“Chicago is the product for modern capitalism, and like other great commercial centers, is unfit for human labor” – Eugene Debs, 1908
Edens Lost and Found – Chicago: City of the Big Shadows is sponsored by Michigan law firm Bodman Attorneys & Counselors — for it is one of several films in a series for this year’s Brownfields 2008 National Conference at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit on Monday afternoon from 1:15-2:30pm.
It takes a look of the Windy City’s history when it comes to the environment, and how it affects the people personally, professionally, and socially. “Our national economy continues to evolve away from heavy manufacturing” states narrator/host Scott Simon. “There are no easy answers.” The film also profiles organizations such as one dedicated to preserving the rivers of Chicago from pollution, and several people such as Marion Byrnes that are passionate about improving their neighborhoods through environmental causes. “People have a spiritual need” said the widow of three children.
Deb Perryman has been a teacher for the past twelve years. At her high school, there are over 2,200 students that speak 28 languages. She teaches Environmental Science, and believes that her students can learn about through experience. “We live in a fast-paced world”, she said, “We don’t stop to think about what happens. Kids are the future. I want them to know the aspects of life.” For the first time in 19 years, her class presented a project on social waste in front of an international conference. She’s [Miss Perryman] everything a teacher should be, states one student, for she’s willing to be there and help you — no matter how long it takes and what time is it. Perryman was recently named Teacher of the Year in Illinois, which left her breaking down in tears. “Don’t pick ‘A’ students” she continues. “Pick the students that want make a difference.”
When it comes to children learning ecology at Fuller Park, it’s not a black thing — or a white thing. According to Michael Howard, it’s an everything. “We gotta to drink the same water, [and] eat the same food” the former vet said. Howard, his wife Ameila, and their five children live in a poor neighborhood in Chicago that is infested with not only high crime, but also lead poisoning. One million children are harm with the ability to think due to lead poisoning in Fuller Park. But thanks to the tireless efforts of Howard and his optimism, it is now a place of Heaven — or in this case, Eden Place, as it is being used to right the wrongs of today’s problems in the world. “[We want to teach the children that] Nature is everywhere to be found [here at Fuller Park]” he continues, “[as we] try to improve the quality of life for neighborhoods.”
The Windy City is one out of several that is trying to become a better — as well as safer –city for the future through the environment. “The story of Chicago”, said Simon, “is not one story. It is many.” Many like Detroit, Michigan.