The Greenest Man in Chicago

The Greenest Man in Chicago

Sarah Coffey
Sep 23, 2008

Ken Dunn—the Tribune's pick for the "Chicagoan with the lowest carbon footprint"—doesn't own a solar home, nor does he have wind turbines on his roof. He lives on the top floor of a two-flat in Hyde Park, where he dries his laundry on a line, heats his home with a wood-burning stove, grows vegetables in his backyard, and bikes to work...

Dunn is the Director of Chicago's Resource Center, a non-profit that provides recycling programs, urban gardening, and environmental education for city residents. When the Tribune calculated the carbon footprint of a cross-section of environmental activists, Dunn averaged 3,800 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, almost half as much as the runner-up and about 10 times less than the average American.

Although carbon footprint isn't the only method of gauging greenness, it gives a sense of the most successful strategies for reducing one's environmental impact. In most cases, implementing small, simple strategies produces better results than expensive options like solar and wind power. For instance, Ken keeps his carbon footprint low by living without air conditioning, keeping heating costs down, composting and recycling, avoiding air travel, and generally limiting his consumption. To read the entire profile on Ken and other Chicago greenies, click here.

Photo: mrfb via Flickr Creative Commons License

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