“If you eat these healthy foods, you’re going to grow up to be big and strong, like me”

Michelle Obama to promote gardening and eating healthy, local foods on “Sesame Street”

Michelle Obama, who is planting a fruit and vegetable garden on the grounds of the White House, will appear in the November10 season debut of “Sesame Street” — the educational show for kids that is broadcast in more than 120 countries around the world.  The Obama’s garden at the White House is the first of its kind since WWII.   Michelle is leading by example- grow and eat local and sustainable foods- and is doing a great job at it!

We should all be so lucky to have the time and space for our own fruit and vegetable gardens… but if we don’t we can at least seek out our nearest Farmers Market. There are still plenty of them in operation through the fall. You can check this link to find one near you: Local Harvest

And go here to read the whole article about the First Lady’s appearance on Sesame Street: Mrs. Obama on Sesame Street!

Greening the University

I recently came across the article “Greening the University” in Change magazine (which is one of the best publications that focuses on innovation within colleges and universities).  I think that this article really summarizes much of the energy and direction held by many of us in US colleges and universities, including those of us at Moraine Valley.  This article focuses on the work at St. John’s University, but I think it is representative of a larger effort across the country.  Here’s a short quote:

There is a growing awareness at the board level, as there is throughout society, that sustainability and conserving energy are very important priorities. It is a wonderful way to use the university’s enormous resources —the faculty, students, and the administration—to give back to society. Our primary function has always been education, but beyond that there is so much more a university can do.—Thomas McInerney, chair, St. John’s University Board of Trustees 

Read the full article here: Greening the University by Jame Pellow and Brij Anand


(reposted from MNN Daily Brief, e-Newsletter, September 24, 2009) POLAR MELTDOWN: Ice sheets in Greenland and western Antarctica are melting faster than scientists previously thought, and some places are experiencing “a runaway effect,” according to a team of British scientists who analyzed laser readings taken by NASA satellites. Some Antarctic ice sheets have been losing 30 feet of thickness annually since 2003, and while many areas are up to a mile thick to begin with, the melting is speeding up – the rate of Antarctic thinning was 50 percent higher between 2003 and 2007 than it was from 1995 to 2003. The problem isn’t warmer air, but warmer water, which wears down the ice from the outside in. “To some extent it’s a runaway effect,” says the lead author of the study, which was published online today in the journal Nature. “The question is how far will it run?” (Sources: Associated Press, USA TodaySan Francisco Chronicle)

<!– –>

Call Senators Today or Less EPA Greenhouse Gas Protection

An amendment proposed by Senator Murkowski (Alaska) is hitting the Senate floor in the next few days.  If it passes, the EPA will no long be able to regulate greenhouse gases.  You know, the ones that cause climate change.  Please call or write your Senators to vote against the Murkowski Amendment.  This link will bring you the the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of all of the US State Senators:   http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.

Single Stream Recycling

Today, we had a Green Team meeting. (The Green Team is the advisory committee for our college’s sustainability initiative.) We discussed the “single stream” recycling program that our college uses. Which got me asking, what is single stream recycling? This YouTube video explains. I thought I’d share:

Going Green Can be Tough

Many of us in higher education are watching the work of the 392 colleges and universities that signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. In this commitment, colleges and universities have pledged to reduce their carbon footprint and establish a more sustainable model of operations. While we are doing great work here at Moraine Valley, we have not yet signed this commitment. There are 1000s of institutions of higher education and most of us are watching and learning from the 392 participants. Today, Inside HigherEd reported (Climate Action for Some) that only 88 of the 392 met the reporting deadline for their climate action plans. It appears that there are a combination of factors at work. Some organizaitons will be filing their plans soon, but are just delayed. Others are working to educate their faculty and staff and trying to get commitments from them to change practice. Some are finding it challenging to calculate their carbon output. Almost all of the organizaitons (whether they made the deadline or not) stressed their commitment to reaching a carbon neutral level of operation.

Arctic Melting Further Supports Idea of Climate Change

As a scientist, I am very critical of where information comes from.  When I hear something in the news, I do some checking to see if what they are saying is indeed fact or if it is
propaganda from a corporation to benefit their own interests.  It is important for us to use our analytical abilities and question information in the world.  I appreciate when I hear info about climate change that comes from peer reviewed scientific data.  Here is an article about increased melting of the glaciers from a scientist.  Give it a listen:  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112752241&sc=emaf

Truly Green Homes

These homes are upcycled, meaning objects are reused for a different purpose instead of being thrown into a landfill.  Phoenix Commotion, the company founded by Dan Philips in East Town, Texas, doesn’t just build homes for customers, but requires that the customers participate in the building process to take early ownership and feel the investment.  The town has even supported Dan by creating a center for the drop off of construction waste, which will then be turned into beautiful homes.  You might think the houses are junk (well they are literally), but Dan has become a master builder who meets all building codes.  Check these beauties out! http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/09/02/garden/20090903-recycled-slideshow_index.html

Article:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/garden/03recycle.html?_r=1

Daniel Burnham Sustainability Conference

Dear Friend of the Forest Preserve District:


The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is proud to present its Daniel Burnham Sustainability Conference, in partnership with the University of Illinois and the Conservation Design Forum, Inc. This conference commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the Burnham Plan, which envisioned the creation of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County as the first system of its kind in the nation, now the largest urban conservation preserve in the country. The purpose of this conference is to share ideas and formulate strategies that enable Cook County to host the most sustainable forest preserve system in the nation.  Please see attached flier.


Dates:                    September 21, 22, 23 2009

Times:                    September 21: 7 pm, September 22: 10am -3:30pm, September 23: 10am-noon

Locations:            September 21: Brookfield Zoo, September 22 & 23: Chicago Botanic Garden

RSVP:                     Please call (708) 771.1511

Website:               www.soclose2you.org


We seek the participation of people familiar with the Forest Preserve District at this workshop so that, together, we can:


  1. Share ideas and formulate strategies that will enable the District   to become the most sustainable forest preserve system in the nation.

  2. Create a model that can be adopted by other preserve systems.


Please join us at the conference kick-off reception at Brookfield Zoo on Monday, September 21, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. Dr. David W. Orr, an internationally renown expert in sustainability, will be the special guest speaker!


On Tuesday and Wednesday, September 22 and 23, we’ll meet at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, to share ideas and formulate strategies. Your ideas will make a real difference here.


All events are open to the public, however, space is limited. If you have not RSVP’d please do so by calling (708) 771-1511.


Registration:  If you have already registered for the conference through the District (Tracy McIntyre), you are confirmed and you have a place at the conference. You need not re-register. Those who have not yet registered should contact Tracy McIntyre at:  (708) 771-1511, or tmcinty@cookcountygov.com.


Facilitator Request: Some of you received an email calling for volunteers to act as facilitators and scribes during the Small Group Break-out Sessions on Tuesday. These sessions are the goal, objective and implementation strategy-setting. Your help to act as a facilitator or a scribe is important and greatly appreciated. Please contact me, John Kersh, at kersh1@illinois.edu if you’re interested in volunteering, or if you have questions about this.


We trust this will clear up any questions.  We look forward to seeing you at the conference.



John Kersh



Cathy Geraghty

Forest Preserve District of Cook County

536 N. Harlem Ave.

River Forest, IL 60305


PH:  708-771-1097

Fax: 708-771-1360

We look forward to seeing you there!