Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Attention Film Makers!

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP) team is launching an innovative video contest that allows middle, high school and college students in the city to develop a 90 second video that illustrates how they are participating in one or more of the 35 mitigation or adaptation strategies in the Chicago Climate Action Plan.

Click HERE for more details!

Now get outside! I's a GORGEOUS Spring day!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cutting Back on Yellow Pages

When it comes to sustainability, we all know that little things can go a long way to preserving our planet’s resources. Whether it’s turning off your power strip when you’re not using it, or just making sure to hit the light switch when you leave the room, small changes add up to make big differences. The founders of a new website are working on their own way to combat waste, one phone book at a time. Inspired by the National No-Call Directory, a save haven for all of us who hate telemarketers, and motivated by the constant delivery of phone books he was receiving, a Missouri college student has started The aim is not to stop the production of phone books and directories all together, but to prevent them from being delivered where they will not be used.

Every year, 19 million trees are harvested in order to produce 500 million directories. Due to the increase of smart phones and the popularity of search engines, many of these books will just end up in landfills without ever having been used. By adding your name to the list, you can prevent the delivery of your own book and raise awareness about the amount of waste involved in their production.

By: Caro Griffin
Story Courtesy of: Eco Columbia

Monday, March 29, 2010


So here's the deal. On MARCH 30th...tomorrow, from 3:30 to 6:30, the book and paper center is going to allow us to use their equipment to make and bind notebooks. It's gonna be great. It's located at 1104 S. Wabash on the 2nd floor. Come, Join us! make some notebooks so we can give them away at eco fair on april 22nd! You can probably make one for yourself too:)

The Story of Bottled Water

Hey guys, here's another video about bottled water, this one is more interesting than the other...worth watching! so CHECK IT OUT!

Happy Monday

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of Coal

Coming to Columbia this weekend!

This multi-media performance portrays lfe in the coal fields of Appalachia where men and women chain themselves to heavy machinery as they try to stop mountaintop removal mining, and where others try to protect, sometimes violently, jobs the mining industry provides.

The play is loosely inspired by Jeff Bigger’s newly released book, Reckoning at Eagle Creek, the Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland. Based at the home of Marie and Hovie, a young couple living in the mountain holler of Eagle Creek, the play chronicles their attemps to come to grips with their conflicting fates, when their 150-year-old homestead is threatened by a planned mountaintop removal operation.

With a backdrop of film montages and historically-based satiric
al faux-mercials by filmmaker/actor Ben Evans. “Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of Coal” is a rare journey into the lives of those on the coalfield frontlines, and an entertaining, informative and illuminating theatrical production on the true cost of mountaintop removal and coal mining to our land and citizenry.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Springfield Lobbying Trip

On April 9th I loaded my belongings in a rental car leaving sky scrapers behind for corn fields. We drove through the afternoon, destination: Springfield. We arrived at our motel early evening. We were there for a planned “lobby day”. Put together by ISEC, or the Illinois Student Environmental Coalition it was an annual trip to empower concerned student activists and let them speak out on a number of environmental topics.

We dropped off our belongings and headed over to a gathering in downtown Springfield. There were environmentalists and politicians together, mingling and chatting. We ate dinner and had a very inspiring conversation with representative Julie Hamos. It calmed some nerves about the situation as we got to converse openly and naturally. She has been involved with political lobbying in Illinois since the 1970’s and has a vast understanding on the subject. To our surprise, she was willing to share loads of it. It was a good practice run for the next day.

Before bed, we were put through an hour training session with representatives from the Sierra Club. What could we expect? What would we do in certain situations? ISEC-related students were separated into groups and assigned a packet. Each packet had different state senators and representatives that we were going to discuss issues with. It included detailed information on each individual politician from pictures and office numbers to bill sponsor details. Tracking them down was made as pain-free as possible. It was a really well thought out plan by every organization involved. I was encouraged by the buzz in the room and found it hard to sleep that night.

We woke early on Wednesday. I studied fact sheets and did some last minute cramming before we were to put our knowledge and preparation to the test. Energized by coffee and the beautiful sunshine I set off for the Capitol. I was partnered with a fellow E.P.I.C. (Environmental Protection Initiative at Columbia College) member and friend. We became more confident in our work as the day went on, we were a successful team.

We focused intently on four bills. The first was a package that pertained to solar energy. It would do great things such as lower barriers of entry for homeowners that want to use solar, increase the solar portfolio (make a higher regulated amount of solar necessary as a fraction of all energy use), and also allow citizens with solar panels to give excess energy back to the grid (preferably making some money from it). The second was a bill against Bisophenal-A, or bpa. It has been discovered as a cancer causing agent that still makes up many plastics, especially infant products. This bill would eradicate bpa from child products and force corporations to label any goods that include it. The third bill would allow new housing developments to be built on flood plains. We spoke out against this bill citing various environmental and social repercussions. For example, the big Mississippi River flood of 1993 cost the government over $500 million to move residents out of disaster areas and clean up the damage. The fourth bill we opposed, proposed lifting the moratorium on nuclear plants. We explained that we can’t have any more nuclear waste created if we still don’t have a reasonable way of disposing of it!

We went from office to office leaving business cards and fact sheets in case we couldn’t catch up with our intended “targets” of the day. We wanted them to know that we are paying attention. We got to meet with one representative in her office and a few others in passing. We made a strong case for each environmental bill. At first thought, lobbying seemed a very daunting task as we were up against experience and corporate power. Some of these lobbyists were people that were paid to do just that. We felt fresh and new in comparison, but we did have some important power on our side. We were young, educated and passionate. Soon, our generation will be making most of this country’s decisions.

I can’t stress how vital it is for young people to get involved in their political process. After overcoming the initial shock, one will realize that politicians are just people. If they don’t hear your concerns, how they can be held responsible? The political system as confusing and scary as it is, doesn’t work without citizen cooperation and there’s no better time to start then now.


Columbia Recycling



Monday, March 15, 2010


Earth Hour

On Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people, organizations, corporations and governments around the world will come together to make a bold statement about their concern for climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour. In the U.S. where we are already feeling the impacts of climate change, Earth Hour sends a clear message that Americans care about this issue and want to turn the lights out on dirty air, dangerous dependency on foreign oil and costly climate change impacts, and make the switch to cleaner air, a strong economic future and a more secure nation.

Participation is easy. By flipping off your lights on March 27th at 8:30 p.m. local time you will be making the switch to a cleaner, more secure nation and prosperous America. View the toolkits, to find out what else you can do to get involved including leading the Earth Hour movement in your community.

Set Your Clock

On Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 8:30 p.m. local time, Earth Hour will once again cascade around the globe, from New Zealand to Hawaii

Sparking a Movement

Since its inception three years ago, Earth Hour’s non-partisan approach has captured the world’s imagination and became a global phenomenon. Nearly one billion people turned out for Earth Hour 2009 – involving 4,100 cities in 87 countries on seven continents.

Last year, 80 million Americans and 318 U.S. cities officially voted for action with their light switch, joining iconic landmarks from around the world that went dark for Earth Hour, including:

  • Empire State Building
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Broadway Theater Marquees
  • Las Vegas Strip
  • United Nations Headquarters
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Seattle’s Space Needle
  • Church of Latter-Day Saints Temple
  • Gateway Arch in St. Louis
  • Great Pyramids of Giza
  • Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens
  • Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro
  • St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
  • Big Ben and Houses of Parliament in London
  • Elysee Palace and Eiffel Tower in Paris
  • Beijing’s Birds Nest and Water Cube
  • Symphony of Lights in Hong Kong
  • Sydney’s Opera House

Make your own Hula-Hoop!

Hey guys!

So the weather is getting warmer and everyone is getting anxious to go outside and get some exercise. Here's a fun way to be active, creative, and green all at the same time. Follow the link and let the hula-hooping begin!

The Whipporwill

The rocky hills of the Ozarks are filled with fossils. An ancient ocean used to flow abundant with life above these busty knolls. Sometimes at the tops of these small mountains, early in the morning, when the sun shines sideways from the East through the cedars and the oak trees, you can smell the stale damp of decay rising from the warmed Earth. The pungently preserved odor of corpses, prehistoric crustaceans and early photosynthetic plant life, long since deceased, still linger like the smell of an animal killed yesterday.

I am careful to tread lightly over these ancestors, not only out of respect, but also because my feet are bare and fleshy and Ozark rock rubble is far from smooth. I am trying my hardest not to make too much sound this morning. I am hunting out of desperate hunger.

Try as I may, the balls and the palms of my feet are still crunching on the sharp fossils, still shooting triangular pieces of shale left and right, outwards in front of me. My toes catch on a large sandstone rock rooted into the red mud and leafy decay of the forest floor. But my balance is stronger than a human’s, because I am animal. Yesterday I was animal, today I am animal, and tomorrow I will be animal.

“Ah” my mind exclaims triumphantly as I hear the low melancholy call of a Whippoorwill. She is close. She called out to see who was there, perhaps another one of her kind, but no bird replies. I hold my stance, plant my feet and feel the Earth’s vibrations and momentum as it spins towards the sun, turning the woods golden with morning light.

I decide to answer her, to tell her I am here. I whistle low, the call of a Whippoorwill, the songbird of the night. She knows I am part human. She is scared; she is no longer under the cover of nightfall. I feel her avian frame near me.


The explosive sound of feathers is in the air as she swoops out of a 100 year old Cedar to my right. I catch a glimpse of her black silhouette against the sunrise.

I lunge into the air, instinctually, belly first with wanting. For a few seconds I am falling upward with predatory strength to meet the fluttering night bird. After her I fly. I am inches from her tail as I stretch my arms towards her, letting my energies flow through my palms and fingertips. I grasp her tail… and begin to fall. As we descend to the rocky earth, I pull her closer to me, wrapping my arms around her wings and hugging her possessively to my chest. She made no sound when we hit the stony soil. She trusted me, and I her.

First, I snap her neck. Then, I run. Swiftly, leaping over ferns and boulders and fallen trees to safety. Where safety is, I am not sure, but I will find it, because I am small and I am fast.

Mountain lions are faster than I, I know this, and I know that they prefer to leap onto their prey from steep heights. The thought of heights make my palms sweat, the thought of mountain lions make me shiver, so I run harder. I’d be an easy meal with an appetizer to the yellow beasts.

My stomach growls as I spot a shallow cave ahead of me. As I run, I pull a sapling out of the ground with my bird-free hand and dive into the cave with the bird and the dying tree. I hide the bird behind me and proceed to whittle a spear out of the child tree, letting its sour sticky blood spill onto my hands, mixing with the Whippoorwill’s. Once I am done whittling, having made a weapon to protect myself from jealous carnivores, I can eat.

I do not cook the meat. My stomach has adapted to such a diet. I pull her dark feathers out and pile them together for safekeeping. I will keep her bones, too. I bite into her cold flesh and shudder. Two emotions provoked this shudder, one was the ecstasy of hunger, and the second was the thought of eating this bird raw six months ago… When I was a “civilized” woman. A part of me wants to vomit all over the bird and cry, but I know that if I vomited, nothing would come out of my starving frame.

I did not choose this life, it was chosen for me. I have adapted, evolved you might say. Others call it degeneration, but I know in my heart of hearts, that within the next fifteen years, every last human on this planet will be living as I am now. Like my delicious Whippoorwill, not everyone will live to see it.

This and more stories in the new Eco Columbia
By Samantha Christmann

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Green Job Posting

Looking for work? Here's a new Green Job Posting!

Hi All,

The National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center has an
exciting new position available. Are you, or someone you know
interested in the Great Lakes Region? We are seeking an individual
responsible for developing state and Great Lakes education policy
initiatives, educating the public and other organizations about those
initiatives, and conducting advocacy (with public officials and the
media) to implement them.

Please see the full job description below and how to apply. And
please pass this on to others who might be interested.


Find a job you’re wild about at the National Wildlife
Federation (NWF), the nation’s largest member-supported conservation
organization, at the forefront of global warming issues, reconnecting
our children with nature, and protecting America’s wildlife and

We seek an individual responsible for developing state and Great
Lakes education policy initiatives, educating the public and other
organizations about those initiatives, and conducting advocacy (with
public officials and the media) to implement them. This position is
responsible for regular communications with a regional network of
grassroots stakeholders, the coordination of regional meetings with
influential people and policy makers, the development of advocacy
opportunities, and partnership development. This position also supports
NWF’s federal policy agenda through state contacts and where relevant
state governments and municipalities are engaged.

Must have a minimum of 5 years experience in conservation
policy/advocacy or youth/education policy/advocacy, project and policy
campaign planning and implementation. Experience in state policy
development is a plus. Knowledge of environmental education and Great
Lakes region and issues are also preferred.

Exceptional interpersonal skills are necessary to build and
maintain the kind of relationships needed to succeed at this job. Must
be an excellent writer, researcher, and strategic thinker. He or she
must have experience motivating, recruiting, and organizing people from
broad and diverse backgrounds; and experience reaching out to media and
decision makers. He or she must have excellent communication and
organizational skills. Must be a self-starter, able to work closely with
local NWF affiliates, regional offices and staff; national education
advocacy team, and regional partners and allies; independently; and able
to travel around the state, region, and anywhere else required.

Do you hear the call of the wild? Apply at and
join us in mobilizing Americans to protect our country’s wildlife.

NWF offers a competitive salary, excellent benefits and is an equal
opportunity employer committed to workplace diversity.

National Wildlife Federation
It starts with people…like you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Intern Position for No Foam Chicago

No Foam Chicago, the small, advocacy, grassroots group---working to ban "styrofoam" food packaging is in need of an intern! Come work with this passionate and cool group for a great cause! Now that a proposed ban has been introduced in Council, we are very busy and could use some help (5-7hrs a week). Working mostly from your own home or meeting at coffee shops. This will be a multi-tasking position (research, writing, phone calls, events and much more fun!) We are an all-volunteer group so this would be non-paid but you would be very much appreciated, treated to coffee and the occasional lunch- a great project to put on your resume!

More about No Foam Chicago here

Contact Stacey about this position:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Monsanto Indian Farmer Suicide

Promised future riches from Monsanto's "magic seeds" Indian farmers have been left deeply in debt, ashamed. They view suicide as the only way out.

In return for allowing western companies access to the second most populated country in the world, with more than one billion people, India was granted International Monetary Fund loans in the Eighties and Nineties, helping to launch an economic revolution.

When crops failed in the past, farmers could still save seeds and replant them the following year.

But with GM seeds they cannot do this. That's because GM seeds contain so- called 'terminator technology', meaning that they have been genetically modified so that the resulting crops do not produce viable seeds of their own.

As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds each year at the same punitive prices. For some, that means the difference between life and death.

For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.

These stories need to be told!


Read more here

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Green Jobs For Students

Marketing and Development Volunteer Intern

Join the Chicago Furniture Recycling Center (CFRC) start up leadership team!

Assist in development and execution of marketing plans for CFRC activities, assist with operational activities of programs, program calendars, attendance rosters, etc. , Conduct interviews and gather stories for quarterly printed newsletter, Assist in publishing weekly electronic newsletter, twitter updates, web site updates and maintenance, etc.

Keywords for this position will be: Organization liaison, fund raising, marketing, organization development
Scheduling Meetings, Coordinating Committees, Carrying Out Duties

1. Coordinate with board marketing leader to develop branding strategy and ensure that branding strategy reaches all events planned
2. Work with marketing board member to develop CFRC initial marketing strategy
3. Develop fundraising and event planning committee; develop marketing plan for each event
4. Reach out to media on behalf of CFRC, collect stories, write newsletters, etc.
5. Organize Technology and New Media committee/board member to write e-newsletter, upkeep Twitter, and Facebook ensuring overall marketing strategy is actively utilized across social media channels

There will be three meetings per month. There will be 2 committee meetings per month (1 hr) and a weekly Sunday business management meeting (1-2 hrs). Other tasks will be completed outside of meetings (7-13 hrs). So total time spent weekly will be approximately 5-15 hrs per week.

Minimum Requirements: Need to be mature, reliable individual who is able to work on projects with and without supervision, have some marketing experience, computer proficient (internet research, Microsoft Word Microsoft PowerPoint, Publisher, and creative programs), excellent oral and written communication skills, organized, and self-motivated.

Start Up Operations Volunteer Intern

Chicago Furniture Recycling Center (CFRC) start up leadership team. Essentially, the founder and CEO of CFRC is looking for partners to start up this organization. You should be driven and possibly want to work with the team full time upon graduation.

Chicago Furniture Recycling Center (CFRC) mission is to provide recycled furniture to those less fortunate in the Chicago Community. As a start-up we are looking for interns to help in many areas: volunteer coordination, organization liaison, grant writing, fund raising, program research, networking, program development, and more.

Some Specific Tasks Include:
1. Fund raising: Carry plan to hold major/minor events, communicate with possible locations, come with ideas, organize volunteers to carry out plans
2. Budget and Finance Committee: Grant Writing--Manage the Grant Writing Process--Ensure solid completed products and date completion, Communicate with foundations, research foundations, bring CEO in on developments when needed
3. Keep CEO abreast of progress during the week. Set regular work times and check-in with CEO through e-mails for any prioritization, additional needs, duties, or follow up.

Interns will learn what it takes to start a small business as well as the challenges nonprofits face. Weekly internship schedules are very flexible and most tasks can be completed off site.

There will be three meetings per month. There will be 2 committee meetings per month (1 hr) and a weekly Sunday business management meeting (1-2 hrs). Other tasks will be completed outside of meetings (7-13 hrs). So total time spent weekly will be approximately 10-15 hrs per week.

Minimum Requirements: Need to be mature, have examples of leadership (fraternity, sorority, student groups) reliable individual who is able to work on projects with and without supervision; computer proficient, excellent oral and written communication skills, organized, and self-motivated. Candidate preferably will be a sophomore or junior college student. First year MBA students will be considered as well.

Positions open immediately. Interested parties should contact Darein Burton at

Monday, March 1, 2010

Five Step Chicago Chickens

An excerpt from Eco Columbia:

Step 1: Decide you want chickens.

Step 2: Call your Alderman to see if chickens are legal to own in your city's ward.

Step 3: Select a breed, I recommend 'Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds' by Carol Ekarious. This will let you know what chicken's best for you and your climate. In Chicago, a cold weather hardy and warm weather hard bird is best.

Step 4: Find a hatchery that will ship to you, yes, ship. I enjoyed 'Nature's Hatchery' in Naperville, IL. Also, 'McMurray Hatchery' in Webster City, IA. They will deliver as little as 2 chicks.

Step 5: Do your homework on raising chicks. It's easier than you think. I recommend 'The Chickens Health Handbook' by Gail Damerow on everything chicken health, you can never read too much about your chickens. I brooded (raised as chicks) my 3 hens myself by purchasing a used 25 gallon fish tank/terrarium and a red heat lamp. My chickens are now full grown at 10 months. I have 3, 2 barred plymouth rocks and 1 buff orpington. They started laying light brown eggs after 20 weeks and they each lay about 6 eggs a week. They are the best eggs I've ever tasted and my girls have such great personalities. And no, you do not need a rooster for eggs!!

Happy Laying!

Natalie H Wojcik Check out this blog for the whole experience!