Each February the Sustainability Center of McHenry County hosts the Bioneers Speaker Series. This is a unique opportunity to connect MCC employees, students and residents to cutting edge environmental topics that directly impact our local economy and community.
The speaker series is free and open to the public. No registration is required. All sessions are at 7pm in MCC's Luecht Conference Center in Building B located on the main campus in Crystal Lake. More information about the speakers is available at www.mchenry.edu/bioneers. Some 2017 speakers may be subject to change.
February 7, 2017
Resiliency, Climate Change, and Communities on the Edge--Dale Sands
February 21, 2017
Engaging Citizens in Civic Ecology Practices--Tania M. Schusler, Ph.D.
February 28, 2017
Building the Social Justice Narrative on our Environmental Crises--Shalini Gupta
"Bioneers" are social and scientific innovators developing solutions for a more sustainable world. Learn all about the National Bioneers, their work and their annual conference at www.bioneers.org.
Green Living Tips
These tips brought to you by the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. Find them at www.MCDEF.ORG.
Easy Ways to Be Green in 2017
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.
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 or Monday night vegetarian.
Commit to learning more about green power such as solar and wind.
And don't forget the kids! Donate or consign toys and clothing they've outgrown.
Here's to a happy and healthy New Year, for one and all. Go Green!
Save on Heating Bills
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.
Putting One Ton of CO2 into Perspective
To understand how our actions affect our natural world, sometimes it helps to quantify things, build a picture in our mind. So the first question is, "What's the equivalent of a ton of CO2?"
One ton of carbon dioxide or CO2 (a gas) weighs as much as 10 baby elephants or an adult giraffe, and takes up the same space as a 33' x 75' x 6' deep swimming pool! The second question is, "What produces one ton of CO2?" That's a trickier question to answer because it depends on our behavior. However, to put numbers into pictures, on average, a car on the road for three months (3000 miles) adds one ton of new greenhouse gas to our atmosphere. That's approximately four tons of new CO2 in the atmosphere per year per vehicle, and that doesn't count the carbon waste from the burning of fuels for our electricity, heating and cooling needs, nor for our food and other activities.
The good news is just one newly planted tree will absorb about 910 pounds of CO2 . Just nine hard-working trees can help offset the average emissions for your car for a year. Consider how that will help when the average US household produces 7.5 tons of CO2 equivalents per year. If you are looking for a challenge for the new year, how about taking steps to reduce your contribution of carbon emissions into our atmosphere. Your actions can make a difference.
McHenry County Green Drinks Networking
In McHenry County, the first Wednesday of each month is Green Wednesday! Time to gather to discuss environmental topics, plus reconnect with eco-friends and make new ones. Join us at Duke's Alehouse & Kitchen, 110 N Main Street in Crystal Lake. The event is upstairs at Duke's from 5-7pm. Head upstairs for info and inspiration, business and pleasure. Come talk about "greening" the future with others. Additional parking is available at the train station.
2017 SCHEDULE - Tentative
March 1, 2017 -- a presentation by one of Duke's fine purveyors
April 5, 2017 -- Scott Henning & Ben Redding - McHenry County Division of Transportation
May 3, 2017 -- Brad Woodson, Natural Resource Manager at the McHenry County Conservation District will speak about the Agricultural programs at the District that use Best Management practices and encourage the protection of the flora, fauna and soils of the publicly held lands.
The McHenry County Green Drinks is apart of an international network of over 600 Green Drinks groups throughout the world.These events are very simple and unstructured, but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, and had moments of serendipity.
How You Can Support the Standing Rock Sioux Water Protectors
The 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) passed two overtures which affect the 95 Native American Presbyterian churches across the country. The first is an apology to Native Americans for the church's involvement and administration of boarding schools during the late 19th and early 20th centuries whose purpose was the "civilization" of Native American children, and the second is a repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery which states that "explorers" may seize lands and convert "non-Christians.' Strong support for the land defense effort by the Standing Rock Sioux is one step in making good on the apology and towards right relationship with Native people.
Although the Army Corps of Engineers has called a halt to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, there is the possibility of a resumption of that construction. Therefore, we urge members of our congregation and anyone who reads this to pray for:
The earth and all the resources the Creator has provided.
Wisdom, courage and strength for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and for its Chairman David Archambault and his family.
Strength and courage for the Water Protectors and their families.
The provision of food, water, and shelter and the meeting of other needs for the Water Protectors who plan to witness in winter.
Wisdom and vision for the people working on the legal battles being fought to halt this pipeline and to honor the sovereignty of Native peoples.
Patience and a willingness to rely on nonviolence for the government and corporate authorities involved.
The leaders of the Synod of Lakes & Prairies as they collect and discern where to use funds for the camps and the Water Protectors.
All those across the PCUSA as members seek to support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and to reduce consumption of fossil fuel and live more lightly amidst God's creation.
Creating a Collaborative Presbyterian Approach to Climate Change:
excerpts from Fossil Free PCUSA and Faithful Alternatives' letter
This summer at the General Assembly, nearly one-fourth of our presbyteries raised significant concerns about climate change and the need for the PC(USA) to respond proactively. While the response of the General Assembly fell far short of what those in Fossil Free PCUSA and Faithful Alternatives advocated, it did set in motion some extraordinary conversations and collaborations that are lively and life-giving...
It's time to encourage a much broader movement - solar panels on every church roof; analysis of and plans for deep reductions in every church's carbon footprint; increased investment opportunities in clean energy; expansion of loans for churches to improve energy efficiency; advocacy for carbon fee and dividend, use of fossil fuel free options in the Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian Foundation, and other ideas we probably haven't considered yet. It's time for each Presbyterian to take the action that makes the most sense for their region...
We hope that every individual, congregation, and presbytery who spoke up about climate change this year will help grow the grassroots movement to transform the energy - both social and environmental - that powers our beloved denomination.
RCLPC's Session approved in Nov. 2015 sending the PCUSA Fossil Fuel Divestment Overture on to Blackhawk Presbytery for consideration. The Presbytery in turn voted to concur with the overture in April 2016.
Prayer for the Earth
God, we thank you that in the vastness of your creation, there is something special about the beauty of this earth. Breathe your Holy Spirit into us so that we may grow in a sense of wonder and proclaim to be good all that you have made. Amen.
~ source unknown