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.” 

2016-11-24-1479952670-1827720-screenshot20160930at25352pm.png

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.

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.”

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:

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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