Make It Better’s 2018 Green Issue: Chicago’s Eco-Champions, Stunning Sustainable Homes and More

Make It Better's Green Issue: Eco-Champions, Green Homes and More

You’re almost there, Chicago. The shortest, darkest days of winter are behind us and before you know it, you’ll be catching sight of those first green buds on the trees. Spring — and with it, the perfect opportunity to bring you our Green Issue.

In truth, I struggled with the idea of even doing a “green issue” in 2018. Higher temperatures, rising sea levels, and erratic weather patterns serve as near-daily reminders that climate change is very real. Just this month, the New York Times published “No Children Because of Climate Change? Some People Are Considering It,” and the Atlantic asked the question, “Does Climate Change Cause More War?” Both are terrifying prospects. More than a green issue, we all need to make green living a way of life — and fast.

That said, much has been made of “greenwashing,” and we’re constantly inundated with claims of the eco-friendliness of products and business practices. Can green be glamorous? Sure — but we’d rather not jump on that bandwagon. Instead, our goal in creating this issue was to connect you with true leaders and innovators.

So, instead of getting discouraged, read on to get inspired. Start with our lead feature, “Chicago’s Eco-Champions,” in which we profile seven Chicagoans who are absolute trailblazers in their fields, paving the way for greener tomorrows for Chicago and the world.

Speaking of green Chicago, if you were as disappointed as I was when the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, take heart. Mayor Emanuel promised the world that “We are still in,” and are we ever. Read about eight ways Chicago is going all hands on deck to protect our environment.

And because positive change always starts at home, we took a look inside some of the most stunning, greenest homes in Chicago. From the beautiful Wilmette property on our cover that seamlessly adapts to, rather than competes with, the area’s natural ecology, to a state-of-the-art Lakeview pad that just might be “the most sustainable home in Chicago,” you’ll see that the sky’s the limit when it comes to greening up your home.

I know the facts can be disturbing and discouraging, but don’t look away. The future appears a whole lot greener when you start taking matters into your own hands — and if you need a jump-start, just look to Chicago’s many eco-champions. On social media, my friend Nicole Minadeo, director of PR and Communications at Shedd Aquarium, posts stunning photos and videos of our waters and marine life, but she also shares the tragic realities of plastic pollution in our oceans and Great Lakes. By all means, be horrified to learn that by 2050 — just 32 year from now — it is estimated that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Then resolve to once and for all say no to single-use plastics like bags, straws, and water bottles. Join forces with Nicole and Shedd, and the many other leaders in these pages, and let’s all resolve to fix this together.

— Brooke McDonald, Editor in Chief

Make It Better March/April 2018: whale
Photo courtesy of Nicole Minadeo.
Make It Better March/April 2018: Nicole Minadeo
Photo courtesy of Nicole Minadeo.


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Brooke McDonaldEditor in Chief of Make It Better, Brooke McDonald is a Chicago native and Northwestern University grad who spent a decade away from home working for O, The Oprah Magazine and Shape magazine in NYC, and getting her master’s degree in English literature and working in book publishing in London. Back home in Chicago, she’s outnumbered by her husband and two boys, and the four of them are certifiable Disney and Star Wars fanatics. Other obsessions include Charles Dickens, wine and authentic Neapolitan pizza. Her favorite cause to support is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.