be recycled away. We also try to just keep focusing on turning the lights out.



I'd like to say a big Thank-You to Margaret, who not only took the time to answer these questions for us, but who has also been such a driving force behind both the Girl Scout-Chicago Sky partnership and the Forever Green Initiative. Her passion and determination have inspired me and so many others to work hard, have faith, and truly live long, live strong, live Forever Green.
And of course, thanks! to all our readers for keeping up with the Blog. Come back soon for more inside interviews with the amazing people behind the "Green"!

Joanne D.

P.S. Have you registered yet for the Forever Green Festival? Invite your friends and sign up today!

How to Have a Greener Summer


Hello my name is Kierra Franklin, I am 14 years old. I attend Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep Academy. I try to be “green” as possible, I use the energy efficient light bulbs, turn off all electronics not being used,and I try to recycle materials

Hello Everyone!!! This is one of your favorite bloggers, Kierra, to give you some more insight on how to live a "greener" lifestyle to help the world in different ways.

Everyone loves the summer and all the activities that come along but do we ever stop to think about the environmental impact it has on the world. Most likely not but we can change now that we are informed and willing to change. To help you with some of theses environmental worries I am going to give you helpful tips that will put your mind at ease.


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Neuton Battery Powered Lawn Mower

Cut Down on Cutting the Grass 

Lawn motors make a big impact on the world. We get our motors running every time we see the grass getting a higher than normal and we let gas emissions into the air. To cut down on emissions you could not use your lawn mower as much. However, if you really want to cut down, you could use a battery powered or a push lawn mower. Remember, a few  inches of grass isn't worth damage to the world. 


Hold off on the Grilling

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        Keep it a Minimum

Think about all of the waste and garbage you create while grilling. You throw away all the charcoal, paper plates and cups and not to mention all of the smoke you release into the air. Barbequing is always a fun activity but think about all of the toxic gases you are letting into the air. We all love to grill occasionally but we must keep it to a minimum.



Be Smart with Water Usage

                                             As the months get hotter of course we want to become cooler.

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Conserve Water

However we must not achieve this coolness by using water unsparingly. We need to conserve water as much as possible. It would help if you watered in the early morning when evaporation is low because the sun is low. You could also change your sprinkler settings so that it does not waste water watering the streets and sidewalk.


Interesting Info: The pollution from a year's use of an average gas-powered lawnmower is equivalent to the pollution from driving a car 86,000 miles.


Remember, you determine how environmentally friendly your lifestyle can be, but you can always be your own "green" guru.


Always and Forever,



Continue reading...

How to Help Your Pets Become Eco-Friendly


Hello my name is Kierra Franklin, I am 14 years old. I attend Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep Academy. I try to be “green” as possible, I use the energy efficient light bulbs, turn off all electronics not being used,and I try to recycle materials

Hello readers!!! This is Kierra, here to give you more information and tips on how to become more conscious of your environment and live a "greener" life little by little.

We all love our little furry friends, our companions and man and woman's best friend....Yes! I am talking about our wonderful pets. Though we love them dearly they can also leave their own environmental foot print. Have you ever thought about the bags you use to scoop the poop or the harsh impact that clay strip-mined cat litter has on the earth??? We must not be unaware of the potential damage they could also be doing to the earth. To help you with some of these questions, I am going to give you some helpful products to ease the environmental stress.


For Doggies

Try using biodegradable poop bags to pick up your dogs waste. These plastic bags can decompose in to the ground easily. The plastic bags can make a big impact on the environment. It takes thousands of years for plastic to decompose in the ground, so to ease this process it is best to use biodegradable bags. When you think about it, they are used and then thrown away. They can be many found places online but if you are having any troubles then you can visit which also has tons of different items for pets.


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Feline Pine Cat Litter


For Cats

The kitty litter will use today has tons of chemicals that could impact our earth. They have harmful chemicals that will eventually end up in out earth and the flushable types can also be problematic. There is now eco-friendly cat litter to eliminate this problem. They not only do all the things ordinary cat litter performs but also aren't as bad on the earth. There are brands such as Feline Pine, World's Best Cat Litter and Swheat Scoop that are better for the environment. You can buy from stores such as PETCO and PETSMART and of coarse online.


For Pets

For other ideas to be more "green" with your pets, you can consider these products.

·                       Eco-friendly Pet Bowls

·                       Environmentally-friendly Treats

·                       "Green" Pet Beds

·                       And tons of other products for our lovely pets like toys, collars etc.









Shopping Eco-Friendly

Zahra Lalani

Current student at Illinois Wesleyan. I love the city and playing sports.

I absolutely love shopping. Often times during the year I offer myself an incentive to do well in class by saying to myself, "If you get an A on this exam you can buy a new sweater or a new pair of shoes." Fashion is important to me because it speaks to people that I both know and do not know. A good cashmere sweater goes a long way, the famous White and Warren are redesigning the classic cashmere sweater to include  a new material: bamboo, a renewable resource and the fastest growing grass. Nike Considered has adopted a similar mission and uses a "closed loop" manufacturing process where nothing is wasted and everything is reused. One of Nike Considered's eco-friendly product is a shoe called Pegasus 25 which is 13 percent lighter than the previous Pegasus and weighs a total of 1.4 ounces; the less material, the less waste.

It's definitely possible to shop with an eco-friendly attitude. More and more companies are adopting a similar attitude, and re-evaluating their production procedures. 

A few small changes to your daily routine can go a long way it helping to keep the earth a healthy place to live. Try saving water by cutting down on shower time, brush your teeth with the water off, and try online-banking many banks have the option of sending you statements via an online account.

"I've spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!" -Sex and the City

Always Friendly, 
Zahra Lalani

Spring Green-ing



We always hear that you shouldn't eat something if you can't even pronounce the ingredients listed on the package. Who wants to eat anything filled with lab-produced chemicals and fillers, right?

Now, have you ever considered other ways that harmful chemicals can enter your body - like breathing, even in your own home? Today, many of the common household cleaners we use in our kitchens around food, bathrooms, and the bedrooms were we sleep are filled with harsh chemicals like formaheldryde (wait, say that again?), ammonia, bleach, and countless others that release loads of toxins into our air. These toxins do more than just smell terrible and give you headaches. Exposure to these chemical cleaning products has been linked to skin and eye irritation, allergies, and a long list of serious health problems, including cancer and even psychological effects.

So: How can you get a clean, healthy home without all the unhealthiness of all the nasty chemicals is commercial household cleaners? Take a look in your cupboard for a simple solution!


1. Vinegar:  Deodorizes and disinfects without any toxins. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a plastic spray bottle, and you can make your stovetops, appliances, floors, counters, bathtubs, sinks, toilets etc. naturally sparkle. It's also a natural fabric softener, so toss some in to your next rinse cycle! (And don't worry about that vinegar-y smell; it'll disappear as the vingar dries).

2. Baking Soda: A great natural abrasive. Use it to replace harsh cleaners like Ajax or Comet. It's often used  as a deodorant to keep your fridge smelling fresh, but you can also stick a box of baking soda in other areas of your home to absorb odors (I could use one in school's locker room!), making it a great alternative to spraying chemical-loaded air fresheners. Dipping a wet toothbrush in baking soda before brushing is also a simple and natural way to help whiten teeth by gently scrubbing off stains.

3. Lemon Juice: Dissolves soap scum, water deposits, and polish brass and copper. Mixed with olive oil, it makes a safe and effective hardwood floor cleaner and polisher. Add lemon juice to vinegar and baking soda, and you have a natural paste that will clean almost anything. Plus, save money on sponges! Try cutting a lemon in half, sprinkle some baking soda on the inside and use it to scrub surfaces and dirty dishes (I tried it, it's awesome how well it works!) Lemons smell fantasitcally refreshing, and you can drop a few fresh lemon peels into your garbage disposal and turn it on to keep the sink smelling fresh. More creative & interesting uses for the average lemon - who knew?


*Here's a simple, inexpensive recipe for a great natural all-purpose house cleaner. Try it!

By bringing it back to basics with these ingredients, you'll be taking a big step in not only lessening our impact on the environment, but also on your health. And remember, if you're up for making the smart switch to natural cleaning, be sure to dispose of any old products properly and reuse or recycle old plastic bottles.

Try using a couple of these magic ingredients to kick-start your spring cleaning - I know I will be this weekend. Can't wait for my home to smell like lemon zest, yum!

Readers: Anything cool YOU use to replace tradtitional, non-biodegradable products? Share it!

Cheers to a cleaner home, a cleaner world, and a cleaner YOU. Let the spring cleaning commence!

Live Long. Live Strong. Live Forever Green.
Joanne D.


P.S. - Up for an AWESOME celebration of all things green with us, the Girl Scouts & WNBA Chicago Sky? Register ASAP for the Forever Green Festival on June 5th! Grab a friend!

Mother's Day Makeover



Plant some fresh, organic herbs to spice up dinner, or a cool-looking potted plant to instantly refresh the air in the room.

Happy Mother's Day to all our amazing moms out there!

As we celebrate motherhood on this special day, let's not forget about one of the most important moms in our lives: Mother Nature! She's given so much to us: food, water, clean air, and a beautiful world for us to embrace - now it's our turn to give her a little something in return.

Here's an idea: how about we give Mother Nature a little makeover? Spend some valuable quality time with your mom today and have fun gettin' a little dirty by planting something together - whether it's a small tree in the yard, a fresh mini-herb garden (yum!), or even just a cute potted plant as an inexpensive way to brighten up a room.

Trees and other plants help to:

  •  filter our air and provide more oxygen,
  • prevent soil erosion,
  • provide natural homes for all sorts of fauna,
  • keep the earth (and us) shaded and cool,
  • and just make our world look good (hey, when Mother Nature checks herself out in the mirror, she wants to look attractive too!).

So take a deep breath of fresh air, grab some spades and a watering can, and share a few laughs as you watch your garden and your relationship with your mom grow.

Check out some more fun green Mother's Day gift ideas here!

**Also, if planting a tree sounds like fun, check out this website to help you pick out the best tree for you to plant in your area.

Readers: How are you making your Mother's Day celebration a little greener this year? Let us know, leave a comment!

Thanks again for stopping by the Forever Green blog. Be sure to check back in soon for more!

Happy Planting!

Live long. Live strong. Live Forever Green.

Joanne D. 

How to Have a "Greener" Weekend!!!


Hello my name is Kierra Franklin, I am 14 years old. I attend Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep Academy. I try to be “green” as possible, I use the energy efficient light bulbs, turn off all electronics not being used,and I try to recycle materials


Hi Everyone!!!!! It's me, Kierra and thank you for reading our blog!!!

As Friday is coming to an end, we are all planning for the weekend, thinking about where to go, and what to do. We all get excited about meeting up with our friends and family to have fun. Through all of your thoughts, I sure it has never crossed your mind how much waste and damage to the earth you create on your weekend trips. I am going to give you a few tips and alternatives to help you become more "green" while doing some of your favorite activities,


At the Movies...Try Eco-Popcorn

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New EcoSelect Popcorn Bags from Landmark Theatres

Have you ever thought about that huge bucket of popcorn you share with your friends as bad for the environment, well its time to start thinking. To limit waste you can buy the smaller bags of popcorn which are paper instead of plastic. But if you really want to try something new, you can visit the Landmark Century Centre Cinema located right here inChicago, they offer EcoSelect popcorn bags. They are made of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified natural fiber and up to 50% of the energy used to make the natural fiber comes from hydro power and renewable bio-fuels. The bags are  also printed with water-based inks on natural, chlorine-free paper and are 100% biodegradable.

Landmark Century Centre Cinema

2828 N Clark St

Chicago, IL 60657



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            A Huge Waste




Going Out to Eat.....Try Using "Green" Take Out


Every time you go to dinner you enjoy a delicious meal but what happens after, you ask for your check and if you have any food left you ask for a carry out but this could be an environmental challenge also. I mean think about it, you take this Styrofoam container to throw away as soon as you get hungry enough to eat some more. To end your take out terrors you can simply not ask for a carry out (or try asking if they have paper instead of Styrofoam). But if you really want to spice it up try going to Sopraffina Marketcaffe which is located all over the Chicago land. They use    paper products that contain 100% recovered paper fiber and are Green Seal (Eco-Logo certified). They also supply plastics which are made from recycled material, and can be recycled again after use.

Sopraffina Marketcaffe

111 East Wacker Dr                  222 West Adams St           10 North Dearborn St
Chicago, IL
                               Chicago, IL                         Chicago, IL 
                                       60606                                60602

175 West Jackson Blvd             200 East Randolph St
Chicago, IL
                              Chicago, IL


Going Shopping.....Try Online

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The Eco-Friendly Alternative to Going to the Mall

Of course going shopping is always fun especially with Mothers Day right around the corner but what about all of the gas you waste and the emissions you let into the air while driving to the mall. It would be much better to just shop online. You waste no exhaust and it is very convenient. Most stores have online websites which makes it easy for you to visit your favorite stores at your computer. However, if you're on your way to the mall already, you can reuse shopping bags and ride public transportation to cut down on driving and gas emissions, an make your trip more  eco-friendly.




Interesting Info: Americans today consume approximately 17.3 billion quarts of popped popcorn per year.

Remember you can always change little things in your everyday life to be more environmentally friendly.


Always and Forever,



Green Festival comes to Chicago

Zahra Lalani

Current student at Illinois Wesleyan. I love the city and playing sports.

The last couple of days Joanne, Kierra, and I have been talking about different ways to get started with recycling and have emphasized starting off with small changes in order to make a big impact. Green Festival, a collaborative effort between Global Exchange and Green America, inspires people to do the same thing. Green Festival comes to Chicago May 22 and 23 at Navy Pier. While the Festival advocates eco-friendliness to the people, the Festival itself also gets closer and closer to being a zero-waste event. 

The Festival brings together individuals, businesses, and community leaders to create dialogue on pressing issues here and elsewhere in the world. The different businesses present new and improved programs and products to restore the environment. The festival features guest speakers such as the award winning journalists Bianca Alexander and Amy Goodman.  

Things to do at the Festival:
    • 125+ renowned authors, leaders, educators
    • how-to workshops
    • activities for kids
    • films
    • vegetarian cuisine and live music
    • 350 eco-friendly businesses selling all natural body products, clothing, etc.
    • and much much more! 
By attending events similar to this one, its possible to expand your knowledge of innovative ways to be more respectful of your environment and its limited resources. The event costs $15 for a weekend pass. For more information about the site click Green Festival.

Green Festival: May 22 - 23, 2010
Sat. 10am - 7pm
Sun. 11am - 6pm

Navy Pier
600 E Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Journal Idea: How are you expanding your knowledge of new and upcoming ways of protecting the earth?

"The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder." - Ralph W. Sockman

Always Friendly, 
Zahra Lalani

Power Up the Green; Recycle Your Batteries!



Think about all the devices you use everyday that require batteries: remote controls, cameras, flashlights, calculators, alarm clocks, etc. How often do you have to remember to change the batteries? More importantly, what do you do with the old ones?

If you typically just toss them in the trash, then take a step back and think about where they'll be going once they leave the curbside...


Stuck in a landfill, those little batteries can cause a world of harm. The metals found in these batteries (i.e. lead, cadmium, lithium, potassium, mercury, copper, and zinc) leak into the soil, poisoning groundwater and making their way into municipal water sources. This same water is absorbed by our fruit and vegetable crops, and the grass we use to feed cattle and other animals. When we consume these toxic plants and meat, the continuous exposure to substances like cadmium can have a major impact on our heath: nausea, headaches, liver & kidney damage, skin irritation, problems with the nervous system, and potentially cancer.
Even if we avoid them in food, we are still affected by these toxins as they are burnt in waste combustors and released in the air. Landfills also generate huge amounts of methane gas, which contributes to the "greenhouse effect" that causes global climate change

 Alright, I know what you're thinking: So what? It's just one little battery - it's not going to poison a whole field of crops or anything. Think about this; the average person throws away about 8 household batteries every year. Doesn't seem like a whole lot, but imagine the entire population of the United States (currently 308 million) throwing away all their old batteries, or worse yet, the entire world's population (6.8 billion)?! That's 54.4 billion batteries every year, leaking into the food we eat & air we breathe everyday!

Keep an eye out for containers like these, and drop off your old batteries the next time you're out shopping or checking out a book!


Here's the great news: we can keep those batteries from ever reaching a landfill and coming back to us. It's so simple! Here's what you can do:


1. DON'T toss those old batteries. Store them in an old box or bag and later drop them off at a designated battery recycling collection. Check out local stores (i.e. Staples, Best Buy, even Ikea) or your neighborhood libraries and schools for collection boxes. I have one at my library, which makes it super convenient to just stop by and drop off. 
***Easy! - Bring them to the Forever Green Festival (June 5th), where we'll have collections specifically for your old batteries and cell phones, along with LOTS of other awesome activities & a Chicago Sky Game! Register soon!

2. The next time you need to change batteries, try rechargeable ones! Buying one pack of rechargeable batteries and a charger is way more cost effective ($11.00/ year for a pack of rechargeables, compared to up to $30.00/year for a couple packs of regular alkaline batteries), and by reusing them, you can guarantee that they won't end up in a landfill.


So readers, start collecting those AA's today - you'll be making a greater difference than you think.

Thanks again for checking out our blog, and come back soon for more great tips to help make your life - along with everyone else's - a little greener.

Live long. Live strong. Live Forever Green.
- Joanne D.

3 Simple Ways To Recycle!!!!!!!!


Hello my name is Kierra Franklin, I am 14 years old. I attend Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep Academy. I try to be “green” as possible, I use the energy efficient light bulbs, turn off all electronics not being used,and I try to recycle materials

Hi, I am Kierra!!! Welcome to our blog!!!

There is so much information out there that is misleading and very lengthy but I believe that information should be simple, easy to understand, and right to the point. That is why my philosophy is to be short and sweet and so to build on the idea Joanne and Zahra laid out for me. I am going to give you 5 ways you can become a recycler with ease.

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Walmart's new reusable shopping bag


There are a lot of stores who offer non-plastic bags that you can reuse. It is a great way to cut down on plastic usage which wont decay for another 1000 years after being placed in a landfill. Now I know, people often forget about the bags and leave them in the car or at home but you can always tuck them in your purse or put them in your sale papers.




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Could this jar be your new glass?

Have you ever thought about that jelly jar in the refrigerator as your new cup?? Well its time to start thinking, this can be a way to cut down on how much glass goes into landfills and cut down on the millions of years it spends in landfills. It would be a retro and art deco way to spice up your dishware and it would give it a unique look.





Easy on you but hard on the environment


Washing dishes might be a tedious job but itis nothing compared to the amount of damage Styrofoam has on our Earth. Scientist estimate it takes at least 1 million years before it decomposes. Plus it is difficult to recycle so a lot of places don,t bother. But if you really don't want to wash dishes then paper is a much better way it can be recycled easily and it decomposes quickly.


Intersting Info: In 2007, the average American generated 4.62 lbs of garbage every day.


Remember recycling isn't that difficult you can do it in your everyday life, with a simple change in behavior you can save a lot of waste from being put into our earth.


Always and Forever,



Starting Off Small

Zahra Lalani

Current student at Illinois Wesleyan. I love the city and playing sports.

As Joanne mentioned earlier this week the best place to start becoming more environmentally friendly is indeed where you spend the most time: school and work. There are hundreds of sites on the web that claim how "easy" it is to recycle, yet statistics show that only 70 percent of people actually recycle. If the process is so easy, then why aren't more people recycling?

Here's what I think:
  1. The process of sorting out all of your waste into paper, aluminum, and plastic can be difficult and time consuming.
  2. The amount of information available on the topic of recycling can be very overwhelming, making it difficult to retain its crucial aspects.
For a person, like myself, that is just beginning to recycle it is important to start off small. By starting off small, it is possible to incorporate recycling into your subconscious so that you do it out of a habitat instead of as a chore.

For example, your resolution for the week can be to just recycle paper: any and all sorts of paper. In this manner you'll get into the habitat of always recycling paper, and the following week you can tag on plastic bottles and build upwards from there.

Recycling shouldn't be a chore, so by taking small steps you can make recycling instinctual just like drinking water. Economists such as the world-renowned Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics, have proven that incentives can change human behavior. Reward yourself for every week you successfully attain your targeted goal. You deserve it!

Journal Idea: In an average day what (paper, plastic, coke cans, etc.) do you dispose of the most? Can you recycle it?

"The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher." - Thomas Henry Huxley

Always Friendly,
Zahra Lalani

This Week: Start Gettin' Greener at Work & School


Hey! Thanks for checking out our blog!

Quick fun fact: did you know that this year marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day? The very first Earth Day was declared on April 22, 1970. 

Even though Earth Day comes around only once a year, we should keep its "green spirit" everyday by making those little changes in our typical lives that add up to one major difference.

On my way out of the neighborhood library the other day, I noticed a poster announcing that one of our local grade schools is starting a project to collect old/unused school supplies that they will recycle (incl. old notebooks, folders, papers, boxes, etc.).  What an awesome project! Imagine all the paper that won't end up in the trash, and instead in new notebooks and paper we can use? And this got me thinking...

What better place to start bringing about those everyday changes than at school and work?

Tomorrow's Monday, the first day of a new school and work week after Earth Day. Let's start fresh, & get going on our Earth Day resolutions!


For those of you who like to grab a nice, hot mocha from Starbucks before heading to the office, consider this: bring your own reusable travel mug! Starbucks will take ten cents off any purchase when you bring in a mug to carry your drink, instead of using one of their paper cups. It's a win-win: for both our wallets and forests! Check out the site to learn more:

There's also so much we can do in our schools and workplaces to cut down on the amount of paper ending up in the garbage, and later, piling up in landfills. Check out this site for some unbelievable stats, and great tips to kick-start the cut-down on paper trash wherever you'll be this Monday:


What do YOU do at your school/work to help save paper & energy? Share your ideas! Big or small, we want to hear your suggestions & get inspired to start making our own changes. Leave a comment!

Thanks for checking out the Forever Green initiative. Visit our blog again soon to hear even more green insight & info from me, Zahra and Kierra! 

Live Long. Live Strong. Live Forever Green.
~Joanne D.


Earth Day, A New Way

Zahra Lalani

Current student at Illinois Wesleyan. I love the city and playing sports.

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Today, in light of Earth Day, the Girl Scouts are launching the Girl Scouts Forever Green Community Action Project to promote awareness of actions that we can all take to lead stronger, greener lives. This initiative is supported by the WNBA Chicago Sky and Motorola.

During the six-week campaign, Forever Green "change agents," community members who want to inspire others, are challenged to collect as many cell phones and batteries as possible. Girls, their families, friends and the community-at-large will have the opportunity to learn more about the impact of improperly discarded cell phones and batteries on the environment. 

The initiative comes full circle at the "Forever Green" Festival on June 5 at the Allstate Arena, followed by the Chicago Sky "Go Green Game." At this event all of the "change agents" will bring in the cell phones and batteries that they have collected for recycling and proper disposal. The Festival will celebrate our success with a variety of fun challenges and amazing prizes for everyone who joins us for the event on June 5. 

As Girl Scouts, the three of us are hosting this Forever Green Blog to enhance awareness of the importances of environmental issues in Chicago and offer the community ways in which they can make simple changes to better the environment. 

The purpose of this Forever Green Blog is to provide a place for us to share our thoughts and ideas about taking the next step in protecting our environment and helping us all to make our lives a little more "greener." We'll be sharing great information and tips on small things WE can do or already are doing TODAY to be a part of this major movement. Hopefully, we can spark the global discussions and get some useful feedback from our readers as well!

It's a thrill to be involved with organizations like the Chicago Sky and Motorola that are as excited about this powerful initiative as we are! We can't wait not only to share our thoughts and Ideas with you, but to hear what you have to contribute to this great cause. 

For more information and to register for the Girl Scouts Forever Green Festival, visit

Now... we want to introduce ourselves!

Joanne D.
Hey! I'm Joanne, a 15 1/2 - year - old Senior Girl Scout. I live in the small suburb of Harwood Heights, IL. I'm a sophomore at Ridgewood High School, where I study hard and love to keep myself involved in extracurricular activities - my favorites include Student Council, Band (oboe!), FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), the Multimedia Broadcast Club (I host our school TV and radio station), school newspaper, Choices (a student anti-drug and alcohol initiative and running track). 

I'm also very happy to say that I have recently been named as one of six Girl Representatives on the GSGCNWI Board of Directors, where I hope to take strengthening the Girl Scout organization to the next level. Live long. Live strong Live Forever Green!

Zahra L. 
I am currently and undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL pursuing a double major in Accounting and Economics. I have been actively involved in Girl Scouts since the third grade, completing my Gold Award, and continuing to work with the Girl Scouts.

My involvement with Forever Green stems from my passion for writing, hearing stories, and willingness to leave the world changed for the better.

Kierra F.
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Hello! My name is Kierra, and I'm 14 years old. I attend Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep Academy. I try to be as "green" as possible. I use the energy efficient light bulbs, turn off all electronics not being used, and I try to recycle materials.


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