Escape From Plastic

Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 9:15am

What plastic have you used today? Did you use shampoo or soap from a plastic bottle? Picked up coffee to go? Ate with a plastic fork? Purchased apples in a plastic bag? Many plastic items are used for a only a few minutes but their life doesn't end when we're done with them. Many end up in Lake Michigan where animals ingest them or become entangled in them. The good news is that we can choose a different option.

Cutting back on the plastic in your life is easy and fun. Once you notice the everyday single-use plastic in your life, you'll begin to come up with alternatives that support environmental health. For example, bring your own containers to restaurants for leftovers. Buy those apples loose instead of pre-packaged, or bring your own produce bag.

Explore tips for reducing plastic and tell your friends about your new, plastic-free, animal-safe, human-safe plans!

Plastic Free July

Shedd Aquarium Let's Shedd Plastic



Two Film Festivals in March

Sunday, February 28, 2021 - 1:00pm

Watch inspiring films about our planet, our communities, and our personal health. These films provide stories and solutions addressing climate, environmental justice, conservation, waste, and more.

One Earth Film Festival: 10 days of films; children's films included; participate in Q&A with filmmakers and experts.
Friday, March 5 through Sunday, March 14

Wild & Scenic Film Festival: a compilation of short films; different films shown on each date
7-9pm livestream; on-demand for 24 hours following the live event
Friday, March 19
Friday, March 26

Watch. Learn. Act.



Virtual Vegan Film Fest Oct. 10-17

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 5:00pm

There's something for everyone at the International Vegan Film Festival. Whether you like to watch animals frolic, meet vegan athletes, find inspiration to turn your health around, or recognize how you can combat climate change with your food choices, this fest has it. You'll find documentaries and fiction films, 5-minute films and full length films, feel-good films and feel-sad-but-hopeful films, and even a couple animated films. Gain new perspectives watching films from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and North America. Cozy up on your couch with a big bowl of get in the spirit, drizzle popcorn with olive oil and sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper for a cheesy flavor and a boost of B12!

Check out the films and buy tickets here:



Nature is nearby in Glacial Park

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 9:00am

Explore nature in Illinois before summer’s end. Trails for walking and biking are open at forest preserves and state parks. One special place is Glacial Park, less than an hour's drive from Northbrook in McHenry County.

Walk up small hills called kames, through tallgrass prairie and savannah woodland till you reach a large marsh. Sit quietly on the observation deck and notice frogs, turtles, dragonflies, and other marsh-dependent creatures quietly dipping in and out of the water. 


Watch & Discuss Microplastic Madness - July 17-18

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 5:15pm

Microplastic Madness is an award-winning documentary featuring youth-led action on plastic pollution. Seven Generations Ahead is hosting a free film screening followed by a Q&A on July 18.

Read more about the film and register:


  • Friday, July 17 between 12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 18 between 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.


  • July 18 from 5:30-6:15 p.m.

Read about the zero-waste lifestyle for inspiring ideas for replacing plastic.
Books available in HooplaDigital:

  • An Almost Zero Waste Life by Megean Weldon
  • Plastic-Free by Beth Terry
  • Zero-Waste by Shia Su

Challenge Yourself to Reduce Plastic

Friday, June 12, 2020 - 11:30am

Even in these cautionary times, there are countless ways to say NO to single-use plastic. Whether it's saying "no straw please," foregoing produce bags, or choosing items in glass jars, challenge yourself to give up the plastic habit. The more you do, the more fun it gets to find new ways to replace plastic!

Explore ideas at Plastic Free July

Listen to a Shedd Aquarium educator discuss how you can keep plastic out of Lake Michigan and help marine life in our beloved lake.
Wednesday, July 8, 7:00pm - Register to receive the link.

Read about the zero-waste lifestyle for inspiring ideas! Available in HooplaDigital:

An Almost Zero Waste Life by Megean Weldon
Plastic-Free by Beth Terry
Zero-Waste by Shia Su

Earth Week Virtual Film Fest

Friday, April 17, 2020 - 11:00am

One Earth Film Fest and the City of Chicago bring you the Earth Day Virtual Mini-Film Fest, offering 6 FREE screenings from April 20 to 26, entirely online in the comfort of your own home. This is an easy, fun and meaningful way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with family and friends all week long.

The following films will be featured:

  • “Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution,” April 20
  • “The Human Element,” April 21
  • “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” April 23
  • “Why We Cycle,” April 24
  •  Young Filmmakers Contest Honorable Mention Award-Winning Screenings, April 25
  • “The Biggest Little Farm,” April 26

Events will offer rich programming, including Q&As via live chat on Zoom with filmmakers, expert panelists and local partners who can help you plug into your community.

Wild & Scenic Film Fest: Feb. 28 & Mar. 13

Friday, February 21, 2020 - 9:00am

This annual eco film festival, presented by the Evanston Environmental Association and the City of Evanston, offers attendees an incredible line-up of award-winning environmental and adventure short films.

Watch different short films on each date.

  • Friday, February 28, 7:00-9:00pm
  • Friday, March 13, 7:00-9:00pm
  • Location: Rotary Center in Evanston (free parking!)
  • Tickets: $12

Film descriptions and tickets:

Reduce Waste this Holiday Season!

Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 9:45am

Americans contribute 25% more volume to landfill between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Follow these tips from SWANCC to reduce the amount of garbage you generate and embrace the holiday spirit.

Holiday To-Do List

  • When entertaining, use reusable dishes, glassware, silverware, and napkins rather than disposables.
  • Reuse gift bags or wrap gifts in a piece of cloth or lace, pillow cases, blankets, holiday tins, or comics from the Sunday paper.
  • Shop with reusable bags – smaller ones for produce and fruit.
  • Recycle your old holiday lights in the bin behind the Village Garage, Monday to Friday from 7am to 3pm
  • Make ornaments from nature, use a pine cone, twig, bark, etc.
  • Decorate a large plant with lights and ribbons rather than a Christmas tree.
  • Create homemade gifts. Check out these ideas.
  • Give “gifts of the heart” – coupons for house chores, snow shoveling, making a meal, giving a massage, babysitting, etc.
  • Give “certificates” for doing things together, like going to a concert, sports events, a movie, ice skating, bowling, or a bike ride. 
  • Go gift-free and make the gathering about family being together.
  • Use the money you would spend on gifts to make donations to your favorite charities - either one large one as a family, or smaller ones for each member individually.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry.
  • Visit with an elderly or housebound neighbor – take a decorated plant.
  • Put together a care package and send to troops overseas.
  • Put seed out for the birds.
  • Donate gently used books to a children’s hospital.
  • Go sledding, build a snowman or have a snowball fight – no matter your age!


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