Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Preaching to the Choir

This evening, after work, Aimee and I set out to the Jefferson Tap for Green Drinks.

No, there's no colored beer, (I know we're in Chicago, but this isn't St. Paddy's Day!) there's 80 environmentalists squished into a bar (and that kind of sounds like the first line of a joke, but there's no punchline that would do justice to 80 people suddenly busting out into conversations about how to get your hands on a cheap LED light bulb just yet) and some kind of discussion or presentation of the sustainability/environmental issue du jour. With cocktails. Don't forget the cocktails.

This is only the second meeting of GDs that I've been to, and I have to say, the first one... was better. My first GDs was a "business edition", which, as far as I knew, only differed from the regular version by a two dollar increase in the cover charge.

The first event had a great crowd of mixed ages and disciplines and we had one of the vice presidents of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) talk about the history of the exchange and how this system will inevitably come to be the norm as it is in Europe, how it will enable regular consumers to choose their spending more wisely, how if the EPA knew what was good for us, they'd make it regulated. You know, all those really intense tree-hugger principles that appeal to the disciples of climate change ideology. But interesting, and surprisingly more scientific and less touchy-feely than one might imagine.

This event, however... Apparently, all it takes to separate the wheat from the chaff is a lousy two bucks.
The crowd wasn't as good, not really networking but trying to get dates. (With the exception of the girl who has her own candy-making business that could tell you lots more than you knew possible about recycled, organic, sustainable candy wrapping papers.) And, the panel wasn't as good. It was advertised as a presentation on the state of Chicago's sustainability efforts or somesuch theme. Nobody from the City of Chicago actually made it to the event, which I imagine was not exactly what the organizers had in mind. (But no matter, we're modern day hippies! We're adaptable.) The panelists were all from non-profit groups around Chicago, which wasn't really a problem until I started realizing that we were getting preached to.

I mean, really? This was probably the only audience in town that knows exactly what is happening. I would have just liked to hear more about what these groups are doing about it. THEN I'll decide if it's a method I'd like to get behind, you know?

Maybe I should give it another shot. After all, I really did like the first event. Maybe I will luck out and there will be one on a night without blizzard-like conditions which cause train delays. Maybe I just need to cough up two more bucks.


SP said...

Have I ever told you how much I love you and your nerdy-ness?

Anonymous said...

Actually, the goal of the evening was to present a compressed overview of the issues with which a diversity of sustainability-related organizations are engaged. The City of Chicago actually wasn't invited. They have their chance to chime in every April at the "Green Town Hall Meeting." There are many organizations involved in this work, far more than most people realize, and we try to highlight some of them because, well, even the converted need some preaching to every now and then. I know I do.
Peter Nicholson