Lessons of Earth Hour

Well, earth hour has come and past. We have turned on the laptop, but still have our candles glowing. Here’s the video about earth hour for those of you who may not be aware.

I have to say that this was a pretty fun experience. Here are the things that I learned from participating.
1) It nice to turn off everything and live in a quiet glowing home.
2) It really isn’t so hard to save a bit on the electric bill by turning things off. We could and should do this more often. I am pretty conscientious about keeping lights off, but I have to say that it is rare that we are in our house at night without at least one light on.
3) The last things I turned off for the night was my laptop and then the music on my iPod. I think that this says something about me, but I am trying to figure out what.
4) My 10 month old daughter was sort of freaked out by the darkness and quiet. I think that this says something about our lifestyle.
5) I texted some of my friends about earth hour and many of them didn’t know about it at all.I would like to say that it was great that Moraine Valley participated in this event. I know that the campus is fairly empty on Saturday nights, but Moraine played a part in promoting and spreading the word about this.

Chicago’s Ailing Forest Preserves

Our college is very fortunate to be on the edge of the Cook County Forest preserves. This provides our students with a local, “natural” habitat to study, and it gives us some amazing views. I love the preserves in the fall and right after snow storms.

Since we benefit from these preserves, I thought that this program from Chicago Public Radio’s 848 program was appropriate for us. Chicago’s Ailing Forest Preserves describes a bit of history of the preserves, but it also discusses the political battle that is going on about who should control this land.  Two issues are really at the heart of this debate.  The first issue is how the preserves should be “restored.”  What species should be removed and on what scale should it happen?  The second issue is the impact to the habitat that political push and pull has.  For instance, what happens when the county robs the forest preserve budget or when the Forest Preserve Board sells land to other municipalities?

This is a debate that should interest all of us that live and work close to the Cook County Forest Preserves.

Listen to Your Lakes

The Shedd Aquarium has a Web site called Listen to Your Lakes. The site has some good info, but I found this page of Great Lake Partners to be more interesting. It includes links to many valuable sites from legislative info, consortia of states, to beach cleanup info,to lists of hazardous waste collection sites where you can drop off household wastes.

Evil, Evil Plastic Bags

Here’s another reason to carry a few canvas or reusable bags with you on your next shopping trip. Recently, on vacation in San Francisco, I unfortunately shot this picture of a crow eating a plastic bag. Many sea life and other animals mistake plastic bags for other animals that they feed on like jellyfish for example. The plastic clogs up their digestive systems and can lead to a slow painful death. Poor ocean creatures!!


A Day of Local, Healthy, and Green All Rolled Into One

For those of you looking for more information about healthy, local and organic solutions, check out the 3rd Annual Chicago Food Policy Summit on MARCH 18 from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM at the Chicago Cultural Center in GAR Hall (78 East Washington Street). There will be expert panels, working groups, networking, and a delicious lunch using local and organic ingredients. Also take part in discussion areas on food access, economic and environmental sustainability, procurement, and community health. There is a suggested $20 donation. To register or to get more information visit www.chicagofoodpolicy.org or call (773) 486-6005 or e-mail lynn@chicagofoodpolicy.org.

Chicago Matters: Growing Forward

This is pretty cool. Chicago Matters, which is a partnership between the Chicago Public Library, Chicago Public Radio, WTTW11, and the Chicago Reporter, will be focusing on sustainability and environmental issues starting this month and running through 2009. It is as if they knew that our campus was going to be focusing on sustainability issues. This will be very cool, since they offer special reports and events that will coincide with the One Book program here at Moraine Valley. Visit the Chicago Matters, Growing Forward Web site for more information. Here’s the description from their site:

Chicago Matters: Growing Forward will explore the fundamental ways we are connected through our region’s shared resources—the land we live on and the way we travel, the air we breath and the water we drink, the food we eat and the waste we generate. We’ll take a critical look at emerging strategies for resource use and management at multiple levels—public, private and personal. As the region grows, who can best manage these resources—the city or state government? Private industry? Community organizations? How do we propose to maintain access to shared resources? What does going green mean to our region? How is it linked—in terms of our technologies, industries and day to day lives—to sustaining the current rate of growth in the region?