May 25, 2012

Illinois, the enlightened state?

We've driven thru Illinois twice in the last two days and WOW. First of all Chicago's downtown is in mid renaissance, bee-u-tiful, glorious, premodern, proud, and green green green for a big city.

But state lines? And rest stops?

It just feels different. The people up and down I-294 seem to all agree: achieving a high quality of life is a community act, reliant on a healthy relationship between convenience (aka. modern life) and nature.

After traveling in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, New York, Texas, and Indiana (very different states) during the last five days I can authoritatively tell you: Illinois is the ONLY state with recycling bins in public spaces.

More impressive...

They've got "useful" green signage posted around their rest stops. Doink?! Aren't those places typically the epicenter of America's most Cinnabonned commercialism?

In Illinois, the mainstreamers seem to have the right idea; call rest stops an "Oasis," which I think is what we're all looking for. Don't get me wrong, Illinois rest stops are still mostly fast-food and plastic bottles (that's the market "speaking"), but it's nice to see a government promoting sustainable behavior.

Photos of Chicago and one of Illinois' Oasis:

Just an everyday rest stop. 
One of Illinois' better signs...
showing the life cycle impacts of hand towels.

Handy recycling bins and no fail litter bins abound,
in Illinois.

Chicago's beautifully restored classic architecture. 
And tree lined streets. 
Not to mention this great "beach front" park
along Lake Michigan. 

Prius cabs. 
And more. 

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