Each day’s news seems to pitch us deeper into the pits of despair: climate change action feels stalled, or worse, rolled back.
According to the latest report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a body of the world’s most respected scientists from 195 countries), climate change is here, and it’s accelerating faster than many models predicted. What’s more, climate change will usher in catastrophic food shortages and natural disasters by 2040 unless we change course.
Ana Garcia Doyle and Jim Doyle’s garage was falling apart, the slab was cracked, and they had received citations. They knew they wanted to add solar panels to a new garage they planned on building behind their Oak Park home. In order for Ana and Jim to fit enough solar panels to provide 100 percent of their home’s electricity and for the garage to be at an optimal pitch to capture the sun’s rays, the structure would have to be much taller than a typical garage. Therefore, Ana and Jim decided to build a large, two-story garage with a greenhouse attached and a top floor that could be used as an office or a room for community meetings.
What if someone told you they would give you over $100 worth of LED light bulbs, install them without charge, each bulb would last 22 years, and this would save you over $100 annually on your electric bill, as well as 900 kilowatt hours of electricity each year?
Green Mountain Energy (GME) Sun Club is partnering with the Park District of Oak Park to provide $100,000 for solar panels, rain harvesting, tea composting and bees at the Oak Park Conservatory.
To secure these funds, the Park District needs your help. Click on the link below to identify actions you and your family will take to help make our community more sustainable and contribute to the overall health of Mother Earth.
Two Oak Park buildings will be featured among 16 Illinois residences in the Green Built Home Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29: the District House condominiums at 702 Lake St. and the Modular Prefab Modern Farmhouse at 634 N. Taylor St.
The Resilient Communities Forum on Jan. 31 at the Nineteenth Century Club drew 175 residents from Oak Park and River Forest. They heard from municipal and environmental leaders on ways nations and communities are addressing the challenges of climate change.
Solar energy deployment is getting super charged on Chicago’s near west side, thanks to a community-based program called PlanItGreen: Solar in Your Community. The program is developing a pipeline of community solar projects to meet the renewable energy goal in Oak Park and River Forest’s PlanItGreen sustainability plan: achieve 25% renewable energy procurement by 2020.
Since 1975, Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) has promoted sound environmental laws and policies in Illinois. More than 80 affiliate organizations across the state collaborate through the IEC to create policies that protect Illinois’ air, water, and natural areas. IEC is the only organization that provides regular updates on the issues affecting the environment at the state level. We encourage Green Community Connections readers to sign up for the updates at the IEC website: https://ilenviro.org
Take a peek at our new video encouraging students from grade 3 to college age to enter the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest. In addition to winning cash prizes, all winning films will premiere at the One Earth Film Festival in March 2018. More details here.
Video animation by 2013 contest winner Léa Kichler. Music by Abby Lyons.
It’s easy to get discouraged by anti-environment action happening on the federal level…but our state government is actually making a lot of progress in growing our Illinois clean energy industry, protecting our state wildlife, shaping our expanding local food industry and much more. Here in Illinois, there’s actually a lot to feel hopeful about. You can get a snapshot of legislative action in a newly published 2017 Environmental Scorecard, which evaluates individual Illinois state legislators on their environmental voting records. The Scorecard is created by the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), a non-partisan organization promoting sound policies and environmental laws in Springfield.
The 5th annual GreenBuilt Home Tour will feature at least 12 homes around Chicagoland that are "built tight and vented right." The tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 22 and 23, and will showcase sustainable innovations in older and newer homes. (All are third-party verified to confirm they are constructed according to nationally recognized standards.)
As the lemony leaves of local trees blossom into a robust, dark green, we enjoy the aesthetic and spiritual benefits of ambling under this canopy.
But there are also scientific advantages to this glorious arbor. Morton Arboretum encourages Tree Tagging in order to understand the quantifiable benefits for each and every tree, both environmentally and monetarily.
What if your heating system were smart enough to stay at 70 degrees during the day and drop down to 65 degrees at night? What if it were smart enough to even reactivate at 4:30 a.m. so that your house would go from 65 degrees to a comfortable 70 by the time you woke up every morning at 6 a.m.?
There are many reasons Solar energy is ‘disruptive’. The term carries with it massive environmental, economic, social, and political weight. Energy produced by Solar PV systems is clean; no carbon emissions or pollution is generated for the 20+ years a typical system will operate. Additionally, the generated power earns the owner SRECS (renewable energy credits) used by businesses to offset their dirty pollution footprint. Most PV systems can be designed to reach ROI (return on investment) well within the lifetime of the equipment, and thus they create monetary profits thereafter. System owners are insulated from utility rate hikes and inflation and are less dependent on external energy sources.
It's early October, and the annual holiday marketing onslaught is not too far away. "The more you spend, the more you save," is one of my favorite crazy slogans. Does that really work on people? If you've spent $500 on new sweaters to save $100, you've just, um, spent $400.
Unless... you put on one of those sweaters, and then crank down your thermostat to save money on your heating bill. Love it!
Wondering how to make your home and neighborhood more energy-efficient? Interested in getting solar and other clean energy projects off the ground, or in getting jobs in the industry?
You are invited to an informal town hall meeting about local and state clean energy initiatives and how they are translating into jobs in energy and sustainability. You will hear the latest from your elected officials and speakers from environmental groups advocating for clean energy. Afterwards, you'll have a chance to exchange ideas and opinions with the experts.
I attended the June 1 town hall meeting on development in the village, and I agree with your observation [Madison Street plan draws supporters, detractors, News,June 8] that the bulk of the discussion was about the effect of the Madison Street plan on traffic patterns.
Looking at the big picture, it appears that this proposed development is similar to the pattern established by the other "mixed use" projects at Lake and Forest, Lake and Harlem, Harlem and South Blvd., and the Tasty Dog site — retail space on the ground floor, some parking, topped with multiple floors of high-end or luxury residential space.
During the first half of May, tens of thousands of people on six continents held protest actions under the banner of “Break Free From Fossil Fuels.” Called for by 350.org and organized by hundreds of regional and national environmental and social justice organizations, each action was unique, but the purpose was the same: to keep fossil fuels in the ground and build a just transition to a new kind of 100% renewable economy … and do it now.
On Saturday June 11, the Park District of Oak Park will hold a community celebration to mark the opening of Oak Park's new, state-of-the-art Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center, located north of the intersection of Forest Avenue and Lake Street.