Sally Stovall is a recognized local leader in the cause of lowering our collective carbon footprint through cooperative community action. In 2010 as a co-founder and leader of Oak Park-based Green Community Connections, she brought together a group of area residents who were working separately on sustainability education and actions.

Sally is the third climate hero to be recognized by state Senator Don Harmon’s organization through its committee on climate change, which educates consumers and advocates with legislators on sustainable energy goals.

What is Green Community Connections?

GCC (www.greencommunityconnections.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer-driven organization devoted to creating a sustainable future in the Oak Park and River Forest area, and to being an environmental leader in metropolitan Chicago. GCC’s mission is to develop a deeper understanding of natural systems, build a resilient community, and inspire sustainability action at the family, community, and public policy levels. GCC has conducted three “Green Living & Learning Tours” to share our neighbors’ innovative sustainable living projects related to food, energy, waste, water, and native habitats. GCC’s annual One Earth Film Festival, will be once again held in March, and this year features a full slate of green films in venues across Chicagoland. (For a complete schedule of Festival film showings, go to www.oneearthfilmfestival.org.)

 Which One Earth Film Festival films can be viewed in Oak Park?

 Eighteen films will be shown in the Oak Park area (Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn and Triton College). This includes three great pre-fest showings. The first is one of my personal favorites, at Dominican University, Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields on Feb. 24.

 Return of the River (59 minutes), telling an unlikely success story about environmental and cultural restoration, will be seen at the Lake Theater at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 7. Films for children, age 3-6, will be shown at the Oak Park Public Library that day, also starting at 10 a.m., followed by three short films, perfect for children, age 7-11+: “Reuse, Recycle, Reclaim!” “Flip Flotsam” and “I Have a Question: Where Does My Garbage Go?” After the film, kids can visit “Action Stations,” hosted by local experts, with opportunities to show their love for nature. Also showing on March 7 (3 p.m.) at Pleasant Home, 217 Home Ave., Edible City is a documentary film that introduces a diverse cast of extraordinary characters who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system. 

 What’s been your involvement in support of climate change action?

I try to work at multiple levels involving family, community and state and national climate policy. At the community level, GCC works with the Interfaith Green Network and PlanItGreen. At the national policy level, I am involved with the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), which employs a respectful, relationship-based approach to educate and engage members of Congress. CCL calls for a national fee on fossil fuel-based carbon, to be returned to citizens. 

A native of Louisiana, Sally moved to Oak Park in 2002 after spending two years in Buenos Aires. She received her master’s degree in organization development from Loyola University Chicago and worked in program development for 10 years with Illinois Action for Children. She lives in Oak Park with her partner, Dick Alton.

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