April Earth Month Events

CTL Presentation: What is Sustainability & Why Does Moraine Valley Care? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2-3PM, L255

College sustainability manager, Stephenie Presseller, will: help participants understand the working definition of sustainability; share examples of un/sustainable products; explain how sustainability is a framework for solving some of the most pressing problems of our history; and, showcase what Moraine Valley is doing to make sure they are supporting a healthy today and future for all of us.

Real Talk: Climate & Advocacy
(oh, & food)

Wednesday, April 18th , 11am-11:50am, noon-12:50pm, Building L, Library Lounge

Dr. Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist will present the real science and facts about climate change and its impacts on the Chicagoland region. Lincoln Cohen will speak about his experience in the Climate Reality Project, an intensive advocacy and awareness training program first developed by Al Gore. He will also discuss opportunities for the audience to engage in climate policy advocacy. Both will be available for more questions and discussion following the 12 PM. Refreshments will be provided after the 12PM presentation in the Library Cafe.

Swap-A-Thon – a free-cycle event sponsored by the Go Green! Club

Wednesday, April 25th 11AM – 3PM – G- Building lower floor

The Go Green! Club is collecting items that can be re-used or re-purposed but are unwanted by their current owner. Collected items will be sorted and then displayed in the G-building for any visitors to come and take what they think they can use.
Acceptable items include things like:
Clean, undamaged clothing/shoes (all sizes, ages, and types); usable bags (purses, backpacks, etc.); office supplies; small electronics; playable music/videos; readable texts; home decor; kitchen supplies; other (toys, instruments, art, jewelry, camping gear, etc.)
NOT ALLOWED:
Broken, dirty/ripped, socks/underwear, pornography/offensive materials, sharp objects, tools.

LOOK FOR BOXES AROUND CAMPUS TO DONATE… THEN ATTEND THE EVENT TO FIND STUFF YOU WANT TO TAKE HOME!!

*Entertainment provided by Tri Tone Music Club*

Arbor Day Tree Tags

All month long! Look for tags on trees around campus that help explain the value of trees- trees clean our air; trees make our cities safer… what else? Read the tags and find out!

And, just for fun… a calendar from our Friends at the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County

Moraine Valley Arboretum – the 1st Community College in IL

NEWS RELEASE REPOSTED

January 19, 2018

Moraine Valley receives arboretum accreditation

The number and variety of trees on its campus has earned Moraine Valley Community College Arboretum Accreditation-Level I status through the ArbNet program, which is associated with The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. Moraine Valley is the first community college and one of five colleges/universities in Illinois with this designation.

Thousands of trees dot Moraine Valley’s campus, including 1,322 in 77 distinct species that have been plotted and mapped. Many trees and woody shrubs already are labeled, particularly in the Shakespeare Garden, for passersby to learn common and species names. More plotting, mapping and labeling is underway.

Over the years, the college’s Campus Operations department has enhanced campus greenery, backed by an emphasis on the effort in the Campus Strategic Plan, Master Facilities Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Tree Campus USA Tree Care Plan. Collectively, they indicate that maintaining a healthy, thriving tree canopy and beautiful campus for the community is a priority to the college and its leadership, explained Stephenie Presseller, Moraine Valley Sustainability manager. The College Climate Action Plan also calls for more use of the campus as a “living learning lab,” which entails using campus features to teach students, staff, faculty, and community members. Becoming an arboretum is an extension of that effort.

“Moraine Valley has a strong commitment to being a good steward of the environment and especially to caring for the planet’s tree resources, including the many trees that make our campus so inviting,” said Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, Moraine Valley president. “This accreditation is a direct result of those efforts, and we are very proud of this achievement for our college.”

Presseller and her intern Kevin Zehr (Palos Hills), who was a student in Moraine Valley’s Geographic Information System career program, have worked since last winter to make this designation a reality. Zehr gathered data to help make the spreadsheet and maps of the campus trees while Presseller worked on the application.

“Gaining ArbNet Arboretum status is a great recognition for the years of care and maintenance of our beautiful tree canopy. Trees have always been a priority feature of our campus landscape, and I have no doubt it will continue to be in the future,” Presseller said.

PHOTO CAPTION: An aerial view of Moraine Valley Community College’s tree-filled campus.

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For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist/sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or VizzaM@morainevalley.edu.

Trees, Trees, Wonderful Trees!

Fall season is here and the trees are changing. The beautiful colors are reminders of what that tree has done for us throughout the warmer months, when their leaves were green… provide oxygen! Through photosynthesis, trees remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and produce oxygen (O2) as an off-gas.

That’s great news for us, since…well…we need oxygen to survive.

It’s also great news for the climate as these trees are doing a wonderful job of sequestering the CO2 that is causing climate change.

According to the Illinois Natural Defense Council, “One 30” maple sequesters 1,452 pound. An average tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four. An acre of trees also produces enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for a year.”

Good thing Moraine Valley Community College takes its tree canopy seriously. For the past 7 years, the College has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a TreeCampusUSA. TreeCampusUSA designation informs the community that the College has a robust plan and budget for managing the care and growth of its tree canopy.

Arbor Day. The college planted a swamp oak tree and placed a plaque on a rock to commenorated the 50th anniversary of the college and celebrate Arbor Day. The Children’s Learning Center participated and placed pine cones with peanut butter and seeds on the tree.

Go Green! Club & Welcome to Fall Semester

The Go Green! Club at Moraine Valley Community College is a great way to get involved in campus fun & advance sustainability on campus. The Club meets at 2PM in L242 (in the library) on Wednesdays. The first meeting is on 8/30 @ 2.

We have a great group of students that work on many different projects throughout the year. Last term we organized and held a “Swap-A-Thon” which was a huge event where people could come and take donated items for free.

We’ve also been on field trips to different events that featured Green & Sustainability related themes. And we’ve done forest clean ups, hosted educational activities around campus, and planted trees.

Each term’s events and focus is set by the club so if you have any ideas, they are most certainly welcome!

Join in and share with others you might know to be interested.

Contact Stephenie Presseller, sustainability manager and Go Green! Club advisor, pressellers@morainevalley.edu or 708-974-5412 for more information.

Overflow Action Month

For immediate release

April 3, 2017

Overflow Action Month offers daily tips to conserve water, protect Chicago River

On Friday, March 31, Friends of the Chicago River declared April as Overflow Action Month initiating a 30 day campaign to engage people in water conservation activities to help the Chicago River. Ranging from sharing “How To” tips for water conservation at home to taking the Overflow Action Pledge to joining a virtual happy hour with water-friendly beverages, Overflow Action activities are intended to expand the number of people participating in Overflow Action Days. This initiative was launched last year to conserve and protect clean, fresh water and reduce pollution to the river.

“The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) says that just .33″ of rain can cause a combined sewer overflow to the river which is harmful to people and wildlife,” said Margaret Frisbie, Friends’ executive director, “and stormwater pollution can be just as bad. Our goal with Overflow Action Days is to educate people about that impact and teach them how they can help reduce the possibility. Overflow Action Days, like Ozone Action Days, are an excellent reminder that there is action you can take.”

To date a host of partners have signed on, including the Center for Neighborhood Technology/Rain Ready, League of Women Voters, Midwest Grows Green, MWRD, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Openlands, Patagonia, Recovery on Water, River North Residents Association, Riverbank Neighbors, Shedd Aquarium, and USEPA/Water Sense, and hundreds of people have taken the Overflow Action Day pledge.

“Thanks to environmental laws, restoration work, and changes to wastewater management, the Chicago River’s water quality has improved dramatically in recent years. But we can’t take this progress for granted, especially in our current political climate,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said. “A safe and healthy waterway is an environmental and economic benefit. I am proud to join Friends of the Chicago River for Overflow Action Month to help keep the river free from pollution and available for all to enjoy.”

Despite the massive improvements to water quality due to the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan, wastewater disinfection, and the increasing use of green infrastructure, the Chicago River is still subject to combined sewer overflows and stormwater runoff. This pollution can be minimized if we reduce the amount of water that goes into our sewer pipes from our homes and capture stormwater where it falls. Overflow Action Days teach people how they can reduce their impact on our sewer system and the river.

“If we want to stop combined sewer overflows altogether, reducing inputs to the sewer system is crucial,” said MWRD Board President Mariyana Spyropoulos. “The Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP, aka Deep Tunnel) can handle our stormwater and wastewater most of the time but we still need the help of actions such as this.” The MWRD joined Friends early on to support Overflow Action Days and in December pledged to reduce their own water use by installing 15 low flow urinals from Sloan Valve Company at their corporate headquarters in downtown Chicago and by issuing a challenge for other government agencies to follow suit. The MWRD treats 1.4 billion gallons a day at their seven wastewater treatment plants.

The first Overflow Action is to sign up for Overflow Action Alerts at www.chicagoriver.org. For more information on what to do or join as a partner, contact Joanne So Young Dill, director of strategic initiatives, at (312) 939-0490, ext. 23.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin explains during the Overflow Action Month press conference aboard a Wendella boat that environmental laws, restoration work, and changes to wastewater management has improved the Chicago River’s water quality in recent years. To his left are MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos, Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director Margaret Frisbie and U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos addresses a full boat on the importance of reducing inputs to the combined sewer system to support the mission of Overflow Action Days. Pollution and flooding can be minimized by capturing stormwater where it falls and reducing water use in our homes especially during storms.

Merry Your Season Be Merry & Green!

Americans generate a lot of waste during the holidays, and one of the big culprits is holiday entertaining. Plastic cutlery can hang around a landfill for thousands of holidays to come, and even paper plates aren’t earth-friendly!

Biodegradable cutlery and plates are one alternative. Better yet:
Use cloth instead of paper napkins. Reusing is always better than recycling! Also you can borrow plates and silverware. If you’re short, ask a few friends to bring a set of each. Here are some other ideas for how to make the party green.

And, here are a few more ideas make sure your holiday has a great impact on hearts but not the planet. Also, note the reminder for the office, too!

Gifts:

  1. The gift of an experience – for those that  have it all and  need nothing, how about movie tickets or tickets to a play or passes to a yoga classes? Check out 30 other ideas here.
  2. Holiday cards are really great to receive! But what do you do when the holiday is over? 18 creative reuse ideas right here– and some would make fun gifts, too!
  3. Wrapping paper is beautiful, but so is fabric and scarfs! Here are 15 ways you can wrap gifts that are fun, sometimes reusable and festive!

Around the Office (whether you work at Moraine Valley Community College or not):

  1. When you leave for the break make sure to unplug everything: tvs, computers and monitors, fridges, coffee makers, and anything else you have plugged in. This saves a tremendous amount of energy and reduces the risks for fire and other issues.
  2. Oh, and please, turn off the lights!

In the spirit of love, happiness and always hope for a bright future- may you and yours have a love filled, safe and happy green holiday!

Sustainably yours,
Stephenie

Hope & What to Do About Climate Change in 2017

A colleague, Clara Changxin Fang, recently posted an article talking about her top Ten Reasons to Feel Hopeful About Climate Change in 2017, https://residenceonearth.net/2016/12/07/hope-climate-change/

I found it to be uplifting in a time where I even more concerned about the future of climate policy and climate change action in the U.S.

Of the 10, I think my top 2 favorites:
1. All power does not reside in the President (remember checks and balances, separation of powers!!)
and her number 10.,
2. The next election is only 2 years away.

That’s right, we’ll have another chance to vote for candidates that will support and fight for solid climate policy.

So, what can we all do about climate change in 2017? Or even right now?

TALK ABOUT IT.

In a recent article from Katherine Kayhoe of the Huffington Post, she wrote “Seventy-two percent of people in the US are cautious, concerned, or alarmed about climate change, according to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication’s Six Americas survey. Yet so few of us talk to our friends and family about it. Why? Because we don’t hear anyone else doing it.” 

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Kayhoe warns to not get into the “Yes it is, No it is not” arguments; they are pointless.

A quote from the Citizen’s Climate Lobby about talking about climate change explains: “Research from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has found that knowledge about the scientific consensus on climate change serves as a “gateway belief,” making people more inclined to accept the fact that climate change is happening and more inclined to support public policy solutions. Here is the specific wording that needs to be communicated:”

97 percent of climate scientists are convinced, based upon the evidence, that human-caused global warming is happening. (Link to Yale Study: Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.)

Check out Kayhoe’s suggested talking points, or Citizen’s Climate Lobby, or the Yale Project… or, wherever you get your creditable information and start talking about it!

(My favorite of Kayhoe’s: “2. Fort Hood in Texas, the biggest army base in the US, is installing wind and solar. Why? To save taxpayers $168 million dollars. Now that’s what I call green.”)

What Will You Do To Celebrate Earth Day Tomorrow?

Tomorrow, April 22nd, is the 46th Earth Day. Make a commitment to do at least one thing, big or small: write to a legislator and ask them to protect the environment or support a sustainable future, make a pledge to buy less stuff, plant something, recycle something you have been meaning to recycle (computer, old paint), or teach someone else something about the environment. Need some other suggestions? Click here: http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/curriculum-and-activities/activities-ngw/1195-top-10-earth-day-activities.html. What will you do?

Happy Pollution Prevention Week! (Sept 21-27, 2015)

Happy Pollution Prevention Week!

(Sept 21-27, 2015)
Courtesy of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR)
(Repost: September 21st, 2015 by Laura B.)
“Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act. Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, celebrated during the third week of September each year (September 21-27, 2015), highlights the efforts of EPA, its state partners, industry, and the public in preventing pollution right from the start.”

Check out the GLRPPR Blog posts this week for great ideas on how to minimize waste and pollution through your daily activities.

Also, “If you’re on social media, use the#P2Week and #25YearsofP2 hashtags to raise awareness of pollution prevention as the cornerstone of environmental sustainability.”

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.