Wired: Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green

This month’s Wired Magazine cover story, Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green is already making waves out in the green media. It basically says that the world is complex and some of the things that we think are useful, healthy, green practices are not as green as we may think. The concern that some people have is that this will be seen as a sort of way to opt out of working to be more green. But, this is great food for thought. The bottom line under many of this is that global warming is very serious, so we need to get to work.

‘Recycling’ Energy Seen Saving Companies Money

I heard this story last week and wanted to post this to the blog, ‘Recycling’ Energy Seen Saving Companies Money. This story looks at ways that we could use the waste products from industry to create energy, BUT there is one catch. This is illegal, because our laws give our utility companies a monopoly on energy production. So, let’s say that you ran a company that produced excess heat. You decided you’d like to use that heat run a generator to create electricity (which is technologically possible). This seems like a winning scenario, right? Use waste to save coal to produce extra energy. Pretty smart, but totally illegal. And it appears that the energy lobby is not going to be very friendly in changing any laws.

What do you do with that bridesmaid dress?

You support your sister or your best friend as being a witness to the wonderful event of their marriage into a life as a family unit and now you are stuck with a puffy lime green one shouldered dress that you will never wear again. Sound familiar? Instead of that dress sitting unworn in your closet for years, you now have a green option to get that dress reused. Donate your dress to any one of a variety of organizations and benefit.

Support Locally
You can donate your dress and even your time to help outfit young ladies in Chicago with prom dresses through the Glass Slipper Project. What a great way for someone else to benefit from the purchase of your formal gown. http://www.glassslipperproject.org

Support Globally
The Bridesmaid Party – Working women in Afghanistan or Kenya will use the material and turn that dress into a treasure for someone else. And you will get a credit of $25 toward a $40 purchase from its online store. Not a bad deal! http://thebridesmaidparty.com/donate/#

DIY
Or if you are good with the sewing machine, make another beautiful piece of clothing for yourself or a loved one. Check out this article from the ultimate crafter herself, Martha Stewart, for ideas: http://www.marthastewart.com/article/bridesmaid-revisited

One Book, One College: Garbage Land

We are happy to announce the 2008-2009 One Book, One College selection, Elizabeth Royte’s Garbage Land. You can visit the One Book Web site at http://www.morainevalley.edu/garbageland.

Writer Elizabeth Royte invites us to follow her on a trek into the garbage cans, dumpsters, landfills, sewer plants, and refuse piles of our country. Sift through the piles of dirty diapers, plastic bags, and discarded wrappers and containers that are accumulating under the surface of the earth in our landfills. Royte asks a simple question: What happens to my trash, my recycling, and the stuff I flush down the toilet? Her answers are frightening because her answers are the same answers for each and every American. We are each responsible for creating increasing amounts of garbage that threaten our personal and our planet’s wellbeing.

GreenFile From EBSCO

The EBSCO database company has made it’s GreenFile available for free. The GreenFile,

offers well-researched information covering all aspects of human impact to the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles includes content on global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more. The database provides indexing and abstracts for more than 384,000 records, as well as Open Access full text for more than 4,700 records.

You can search the GreenFile for free.

I thought that this might be a handy database to send along to our campus community.

Singing Frogs in Our Backyard

 Since the Cook County Forest Preserves are in our backyard, I thought that this 848 story was worth sharing: The Frog Chorus Sings.  Evidently, there are folks out wandering in the dark listening to the frogs:

Some days it can seem that good news in is short supply.  But, here’s a story with an up side. Over the past twenty years or so, thousands of volunteers have worked in forest preserves around the Chicago area.  They’ve been restoring natural habitat, and now it’s starting to pay off.  The number of frogs around here is holding fairly steady. How do we know? Because a small group of naturalists wanders out into the marshes after dark to check on them.

Since frogs are amphibians, they are more closely linked to the health of water and the larger environment.   Thus, the tracking of different frog species can tell us about the health of our forests.

Turning the Rust Belt Green

I wanted to pass along this story from Chicago Public Radio’s 848: Turning the Rust Belt Green

Here’s a quote from their site:

It’s tough to find an industry these days that hasn’t been touched by the declining U.S. economy. But manufacturing and the Rust Belt states that depend on it have been hit especially hard. So some Midwest states have turned to a new type of manufacturing and the so-called green collar jobs it creates.

Think Outside the Bottle

Think Outside the Bottle is a coalition of individuals and organizations working to change our habits in using bottled water.  Here are some facts about bottled water:

  • Bottled water corporations are changing the very way people think about water. Corporations like Coke, Nestlé and Pepsi are manufacturing demand for an essential resource that flows directly from our taps. What’s more many bottled water brands actually come from the same source as public tap water though these brands are sold back to the public at thousands of times the cost.
  • Plastic bottles also require massive amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport. Billions of these bottles wind up in landfills every year.
  • And when bottled water marketing convinces one in five people that the only place to get drinking water is from a bottle, it threaten