As a newbie blogger, getting a response to the first posting was quite a thrill. [Someone is reading!] The response appeared in the Viewpoints section of the May 9, 2007 Wednesday Journal, but I received it as an email first. And I was excited, not only by the attention, but by the ideas, particularly the notion of awards for “greenest blocks or greenest families or the greenest businesses.” Why not? And not only did our avid and creative reader suggest awards, but he also advocated a leadership position for Oak Park as a model “with all communities all over the country looking to it.”

In case you missed the letter, here are some of the areas to consider:

? Leafblower-free block (or gas-powered mower)

? Blocks (or businesses, or families) that reduce their aggregate energy consumption by 25 percent

? Becoming a candidate for a hydrogen refueling station

? Block discounts for home energy audits

? Plant-a-tree campaigns

? Challenging the village to reduce energy consumption municipal buildings and vehicles

? Reducing household waste by half (thereby reducing the number of garbage trucks needed to haul it away)

? Taking half your trips on foot or on your bike

Would awards stimulate healthy competition? Would they be worth the effort to manage a fair and open process? Are these ideas something we could implement with a minimum of adjustment or sacrifice? Can we make gradual changes and begin an education process that really makes a difference? Oak Park has the potential to be a leader, fostering both individual and collective changes communitywide.

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