Celia Ristow

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me, sustainability means looking beyond green-washing to more deeply examine our choices. Instead of buying the “eco-friendly” version of something, can we do without it or buy it secondhand? Instead of focusing simply on recycling more, can we use reusable alternatives so that we can generate fewer recyclables in Chicago? I’m interested in delving deep into issues in order to get closer to true sustainability.

What has been your greatest experience working towards a more sustainable Chicago?

I love giving workshops to high school students; many of these young people are so engaged in enacting change. They’re pushing CPS schools to offer composting, to use less electricity, to rely less on disposable products in their cafeterias. When I feel discouraged or hopeless, a surefire way to feel better is to hear what local students are working on.