“Merchants of Doubt” – movie screening

Posted on October 7, 2015 by - Community Events

“Merchants of Doubt” covers how a group of scientists ran campaigns to deny established scientific fact for decades leading to a misunderstanding of some of the most pressing health and environmental issues of our time, including climate change.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015. Doors open at 6:30pm, screening begins at 7pm.

MCC’s Luecht Conference Center, 8900 US-14, Crystal Lake.

Make a Difference Day

Posted on October 7, 2015 by - Community Events

On Saturday, October 24, you are invited to “make a difference” by helping with restoration efforts at The Defenders’ Kishwaukee headwaters property on Dean Street in Woodstock as part of the national “Make A Difference Day” celebration.

Volunteers will be removing invasive species and collecting trash around the perimeter of our property as well as the Soil and Water Conservation District property. The event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at noon.

Volunteers are asked to wear work clothes, gloves, and boots and meet at the Soil & Water Conservation District building at 2222 Dean Street (corner of Dean and Route 14).

All necessary equipment, water, and snacks will be provided. If you have any questions about this event, please contact the office.

Come help us make a positive difference in our environment and enjoy some time outdoors!

How to Green Your Cup of Joe

Posted on October 7, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

In the US, 83% of adults drink coffee, averaging three cups a day, or 587 million cups.

To “green” your coffee drinking, ditch the disposable cups.  Opt for a reusable mug.  Bonus points if you choose a mug made of ceramic or stainless steel instead of plastic.

Next, buy coffee that carries the fair trade certification.  That means in return for providing good working conditions and just wages, producers get paid more, and when farmers get paid more they will produce less and that means more land is preserved.

Choose 100% Arabica beans, which are shade grown.  That means the coffee comes from plantations with the tree canopy and associated biodiversity still intact.

Finally, cheap coffee might be less expensive, but the same can’t be said of its effects on farmers and the environment, which often take the brunt of the cost in the form of exploitation and deforestation. Shoulder some of the financial burden, and avoid buying coffee from inexpensive sources.

Clean Energy and Environment Town Hall Meeting

Posted on September 28, 2015 by - In the News

State Representatives Barbara Wheeler and Michael Tryon, and State Senator Pamela Althoff will be hosting a Clean Energy Forum on Thursday, October 1st, from 6-8pm in the Shah Center at McHenry County Community College. Experts from several environmental organizations will give information on the proposed Illinois Clean Jobs bill. Rep. Wheeler, Rep. Tryon, and Sen. Althoff will give their take on Illinois energy issues. The Shah Center is located at 4100 W Shamrock Lane in McHenry. The public is invited to attend this event on Thursday, October 1, from 6-8pm. The speaking program will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., while refreshments and a tour of MCC’s solar installation will be provided thirty minutes before and after the speaking program.

This Town Hall event is being held because state legislators will be making important decisions about the future of energy in Illinois this year. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently made history by announcing that for the first time, it will require carbon to be treated as a pollutant. This gives Illinois the chance to move towards a cleaner, more reliable and affordable energy economy while creating thousands of jobs.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact the Illinois Environmental Council at iec@ilenviro.org or RSVP online at ilenviro.org/mchenryenergy

Expose Children to Nature

Posted on September 28, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

One of the best ways to teach kids to be responsible stewards of the planet is to expose them to all nature has to offer.  Because of busy schedules, safety concerns, and changing demographics, most children can’t wander around forests and meadows the way they did a generation or two ago.  It may require advance planning, but let kids get a chance to hike on a trail, skip stones in a creek, or hunt for bugs and worms. You don’t need to spend lots of money or travel far; enjoy adventures like a backyard campout or a scavenger hunt whenever the weather warrants.

Jump in and learn a bit more by taking advantage of the many programs McHenry County organizations have to offer, and get ready to explore and learn about the unique natural beauty of our area.  Follow up with discoveries in your own neighborhood and get into the many parks and trails to search out and find the special characteristics and beauty of the prairies, waterways, animals and flora of our county and state.

Have fun, and enjoy the outdoors!

Big Fall Book Sale

Posted on September 23, 2015 by - Community Events, Member Events

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County are holding their annual Big Fall Book Sale at the Algonquin Township Road District garage, 3702 U.S. Route 14, between Crystal Lake and Cary (drive straight back to the last garage on the right).

This year, there will be twice as many books! There is an amazing variety of books and music – everything from kids’ books to popular fiction, science to biography, CDs to vinyl record albums, and everything in between!

Friday, Sept 25: 6pm-8pm $10 admission fee for non-members

Saturday, Sept 26: 8am-4pm

Monday-Saturday, Sept 28 through Oct 3: 10 am– 4 pm (closed Sunday)

There will be a Preview Sale on the evening of Friday, September 25th from 6pm-8pm. There is a $10 entry fee for non-members, allowing participants first choice of the books.

Friday and Saturday, October 2nd and 3rd will be a Bag Sale – $5 per bag.

Butterflies: Not Just a Pretty Face

Posted on September 8, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Butterflies (and moths) are indicators of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems. Areas rich in butterflies are rich in other invertebrates (insects and worms) as well.  These collectively and in a wide variety provide a range of environmental benefits, including pollination and natural pest control.  They are also an important element of the food chain and are prey for birds and bats that help keep the balance in the animal world.

Butterflies are also widely used by ecologists as model organisms to study the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation, including climate change.  Even the smallest of animals can reveal how our habits influence the changes in  environmental world.

Food Waste: What to Do? Composting Still the Best

Posted on September 2, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

The global-warming virtues of composting were confirmed by none other than InSinkErator. They commissioned a study of sewage-treatment and food-waste-disposal methods and found that while some super-efficient sewage treatment plants eliminate greenhouse gas emissions while producing surplus energy, few systems beat composting—even when factoring in the emissions from hauling away and processing curbside compost.

However, if you can’t compost (vegetable, fruit and plant based waste) use the in-sink disposal. The amount of water needed to deal with in-sink disposal is negligible and controllable in the big scheme of things. The worst method is tossing food waste in the garbage.   Landfilling (which includes hauling) releases almost twice as much global-warming gas as treating sewage and six times more than composting.  U.S. residents dump 34.6 million tons of food waste annually into landfills, which accounts for almost one-fifth of all U.S. methane emissions.

Water Deserves Respect

Posted on August 25, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Droughts aren’t usually supercharged disasters like the monster typhoon that just smashed the Philippines. And they don’t compare with Superstorm Sandy, which unstoppably flooded the East Coast last fall. Droughts are only noticeable in extreme cases such as in California. But think about it. Droughts don’t demolish buildings; they just cremate growing things.
Water is incredibly precious, and the Earth has only a fixed, limited amount of it. We can’t live without it. Literally.
Americans use about 100 gallons of fresh water per day at home. But millions of people in poorer countries survive on less than five gallons, and women in such places walk an average of 3.7 miles to fetch water. To put things in perspective, have that thought in your mind as the water flows from the spigot in your home.

“It’s Our River Day” celebration and clean-up

Posted on August 18, 2015 by - Community Events

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and The Village of Algonquin are sponsoring the 8th annual “It’s Our River Day” celebration and clean-up.  The event will be held on Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 1pm to 4pm at Cornish Park along the shoreline of the beautiful Fox River in historic downtown Algonquin. This is a local celebration of the statewide “It’s Our River Day,” now in its 11th year.

Local conservation groups will give brief presentations and participants will have the opportunity to meet representatives from different environmental, outdoor and governmental groups, as well as “green” businesses.  Adults and kids will enjoy learning about the environment by visiting booths with educational information, volunteer opportunities, kids activities, and more.

The Sierra Club will provide bags and gloves for the shoreline clean-up at the main location at Cornish Park. Everyone is welcome to lend a hand with the clean-up. The event is free and open to the public. Groups are welcome.

For more information contact the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County at 815-338-0393; Cynthia Kanner, event co-organizer, at 847-309-8582; or The Village of Algonquin at www.algonquin.org/eco .