Chicago Matters: Growing Forward is a year-long look at how the choices we make today impact our environment and the future of our region.
Over the next 25 years, Northeastern Illinois will experience major growth - 1.2 million new jobs will be created and as many as two million new residents will join the 8 million already living here. Chicago Matters: Growing Forward explores the fundamental ways we are connected through our shared resources, and examines proposals to tackle the environmental problems facing our growing region.
This year's Chicago Matters reports are presented every other Tuesday night at 7:00 pm on Chicago Tonight. Each month we focus on a different aspect of the environmental sustainability issue.
Green Collar Jobs, Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 7 pm (Rescheduled from December 9)
The so-called "green movement" has spawned a whole new workforce. Green collar jobs are on the rise, but will they last? WTTW takes a look at this movement in the Chicago area.
The Nachusa Grasslands, Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 7 pm
Why have so many volunteers come together to restore the Nachusa Grasslands 90 miles west of Chicago? And why– as we move on in the 21st century– is it beneficial to turn the clock back to the beginning of the 19th? Rich Samuels reports our final story of this year’s Chicago Matters.
Future of Ethanol, November 11
WTTW's Rich Samuels looks at the future of ethanol and new ways to produce it from biomass sources.
Great Lakes, November 25
Is it time to isolate the Great Lakes in order to sustain them? Chicago Tonight investigates why one environmental group is calling for the "ecological separation" of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River Basin.
OCTOBER’S FOCUS: WASTE
Waste to Profit Network, October 28
One company’s waste can be another company’s riches: that’s the mantra behind Chicago’s Waste to Profit Network, which turns two years old on Oct. 31, 2008. The program’s goal is to "turn costly waste streams into productive revenue streams while reducing the environmental impact of production." After two years, how is the program going? We will see how one Chicago area company’s waste is helping to save taxpayer money... Christian Farr explores the issue.
E-Waste, October 14
Tackling the problem of Electronic Waste or E-Waste: According to the U.S. EPA Americans toss out about 37 million computers a year, and the upcoming digital transition could result in a lot of TVs ending up in landfills. These disposed electronics have toxic materials inside of them that could cause major environmental problems. Across the country, including right here in Illinois, there is movement to properly recycle this waste, but there aren’t a lot of options around the state for people recycle. Christian Farr explores the issue.
SEPTEMBER'S FOCUS: FOOD
Community Supported Agriculture, September 30
There is a new trend in farming called community supported argiculture, and it eliminates the middleman from the typical farming model. Even though these farms give consumers a better peace of mind about their food, they can also be a little bit risky. We take a closer look at community supported agriculture in this segment of our Chicago Matter's: Growing Forward series.
Cow Power, September 16
Rich Samuels reports on Cow Power through methane digestion– how Illinois farmers Doug and Tom Block convert the manure from their 670 cows into enough electricity to power 120 homes– significantly reducing their carbon footprint in the process.
JULY & AUGUST: Rebroadcasts of March - June segments
JUNE'S FOCUS: WATER
Waukegan Harbor, June 10
For more than a generation, Waukegan Harbor has been one of the Great Lakes' biggest pollution problems, the legacy of an industrial past and the toxic PCBs that were dumped into its waters. Despite a Superfund cleanup completed in the '90s, PCB pollution remains, and many see it limiting Waukegan Harbor's recreational future. In this Chicago Matters segment, correspondent Rich Samuels looks at where we are with efforts to clean it up, 33 years after the PCB pollution was first brought to light.
Protecting the Great Lakes, June 24
Every year, many of the Lake Michigan beaches in the Chicago area are closed intermittently because of high bacteria levels. But one nearby Wisconsin beach which used to have frequent closings is now one of the Great Lakes' cleanest. Correspondent Rich Samuels takes a look at how that happened and the lessons Chicago can learn from it.
MAY'S FOCUS: TRANSPORTATION
The STAR Line, Tuesday, May 13
Why are municipalities in five counties (as well as members of the Illinois congressional delegation) at odds over the proposed purchase of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railroad by the Canadian National? Correspondent Rich Samuels reports that it all has to do with the Chicago area's standing as the nation's railroad hub. While the CN sees the purchase as a way to divert railroad traffic around the Chicago bottleneck, dozens of suburbs say the purchase will directly impact their quality of life.
Biodiesel, Tuesday, May 27
Chicago Matters: Growing Forward and our Correspondent Christian Farr take a closer look at Biodiesel. What is it? How is it made? Is it really better for the environment? And why are so many companies starting to use it to power their fleet of vehicles?
APRIL'S FOCUS: AIR
Air Quality, Tuesday, April 1
The EPA reduces smog limits for the first time in more than ten years. What is smog? Did the EPA go far enough? And what does this mean for the respiratory health of those who live and work in the Chicago area? Christian Farr reports.
Wind Power, Tuesday, April 15
Illinois is presently the nation's number 2 state in terms of the development of wind farms to supplement the power grid. But can wind power technology be adopted for urban residences? We visit the Mauceri home in Chicago which features, among many green components, wind turbines on the roof. This residence recently became the first Illinois home to be awarded Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Rail Pollution, Tuesday, April 29
Chicago is one of the nation’s largest rail hubs and that is creating concern over locomotive pollution, particularly for those who live near rail yards. Chicago Tonight will examine the affects of this type of pollution, look at possible solutions and find out why at least one health advocacy group believes not enough is being done to correct the problem.
MARCH'S FOCUS: LAND
SEASON PREMIERE - The "Greening" of Chicago, Tuesday, March 4
Chicago Matters: Growing Forward Series Kick-off
Chicago Tonight devotes its entire program to the kick-off of Chicago Matters: Growing Forward.
News host Eddie Arruza speaks with Suzanne Malec-McKenna, Chicago's Department of Environment Commissioner, about the city's stated goal of becoming America's "greenest" city.
Correspondent Christian Farr looks at some scientific studies that find planting trees not only provide shelter, shade and beauty, but also lowers violence and reduces abuse, helping to sustain Chicago as a livable city.
Host Phil Ponce talks to the author of a new book called Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming. Danish number-crunching expert, Bjorn Lomborg is also an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School and Director of the Copenhagen Consensus, a center which analyzes the world's greatest challenges and proposes solutions.
Coping with Growth, Tuesday, March 18
Correspondent Rich Samuels looks at how the village of New Lenox is managing sprawl and a population boom that has almost doubled the number of its residents over the past dozen years. Has its subsequently-adopted comprehensive growth plans made a difference? Will the village still keep its unique character when its population maxes out at an estimated 90-100,000?