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By David Paul Downs

“Black Friday” is the day after Thanksgiving where stores open up early with huge discounts for shoppers, at least for those who themselves do not work retail and are off for the day. It is a kick-off for the most consumerist holiday of all: Christmas. In no way should that be a reflection of Christmas. The foundation of Christmas, whether you’re a follower of Christian or non-secular beliefs, is a day for sharing and giving. Black Friday has become a day for retail corporations to freely abuse their employees by forcing them to work unreasonable hours. The only thing Black Friday accomplishes is impeding on a holiday whose true message takes a commercial back-seat every season: Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is the one day of the year dedicated to giving thanks for what we have in our lives. We gather for a family feast and reflect on the things that really matter in life. In essence, it’s the opposite of what Christmas has become. Read the rest of this entry »

Alderman Joe Moreno of the first ward is sponsoring a piece of legislation that would push Chicago into a greener era: a ban on plastic bags. The ordinance proposes that big box retailers, ala Target, K-Mart, Walmart, etc., would no longer be allowed to distribute the ‘white plague’ as it’s called abroad. Under the new rule, large retailers would be required to provide reusable or biodegrable bags for their customers.

According to RUB (Reusable Bags Chicago), “Every year, over a trillion plastic bags and 10 billion paper bags are used in the United States. This equals to over 12 billion barrels of oil used to produce a product that only gets recycled 1 in a 100 times.” Enabling a complete ban for all stores may not be an easy task at first. But if enough residents show their support – who knows what can happen! To have your voice heard sign the RUB petition today and lets move towards a healthier and more sustainable future for our metropolis.

from Moving Planet

Moving Planet will be a day to put our demands for climate action into motion—marching, biking, skating—calling for the world to go beyond fossil fuels.

On Saturday, September 24th, citizens from all over Chicagoland will unite on the International Day of Climate Action to call for an end to the toxic pollution from Chicago’s Fisk and Crawford Coal Plants and all other current plans for dirty energy projects. We will demand a swift transition to clean energy and jobs. On this day, we will call on Midwest Generation, owner of Chicago’s two outdated, polluting coal plants, to clean up or retire the plants and transition workers to clean energy jobs.

Join Sprout Chicago for this call to action. Read the rest of this entry »

Each year people around the globe ditch the petrol and hit the streets on bikes and buses in observation of World Car-Free Day taking place on September 22nd. This year you can join the international community in its effort to reduce our dependence on oil by ditching your car-centric commute.

This Thursday leave home early and try walking to work. If you live too far consider public transit options like CTA, Pace, and Metra. Let’s say you’re completely out of reach – then make new friends by joining a local carpool via Rideshare. On September 22nd you can let the world know about your creative commute by taking the “Car-Free Day” pledge on the Active Transportation Alliance’s website. So start planning as the first day of your autonomous autoless life begins this week.

How do you commute to work each day? Will you be participating in Thursday’s international event? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

By Lydia Krupinski

I had the joy and pleasure of dolling up Sarah Louise Braunstein and taking her photos for the Chicago Uniform Project yesterday. Much like the original that inspired her venture, Sarah has taken the challenge of wearing the same item of clothing daily to a new creative level.

Rather then dressing herself, as did Shenna Matheiken, Sarah has asked local designers, boutique owners and stylists to create her looks. Each day she uploads a new photo of herself in a curated outfit, with many of the designers donating the items for an online auction. All the proceeds from the project are being donated to  Connections for Abused Women and their Children, a Chicago-based foundation committed to ending domestic violence.

What I love about Sarah’s spin on the idea is that she’s making an impact three fold: Raising funds for CAWC, forcing introspection on consumerism and fast fashion while also highlighting the many creative talents in Chicago.

In my shoot for the project I used a couple of vintage pieces and two new Pierogi Picnic designs. A gorgeous floral locket gave Sarah’s look a sweet edge, while the Revamped Vintage Petticoat gave her a billowing bustle under her dress. To add some color I created the Pleated Boyfriend Cardigan in eggplant and cinched it with a folksy vintage belt.  To take a peek at the completed Pierogi Picnic look which we shot at the Edgewater Farmer’s Market click here.