Coal Tar Sealants are risky for our health and our children’s health, and here’s why.

Posted on May 20, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Coal Tar Sealants are risky for our health and our children’s health, and here’s why.  They contain up to 35 percent coal tar pitch, partially refined waste from steelmaking that is a known carcinogen.  Among the chemicals of concern in the products are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which not only pose a cancer risk, but can trigger developmental problems and impair fertility, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Consider that most playgrounds and driveways, places where our children play, are paved then sealed on a regular basis.  Acting to make a healthier choice is easy.  Local home good stores sell sealant that does not contain coal tar, and service providers have alternatives as well.  Simply request that a no coal tar sealant be used. Advocate at your school for a healthier alternative, and praise when a safe alternative is chosen.

More Bicycles, Please – And Safe Roads Too

Posted on May 13, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Switching to a bike can be a rewarding change in the way you travel.  As environmentalists we know that using a bicycle for transport can improve your health and fitness, remove the stress of driving, save you money and reduce fuel use.  So if you already cycle to work, increase the number of times you ride.  Even if you can’t ride everywhere, you can replace some car trips with bicycle rides and still save.  Save money and energy, get where you’re going and exercise at the same time, and reduce pollution.

Can’t ride your bike for travel?   Simply ride for pleasure.  And if having more options in travel, including bicycling, is important to you, learn about “Complete Streets” planning.   Sign the “Complete Streets Petition” which you can find at the McHenry County Bicycle Advocates website  or look for them at fairs and events as well.  If you haven’t signed, put it on your “to do” list.

But most importantly, let you legislatures know you want more options for travel.  Write letters, talk and take action to make transportation planning in our county more than about moving goods and commuters.  Having more options to move about in our world and having safe routes and roadways is important for all people and how they travel.  We’re talking children, seniors, walkers, runners, day workers, night workers, shoppers, commuters, caregivers, train riders, bus riders, and on and on.   There’s a way to plan so all of us can get around, and having a choice with safe travel routes takes advance planning.  Communicate your values to your elected representatives.

http://www.mcbicycleadvocates.org/aboutjoin.html

On Lawn Care

Posted on May 13, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Did you know that all fertilizer applied by hired landscapers must be phosphorus-free unless you have a soil test showing phosphorus deficiency?

In Illinois, legislation was passed in 2011 to prevent its overuse.  This was done because of concern for water quality, and the result of environmental studies showing that excess phosphorus and nitrogen are partly responsible for declining surface water quality. These nutrients have been linked to excessive seasonal algae growth in ponds streams and lakes. These blooms of algae can make the water smell and taste bad and decrease its recreational value.  In severe cases, the algae deplete oxygen levels, which may kill fish.

Need more info?  Check out the McHenry County Green Guide.

Spring Use-It-Again Sale

Posted on May 13, 2015 by - Community Events

Thursday, May 14 through Saturday, May 16, from 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!

“Stuff” Wanted for Environmental Defenders’ Garage Sale!

Posted on April 28, 2015 by - Community Events

In preparation for their annual spring garage sale, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County will be taking donations of gently used items on Saturday, May 9th, and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 11-13, from 10 am until 3 pm, at the Algonquin Township Road District garage, 3702 U.S. Route 14, between Crystal Lake and Cary (drive back to the last beige garage on the right).

What type of things will be accepted? Just about anything that is re-sellable, with a few exceptions: small appliances & electronics must be in working order, no monitors or TVs, no clothes, no baby carriers or cribs, no large appliances or upholstered furniture. Not sure if they’ll take it? Email or call !

“The Defenders have been involved with diverting things from the landfills for 45 years, and doing a garage sale is a form of recycling. Buying second hand items instead of new ones keeps things out of the landfills, saves you money, and supports a McHenry County non-profit,” said EDMC’s fund raising committee.

Sale dates for the garage sale are Thursday-Saturday, May 14-16 from 9am until 4pm.

Save water by turning off the lights!

Posted on April 2, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Save water by turning off the lights when they are not needed.  And here’s the facts on the why:  Water is used in all forms of energy generation. It can take over 4 gallons of water to keep a 60-watt light bulb lit for 12 hours.

Do the same for other electronic devices and units as well.  Unplug chargers too, especially when you leave for vacation or go for a short weekend jaunt and save even more water.

Every small effort helps.  When added together, its the small things that make a big difference.

Adding Value: Food Scraps & Energy Savings Forum

Posted on April 2, 2015 by - Community Events

Adding Value: Food Scraps & Energy Savings
Tuesday, April 7 1:30pm-4:00pm
Complimentary Event for any interested food establishments: restaurants, school and institution cafeterias, supermarkets, etc.

McHenry County College
Room B166-67
8900 Route 14
Crystal Lake IL 60012

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/10986655_383851538467029_645837753650666201_n.jpg?oh=5285537e037a640a498aa7c9bc837229&oe=55A7B3F0&__gda__=1436382513_581233833fd674e663c2787c853c6d7b

Green Your Workout

Posted on March 25, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Take it outside –  Instead of increasing your energy consumption via home and gym exercise machines, take advantage of hiking and biking trails in your area. 100% free and always interesting! Check out the Rails-to-Trails TrailLink database to find the perfect outdoor trail in your area.
Just say no to one-time use plastic water bottles. Commit to using refillable water bottles for workouts and everyday hydration which means less waste in landfills and more money in your wallet. There are even self-filtering models.
This tip brought to you by the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County from Earth Share, a national non-profit dedicated to environmental works

The Benefits of Sunlight

Posted on March 18, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

It isn’t hard to understand the positive effects of sunshine on our mood. When the temperature warms and the spring sun starts to shine, we simply get happier, and that means healthier.  Besides the sun helping with depression, here are a few other facts about the power of the sun that might be new to you:

-Sunlight lowers cholesterol. The sun converts high cholesterol in the blood into steroid hormones and the sex hormones we need for reproduction.

-The sun’s rays lower blood pressure. Even a single exposure significantly lowers blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.

-Sunlight builds the immune system. The white blood cells, which increase with sun exposure, are called lymphocytes, and these play a major role in defending the body against infections.

Just keep in mind that exposure to the sun should be done SLOWLY!  Build up your tolerance by taking in small bits of the sun each day.  Happy Spring Everyone!

“The Ethics of Fracking” EDMC’s EcoFilm Series

Posted on March 11, 2015 by - Community Events

Tue, March 31, 7pm – 9pm, Luecht Conference Center at MCC, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake 60014 
Explore the spiritual, medical, educational, scientific and political points of view of natural gas extraction, also known as fracking.The documentary, The Ethics of Fracking, also looks at the advertising relied upon by the natural gas industry.
Please join The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, with co-sponsors The League of Women Voters and Citizens Climate Lobby, and host The Sustainability Institute of McHenry County College, for a screening of The Ethics of Fracking on Tuesday, March 31, 7pm at Luecht Conference Center at MCC. Panel presentation to follow, including a firsthand account of a “fracked” property.
Doors open at 6:30, free to the public, but donations are always appreciated.