Monday, May 25, 2009

Green Night of Theatre - The Discussion

Red Tape Theatre’s Green Panel was presented on Sunday, May 24, alongside our adaptation of Enemy of the People. The play concerns the fallout from an environmental disaster, so we asked our guests to discuss green advocacy in our homes and community.

Stacy Meyers-Glen from Chicago Openlands suggested that the most important things an environmental advocate can do is volunteer and lobby. There’s lots of work to be done and not enough people to do it. Chicago Openlands protects the natural and open spaces in and around northeastern Illinois.

She announced that the Illinois Envronmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has proposed stronger water quality standards which would require the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) to disinfect treated sewage that flows into Chicago’s waterways. This would reduce pathogens, such as giardia and salmonella, that can infect people and wildlife. She encouraged supporters to write to:

John Therriault, Assistant Clerk
Illinois Pollution Control Board
100 W. Randolph Street, Ste 11-500
Chicago, IL 60601

More information on the proposals can be found at the Friends of the Chicago River website.

Courtney Bennett, who plays Dr. Stockman, spoke of her work at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The museum hosts a Savannah prairie and the largest butterfly haven in the Midwest. The blue Rubbermaid bin she brought with her contained a sanitary, smell-free, compost bin containing red wiggler worms, brown paper, and fruit and vegetable food scraps that would ordinarily be preserved in a landfill. By balancing the food to worm ratio the bin provides compost for lawns and house plants.

Workshops on indoor and outdoor bins, green house cleaning, recycling 101 and other fascinating topics are taught at the museum and can be read about here. The nature museum is one of many organizations seeking volunteers to care for animals, clean up parks, and educate the community.

Their green careers are full of opportunities and surprises. Ms. Glen-Meyers recounted a public hearing asking for a river cleanup. One of the scientists asked to speak brought the judges a sample of the polluted river water. Some stuck their fingers in, and were given handwipes. “You’ll want to disinfect your hands.” They quickly complied. Ms. Bennett recounted a surprising conversion with an adult visitor at the haven who refused to believe that caterpillars and butterflies are the same creatures, despite footage suggesting the contrary. “He’d made up his mind.” Education will always be needed.

Final performances of Enemy of the People are Thu-Sat, May 28-30.
Tickets are available through our website.

Paul G. Miller
Season Dramaturge

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