MVCC Book Selling / Buying Website

Oh how I love to sell and buy used stuff. This got me thinking about our students selling and buying our books. I wondered how they could do this. Apparently, our awesome student trustee had this brilliant idea created: http://books.morainevalley.edu/swap_main.asp?. The more people that post, the more savings there will be for everyone. Buying a reused book will not only save money, but will prevent unused books from entering the landfill. It is a win for you, the other person and sustainability. Now go and post your books for sale and buy your books for next semester!

Simple Tips (& Why) to Green Your Holidays!

Stores staying open all day on Thanksgiving, Black Friday hype, Christmas ads already blaring… enough! It’s STRESSING me out! And that is not healthy.

I want to relax and enjoy quality time with my family and friends. And I want the experiences to be healthy for me, them and light on environmental impact.

Two things I like to consider to help me be less stressed & promote health for my peeps and my (our) planet: 1. Greening Gifts
2. Greening the Menu

1. On Gifts (and avoiding the crazy, stressful shopping wars!) I’m steering clear of all that hub bub and instead will be home, warm and cozy, preparing my craft room to make my gifts. I love making things! It helps me unwind, plus I know I’m pouring love into the gift and so does the recipient. Win-win!

Not everyone is crafty or inclined to make gifts. But if you are! Here’s a blog with a few ideas I really like and maybe you will, too. 38 DIY Gifts People Actually Want

If you’re not crafty, no problem. You can of course still pour love into bought items, too. And there are plenty of resources out there to help you find the perfect gift for that special someone. It’s perfect because not only do they need the item, it is helpful to them, won’t make them sick and is also created in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. Perfect!

I realize some of us will still want to get out and shop for some great deals… have you heard of Small Business Saturday? A lot of Chicagoland businesses are participating and shopping local is really a great way to encourage local economic recovery!

2. On the Menu: Eating lower on the food chain is a great way to make a difference for your health and the planet. It’s easier than you think, too. Do you have to give up the Turkey? No!! But treating it more like a condiment and enjoying more of your favorite vegetable based sides is a great start. Also, everything doesn’t have to be organic, but I do look out for certain food additives to avoid as well as where and how the veggies or fruit are grown for health concerns.

[On meat: If I did eat meat I would want to buy it from a local farmer where I know the animal was cared for, ate the right foods and slaughtered in a manner that was ethical.]

What’s on my menu? Well, I’m not hosting….but this is what I am bringing
Roasted Brussels Sprouts in a Balsamic Reduction
Kale, Pumpkin Seed, Cranberry Salad
Apple, Turnip, Sweet Potato Saute

Final Greening Holidays tip from me to you… When making your list to give people this holiday season, it helps to consider the following:

  • WHAT will be the impact on the person I’m giving this gift to? Will it improve their live in a meaningful way?
  • WHERE does this gift come from? Is it locally crafted and supporting local economies?
  • WHO made it? Are they paid a living wage and have safe working conditions? WHO profits from me buying this gift? Does it enrich some corporation whose values I do/don’t support?
  • HOW was it made? How does the resource and manufacturing impact on the environment?
  • WHY? Why should I give this gift? What NEED does it fill?

It’s important to consider these questions so that not just at a personal level, but at a global level you are fully aware of the impacts of your gift-giving decisions.

Happy Holidays!

2 World Leaders #ActOnClimate

Woke up to hopeful news this morning!

U.S. President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping coming to agreement to #ActOnClimate Change. Under this new deal, the U.S. would cut its 2005 CO2 emissions by 26-28% before 2025 and China will aim to get 20% of its energy from clean (zero-emission) sources by 2030.

The U.S. and China are two of the world’s top CO2 emissions polluters so this deal is quite significant; it sets a precedent and calls for other countries to also address their emissions in a global commitment to mitigate the most severe impacts of climate change. Perhaps there is hope for the Climate Summit in Paris next year!!

Still have questions about climate change? The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has a series of podcasts and simple to understand articles that help explain what is climate change; what changes can we expect regionally and globally; what is being done to address these changes (policy and innovations); what else can be done and how can we, individually, act?

Or, Check out Bill Nye the Science Guy explain climate change in less than 5 minutes…

then dig deeper to get wise on the topic. The more we know, the more we can do to make positive change for today and tomorrow.

Nature is Speaking: Are You Listening?

One of the world’s leading organizations driving conservation efforts across the globe, Conservation International, has launched a new series of short films called, “Nature Is Speaking”. Watching them, words like: beautiful, poignant, true and powerful come to mind.

NATURE DOESN’T NEED PEOPLE. PEOPLE NEED NATURE. ~natureisspeaking.org

Here’s one featuring Kevin Spacey. Wonderful.

Kevin Spacey is The Rainforest

See them all here.

#natureisspeaking … are You listening?

All Electric Garbage Truck!?! Cool :)

[disclosure: direct re-post from here]
Chicago Unveils North America’s First All- Electric Refuse Truck

Chicago is now home to North America’s first and only all-electric garbage truck, a vehicle is much quieter than conventional diesel refuse trucks as well as has no tailpipe emissions, contributing to a healthier neighborhood environment in our communities. The vehicle saves more than 2,500 gallons of gasoline a year, has a payload capacity of 9 tons, and 200 kilowatt-hours of energy.

The truck, named the Electric Refuse Vehicle, was made by California-based Motiv Power Systems, which won the contract from the City of Chicago in 2012.

“We are constantly looking to modernize and improve the City’s fleet operations through environmentally conscious choices,” David Reynolds, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management, said in a news release.  ”Chicago is proud to be home to North America’s first all-electric refuse and recycling truck, and we look forward to examining how this truck can boost efficiency, reduce emissions and save tax payer dollars in the future.”

White House Delivers LOUD Msg: Create Jobs- Cut Pollution!

Commitments and Executive Actions Illustrate Federal, State, and Local Leadership to Create Jobs and Cut Carbon Pollution

“The Obama Administration is committed to taking action to combat climate change. As part of that effort, today, the White House is announcing a series of public and private sector commitments and executive actions to advance solar deployment and promote energy efficiency.”

HOORAY!

Last night, I attended a presentation and panel on Climate Change and why our brains tend to ignore it. It was fascinating. I’m looking forward to reading this book by George Marshall, who was leading last night’s conversation: Don’t Even Think About It: How our brains ignore climate change

The presentation was a really terrific conversation, but definitely still left me feeling a bit nervous and like I need way more tools to help others understand the importance of discussing topics of climate change!

My nerves were quieted and my hope, for a near future in which we call stop ignoring this

Major-Global-Will-Affect-Every-Single-One-Of-Us-Issue,

has been reinforced by today’s news from the White House. Here’s more:

“The executive announcements today altogether will cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year – and will save homes and businesses more than $10 billion on their energy bills. Those executive actions are:

  • Partnering with up to three military bases to create a veterans solar job training pilot;
  • Investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural areas across the country, including 240 solar projects;
  • Proposing an energy conservation standard for commercial unit air conditioners that has the potential to save more energy than any previously issued standard;
  • Supporting funding for clean energy and energy efficiency for affordable housing;
  • Strengthening commercial and residential buildings codes; and
  • Harmonizing the power of national service and volunteerism to tackle climate change and its effects.”

Last night, George Marshall who goes by the twitter handle @climategeorge, said something to the affect:

Climate change is like the big elephant in the room… and right now, we’re INSIDE the elephant. It’s time to get out of the elephant and start talking about it!

So, are you ready to climb out of the elephant, the “let’s all ignore climate change elephant”, and look it square in the eye? YES! Begin to talk about climate change and help lead the discussion for solutions!

Read more about these new climate change addressing actions from the Obama Administration here.

 

Surface Temp “Pauses” But Climate Change Continues

Recently, scientists have warned that climate change is still happening despite the fact that surface temperatures have “pased” over the last decade. They point to the warming of the oceans which is taking on more heat energy.

Just this week, the UN has pointed out that in 2013 CO2 has reached record levels (see Greenhouse Gases Hit Record High Amid Fears of CO2 Saturation Point)

Here’s a video:

The Scientific Process of Climate Change: Jerry Meehl, Climatologist at NCAR

A Summer of Dumpster Diving & Sustainability (online video)

This summer (2014) several interns supported by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency did projects at Chicago-area colleges (including Moraine Valley), each focusing on a waste reduction program aimed at increasing recycling and developing zero-waste plans. These interns presented the findings from their work and offer new insight on sustainability efforts in higher education.

A Summer of Dumpster Diving & Sustainability: IL EPA Interns Present Their Work

The audio of this event is available below:

Sustainability Tips for Teachers

Being a teacher myself, I know that none of us have the summer off. We spend the summers planning for the next year. If you have been toying with bringing more sustainability into your classroom, check out these helpful tips http://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-school-teachers.html. I might also suggest thinking about a service learning project as well. That will bring in the social justice/equity pillar of sustainability. Don’t forget that sustainability is the intersection of social equity/justice, ecological stability/green, and economic vitality. Happy planning!

IGEN’s Electric Vehicle Road Trip to make a stop at Moraine Valley

June 20, 2014

IGEN’s Electric Vehicle Road Trip to make a stop at Moraine Valley

Moraine Valley Community College will be a stop on the Illinois Green Economy Network’s (IGEN) Electric Vehicle Road Trip June 23-25. Illinois State Representative Kelly Burke and Moraine Valley administrators will welcome the Nissan Leaf when it pulls onto the Palos Hills campus for a “charge” around 11:40 a.m., on Wednesday, June 25.

[Moraine Valley will have a few Nissan Leaf vehicles available for visitors to check out. Also, useful information on incentives to help offset the cost of an EV as well as interesting facts will be provided. A formal program will begin at 11:40 a.m. in front of the charging stations in the C-Lot. No RSVP necessary.]

The Leaf is making its way up the Illinois Community College EV Highway to demonstrate the progress Illinois community colleges have made in strengthening electric vehicle infrastructure. It will leave the southernmost community college with an electric vehicle charge station—John A. Logan College in Carterville— on June 23 and will proceed north toward the northernmost “charged” community college, arriving at the College of Lake County on the afternoon of June 25. Along the way, it will stop at all 11 community colleges with charging stations and the Governor’s mansion in Springfield.

Moraine Valley became an EV-friendly campus two years ago when two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations were installed in the Building C parking lot.

“This is a great event to bring attention to the EV Grid in Illinois. The state and supporting partners have put forth an amazing effort to grow the grid available for individuals driving electric vehicles. It’s very exciting for Moraine Valley to be a partner in supporting this effort with two of our own EV chargers,” said Stephenie Presseller, manager of sustainability at Moraine Valley.

Event organizers hope the Electric Vehicle Road Trip will promote further deployment of EV infrastructure, and raise awareness about EV technology and the environmental issues that necessitate a move to a more sustainable transportation infrastructure. They also hope it will ease potential EV consumers’ fears such as range anxiety and battery concerns.

“The electric vehicle has come a long way in just the last five years, but even as sales rise, some pesky problems persist,” said Nate Keener, director of sustainability at Lewis & Clark Community College and lead organizer for the event. “The fear of running out of charge and being stuck without a place to recharge keeps many people from purchasing. With this trip, we hope to chase away some of those fears and show it actually is possible to drive great distances in electric and hybrid vehicles.”

The effort is being supported by Chargepoint, Nissan and the Illinois Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s Offices. Governor Pat Quinn touts Illinois’ leadership in the electric vehicle arena. “In the Midwest, Illinois is leading the charge for electric vehicle infrastructure. The State of Illinois has an estimated 4,928 registered plug-in cars and 450 public and private charging stations, including the densest network of fast charging stations in the United States. Our goal is to be home to the largest network of fast chargers in the nation. As our state and nation face rising gas prices, Illinois consumers are ready to embrace this common-sense, clean energy transportation option,” he said.

IGEN is a consortium of all 39 Illinois community college districts across the state working to grow the green economy of Illinois. Its mission is to provide a platform for collaboration among all Illinois community colleges and their partners to drive growth of the green economy.  IGEN’s unique statewide cooperative approach leverages the power of a sustainability network with the deep community connections of individual colleges to expand deployment of clean energy technologies, increase employment opportunities, improve environmental and human health, foster community engagement, and accelerate market competitiveness.

For more information about the EV Road Trip, contact Keener at (618) 468-2782 or nkeener@lc.edu. To learn more about the Illinois Green Economy Network, visit www.igencc.org.

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