Birds may be the most welcome harbingers of spring. Colorful to see, a delight to hear, birds lend grace and beauty to our surroundings and provide natural insect control. To make your residence or neighborhood an inviting sanctuary for birds, create places for them to nest, feed, drink, and wash. Add to your yard or landscape a birdhouse or two, feeders, and birdbaths. Welcome spring with sights and sounds.
Topic: Environmental Tips
The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is collecting political signs and sending them to New Vision Renewable energy, www.nvre.org.
New Vision Renewable Energy, a nonprofit organization based in Philippi, West Virginia., has distributed solar LED lights in over 28 countries around the world. Ruston Seaman, president and CEO of New Vision Renewable Energy, noted that the light panel is created, in part, from recycled political signs and assembled by disadvantaged students in West Virginia. We hope you will take a look at their website to get a more complete understanding of what New Vision Renewable Energy is about.
If you do not plan to re-use your signs following the election, we hope you will consider making them available to donate to this organization.
Your signs may be brought to the Defenders Recycling Drive in Woodstock on April 9, from 9 AM to Noon, at the Soil and Water Conservation District building, located at the southeast corner of Route 14 and Dean Street.
If that opportunity does not work for you, signs may be delivered to Chicago Logistic Service, 501 Davis Road, Elgin, Illinois, any time at the back of the building.
We will also be able to accept them at the Earth Day event, at Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake on April 23, from 11 AM to 4 PM.
As our population and industrial activities increase, more pressure is placed on the environment that sustains us. We must elect leaders who will ensure that development does not come at the expense of nature. Translate your opinion into action and cast your vote for a candidate that has a healthy environment as a goal and priority in their campaign.
If a healthy environment is important to you, show it in your vote, talk about it, and make the environment a priority with your action. Finally, support organizations that fight for policy that protect our natural world locally, regionally, nationally, worldly.
We’ve heard that in winter your car needs to warm up. But in fact, idling in winter has no benefit to newer model cars. Auto experts say no more than 30 seconds of idling is needed before you start driving. The engine will warm up faster being driven.
This is because most modern cars do not have carburetors, which needed to warm up to work well. New cars use electronic fuel injection. This makes the problem of warming up the car before driving irrelevant.
Even short periods of idling are significantly damaging. Indeed, it is better to turn your engine off and start it again. If every car in the U.S. idles for 6 minutes per day, 3 billion gallons of fuel is wasted annually and costs drivers $10 billion. That’s lots of vehicle exhaust containing pollutants that are harmful to your family’s health and the environment that are unnecessarily being released into the atmosphere also contributing to climate change.
Information from the Washington Post – Dec. 29, 2014
Speak your mind if you want to see renewables change the face of energy. And do your research to choose and elect candidates that support clean energy at the local, state and national level. Here’s why. The will of the people concerned about the environment created a demand for solar energy, and what happened? The solar sector beat out the oil and gas extraction industry in 2014 creating almost 50% more jobs in the U.S. than those industries did. These are jobs open to different backgrounds including manufacturing, installation, sales and administration. Be an active participant with information. It matters.
Source: The Solar Foundation: National Solar Jobs Census 2014
Maintain a constant indoor temperature and you’re heating not just your home but also the great outdoors. Heat is constantly lost, especially through doors and windows; the warmer it remains inside, the more heat escapes. It’s a law of thermodynamics, the same principle that makes tank water heaters less efficient than on-demand models.
This is why it takes less energy to reheat a house in a short time than to keep it warm all the time, and why energy-conservation organizations like the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimate a 2% savings on heating bills for each degree you lower the thermostat for eight hours at a time.
Assuming that you use appropriate cycles and only run the machine when it’s full, the dishwasher wins. This is true even if you include the energy used in the production of the dishwasher in the first place.
To maximize the benefits, choose a model that will last and then look after it. Try to run it fully loaded, use the economy setting when possible and – for maximum green points – use the timer setting to run the dishwasher in the middle of the night. This way you’ll be using the grid at a time of low demand which means the least efficient and dirtiest power stations won’t be running, and as a result, each unit of power will have a slightly lower carbon footprint.
If you have to hand wash, please don’t let the water run.
Share resources, reduce consumption, and be a good steward of the earth by practicing healthy habits and being an example for others to follow, including the kids.
- Choose three food items and commit to buying them organic.
- Make a change to natural skin moisturizers like coconut oil.
- Trade your bottled water habit for an at-home filtering pitcher.
- Brew your own Fair Trade coffee and carry your own cup.
- Remember your reusable bags.
- Turn off the water when you shave and brush your teeth.
- Cut back on paper towels and use cloth napkins instead of paper.
- Become a weekend vegetarian or a Monday night vegetarian.
- Commit to learning more about green power: solar and wind.
- And don’t forget the kids! Donate or consign toys and clothing they’ve outgrown.
Give a gift to a local charity. Find the organizations that work toward the goals, missions, and values your friends and family want to support, and make a donation in the gift recipient’s name. Do this even for the kids to take the emphasis off consumption.
Skip paper and plastic products. Bring out the family China, silverware, and cloth napkins–even for breakfast!
Take a Christmas Walk and Make it a Tradition. Get outside to appreciate what nature has to offer. Gaze at the clouds and the stars; notice the local flora and fauna, and hear the quiet sounds of nature. Notice what makes a holiday different from our regular hustle and bustle days.
Give the Gift of Time. Relax with friends and family, and be kind to yourself by spreading visits out. Only memories last forever, so make good ones. Peace everyone, and happy holidays.
Possibly half of the paper America consumes each year is used to wrap and decorate presents! That makes the annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags over 4 million tons.
Here’s how to lessen the impact:
- Use environmentally friendly wrapping paper, paper from recycled content.
Avoid buying glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper. It’s difficult to recycle, and it has no value for use as mulch since it contains heavy metals.
- Reuse gift wrap when possible. Opening large gift packages with care will help, and save those fancy ribbons and bows for re-use.
- Make the gift wrap a part of your gift by using a scarf or towel to wrap the gift. Click here to learn Furoshiki – the Japanese art of wrapping and carrying things with a square of cloth.
- Use leftover wallpaper, fabric scraps, old maps, sheet music or even the Sunday funnies with a festive bow – use raffia, twine or other natural materials instead of non-recyclable ribbon.
- Gift bags with a little tissue paper can be used year after year and are a quick and easy way to wrap. Save boxes and ribbons to reuse.
If everyone wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or fabric gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.
Check out our other holiday tips here.