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Ravisloe golf course owner urges conservation

Claude Gendreau Ravisloe Country Club owner poses with book he wrote as he stands near his oil-free electric TeslMotors car.

Claude Gendreau, Ravisloe Country Club owner, poses with a book he wrote as he stands near his oil-free electric Tesla Motors car. The book is about conservation and saving America's future. | Casey Toner~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 10, 2013 6:15AM



Claude Gendreau is a conservationist, and he wants others to join him.

It could save America, after all, he believes.

Gendreau, 72, is the owner of Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood. He bought the course in 2009 to conserve the beautiful land.

As caretaker, he also has tended to the course, restoring the property to its natural beauty. Under his guidance, workers have removed more than 270 trees infected with the emerald ash borer and planted 400 of his own.

The Montreal, Quebec, native also drives a gas-free electric Tesla Motors car with a customized license plate that reads: “Oil Free.”

In the spirit of going green, Gendreau has written a book, “What You Must Do For Your Country.” The 240-page book, available on Amazon.com, gives the reader a blueprint for living a more sustainable, ecological life.

“I think leadership comes from the bottom, it doesn’t come from the top,” Gendreau said. “It has to come from you. I thought this book would educate people to help change the culture of waste we have.”

Gendreau came to the United States — the land of opportunity — more than 40 years ago. He has had a successful career, too, working as a veterinarian and founding the Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove.

“In the last 15 to 20 years, I’ve seen a deterioration of that experience and I’ve traveled quite a bit around the world and I’ve seen what some of the other countries are doing,” Gendreau said. “The United States is losing its muster; it’s losing its mojo.”

His prescription for a better America is a more green-friendly one. Outlined in “What You Must Do For Your Country,” Gendreau advocates for living a simpler, more humble life.

Gendreau suggests reducing electrical use and buying smaller homes to conserve wood and other valuable natural resources. For food, he recommends people eat chicken instead of beef due to the volume of hay and grass that cattle consume every day.

He also believes cities should adopt higher real estate taxes and stricter zoning laws to limit the number of oversized, McMansion-style homes that are built.

“I think we have so much potential and we are wasting a lot of it,” Gendreau said. “This book talks to the individual. It does not talk to the senators and it does not talk to the president and the mayors. It talks to the individual because the power rests with the individual.”



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