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 .

Recycle – YES!

Posted on August 18, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Recycle – YES! But to make a bigger and healthier impact on our environment, reduce and reuse first which keeps more stuff out of the landfill and reduces waste disposal costs. The challenge then becomes to reduce recycling as much as possible.

When making a purchase, consider how much of the container and packaging could be eliminated by reuse, and resist goods that have lots of extraneous packaging. Use reusable shopping bags, aluminum refillable drinking containers and bring your own container for leftovers.   Say “no” to straws and Styrofoam and say “yes” to composting. Once produced, plastic and Syrofoam stay on the earth forever, so begin by being conscious of how much is used in the first place. Then, FINALLY, it’s time to recycle.

Switch Off for a Day

Posted on August 18, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

For one day or one afternoon or even one hour a week, don’t buy anything, don’t use any machines, don’t switch on anything electric, don’t cook, don’t answer your phone, and, in general, don’t use any resources. In other words, for this regular period, give yourself and the planet a break.

Every hour per week that you live no impact cuts your carbon emissions by 0.6 percent annually. Commit to four hours per week and that’s 2.4 percent.  Do it for a whole day each week to cut your impact by 14.4 percent a year.  See how it feels to switch “off” for a day, and you may just enjoy it, and at the same time, raise your awareness about the impact our actions have on our planet while making a positive contribution.

“Earth Overshoot Day” landed on August 13th in 2015 – “Global overshoot occurs when humanity’s annual demand for the goods and services that our land and seas can provide—fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, wood, cotton for clothing, and carbon dioxide absorption—exceeds what Earth’s ecosystems can renew in a year.”

Summer Garage Sale

Posted on July 16, 2015 by - Community Events

Summer Garage Sale

When: Thu, July 16 through Saturday, July 18, 9am – 4pm
Where: Algonquin Township Road District, 3702 U.S. Highway 14, Crystal Lake IL 60014 (map)
The garage sale will be held July 16-18, 9am-4pm. The sale is located at the Algonquin Township Road District complex, 3702 U.S. Highway 14, between Crystal Lake & Cary (next to the Hollows), drive back to the big beige garage on the right!
We always have a great assortment, including housewares, small appliances, dish sets, glassware, books, DVDs and CDs, furniture, tools, bicycles, toys, electronics, etc.
Reuse is better than recycle!