Over the coming months I expect to be writing a bit about a green renaissance taking place on the near South Side of Chicago. On the site of the first planned industrial park in the US, a friend of mine named John Edel is doggedly and brilliantly showing the way for green and sustainable approaches to manufacturing, property management, renovation and economic replenishment.
John and I grew up in the same West Rogers Park neighborhood and I knew John’s bother Chris as classmate at Mather High School and as the bass player in the aggro-surf group 007. In fact, Chris was the first musician I ever knew who built his own bass. Gangly geekish genius runs in this family – and I got an eyeful the other day of the latest Edelian example.
John’s first project is his industrial building reclamation project, the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center at 1048 W. 37th St. The building was a decrepit hulk in 2002 but today is a shining example for rust belt reclamation methods and for shifting economic priorities away from waste product – a classification that applies in a real sense to the grossly bloated US military expenditure of the past three decades. John’s project has brought jobs and sustainability and green practice to a chunk of brownfield that only biker gangs cared about. It’s my plan to help bring attention to his efforts mainly because I believe the country is on a path of slow economic suicide. John Edel is moving in the other direction.
Never mind all that for the moment – there will be more in this space and others. In this post, I’ll link to a piece John forwarded to me from ourfuture.org about how easy it actually is to move from defense jobs to green jobs. Given the overwhelming majority of industrial production in the US is dedicated to weapons and military output — and that this is bankrupting us — such articles are like life preservers for the US.