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The Gaia Movement: A Strong Partner in Auburn Gresham

A Gaia Movement green container for donation of clothing and shoes is set to be strategically located in the city of Chicago.

Ernest Sanders

Just by the spelling of their organization name, one might interpret the Gaia Movement, as an outside movement not known to Auburn Gresham or the City of Chicago. But if you are a Chicago resident who has donated clothing, then there is a chance you are familiar with Gaia’s seven foot lime green metal containers. Find the closest container to you. 

Gaia is a not profit organization that recycles and reuses donated clothes and shoes throughout Chicago and Illinois. Their mission is to promote environmental stewardship and improve the quality of life by establishing a natural space that is safe, healthy and sustainable through hands on involvement with volunteers and community partners. 

Gaia has accomplished their mission not only by redistributing second hand clothing but also by also by participating in nation-wide urban agriculture initiatives. This past summer, Gaia established a community garden in Auburn Gresham that served as an urban oasis where people came and learned about the benefits of urban agriculture.

Their garden specifically reached out to residents (both young and old), especially children and teens who had the opportunity to study the ins and outs of urban agriculture. Gaia has even suggested a model for their community garden that creates a market place and encourages sustainability. 

Gaia believes that urban agriculture is the key to long term sustainability of the city's environment and food supply, and will hopefully promote community activism and change in Auburn Gresham and state wide. 

But the Gaia Movement’s efforts do not stop here. They also have a vested interested in educating and mobilizing people around issues of Zero Waste: reducing, reusing, and recycling all forms of waste. They have taken initiatives to compost appropriate food remains and go door to door to collect clothing and recycle products from senior citizens. This latter initiative was created in partnership with the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC). 

Gaia has also participated in rainwater harvesting for their community garden. Harvesting rainwater has helped to save money and protect a natural resource in Auburn Gresham. Additionally, harvesting rainwater has been a significant factor towards sustainability, especially when water prices are on the rises and summer drought restrictions are prevalent. Gaia has also stepped into the world of Renewable Energy, i.e. solar panels. 

Mary Abeleda (center) speaks to festival-goers from the Auburn Gresham 79th Street Renaissance Festival about the importance of rain barrels and reusing rain water.

Ernest Sanders

Gaia Movement is also partners with an educational institute, called Institute for International Cooperation and Development (IICD) in which they teach and mobilize students around environmental giants as Global Warming. It is a 12 month program that encourages students to become activist and develop an action plan. 

For more information about the Gaia Movement, please visit their website at or contact Mary K. Abeleda at (773) 580-3512.

Keywords: composting, harvesting rainwater, rain barrels, recycling all forms of waste, reusing, zero waste: reducing

Posted in Community Highlights

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