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EVANSTON, IL Newsletter (June 2021): Climate, Local Foods, New Sustainability Coordinator

Are we truly emerging from our pandemic cocoons? If so, then the recent climate webinar with Stan Cox (hosted by Chicago Area Peace Action and other local groups) was right on time to re-focus our energies on our relationship to the Earth. See my blog Earth Emergency (Part 2) for details on the webinar and Stan Cox’s work. I hope that the other items in this newsletter also feed the re-focusing process.

Evanston voters, media, officials, political groups, businesses, activists
Residents in my neighborhood (Nichols Neighbors)
Some non-Evanston voters with Evanston connections & interests

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Evanston Pop-up Newsletter (June 2021): Climate, local foods, new sustainability coordinator
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I. TWO NEW BLOGS:  Earth Emergency (Parts 1 & 2) — Looking back, looking forward in Evanston, Chicago, Illinois, nationally, globally
III. MISCELLANEOUS LOCAL RESOURCES for monitoring nature, climate, political power
— Tracking Evanston Wildlife
— Tracking phenological moments in Evanston
— New weather service: Currently Chicago
— Food Politics Corner (in Wild Onion Market newsletter)

I. TWO NEW BLOGS: Earth Emergency (Parts 1 & 2)
Looking back, looking forward in Evanston, Chicago, Illinois and beyond

These are two long blogposts about addressing our climate emergency. Both include personal and historical information about Evanston, Greater Chicago, and Illinois, as well as the need for more rigorous planning on the national and global scale. Both blogs end up at The Power of Food conference, to be held in Kansas City, MO in September.

Part 1 primarily covers the role of “local foods” in addressing our current existential crisis.

Part 2 covers the recent webinar hosted by Chicago Area Peace Action (CAPA) and other local partners, featuring Stan Cox, author of the forthcoming ‘Path to a Livable Future’.

NOTE that Stan Cox Tweeted in response to my blog: “Good summary – thanks! You’re right, because of time limits, Jerome had to stick to questions about The Green New Deal and Beyond. But my new book The Path to a Livable Future will have a lot of focus on farming and food.” (June 16, 2021)

1985-2021 — Food security and a ‘recycle Wrigley Field’ design contest
A. 1962 – 1985: The U.S. Local Food Movement — A prehistory
B. Wrigley Field Design Contest: April 1985 — The Chicago Reader
— Contest Results
— My Proposal: “Wrigley Field Community Ecology Center”
C. 1985 – 2021: U.S. Local Food Movement
— 1985 – 2020: Food Security, Farm Sovereignty
— 2021: “Building community through fresh food”
— The Power of Food: What next?
D. Relevant and Recent Resources

2021-?? — ‘Path to a Livable Future’ 
B. BEYOND THE GREEN NEW DEAL: Official webinar information
— Announcement
— Follow-up
— Book information
C. MY UNOFFICIAL WEBINAR SUMMARY, plus my own action recommendations


Thanks to Wilma Nachsin (long-time Evanston resident, co-founder of Curt’s Cafe, human resources expert & career coach LifeWorking) for letting me know that the City of Evanston is hiring a new sustainability coordinator. Evidently the deadline to apply was June 7. How did the general public not know about this (a) imminent change, and (b) great job opening?

More to the point, why wasn’t this reported by:
—local media
—local sustainabililty groups (e.g., Citizens Greener Evanston)
Or did I just miss some public announcement?

This would have been (may still be) a great opportunity to refresh and review our individual and City sustainability commitments. Did the City and residents work together on this? Specifically:
— Were residents invited to give input on the job description?
— Were residents invited to participate in interviews with best candidates?
— Are residents preparing for a first meeting with the new sustainability coordinator?
— Is CGE or anyone else being pro-active about this opportunity to refresh our sustainability commitments — the Environment Board, the Evanston Environmental Association, anyone else?
— If so, are they inviting the general public to participate in this new beginning?

I personally have not seen anything in any news media or in the CGE newsletter. 

Suggestion: Meet & Greet?
It’s not too late to set something up to include the general public. A meet & greet hosted by CGE, EEA, etc., with the new coordinator (whenever she or he is announced)? Something else?

Serendipitously, according to Wilma, both Oak Park and Evanston were both looking for sustainability coordinators at the same time. It might be interesting for sustainability folks in Evanston to compare job descriptions, primarily for informational purposes, but also there might be something worth learning. My experience living for 43 years in Evanston and working with Oak Park people on various issues is that Evanstonians live more in a bubble, which is, by definition, not ecological.


Evanston folks might be interested in following these links or signing up for newsletters. Nitty-gritty information on a regular basis to monitor nature, the weather, political power (democracy) — everything that impacts our interlocking existential crises (climate, economic disparity, pandemic, human rights, etc.).

a. Tracking Evanston wildlife
Interactive website initiated in 2020 by Evanston resident and wildlife biologist Renate Leite Pittman. People are still posting pictures of recent sightings: plants, animals, insects, etc.

b. Evanston, IL – Phenological momentThis is my own informal contribution to regular observations of the natural world in Evanston. As a professional gardener for 25 years (now retired), I still like to see what’s blooming, what’s fruiting, etc. Almost every day during the growing season I Tweet some new observation, along with photos from the internet and Latin names. #PhenologicalMoment on Twitter.

c. Currently Chicago — new national weather service in select U.S. cities
@Currently is a brand-new partnership between meteorologist Eric Holthaus (based in Minneapolis) and Twitter. You can sign up to receive daily forecasts for Chicago. 

Note: @Currently has been a little clunky to get started. So far newsletters have only come out on weekdays. I’m guessing they’ve been overwhelmed by the response.

d. Food Politics Corner 
Wild Onion Market — food co-op being formed in area (Rogers Park/West Ridge/Evanston) — invited me to post a monthly “Food Politics Corner”. Consists of three items — Local, Regional, National — of current events and information to help us know and exercise our “local food” power.

To learn more about the Food Politics Corner, here’s a short blog with archives of last three months (April, May, June): FOOD POLITICS CORNER:  Monthly newsletter items for flexing our “local foods” power 

Or go to WOM homepage; scroll down for newsletters.
Anyone can sign up; you don’t have to be a co-op member to get the newsletter.