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The Do-It-Together (DIT) Green Toolbox Online resources for Toolbox activities are available at under TOOLS/Make a Toolbox

Part I: Facilitator’s Guide

Part II: Downloadable Cards—for libraries creating their own toolbox from scratch (For guidance on how to create your own toolbox and use these cards, watch the video on the Go Green website called, “Would You Like to Make a Toolbox?”)”


The DIT Green Toolbox is a tool for libraries to use to engage your communities in thinking through what “going green” means to them. Today we hear the word “green” all the time. It gets applied to everything from new products to old-time values. But what does it mean to your residents? Does it mean changing the ways you build or maintain your homes? Buy and cook your food? Travel to visit friends or do errands? Work at your jobs? Help each other out? Libraries can use the DIT Green Toolbox to help their communities develop a local definition of green—and rethink green in the process. This Facilitator’s Guide is intended for use by libraries that received a toolbox at the Go Green workshop (held at The Field Museum in October 2010) or that have created their own Go Green toolbox organized the same way. For guidance on how to create your own toolbox, watch the video on the Go Green website called, “Would You Like to Make a Toolbox?” The Guide provides instructions for libraries on holding a workshop to make your toolbox locally relevant and then continuing to use the toolbox to promote green awareness and action that benefits the environment and your community.

What’s in the Box?

The Go Green toolbox is filled with four mini-boxes representing the following key dimensions of people’s lives:





Each mini-box holds four double-sided cards. There is one card each for Past, Present, and Future plus a card with a Group Action on one side and Guiding Questions on the other. The Past, Present, Future cards include stories and photos about green practices and programs from different cultures and different times, primarily taken from Field Museum collections and research. For example, the Transit mini-box includes a Past story about canoeing in the Marshall Islands; a Present story about a group of Latina women in Chicago who want to learn how to ride bikes; and a Future story about urban efforts around the world to close streets off to cars. Learning about examples from different cultures helps us appreciate innovative solutions—people’s different responses to the common concern of living sustainably with the environment. The Group Action cards suggest green activities that participants may wish to try. For example, the Transit Group Action card encourages participants to experiment with a different type of commuting that reduces car use. The Guiding Questions on the reverse side of these cards are intended to help facilitate group discussion that uses the rest of the cards in the mini-box as a springboard for talking about participants’ own green practices and the green practices and programs of your community. These cards are meant to be thought-provoking—to push community members to think about their own past and present practices, as individuals and communities (geographical, ethnic, or otherwise), and to brainstorm out-of-thebox possibilities for creating a greener future. The stories and activities emphasize the key ideas underlying the Go Green @ Your Library project—that going green entails (To read about these ideas in more depth, see the Go Green website, LEARN/Rethink Green: Action for People and the Planet.): • • • •

Sustaining the planet and its people. Embracing cultural solutions, not just technological ones. Facilitating community action, not just individual behavior change. Strengthening social networks. 2

The toolbox also includes two objects: a recycled rag and a solar panel. The solar panel is meant to be affixed to the top of the toolbox using the Velcro strips. It can be used as a decorative piece, to provoke thinking about new green technology, or you can charge it ahead of a workshop and use it to demonstrate how to use the sun to power a cell phone or an iPod. The rag serves as a reminder that we cannot buy our way to green. Going green requires that we rethink our daily lives—in part by rekindling and reinventing past traditions that made better use of scarce resources.


Making Your Toolbox Local Overview

The Go Green toolbox is a starter kit for making a toolbox tailored to your community. This workshop involves bringing together library colleagues and community members to do just that—to add local stories, objects, photos, materials, and activities so that the box represents what green means in your community. You will use your existing toolbox and its contents to help participants think about “green” in new ways and to spark ideas about green people, places, and practices in your community. If you have not yet created your physical toolbox, you could do that together with workshop participants as the first step in this workshop.

About the Toolbox The boxes distributed at the Go Green workshop held at The Field Museum are excellent representations of community building and green action. The outer box was made locally by a Chicago-based nonprofit organization called the ReBuilding Exchange, from reclaimed flooring that otherwise would have made its way to a landfill. It was constructed by Safer Foundation job training participants with barriers to workforce re-entry. The inner boxes were made by a local design firm, also out of recycled wood. More specifically, this toolbox is green because it uses… • 100% locally reclaimed lumber, which helps reduce the carbon footprint of both creating new materials and shipping them; • Mixed scraps of flooring, helping the ReBuilding Exchange reach close to its zero waste goal; • Water-based printing inks and zero VOC paint on the interior of the larger box.

The workshop is very flexible, and you can tailor it to meet your needs and interests. For example, it can be a one-time activity or it can be conducted in multiple sessions, if you wish to do it with a group that meets on an ongoing In addition, all the work was basis. It can be simple—e.g., using the examples in the toolkit to prompt completed within a ten-mile radius participants to share stories about your community—or complex, where you of The Field Museum, supporting the local economy and cutting down on ask participants not only to think of examples that come to mind, but also carbon emitted through shipping. to do some research about the community’s past and present practices. Furthermore, the type of research you ask them to do can be simple or Watch the video “The Making of the Go Green Toolbox” on the Go complex, from using library or historical society resources (e.g., books, Green website. magazines, objects, the Internet) to collecting examples and stories from their families, neighbors, and local businesses and organizations in between sessions. The instructions below provide guidelines for how to conduct the basic, one-time workshop and then additional ideas for taking it to another level. No doubt you’ll also come up with your own ideas for ways to work with your community to make your toolbox local.

Basic Workshop Purpose

This workshop brings community members together to examine and discuss the Past, Present, Future stories in the toolbox and contribute their own examples of green practices and programs from their lives and the community. The workshop can be conducted with any type of group, but it is especially interesting if it includes diverse participants (in terms of age, race/ethnicity, neighborhood, occupation, and amount of time living in the community, etc.). The workshop has two objectives: to get participants thinking in new ways about “going green” in their communities, and to begin to collect local stories for your toolbox. 3

Group Size and Time Needed 12-20 people, approximately 2 hours

Space Needed

A room that is large enough to seat all participants in one or concentric circles, with a table large enough to display the toolbox (big box plus four mini-boxes taken out of the big box) and local resources (see below) in the middle.

Materials Needed • The toolbox itself with 1-2 local resources (objects, photos, stories) added by your library ahead of time to each mini-box, to jump start discussion about local green resources and practices. • Name tags. • Four big Post-it pads and markers. • Colored note cards (at least 2 per person) and pens.

Facilitation Needs

One full group facilitator and two additional small group facilitators (who could also be participants as long as they prepare ahead of time). The facilitators should be familiar with the toolbox contents and skilled at keeping strict control of time limits and gracefully guiding discussion to allow all to participate. The facilitators can also be participants as long as they know in advance that they will be responsible for leading a small group.


As participants arrive, have them fill out name tags and give them two note cards and a pen. If you are not ready to start, instruct them to look through the toolbox and local resources laid out on the table in the middle of the room. Begin by explaining the purpose of the workshop and how it works (see below). Tell the participants that during the workshop, you would like each of them to contribute at least one green story to the toolbox. This is what the note cards are for. When they know which story they want to contribute, they should write it on the note card, along with their names if they are comfortable doing so. You will collect the cards as they leave. Full Group Discussion (30 minutes) Then, as a full group, read and discuss the Past, Present, Future stories in one of the mini-boxes. Your goal in doing this is to model for the group how to use the mini-box contents to think about your community’s green practices—past, present, and future. Have different group members read each example and then past it around so everyone can see the photos. After each example, facilitate a short discussion about it, using these questions: 1. What strikes you as “green” about this story? 2. What does this story make you think about in our own community? Take notes on a big Post-it pad so everyone can follow the key points from the discussion. After discussing the Future example, spend a few minutes thinking together about the questions raised on the Future card, which aim to help participants think about how to combine past sustainable practices with contemporary ones to create a greener community in the future. Encourage participants to think wildly—not just about things that seem “realistic.” After all, who knows what will be possible in the future? Some of the best ideas come from thinking way outside the box.


Spend the last 5-7 minutes deciding as a group which of the stories you discussed are the most interesting, innovative, or thought-provoking. Then, write them down on note cards and add them to the Home mini-box. If the stories came from specific people, those people can write them down, or the group can write the story down together. Alternatively, the group may want to share a collective story—e.g., if many people contributed to a broader community story. For the Home topic, this could be a story about past canning practices or spending time outside together in the yard or on the porch. Small Group Discussions (30 minutes) Once you have completed the full group exercise, divide participants into three smaller groups, one to discuss each remaining mini-box topic. Give each group its respective mini-box and a big Post-it pad and marker. Each group should be led by one of your facilitators (or you). Give the groups 20-30 minutes to review and discuss the stories and objects in their mini-box, mimicking the process just experienced as a full group and concluding by writing down a few of the key community stories. Reconvene (30 minutes) Bring the whole group back together to share their ideas. Ask each group to share some of the highlights of the discussion, specifically:

Tip If at any point, participants have difficulty relating the discussion to your community, try one of these strategies: • Pull out one of the local objects or stories that you added to the box before the workshop and use it as an example. • Pull out the Group Action card, read it, and ask if anyone in the room has ever tried the action. (The actions on these cards are becoming increasingly popular around the U.S., so it’s likely that someone in the room will have tried it or will know someone who has.) • Ask the group some of the Guiding Questions for the minibox topic, included further down in these instructions.

1. What connections did your group make between the stories on the toolbox cards and our local community? (Keep in mind that the other groups will not have read the cards for your topic, so you may have to give a quick overview of one of the stories in order for the group to understand your point.) 2. What green stories did you write down to add to your mini-box? Concluding Discussion (10 minutes) Conclude the workshop by asking participants to reflect on green patterns or themes about the community that arose in the discussions—past, present, or future. As the primary facilitator, be prepared to jumpstart the discussion with some comments of your own. You may wish to ask participants to complete an evaluation before they leave, with a question about what kinds of green action they would like to see happen in the community moving forward.

Workshop Variation I If you have an extra hour or two to spend with a group but will only be meeting with the group one time:

Conduct the Basic Workshop as described above. Then, have participants work in their small groups to do some research using library resources or resources you bring in. The goal is for them to learn more about their minibox topic and supplement personal stories with broader knowledge. As before, each group should have an experienced facilitator.


Make sure to provide resources that will get participants thinking about past and present practices and programs as well as future possibilities. These could include new or old books, articles from magazines (past or contemporary), objects from historical society exhibits or people’s homes, photos from around town related to the mini-box topics, etc. They can also use the internet to learn about the area’s current activities and to collect background information on the history of food, transportation, work, and homes in the community. Provide participants with notebooks and instruct them to take notes on what they find. The groups may choose to do general research on the topic, or they may wish to focus on some particular aspect of their topic that arose during discussions. For example, the group working on food may have identified vegetable gardening as a growing trend in the community and wish to do some research into community, school, and backyard gardening, organizations promoting gardening or healthy eating, garden shops, etc. Each group should tailor investigations to their talents and interests. Instruct each group to spend the last 20 minutes of their time putting together one or two stories that they want to add to their mini-box. The story can be broad; for example, it could describe vegetable gardens overall in the community. Or the story can be more focused, e.g., telling a specific story about a community vegetable garden in the past or about a particular gardener. When you reconvene the group, follow the same process as before for discussion and then for concluding the workshop.

Workshop Variation II If you will be meeting with the same group two or more times:

Conduct the Basic Workshop as described above. Then, have participants do some research in the community, in between sessions. The goal is for participants to learn more about their mini-box topic and supplement personal stories with broader knowledge. As before, each group should have an experienced facilitator. Instruct participants to identify local examples of “going green” in their specific mini-box topic area. Ask them them to: 1. Talk to families, friends, and neighbors about their green practices; 2. Take note of community resources that support green living around their mini-box topic; 3. If possible try out the action on the Group Action card in their mini-box—or else try to find people who already do or have done the action. Provide participants with notebooks and ask them to take good notes. Encourage them to use cameras to document anything that will help explain what they’ve discovered. Also ask them to collect objects related to what they’re finding. Remind participants that “green” is sometimes hidden. People do things for many different reasons and may not recognize what they’re doing as green, even if it is. For example, many people repurpose old items because they learned from their parents not to be wasteful, or because it’s economical to do so—and they don’t see this as a green practice. Advise participants to start by talking to people generally about their ideas and practices related to their topic—home, transit, work, or food—and see where they discover “green,” rather than starting with a question focused specifically on the environment.


When you meet with the group again, break them into their small groups for one hour—again with a facilitator—and give them a pack of note cards and tape. Have them follow these steps: 1. Make a list of everything the participants collected, including stories, photos, and resources. Mark the ones that the researchers themselves are most excited about. 2. Examine the list and determine which 3-4 findings that will make compelling additions to the toolbox. As before, these can be general trends or specific stories or examples. 3. Write these findings up, 1 per note card, to add to the toolbox. If any of them involve photos, tape the photos to the back of the card. As before, if participants are comfortable, ask them to put their names on the card. When you reconvene the group, follow the same process as before for discussion and then for concluding the workshop.

After the Workshop(s)

Make the community stories that were added to the toolbox permanent by typing them up and laminating them if possible. They are now part of your DIT Green Toolbox and can be used as examples to spark discussion and ideas at the next workshop or activity where you use the toolbox.

Next Steps:

Using the Toolbox to Promote Green Awareness and Action Think of the DIT Green Toolbox as a living box, a depository of your community’s definition of green that will continue growing and evolving. You can always add to it, by hosting additional workshops or incorporating it into other activities, including, for example, community fairs where the library might have a table. Your library can also make the toolbox available to customers for check out; just develop short instructions for how to use it, and ask customers to return it with more stories and objects. Eventually, once you have enough local material, you may want to consider putting together an exhibit, either in the physical library or online, highlighting your community’s green resources, projects, practices, and green heroes and visually presenting your community’s ideas about “green.” (Try making a Word Cloud; e.g., see In addition, we encourage you to use the toolbox as a stepping stone to developing a green action plan for your library. This will involve analyzing the local contents to identify what green issues your community cares about, what they might be interested in doing more of, and where there might be barriers to green action. Importantly, you will also identify what people are already doing that is green so that you can find ways to support and scale up existing green efforts. Based on this analysis, your library can identify the best roles it can play in promoting green community action. For instructions on how to analyze local stories, see “Telling Our Stories: A Toolkit for Green Communities” (available on the Go Green website under TOOLS/Tell a Green Story), specifically the last two sections on “Documenting & Analyzing Stories” and “From Stories to Action.”


Creating Your Own Cards The remainder of this document consists of downloadable cards for libraries making their own toolbox to print out and insert into the Home, Transit, Work, Food mini-boxes.


Food: Group Action A Modern Family Dinner A “family dinner” doesn’t have to be prepared by or eaten with one’s biological family. Try joining together with neighbors to form a home cooking cooperative. The co-op should consist of at least two households (and preferably three or four). Each participating household—which might consist of one individual or several people—cooks for everyone in the co-op one night a month. Participants arrive at the host’s house with their own plates if they are eating there, or with their own food containers if they are picking up food to take home. The next time, it’s someone else’s turn to cook for everyone. This is not a potluck. The cooking family is responsible for everything— all the cooking and its clean up. Eating home cooked food is generally greener (and cheaper) than ordering or eating out on a hurried night, and the process strengthens social bonds.

Food: Guiding Questions Who is growing their own food (or food for others) in our community? Does our community have a farmer’s market? Which stores sell local produce when it’s in season? What kinds of food are served at our local schools? Is there a source for locally-made baked goods or other prepared foods?

Food: Past Grain Farming in Egypt Grain farming dates back to before the appearance of the world’s first cities in Levant—what today we call the Middle East. Cereal agriculture could support ever larger settlements. Annual flooding on the Nile in Eygpt made for fertile crop lands, and bread and beer (both made from grain) were staples of the average Eygptian’s diet. The alcohol in beer kept it from carrying the waterborne deseases sometimes found in open sources of fresh water. Fermentation was one energy efficient way to preserve a source of calories before refrigerators were invented. (The Field Museum’s Inside Ancient Egypt exhibition)

Food: Past

© The Field Museum, ECCo, Photographer Lisa See Kim

Food: Present Eating Healthy, and Polish, in Chicago The Polish community in Chicago is serious about healthy food and healthy living. Many residents grow vegetables in their yards, buy organic and minimally processed foods, and take weekend trips to Wisconsin and Michigan to pick berries and mushrooms and shop at Amish markets. These natural foods provide the basis for home-style Polish cooking, which many Poles consider key to healthy living. But for the Polish community, “healthy living” extends beyond food to encompass caring for one’s self, home, and environment. This way of living prioritizes holistic remedies over invasive medical procedures; glass and natural fibers over synthetic materials like polyester and plastic; and spending time outdoors. Many of these practices draw from Polish heritage traditions, including close agrarian ties. (See The Field Museum’s research report on the Polish community: http://www., “Engaging Chicago’s Diverse Communities in the Chicago Climate Action Plan”)

Food: Present

Both images: © The Field Museum, ECCo, Photographer Johanna Wawro

Food: Future Creating a Local Food System The Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act of 2009 supports an Illinois-based food system to move food production back into the hands of local farmers, for the dual purpose of revitalizing farming communities and providing fresh, local food to surrounding urban areas. A focus on growing food to be distributed locally will help address connected issues such as climate change, energy production, and health. (Watch “The Talking Farm” video about this initiative on the Go Green website under LEARN/Collaborating for the Future with New Allies.)

How would you like to change your relationship to your food? Make it healthier? More humane? Climate neutral? How might you draw on the food traditions and contemporary practices of your community to create a sustainable food future?

Food: Future

© The Field Museum, ECCo, Photographer Kris Mocny

Home: Group Action Mega Yard Sale A block-wide yard sale builds community while giving your unwanted goods a new life. (And you may be able to borrow back that old game of Scrabble if you miss it later!) Here a few tips for organizing one: 1.

Involve a lot of people and divide up the tasks.


Contact your alderman or town hall about a permit.


Advertise in advance and the day of the sale: use flyers, make signs, place an ad, use the Internet.


Use price tags and write a little description of unique items.


Be sure to have one dollar bills and change on the big day.


Have a pot-luck at the end of the sale. Buy beverages from the proceeds.

Home: Guiding Questions How are people in our community making their homes more energy-efficient? Whom do we suspect might be really good at this? Has anyone in our community installed solar panels or wind turbines? Who in our community has a garden? What is in our local hardware stores that would help us make our homes more environmentally friendly? (Weather stripping, low VOC paints, rope to use for clotheslines, etc.) What other businesses or services might be able to help us green our homes? Does anyone local conduct “green audits� to evaluate where a house loses heat in the winter?

Home: Past Energy Efficient Homes Building homes out of the earth is an ancient practice. In the American southwest, adobe makers mixed clay and sand with straw or other plant fibers to make bricks, and the walls they constructed were frequently covered in more adobe. The materials used were all natural and local, and the thick walls kept the inside of the house warm in winter and cool in summer. (The Field Museum’s Ancient Americas exhibition) Similarly, Native Alaskans built underground homes from bricks of sod and grass. Sod homes had many built-in features to keep out the cold, including a tunnel that trapped frigid air and raised sleeping platforms around a central fire. (The Field Museum’s Northwest Coast and Arctic Peoples exhibition) These practices and others like them worked so well that many of them continue today or are being rediscovered as contemporary peoples explore new, and old, ways to live more sustainably.

Home: Past

Left: © The Field Museum, Photographer Alison Divino; Right: © 1982 The Field Museum, A108759c, Photographer Ron Testa

Home: Present Homegrown Recycling The community of South Chicago, on Chicago’s far Southeast Side, continues a long tradition of reusing and repurposing home goods. Centro Comunitario Juan Diego, a local community-based organization, collects and distributes gently used furniture and clothing to community members who need them and uses recycled materials such as worn out clothing and water bottles for craft projects. Junqueros—Latino scrap metal collectors—pick up defunct appliances and other large metal items that are cast off in alleys and transport them to reclamation centers for income. This practice is complemented by appliance repair shops owned and operated by local community members, many of them Mexican, that fix any number of small electronic appliances for resale—appliances that would otherwise find their way into landfills. (See The Field Museum’s research report on South Chicago:, “Engaging Chicago’s Diverse Communities in the Chicago Climate Action Plan”)

Home: Present

© The Field Museum, ECCo, Photographer Sarah Van Deusen Phillips

Home: Future Hybrid House This house on the South Side of Chicago meets its energy needs using two types of solar panels and a geothermal heat pump that moves heat to or from the ground to either heat or cool the house. The owners also use traditional African-American practices to cut down their energy use, growing food in the front yard and storing it in a root cellar behind the house. They aspire for the whole community to have the kind of self-sufficiency embodied in their home. (See The Field Museum’s research report on North Kenwood/Oakland:, “Engaging Chicago’s Diverse Communities in the Chicago Climate Action Plan”)

What sustainable practices would you like to be part of your future home? How might your community adapt residents’ past home practices to make a greener future?

Home: Future

© The Field Museum, ECCo, Photographer Sarah Sommers

Transit: Group Action Try a Different Commute With a group of your co-workers, pick a day that you all agree to try a different mode of transportation for your commute. Even employees who already commute in a green way—by using public transportation, walking, biking, or carpooling—can participate. They should just try something different. Schedule a twenty-minute get-together the next day to discuss the experience. The point of this exercise is for a group of people to try something different and potentially greener, and then to share the pros and cons of the experience and think about how they can start to incorporate these types of green practices into their lives.

Transit: Guiding Questions What are green ways of getting around in your community? Are there any unusual modes of transportation particular to your community? Do you know people who ride their bikes to work? Drive hybrid cars or carpool? Regularly use the bus or train? Is there someone in the community who moved to a certain house specifically so he or she can walk to work? Who works from home, or has a dwelling connected to his or her place of business, so no transit is required? Where do people buy their public transportation passes or get their bikes repaired? Which gas stations provide air for tires? (Properly inflated tires increase gas mileage for cars.)

Transit: Past Canoeing in the Marshall Islands Living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Marshall Islanders have used outrigger canoes as a means of transit for thousands of years. Lashed together with pliable coconut fibers and consisting of a wood hull and a float connected by a flexible boom, outriggers are ideal for rough water, as the two parts of the boat move somewhat independently in the waves. Outriggers are powered by the wind and by paddling, and sometimes today by gas-powered outboard motors. For navigation, Marshallese constructed charts of wave patterns made of straight and curved reeds bound together. They used the charts to help them memorize patterns, and then they laid down in the bottom of their boats to feel the patterns and determine their location relative to each island. (The Field Museum’s Traveling the Pacific exhibition)

Transit: Past

Left: © The Field Museum, A111273_59c, Photographer John Weinstein; Right: © The Field Museum, A587T, Photographer Ron Testa.

Transit: Present Learning to Bike in Pilsen Casa Michoacan, a neighborhood organization in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, discovered in a recent focus group with residents that many women would like to learn to ride a bike. The conversation began when one mother shared that she rides her bicycle around the neighborhood to run errands. This way she gets exercise and avoids driving her car. On the weekends two of her children ride their bikes with her. Upon hearing this, other women in the group expressed interest in riding bikes but said that they are afraid to ride alone or simply do not know how. They talked about forming a club so they could ride their bikes together and also show their children that bicycling is a viable option for getting around. As a result, Casa Michoacan is planning to partner with local day care centers and bicycle repair shops to sponsor a series of workshops to teach the basics of bike riding, safety, and repair. (See The Field Museum’s research report on Pilsen: http://www., “Engaging Chicago’s Diverse Communities in the Chicago Climate Action Plan)

Transit: Present

© The Field Museum, ECCo, Photographer Alyssa Schiro

Transit: Future Car-Free Community Building Bogotá, Colombia’s “Ciclovia” is a weekly event where 75 miles of the city’s roads are closed to cars and about 2 million people hit the streets on bikes, scooters, skateboards, and on foot. North American cities are experimenting with similar innovations. New York City, San Francisco, and Portland all sponsored traffic-free routes on special days in 2010. In Chicago, a group of nonprofits sponsored “Open Streets” in 2008 and 2009. Eight miles of streets were closed to motorized traffic for a portion of three Sundays. Envisioning a permanent auto-free route, some groups are also advocating for a future in which the Chicago River is more actively used as transit, with cyclists and walkers along the bank and paddlers traveling on the water. How do you see yourself cutting down on car use in the future? What historical and contemporary travel practices might you draw on to achieve this goal?

Transit: Future

Image courtesy of Lucy Gomez-Feliciano

Work: Group Action Green Team Create a green team that conserves energy at work. 1. Find People: Who else in your workplace cares about going green? 2. Collaborate: Team up to identify energy-saving opportunities, such as reusing goods and buying recycled products. Think about materials you use at work, like paper, light bulbs, or cleaning supplies. What are the most eco-friendly ways to find or purchase these materials? 3. Make it Fun: Go green by sharing food, rides, and creative ideas with your team. Sharing strengthens relationships and reduces waste.

Did you know? In 2009 government, business, and environmental leaders launched the “Green Office Challenge� to inspire property managers and office tenant companies to conserve energy in major downtown buildings. This initiative is now spreading to other cities across the country.

Work: Guiding Questions

How are people you know or work with making their work environments greener? Are there businesses or organizations in our community that are obviously green in some way? Which ones and how so? Have any businesses or organizations built or renovated a building in our community that has green features?

Work: Past Procuring Food in the Ancient Americas At the end of the Ice Age, most people in the Americas did the work of feeding themselves by hunting and butchering large game like mammoths. Spear points lashed tightly to shafts could penetrate thick hides. After the climate warmed and populations of giant mammals declined, people turned to a wider range of local food resources. Finding and harvesting new foods required the development of a greater variety of tools. California natives developed a range of fish hooks to catch different kinds of fish, and they crafted stone mortars and pestles to pound acorns into flour. During these periods work was physically challenging so people invented team-based strategies for accomplishing their tasks. (The Field Museum’s Ancient Americas exhibition)

Work: Past

Top left: © The Field Museum, A114450_08d, Photographer John Weinstein; Bottom left: © The Field Museum, Photographer Alison Divino; Right: © The Field Museum, Photographer Lisa See Kim

Work: Present Green Cleaning, Green Dog Academy Huk Cleaning Crew is a Chicago- based home cleaning business started up by a PolishAmerican, mother-daughter team. The business began in the1990s and was taken over fully by the daughter in 2000, when the mother began to care for her aging grandmother. The daughter has slowly implemented a number of environmentally friendly practices. When gas prices escalated, Huk switched to more fuel-efficient vehicles to transport workers to and from the houses they were cleaning. As the daughter’s awareness of climate change increased, she switched to using environmentally-friendly cleaning products. When the economy suffered in 2008, Huk expanded to training dogs, and the daughter opened what she terms “the first Polish dog academy.” The academy sells all-natural dog food and grooming products and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle for dogs. (See The Field Museum’s research report on the Polish community:, “Engaging Chicago’s Diverse Communities in the Chicago Climate Action Plan)

Work: Present

Left: © The Field Museum, ECCo, Photographer Johanna Wawro; Right: © The Field Museum, ECCo, Photographer Lisa See Kim

Work: Future “Cool Biz” in Japan Climate change and austerity measures may end up having an impact on fashion. In Japan, where energy prices are already sky high and every ounce of petroleum must be imported, the government launched the “Cool Biz” campaign in 2005 to get workers to dress in lighter clothing in the summer. To save energy, thermostats in stores and government office buildings are set at 82 degrees or higher. The first year of Cool Biz resulted in nearly a half-million ton reduction of carbon dioxide. Subsequent years have had even more participants. Government officials lead by example. In May 2010, at a meeting of cabinet members, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano instructed ministers to don traditional Okinawan ‘‘kariyushi’’ open-neck shirts. (

What sustainable practices would you like to be part of your future work? How might you combine traditional and contemporary work practices in innovative ways to get things done in a greener way?

Work: Future

© The Field Museum, ECCo, Illustrator Lisa See Kim

Make a Toolbox  

Make a Toolbox