Thank You Friends!

Posted on April 27, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

Take a breath of fresh air, and receive it as a thank you gift from our earth.  The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County wants to thank all the organizations and individuals in our community that contribute to a healthy environment.  What we do here in our own backyards does ripple out into the world, literally.  Every small action, each conversation, the policies, the art, the gardens, the community groups, the non-profits, the governments, the schools, the churches, all the advocates for good clean healthy soil, water and air. You are building value each and every day, and it is important work.  But today, just after Earth Day, take a moment to be grateful for earth’s resources and say thank you to yourself for doing good and caring.

Get Smarter and Happier in 30 Minutes a Day

Posted on April 20, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

The more we connect to nature, the smarter, healthier and happier we are. Getting outside even makes us nicer and more likely to clean up the planet.

Unfortunately, most of us spend the majority of our days indoors. Yikes!  In honor of Earth Day and Spring, challenge yourself to get outside for at least 30 minutes a day for 30 days and see how you feel.  

It’s easy to add a dose of green to your daily routine: Just head to the nearest park, trail or garden (or even your own backyard) and take the time to observe nature’s wonders. At home, work or play, your nature fix is closer than you think.

Here’s to our health!

The Basics of Earth Day History

Posted on April 14, 2016 by - Community Events, Environmental Tips

The first Earth Day was celebrated in1970, and is considered the birth of the modern environmental movement.  Before 1970, the health of the environment was not a common concern, even as industry poured chemicals and smoke into the air. In 1962, Rachel Carson, an ecologist from Pennsylvania, published a book called Silent Spring. The book became a best seller and raised public awareness of environmental concerns.

After the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif., Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator for Wisconsin, organized a nationwide demonstration against the pollution and the deterioration of the environment. The protest was held on April 22, 1970. Approximately twenty million Americans joined the demonstration in support of a healthier and more sustainable treatment of the environment.

It’s About the Bread

Posted on April 4, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

Similar to the switch from white rice to brown, swapping white bread for whole wheat can give your health and the environment a boost.  It’s well known that whole grain and wheat breads are more nutritious than white bread, but brown breads are also less harmful to the environment.

Wheat flour must be refined and go through a series of alteration processes to make white bread, but whole wheat flour spends less time in production. Whole grains in general are better sources of nutrients and filling fiber and also spend less time in production, explains Mother Nature Network. “Any ingredient that requires extensive refining requires more energy and resources and has a greater impact on the planet.”

This food for thought brought to you by the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County.

Asbestos Awareness Week is April 1-7th.

Posted on March 31, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

Asbestos Awarenes WeekAsbestos Awareness Week is April 1-7th. The purpose of the week is to raise awareness of the prevalence of the mineral asbestos worldwide. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used through the 1970’s in many consumer and commercial applications as an insulating material.

It is a known cause of an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. While this mineral was found as dangerous and cancer-causing many years ago, there is still no global ban on its production and use. It can still be found in many older homes, buildings and antique consumer goods such as crockpots, hairdryers and even fake snow.

Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is airborne so if you think that there may be asbestos in your home, consult a professional before touching it. Take part by educating yourself and others about the dangers of exposure to asbestos.

For more information about asbestos and mesothelioma, visit the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. We thank them for the graphic and info!

5k EcoRun

Posted on March 30, 2016 by - Community Events

Proceeds benefit McHenry County Conservation District, Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, and Woodstock Morning Rotary Foundation

Competitive and recreational participants welcome at this chip timed certified event.

Register online www.Rotaryecorun.org before April 20, $25 (includes T-shirt)

Race day check-in: 8:15–9:30 a.m.
Race start time: 10:00 a.m.
Rain or Shine! Awards in eight age bands immediately following race.

Parking and free shuttle from:
Faith Community United Church of Christ, 2023 IL Rt. 176, Crystal Lake

Earth Day Celebration 2016

Posted on March 30, 2016 by - Community Events

hosted by the Conservation District and Environmental Defenders of McHenry County

Saturday, April 23 • 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake

The event is held both indoors and out and will go on rain or shine!

Live Musical performances by: Ken Lonnquist with Dave Adler at 11:30am & 2:00pm

Guided Nature Hikes Games and CraftsPuppet ShowsOver 20 Environmental Exhibitors
Food & Beverage Vendors on site: Toasty Cheese & Pop’s Premier Kettle Corn; or bring your own “No waste” picnic lunch.
Carpool to the event with friends to enter the raffle for a free picnic shelter reservation.

HOUSEHOLD RECYCLING DROP OFF: A variety of items will be accepted for recycling including athletic shoes, batteries, fluorescent tubes and polystyrene foam. Check back prior to the event for a complete list of accepted items and any associated drop-off fees.

CCL’s 50-Letter Challenge

Posted on March 28, 2016 by - Community Events

The McHenry County Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby is undertaking a 50-Letter Challenge where we are trying to get at least 50 letters to deliver to Rep. Randy Hultgren in April. These letters will express our appreciation for his years of service, but also express our concerns about climate change.

Below is a form letter that you are invited to write what you are most concerned about regarding climate change and return to the McHenry County Chapter of CCL.

You can do this by either printing out the letter, write your answer to the statement “I am concerned about climate change because… and then snail mail to EDMC, Or

You can print out the letter, write your answer to the statement, then scan your completed letter and email it back to EDMC.

Please help us achieve our goal of receiving and delivering at least 50 letters to Rep. Hultgren from his constituents who are concerned about climate change. Our goal is to complete the Challenge by Saturday, April 30.

If you have any questions, please let me know.   Thank you.

Pat Dieckhoff and Lois Johnson, Co-Liasions for Rep. Hultgren
McHenry Co. Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby
50-Letter Challenge

Healthy Candlelight

Posted on March 24, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

What could be better than candles burning on a cold winter’s night? I invite you to indulge yourself with soy or beeswax candles. But for indoor air quality, I suggest you avoid the easier-to-find paraffin variety.

Paraffin vs Soy or Beeswax:

Research at South Carolina State University in 2009 compared emissions from paraffin wax and soy candles, all of which were non-scented, non-pigmented and contained no dyes. Researchers explained that paraffin candles produced significantly more soot than others, and found that paraffin candles emitted sharp peaks of hazardous chemicals such as benzene and toluene. Soy and beeswax candles did not emit significant levels of these chemicals.

Fine Particulate Matter:

Fine particulate matter (PM) is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air which are small enough to penetrate the respiratory system further than larger particles. Fuel combustion, including candle-burning, can create fine PM. The US EPA explains that a well-designed and maintained candle emits negligible fine PM because almost all the particles are consumed by the flame. But poor candle composition and design, wick length or drafty air can lead to smoldering, which can create PM beyond ambient air quality standards. In addition, blowing out candles can instantly create a large amount of PM. The EPA recommends extinguishing the flame with a wet cloth, scissors or a snuffer.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons:

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAs) are products of incomplete combustion. Indoor sources include candles and incense. A study by the Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research found that five-year old children exposed to high levels of PHAs scored 4 points lower on standardized intelligence tests than less exposed children.

Shopping:

Soy candles are easier to find these days, including at stores such as Target. Beeswax candles require a little more effort to find, but there are plenty of online sources. While beeswax candles tend to cost more than others, they burn much longer. And they emit a natural, warm honey smell. So, enjoy soy or beeswax candlelight tonight!

Birds on the Wing

Posted on March 24, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

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.