Archive for the ‘green living’ Category

New I-GO Chi-Town Rewards Member: Healthy Green Goods

May 26, 2009


If you ever find yourself with some time to kill in Evanston, you should check out Healthy Green Goods, the most recent local business to offer I-GO members a discount by joining our Chi-Town Rewards program.

It’s simple! All you have to do is flash your I-GO smartcard and you’ll receive 10% off your entire purchase! Healthy Green Goods carries a wide array of truly safe and organic products. Need help finding toxin-free, eco-friendly products for everyday living? Healthy Green Goods can help. Swing by their store in Evanston or check them out online.

Healthy Green Goods:
702 Main Street
Evanston, IL 60202

German suburb finds car-free life quite carefree

May 13, 2009

Have you ever heard of Vauban, a small suburb in Germany? I hadn’t until recently, but after reading an article in yesterday’s New York Times“In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars”—I’m ready to pack my bags and hop on the next plane there.

Vauban, completed in 2006, sits on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden, and Vauban’s streets are completely car-free, except for the main thoroughfare and a few streets on the outskirts of the suburb.

You may be asking yourself, How is this working out for the 5,500 residents of Vauban? Quite well, it seems. From the article:

The town is long and relatively narrow, so that the tram into Freiburg is an easy walk from every home. Stores, restaurants, banks and schools are more interspersed among homes than they are in a typical suburb. Most residents…have carts that they haul behind bicycles for shopping trips or children’s play dates. For trips to stores like IKEA or the ski slopes, families buy cars together or use communal cars rented out by Vauban’s car-sharing club.

Moreover, parents in Vauban rave about the safety that goes along with having no cars on the streets. Children can run free without their parents fearing for their safety as they would if their kids were playing on a busy street corner. Check out this interesting slideshow of Vauban.

Vauban is part of a growing suburban trend many are referring to as “smart planning.” In the U.S., the EPA is beginning to promote “car reduced” communities and experts expect public transport serving suburbs to play a much larger role in a new six-year federal transportation bill to be approved this year. Currently, most zoning laws in the U.S. still require two parking spaces per residential unit. Hopefully, Vauban’s success will lead to many more car-reduced cities and suburbs.

Bike Sharing

April 26, 2009

“The fact is, we already have a zero-emission, efficient, great way to get around and it’s called the bicycle and we just need to start providing for it,”
-Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives

You’ve heard of car sharing but have you heard of bike sharing? There are already successful bike sharing programs in Paris, Barcelona, London, Stockholm, Milan, Berlin, Munich, Vienna & Copenhagen- to name just a few. Hopefully it is only a matter of time before bike sharing starts spreading throughout the U.S. as well!

Below you can listen to a very interesting interview on last Friday’s Brian Lehrer Show. Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, discusses the possibility of introducing a bike sharing program in New York City.

Would you utilize a bike sharing service in Chicago? If not, why not? What would need to change in order to get you biking?

Upcoming I-GO Car Sharing Events

April 21, 2009

2nd Annual Auburn Gresham Earth Day Celebration
Thursday, April 23, 9am-noon
518 W. 79th

The Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, in association with Alderman Latasha Thomas (17th Ward), and the Winneconna Lakes Improvement Association are hosting their 2nd Annual Earth Day Event to raise environmental awareness. I-GO reps will be there to demonstrate economical and environmental transportation alternatives.

University of Chicago Earth Fest
Friday, April 24, 11am-2pm
Rosenwald Building (Main Quad)

The Sustainability Council of the U of C is providing an opportunity for students and faculty to become acquainted with local business, organizations and other groups in Chicago. I-GO will be there spreading the good word. I-GO does not need any volunteer help for this event, but we’d love to see you if you’re in the area.

North Lake Shore Earth Day
Saturday, April 25, 9am-4:30pm
Loyola (Rogers Park Campus)

Loyola University Chicago and the communities of Andersonville, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Rogers Park, Uptown and West Ridge are hosting the 2nd North Lake Shore Earth day celebration. I-GO has been invited to help inform community members about global and local environmental issues such as clean air and energy alternatives, as well as practical, everday ways to green one’s home and business. I-GO is looking for a few volunteers to help staff this event. If you’d like to help out, please send Lauren an e-mail at lauren@igocars.org.

As the worm turns: Kitchen compost made easy

March 22, 2009


Have you heard about composting with worms (vermicomposting) before but been afraid to give it a try? Worried about making a mess or just not liking the idea of worms in your house? Or would your kids love to learn all that worms can do to green your household? We’ve got the workshop just for you!

Urban Worm Girl, who just happens to be a ChiTown Rewards Member, is hosting a “Worm Composting Workshop” in Lincoln Park on Saturday April 4th from 1 – 2 p.m. Don’t miss this special, hands-on opportunity to learn all about the process of composting with worms. You will also have the opportunity to buy supplies and set up your bin on-site: your worms will be ready to start working when you leave!

Come out and learn how to keep composting in the home easy, clean and fun for all. Call (312) 399-4725 or email Stephanie to reserve your spot today!

The public likes public transportation!

March 9, 2009


Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008! This is a 4% increase over 2007 levels and also marks the highest level of ridership in 52 years, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Ridership on all modes of public transportation increased in every quarter for the second year in a row. Light rail had the highest increase in annual ridership, growing by 8.3% in 2008, followed by commuter rail (4.7%), bus service (3.9%) and heavy rail (3.5%). Streetcars and trolleys are considered ‘light rail’, while subways are categorized as ‘heavily rail’.

Not only are more people taking public transportation, they are also driving less: Total vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. declined by 3.6% from 2007 levels. According to the APTA report, “This ridership record continues a long-term trend of ridership growth. Public transportation use is up 38% since 1995, a figure that is almost triple the growth rate of the population”. Not too shabby, huh?

Eco-friendly bamboo bikes

March 8, 2009

As car sales continue to fall and gas prices remain above the $2/gallon mark, it seems like more and more people are taking up a common childhood activity – biking. Biking is a great way to get around the city- you don’t have to deal with parking, gas, tickets, insurance, or traffic – AND you get some exercise along the way!

If you’re thinking about buying a bike, check out the bamboo bikes from Calfee Design. Calfee Design claims that their bamboo bikes have the lowest carbon footprint of any bike on the market today. Moreover, Calfee Bamboo bikes have won awards for Best Road Bike, Best Off-Road Bike and Peoples’ Choice Award at the American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Car sharing in Japan grows as vehicle sales continue to fall

January 19, 2009

According to a recent article in Japan Today, car sharing is catching on in Japan as well as here in the U.S.. The article claims that, “car sharing is shifting into a higher gear in Japan as people try to save on car maintenance costs and be more environmentally friendly at the same time,”.

While car sharing is growing, car sales are down. Vehicle sales in Japan hit a 28-year low in 2008, according to the figures released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA). Annual sales are expected to fall again in 2009. “We never imagined sales would fall this badly,” said JADA Director, Takeshi Fushimi. “This is a bleak situation.”

What is a bleak situation for auto dealers is great news for Japanese car sharing organizations. According to a survey done by the Eco-Mo Foundation, there were 19 car sharing organizations in Japan, with a total of 522 cars being shared by 3,875 members, as of August 2008. The numbers of cars and car stations more than doubled and the number of registered car sharing members increased by half since the same survey was done in January of 2007. Below is a photo of a car sharing site at a condominium in Japan.

Tree recycling in Chicago

January 5, 2009


Don’t add your beautiful Christmas tree to an area landfill – give it new life by having it recycled. The City of Chicago is offering free recycling at parks all over the city through January 16, so load up your ole tennenbaum in an I-GO truck or SUV and drop it off – these sites are taking trees 24 hours a day:

Bessemer Park
8930 S. Muskegon Ave.

Clark Park
3400 N. Rockwell

Forestry Site
900 E. 103rd St.

Garfield Park
100 N. Central Park Ave.

Grant Park
900 S. Columbus

Humboldt Park Boathouse
1369 N. Sacramento

Jackson Park
6300 S. Cornell

Kennedy Park
11320 S. Western

Kelvyn Park
4438 W. Wrightwood

Lake Meadows Park
3117 S. Rhodes

Lincoln Park
Cannon Dr. at Fullerton Ave.
(Parking lot east of Cannon Dr.)

Margate Park
4921 N. Marine Dr.

Marquette Park
6700 S. Kedzie

McKinley Park
2210 W. Pershing Rd.

Mt. Greenwood Park
3721 W. 111th St.

North Park Village
5801 N. Pulaski Rd.

Norwood Park
5801 N. Natoma

Portage Park
4100 N. Long

Riis Park
6100 W. Fullerton

Rowan Park
11546 S. Avenue L

Sheridan Park
910 S. Aberdeen St.

Warren Park
6601 N. Western Ave.

Wentworth Park
5625 S. Mobile

Green Your New Year’s Party

December 30, 2008

Having a soiree this New Year’s Eve? I have some fun useful tips for you to make it green and eco-friendly. You can find the full list here, but here are a few fun ideas.

1 . Cut down on paper and use technology. Email invitations or call people to invite them to your party.

2. Get organized with your transportation. Encourage friends coming to the party to use public transportation or car pool to cut down on their driving.

3. Avoid the paper products and instead use real cutlery, glasses and dishes for the party. You will have dishes to wash but think of the garbage you’ll reduce. If you don’t have enough glasses borrow from a neighbor or check with local caterers who will rent out glassware at a reasonable cost.

And here’s another green tip for you…use I-GO to get all your New Year’s Eve goodies. Reserve your car today so you can load up on food and libations at your favorite haunts like Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Costco.

Happy New Year!