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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n16)
Green Broad Ripple - Green Eyes - by Cortellini
posted: Aug. 10, 2007

Green Broad Ripple header

Green Eyes
One of the great pleasures of being involved (my wife Patty assures me I am over involved) is that one meets and has the opportunity to learn from remarkable people right in one's own community. Over the years, involvement has brought me more pleasure than any form of entertainment I can think of. Prominently at the top of my list of involvements is Toastmasters International. I joined Toastmasters in 2000 at a club that formed at my workplace. Soon after, I left the company and was forced me to seek out another club. I was fortunate to have been invited to a meeting of the club that I still attend to this day: Daybreakers.
Daybreakers is a club of 28 or so official members with 15 to 22 members showing up for meetings on a regular basis. The meeting format is very formal with a strictly followed agenda, yet each meeting is unique in its mix of participants and topics discussed. The membership is remarkably diverse in age, background, political leanings and professional pursuits and, while the focus of Toastmasters is in the form of public speaking not in the content, content is often the most rewarding aspect of each meeting. Oh by the way - The reason that the club is called Daybreakers is that it meets each Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. promptly. I know it stretches credulity that 15 to 22 people rise at 4:30 a.m. every Friday to go to a meeting and give speeches to one another but it's true. It happens regularly and we all love it.
Also prominent on my involvement list is the Green movement. As structured as Toastmasters is, Green is free flowing. I am making it up as I go along - but then, so is everyone else at this time. Here, too, I have met many remarkable people; professionals, environmentalist, farmers, builders, gardeners, writers. . . All share a marvelous positive energy and unifying camaraderie that is rejuvenating and invigorating - the "New Day Dawning" effect I have spoken about in earlier articles. One of these people is Jennifer.
I first met Jennifer at a conference sponsored by the Hoosier Environmental Council. Jennifer is a lovely young woman, a civil engineer by profession and a tree hugger by disposition. She is Green through and through down to her very spirit. She courageously substituted for one of the major speakers of our Earth Day 2007 event who was called out of town due to a death in the family. She did so with only one day's notice and did a marvelous job in tough circumstances. It was then that I suggested she might enjoy visiting Daybreakers. Her initial response was quite positive yet she was taken aback at the hour of the meeting for she explained that she is not a morning person. However, at my repeated suggestions, she overcame this obstacle and is now the latest new member of Daybreakers.
Earlier this month, Jennifer gave her second speech. I must say that it made me proud that I was the one that introduced her to the club. Not only did her speech contain all the form elements of a quality Toastmasters speech but she also delivered it with confidence, competence and grace. More importantly, her speech was informed and provided insight. The title was "The Eyes Have It." She related the story of her walk on the Monon one day accompanied by her police officer boyfriend. She remarked to him about her observation of how some aspects of the drainage along the trail might be improved. He did not immediately respond. A few minutes later, he remarked how some of the areas along the trail could present potential security risks. They were looking at the same trail but seeing different things. He was looking through a policeman's eyes and she, the eyes of a civil engineer. Thus their remarks whizzed by one another without connecting in any meaningful exchange.
Yesterday, Jennifer sent me an email with an attachment. The attachment was "The Chicago Green Alley Handbook - An Action Guide to Create a Greener, Environmentally Sustainable Chicago" (see the last article). Her email note simply read "I found this in my mailbox. Enjoy!" She did not need to say anything further because there is a certain unspoken understanding between us - an understanding that is born from the fact that we both see the world through Green Eyes. Hum - Green Eyes. Are Green Eyes a huge shift in paradigm or are they merely a baby step?

Cortellini is a licensed architect in the states of Indiana and Arizona. He holds a BFA from Indiana University Herron School of Art. He has taught architectural technology at the college level at several universities and has pursued independent artistic endeavors. His architectural practice has focused on residential and small commercial projects. He has recently committed his practice to designing Green buildings, is a member of the US Green Building Council and is a LEED Accredited Professional. Send questions/comments to
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