Get Out And Learn!

Set your yourself a GOAL – Get Out And Learn – is my thought today. I went down to the Green Festival last weekend at Navy Pier. First thought – it’s not just for treehuggers anymore. I was truly impressed by the number, amount and variety of exhibits, as well as reasons people came to visit. From organic foods to environmental organizations, from green construction and building techniques to earth friendly products, from protein bars to business alliances, from plug in cars to art made by people around the world trying to change their lives, to reasons for sustainability and speakers across a wide spectrum, it was all there. People came for different reasons, and all walked out having learned and experienced far more than they expected.
I heard an Eagle Scout there talk about his 5 environmental projects he completed, and in the process, was honored with the designation Environmental Hometown Hero by the Governor. Did you know that old fishing line could be recycled into a product that becomes a safe home for fish? Did you know that there is an organization that is certifying restaurants as dinegreen for following a set of green practices? Did you know that rug and carpet makers have reduced methane and carbon dioxide by over 50% voluntarily in the last decade? Audits and certifications, whether voluntarily or mandated, were very big.
I volunteered to help 1Sky, a coalition that is engaging people at the local level to get engaged and encourage their legislators to pass bold new legislation to help the environment and begin to reverse global warming. The community organizer (staff member) who was there was in her late 20s, I am in my 50s, and the volunteer after me was at least a decade or two older. Yet there we all were, talking about the environment to all who showed interest, from 9 to 90, and learning from them as much as they learned from us. A group of young men from Project Inroad came over. These were people who had some mental challenges or disabilities and were involved in a program to use art to help them express themselves. And they were lecturing me about the importance of reversing global warming!
As you can gather, this was a rich and in some cases, eye-opening experience for me as I learned different actions and projects that are going on all around us. Next to our booth was a woman from a small town in Colorado who was buying jewelry made from recycled papers by women in Uganda to become self-sustaining. What a small, interconnected world we live in. So I would like to GOAD you (Get Out And DO) to set a GOAL (Get Out And Learn) and keep your eyes and ears open at all times. You never know what you’ll learn and where you’ll be able to use it!


About hprager

Father, husband, brother and son. Delighted to be friends and mentor to so many wonderful people. Passionate about: leadership, learning and development, education, nature and the environment, youth, music, jazz, the tuba, Israeli dancing, networking and helping others, humor, laughter, swimming, hiking, the Cubs, Northwestern athletics, theater, musicals, concerts, traveling and making new friends wherever I go. Helping the world be a better place when I leave it.
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