Are there hopeful signs for our environmental future? Green projects undertaken with a clear-eyed view of the challenges but nevertheless in an optimistic spirit? Projects that, in aggregate, are commensurate with scale of our environmental challenges? We believe there are some excellent candidates in Chicago. In this blog we review 50 or so projects throughout the city of Chicago that meet our criteria as a “Hopeful Thing”, that is they are optimistic, urban, environmentally well conceived, resilient, aesthetically pleasing, ethical, engaging and useful for people, liberating and cultivating of the wild, feasible, embracing of human and non-human diversity, non-sentimental. In many cases the projects are conceived or run in an interdisciplinary manner.

This is a field guide because in each case there is something to visit and see associated with each Hopeful thing. In many cases there is also someone you can talk to about the project when you visit. Each account we present we provide:
1. Project description detailing the mission, vision and history of the project, showing how the project meets the criterion we have established.
2. Map and photographs showing where the project is located and what can be seen.
3. A list of personnel associated with the work
4. Our assessment of the significance of the project

This project is lead by Dolores Wilber and Liam Heneghan of DePaul University.

We will start posting in February.  In the meantime if you have ideas that you’d like to share please leave us your suggested Hopeful Thing as a comment.