From late summer through late spring in Dane County, you can attend and participate in one or more Green Tuesdays or Green Thursdays nearly every week. Community partners have joined together to offer you this series of free films and lectures about ways to live more sustainably.
The Natural Step Monona started the Green Tuesdays series in conjunction with the Monona Public Library in January 2008. Bringing people together to learn about a wide variety of topics and to share ideas, concerns, and solutions, Green Tuesdays helped deepen our grassroots movement and inspire individual action. The success of the program made it worth sharing with other communities.
After joining in a loose coalition to plan and prepare, in September 2010, sustainability champions from a variety of organizations and communities launched an expansion of this program to four more communities—Cross Plains, Middleton, Mt. Horeb, and Oregon—creating a circuit of Green Tuesdays & Thursdays. In September 2011, three Madison partners joined the circuit, and Fitchburg joined in 2012.
The Green Tuesdays & Thursdays series is an excellent model of resource sharing and community building. By banding together, the partners have greatly reduced the costs each would expend to put together programs individually, and have become knowledgeable practitioners of sustainability programming in suburban and rural Dane County.
How it works
Most partner communities offer programs on a specific Tuesday or Thursday of the month. The partners share films on a circuit, leveraging limited resources to much greater potential and reach. Lecture topics and speakers are up to each community partner to choose. Lectures are not required to be part of the programming, but most partners choose to include them.
New in the 2012-2013 season, both of our college partners, Edgewood College and Madison College, will hold a Green Tuesdays & Thursdays film festival in April 2013 instead of holding monthly programs. This will better accommodate the unevenness of college schedules.
Each partner community has a minimum of one to three volunteers who regularly assist in planning, facilitating discussion, arranging for or providing refreshments, and hosting. In addition, partners from the Nelson Institute offer input on programming and marketing.
The film and lecture content addresses a wide variety of issues related to sustainability, from the global, such as climate change, environmental footprints, reducing energy use, composting and vermiculture, e-waste, sustainable gardening, urban forests, and how to winterize a home, to the local, such as Dane County’s groundwater, green travel in Wisconsin, and the Focus on Energy program.
This program is needed because many people are only now awakening to the fact that there are limits on our planet that require us to change our systems and behaviors. With change being difficult, it is important to have people sharing in the struggle, illustrating the benefits of action, and providing advice to those thinking about and taking steps toward change. Supportive relationships can offer a mirror to an individual’s resistance to change.
Current community partners are:
Brian Condon, Madison: Intern, Sustainable Atwood
Walker Evans, Fitchburg: Reference Librarian, Fitchburg Public Library
Heather Gates, Monona: Green Tuesdays & Thursdays Program Director, Executive Director, The Natural Step Monona; Nelson Institute Community Fellow
Marcia Hartwig, Mt. Horeb: Co-Founder, Mount Horeb Area Sustainability Network
Kris Loman, Cross Plains: Assistant Director, Rosemary Garfoot Public Library; Founder, RGPL Green Tuesdays, Cross Plains
Jim Lorman, Madison: Academic Program Director, Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program, Edgewood College
Susan Santner, Oregon: Director, Oregon Public Library
Terry Ross, Madison: Instructor, Madison College
Deb Saeger, Middleton: Chair, Middleton Sustainability Committee
Molly Schwebach, University of Wisconsin: Tales from Planet Earth Coordinator, Nelson Institute