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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kermit Was Wrong!

Way back when, the world's most famous puppet-frog warbled his life's troubles into a little ditty called, "It's Not Easy Being Green."While we sympathize with the plight of bug-swallowing amphibians everywhere (particularly those who are romanced by overbearing blonde pigs...), we respectfully disagree with Kermit the Frog's position - it seems to be getting easier and easier to be green.

By green, of course, we mean environmentally, ecologically green. A green that respects the Earth, the atmosphere, oceans and rivers, forests and mountains. When I was growing up, green living and thinking seemed a little far removed from Chicago, where the greenest thing around was the Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day. (In case you're wondering, they still dye the river green, but now use "secret ingredients" that do not harm the river or the life within it. Let's hope that's not a pile of blarney.) Now, thinking about how our actions impact the environment is becoming second nature, a normal part of our everyday lives.

With this in mind, the Des Plaines Public Library has created a Green Team of 12 employees dedicated to the tasks of environmental efficiency and safety. From simple suggestions, like getting library employees to turn off lights when they are not needed, to steps that involve all of our patrons, such as the reusing of our plastic book bags, the library's Green Team hopes to be a positive influence on our coworkers and the entire city of Des Plaines. One of our first goals is to develop a Green Center on our Web site, a clearinghouse for all types of green information, so keep your eyes on for more details.

The Green Team reflects an interesting truth about today's Green movement - those involved in environmental issues no longer fit just one tree-hugging mold. People adopt environmentally responsible lifestyles for many reasons - to leave a better world to their children and grandchildren, to honor nature, to save money and to tangibly express their religious or philosophical beliefs. Some people even get involved because it's trendy or just because it seems like the right thing to do. Al Gore and Laurie David are familiar faces in the Green movement - but did you know President George W. Bush has recently changed his stance on many environmental issues? Did you know that Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his concerns about the environment?

Green thinking has caught on at City Hall, too. Mayor Tony Arredia and 6th Ward Alderman Mark Walsten have formed an ad hoc committee called "Deep Green": Des Plaines Environmental Efficiency Program. The committee plans on working collaboratively with city government, local businesses and educational institutions to promote the community's environmental efficiency. All of us here in the library are excited about this new development and hope to do whatever we can to promote green thinking and living in Des Plaines and beyond. Last night, Wednesday, October 24, was the first public event sponsored by the Deep Green committee, a seminar on "Building, Remodeling and Designing Your Home With Green." This seminar by the McNulty Design Group featured dozens of practical, effective and even beautiful ways to make a home green. Watch the library Events calendar and city Web site for more Deep Green events to learn how you can save money while you save the planet.

Want to join the Deep Green team? Call Mary Rodhe at (847) 803-6912. Want to learn more about simple practices you can adopt to have a big impact on the environment? Search our Library Catalog and online databases with terms like environmentalism and organic living. Speaking of easy, you can just click on the highlighted terms in that last sentence and our Catalog will do the searching for you, finding books and other library materials on those topics. (Psst...those are called "One Click Searches." Want to see more One Click Searches? Click here.) Place a hold on the items, come and pick them up in a flash. See what I mean? It's just plain easy being green.

And the next time you see Kermit, well, tell him we're sorry.

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