Local Group Shares Ways to Improve Environment
By Rebecca Foster-Goodman We have heard the phrase “Save the Planet” for generations. It often seems out of reach for those who want to start with their corner of the earth. Green Minds of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff was created to give residents attainable steps they can take to help keep the community beautiful and vibrant. Its mission is to bring awareness to environmental issues affecting Lake Forest and Lake Bluff as well as to provide manageable ways to protect the environment.
The board of Green Minds consists of Yuh Schabacker-Koppel, David Bedrin, Marion Cartwright, Marcus Norman and Eva Heilman (not pictured). Created in 2014, Green Minds has a five-member board, including Yuh Schabacker-Koppel and Marion Cartwright. Before making their way to Lake Forest, both women were involved in supporting Sustainable Princeton in Princeton, N.J., a movement that inspires, develops and implements solutions that positively affect the environment. When Schabacker-Koppel moved to Lake Forest, she was struck by the beauty of the town, but she was stunned that maintaining the community wasn’t at the forefront of people’s minds. “I was shocked to see people leaving their cars idling while they ran in for groceries,” she said. “It baffles me that people do this to the environment. It’s just not healthy for us or for the environment.” The “Don’t Be Fuelish” campaign she championed has been successful in implementing no idling policies in several Lake Forest/Lake Bluff schools. The group also worked with the City of Lake Forest to refine its anti-idling policy for City-owned vehicles.
In addition to car idling, some of Green Minds’ initiatives include pesticides, recycling, composting, and reducing styrofoam, which they see as the most dangerous of the products and the hardest to break down. According to the Green Minds website www.green-minds-org, styrofoam takes 500 years to decompose and takes up 25%-30% of our world’s landfills.
When it comes to finding ways Lake Forest and Lake Bluff residents can get involved and help the community, Cartwright emphasized the need to be positive when it comes to tackling these issues. “We need to teach, reach and not preach,” she said. “We’re not against using plastic. We realize plastic is important to the medical field and for our cars. What we need to learn is how to use it more wisely.”
Schabacker-Koppel added, “We are not asking people to stop flying. We are not asking people to sit in the dark. We are asking people to be educated and conscious about reducing their footprint and their plastic waste wherever they can.”
Green Minds applauds the City of Lake Forest and the Village of Lake Bluff for partnering with the group on initiatives such as Recycle LFLB, a free app that identifies the most sustainable way to dispose or recycle items. It lists more than 2,000 items and is updated often. Schabacker-Koppel stressed that working together with Lake Forest and Lake Bluff is crucial for the success of these initiatives. "We all agree that our environment needs to be protected. Having kind, respectful conversations about solutions is what is going to allow us to protect our community and pass it on to future generations.”