Category Archives: Uncategorized

Just $10 to Help Monarch Butterflies!

Get your Monarch license plate decal before the end of September!

Monarch butterflies are critical pollinators that help support biodiversity by carrying important pollens long distances across their migration route. Sadly, monarch butterfly populations have been rapidly declining in North America since 1997. During that time, the Midwestern United States has seen an 88% decline in the number of monarchs, and a 64% decrease in the amount of available milkweed, which serves as the monarchs only egg-laying habitat and food source for monarch caterpillars.

Monarch team image

Fortunately, there is now a fun and easy way that you can help protect monarchs in Illinois through the Secretary of State’s specialty license plate program. For just $10 you may sign up for a monarch specialty license plate decal. Whether or not you choose to purchase a specialty license plate, the funds from the decal sales will go to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to support roadside monarch habitat throughout Illinois!

We need just 76 more people to express interest to get the decal commissioned by the Secretary of State. 1,924 requests have been submitted but we need 2,000 total by the end of September. Once the monarch decal is commissioned, you will receive a letter from the Sec. of State with an opportunity to purchase a universal speciality plate with the monarch decal. You can choose whether or not to do so then. Either way, your $10 will go to help monarchs!

It’s easy!

Download and fill out the form at https://tinyurl.com/ILMonarchDecalAppln

  • Write in ‘Monarch Roadside Habitat’ for Name of Specialty Plate Being Requested
  • Write in ‘$10” for Amount Enclosed
  • Write a check to ‘Illinois Secretary of State” for $10
  • Mail to the address listed on the form
  • SHARE the form with friends, family and colleagues.

Together we can make this happen!
Apply for your monarch license plate decal by September 30th! 

Illinois Chapter Sierra Club Monarch Team

**Interested in joining the Team? Please fill out this form.**

Visit our Facebook Page

 

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Join us this month to clean up our waterways!

From the shores of Lake Michigan to the banks of the mighty Mississippi and all ponds, lakes, and streams in between, Illinois depends on its waterways for agriculture, recreation, drinking water and much more. Unfortunately, our waterways are too often filled with garbage, toxic chemicals, and unwanted waste. Laws protecting our waterways are weak and the political will to fund and enforce cleanup and protection of these waterways is limited. That’s why we need all hands on deck to clean up our local waterways and spread the word about the importance of keeping them clean! By participating in a waterway cleanup this month, you can work with people in your community, state, and world to do your part to protect our waterways and become engaged global citizens in the process.

We are excited to join with our partners at Illinois Global Scholar, Prairie Rivers Network and American Rivers to announce the second annual Illinois Waterway Cleanup Week (recently designated by the Illinois General Assembly) this September 9th-16th. This event calls upon you, community members, and especially students and teachers, to collaborate on a service project of both local and global importance. Last year, Illinois Global Scholar worked with its partners including Sierra Club to coordinate an effort with 35 schools and organizations, which collected over 5,000 pounds of trash!

Illinois Waterway Cleanup Week involves picking up trash along our lake shores, in our rivers, in our streams, and even in roadside ditches and on trails – really any place where litter enters a watershed. Visit www.global-illinois.org/illinois-waterway-cleanup/ to find out more about Illinois Waterway Cleanup Week including nearby events, an app you can download to track the trash you collect, and information on available resources.

September brings lots of Sierra Club waterway cleanup activities across the state, during and beyond Illinois Waterway Cleanup Week. Find one near you and join in the fun!

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Blackhawk Group – Rock River Sweep                       

Join us for the 9th edition of Rock River Sweep to help maintain the cleanliness of our section of the river.

When: Saturday, September 8, 2018 starting at 9 a.m.

Where:  Meet at the shelterhouse in back of First National Bank and Trust, E. Main Street in Rockton, IL

Note: We’ll give out assignments, trash bags and gloves. Dress for the weather; long sleeves, long pants and old shoes are recommended. Participants can bring back their trash around noon, when we’ll do the door prizes, refreshments and pizza.  We should finish up around 1 p.m.

RSVP: We will again offer the long-sleeve shirts with Rock River Sweep logo.  Please RSVP to Loren at fllotowood@gmail.com or 815-289-1152 and specify the number and sizes of shirts you need. Invite family and friends!

 

Valley of the Fox Group – Algonquin’s It’s Our River Day Cleanup

Join the Sierra Club and partners for Algonquin It’s Our River Day, co-hosted by Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the Village of Algonquin.

When: Saturday, Sept. 15 at 1-4 pm

Where: Cornish Park, 101 S Harrison St., Algonquin, 60102 (Downtown Algonquin)

“It’s Our River Day,” a statewide celebration, kicks off at 1PM with a welcome from a representative from the Village of Algonquin. The Sierra Club will provide bags and gloves for the shoreline clean-up at the main location at Cornish Park. Volunteers from the Illinois Paddling Council, Water Trailkeepers and Prairie State Canoeists will participate in an in-river clean-up between Cornish Park and Fox River Shores in Carpentersville. The Fox River Jeep Club will be located at Buffalo Park for trash/recycling pick-up downstream.

Cleanup participants will need to sign a waiver at the sign-in table. Young people attending without their parent or guardian should download and have the waiver signed by their guardian and bring it to the event.

All are welcome to help clean up the beautiful Fox River. The event is free and open to the public. Groups are welcome. Parking is available at municipal parking lot at South Harrison St and Washington St and street-side.

 

Chicago Group – Montrose Beach Cleanup & Nature Tours

For 20 years, Sierra Club Chicago Group has partnered with the Alliance for the Great Lakes to adopt Montrose Beach as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. This year we’re expanding our beach-cleaning coverage by teaming up with members of the Environmental Club from nearby Harry S. Truman College.

When: Saturday, Sept. 15

7 a.m.–9 a.m. – Nature tour and beginning birder walk at Montrose Beach

9 a.m.–12 p.m. – Beach cleanup and more nature tours

Where: 200 W. Montrose Harbor Drive (see additional directions below)

To note: Come for all or part of the work period. Dress for the weather, wear a hat and sunscreen, bring a filled water bottle and work gloves if you have them. No dogs allowed. All ages welcome.

Volunteer crew leaders needed! If you would like to assist with any of the event duties (setup, registration, breakdown, etc.), please contact Jeff Shelden. Coffee and donuts provided!

RSVP: Please register here (for all individuals & groups). For more info, contact Christine Williamson.

Additional Directions: We will meet at Montrose Beach House at 7:00 a.m. Look for the Sierra Club banners and/or tents near the southeast end of the large white building. Parking is free and bike racks are provided. Montrose Beach House is a 10 to 15 minute walk from the bus stops at Montrose and Marine Drive.

 

Piasa Palisades Group – The Great Mississippi River Cleanup

The Great Mississippi River Cleanup includes a free boat ride, t-shirt and lunch. Pre-registration is required by September 13th. Volunteers 17 & younger must have adult supervisor with them.

When: Saturday, Sept. 22 at 9am – 12pm

Where: 4 clean-up boats leaving out of Grafton, IL (exact location TBD – likely at the Grafton Harbor)

RSVP: Volunteers must sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b44aaab2aa0ff2-2018

 

Eagle View Group – Illinois Waterway Cleanup

We are partnering with Keep Moline Beautiful, XStream Cleanup, Augustana Student Sierra Coalition & Rock Island High School Environmental Action Club for a cleanup of the Rock River.

When: Sun, Sep 23 at 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Where: 4540 3rd St, Moline, IL 61265

We will meet at the head of the Moline Kiwanis bike path behind UnityPoint (Trinity) Medical Center at 7th St & 52nd Ave. Park in the small lot by the path or in the lot across the street.

RSVP: Sign up here. Each person needs to register individually to sign the waiver.

Questions? Contact Kristen Bergren at ishibook@gmail.com

 

 

 

Chicago Earns Title As Greenest City

New Chi

For the second year in a row, Chicago has earned the title of Greenest City by the National Green Building Adoption Index. With nearly 70% of all office buildings certified as green buildings, Chicago continues to lead the country in sustainability practices.

This year’s title as Greenest City is another achievement for our city- one that should  encourage more bold goals! Prioritizing energy efficiency and energy waste reduction are critical steps on the path to a 100% clean energy future. While the current target to power municipal buildings with clean energy by 2025 is a laudable milestone, we encourage the city to consider a similar city-wide commitment so that all residents can benefit and be part of creating an equitable clean energy future.

Committing to a city-wide 100% clean energy future would place Chicago among more than 75 other cities who have committed to the same. Imagine the profound impact Chicago could have, locally and nationally, by investing in an equitable 100% clean renewable energy future! As a globally recognized sustainability leader, we believe that our city must make bold goals that blend world-class strategy with community values and priorities for the greatest benefit for the most people in our city. Whether motivated by lower energy bills, cost savings, public health, or environmental health, a clean energy future will provide a strong foundation to becoming the resilient, sustainable city we aim to be.

Empowering Young Leaders through Sierra Club’s Summer Program

The Sierra Club’s Summer Program (Sprog) is an intensive one-week leadership training program that teaches tools for environmental and social justice activism to young people across the country. Sprog is run by and for young people, teaching the knowledge and skills and sharing tools needed to become a leader and make a substantial difference in the future of one’s community and planet. It serves to connect a supportive regional network of youth activists who fight similar battles and share similar passions. Participants have described it as one of the most inspiring and fulfilling weeks of their life. This is a reflection by one of this year’s Midwest Sprog participants, who first interacted with Sierra Club through the Chicago Inspiring Connections Outdoors program. Find out more about Sprog here.

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I am Luis Ramirez, currently a sophomore studying Environmental Studies and Anthropology in Albion College. This summer, I participated in, personally, one of the most promising student organizations of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Student Coalition is an organization whose mission is to inspire and train young leaders of tomorrow and those of today to take the initiative of advocating and campaigning in their own communities or organizations in which they could be a key factor of change or take a leadership position. Throughout the week, the summer program (Sprog) taught me of the importance of building an inclusive and anti-oppressive organization or campaign.

One of my favorite moments in Sprog happened during discussion; being able to challenge ideas was probably one of the best learning opportunities since most of the participants do not come from the same community. As for me, coming from Chicago, I could relate to others either because they were from Chicago or because they were raised in the same cultural/racial community as me. I applied to both the West Sprog and the Midwest Sprog. After talking to other participants, I figured that every Sprog offered different perspectives, both in environmental and leadership practices or approaches to our different communities pertaining to modern day issues in our environment or communities. As members of our colleges, high schools, or communities, we would create a safe environment of acceptance and respect. But like every community, some ideas were not as popular and the exclusion between various participants was obvious. In the scenarios of disagreement, the trainers were mostly more than prepared to reach out and facilitate the discussions.

The week consisted of 101 training in organization, leadership building, and campaigning; the trainings then became more advanced throughout the week. I had the privilege of being sponsored by the Illinois Chapter of Sierra Club, and my peers were sponsored by their state chapters or city youth environmental organizations. Thanks to the trainers around the nation, the Sierra Student Coalition put a stand in Washington D.C. to advocate for both the future of the program and the trainers. In Midwest Sprog, two training and discussion based topics were more common throughout the week: Environmental Issues and Oppression in our nation. Because participants were from various social economic status, cultures, religions, race, and gender many took the initiative to lead discussions and training alongside with trainers; this was probably one of my favorite and most educative scenarios of the program.

I would have not heard of this opportunity if it had not being for Inspiring Connections Outdoors- Chicago (ICO) staff who reached out to me about the opportunity. Alongside other students from Chicago, sponsorship and support was one of the key factors of attending the program. I am thankful that many more young adults have the resources necessary to attend programs and be guided throughout their environmental or advocacy lifestyle thanks to organizations like ICO who provide learning and service opportunities in their communities. Because of my time in Sprog, I am ready to be involved in future training opportunities with the Sierra Student Coalition or future staff positions within the Sierra Club or other environmental organizations.

Sierra Club Announces General Assembly Endorsements, Launches Climate Voter Contact Campaign to Elect 27 New Environmental Champions to Springfield

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 20th, 2018
Contact: Kady McFadden, kady.mcfadden@sierraclub.org, (630) 747-0915


Chicago – The Illinois Sierra Club today announced its endorsements in races for the Illinois General Assembly and its largest ever voter contact campaign to elect 27 new environmentalists to state legislative districts. Sierra Club’s full list of endorsements can be found here.

“With Donald Trump taking apart our nation’s environmental protections and trying to move America backward out of the clean energy economy, state and local leaders must lead the way,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter.  “These are leaders who want to protect our drinking water, open spaces, and move Illinois to 100% clean energy. We are proud to recommend them to Illinois voters.”

Sierra Club’s Illinois endorsements can be found at www.sierraclub.org/illinois/vote.  To support these candidates, Sierra Club has fielded a staff of full-time paid organizers to support its mobilized grassroots membership base in swing districts in southern, central, and northeastern Illinois to inform voters about where candidates stand on energy and environmental policy.

“Ever since Trump began his assault on America’s environmental protections, thousands of Illinoisans have become energized to resist those attacks and move Illinois towards environmental justice, safe and clean water, open spaces we can all enjoy, and a 100% clean energy future,” said Barbara Hill, Political Chair for the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter.

Sierra Club has placed 15 paid organizers across these key districts to activate the organization’s 100,000 members and supporters across Illinois to volunteer and vote for these candidates. By Election Day, Sierra Club aims to have 75,000 contacts with Illinois voters about these candidates and issues.  

Sierra Club’s contacts with Illinois voters on behalf of endorsed candidates are funded by Sierra Club Illinois PAC.  Copies of our reports are available from the State Board of Elections in Springfield, Illinois.

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Benefits of Future Jobs Act Starting to Show

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By Rebecca Judd

The Future Energy Jobs Act is a bright spot for Illinois communities, spurring the development of wind and solar and rapidly creating benefits like cleaner air and less reliance on dirty polluting fossil fuels, economic development, and job creation across the state.  And it’s just getting started…

Thanks to our members and supporters like you, the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) is one of the most significant and historic pieces of clean energy legislation ever to pass the Illinois General Assembly.  It resulted from years of negotiations between utilities, consumer advocates, clean energy businesses, and environmental and environmental justice groups.  It was signed into law on December 7, 2016 and went into effect on June 1, 2017. The law is now in the implementation phase, as some programs have recently started to roll out, and even more programs – including the programs incentivizing the development of on-site, community, and low-income solar projects – will open up later this year and into 2019, bringing even more benefits across the state.

Energy efficiency programs are already underway, and utility-scale wind and solar procurements have already begun, with 8 projects awarded, including 3 wind farms near Clinton, Broadlands, and Macomb, Illinois, along with 1 utility-scale solar farm in Perry County.  

The Illinois Power Agency (IPA) made more moves toward full operation of solar programs under FEJA on August 6, 2018, by launching the Adjustable Block Program website and hiring the Adjustable Block Program Administrator.  The site will be open for vendor registration on November 1, 2018, and the Adjustable Block Program is expected to take project applications from approved vendors on January 15, 2019.  Due to the potential of over 1,000 MW of community solar projects, the IPA has said that it will develop criteria for a lottery. Potential community solar subscribers will eventually have access to view a list of approved community solar projects with contact information. The final Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan as ordered by the Illinois Commerce Commission has also been released.

Job training programs authorized under FEJA also underway, including the “Solar Training Pipeline Program,” which trains solar installers who are from low-income and environmental justice communities, alumni of the Illinois foster care system, and returning citizens, with a job placement goal of 2,000 individuals by 2029.  Training providers like Illinois Central College in Peoria, Opportunity Advancement Innovation in Chicago, and Elevate Energy in Chicago and Carbondale have already either started or graduated their first class of between 15 and 30 participants, and several graduates have already been hired or actively being considered for employment.  Vivint Solar recently announced its intention to create over 100 jobs in Illinois, primarily in the residential market, and Sunrun over 80 positions. Ranger Power, developer of the utility-scale solar farm in southern Perry County, expects to create around 200 jobs in construction.

These numbers will only continue to increase as more solar and wind systems are awarded incentives under FEJA and break ground in 2019 and beyond.  The benefits of FEJA are just getting started, bringing cleaner air, lower utility bills, economic development, job creation, tax base growth, and other benefits to communities all over the State. 

Community Dialogue Training: IL’s Clean Energy Future

By: Caroline Wooten

Community dialogues can be a powerful tool for shaping inclusive and winning environmental campaigns.

Join us to learn how to plan and facilitate a community dialogue in your own community! These dialogues can help shape local priorities, and will also help us as we shape state-level policy goals for clean energy.

A community dialogue involves gathering 3-15 individuals from your community, and engaging in an intentional group conversation on a given issue. By engaging people in discussion about their values and experiences, their community’s needs and opportunities, and their priorities on a given policy issue, we can shape campaigns that are grounded in local needs and serve people first.

Join the training that works best for you:

Thursday, June 21, 6:30 pm-9 pm
@ Illinois Sierra Club – 70 E Lake St Suite 1500, Chicago, IL 60601
RSVP here
Dinner Provided

Saturday, June 23, 10 am- 4 pm (This training is a day-long Ready for 100 leadership training. One section of the agenda will focus on community dialogues)
@ First Presbyterian Church – 400 Alby St, Alton, IL 62002
RSVP here
Breakfast and lunch provided

Monday, June 25, 6 pm-8:30 pm
@ Spring Valley Nature Center – 1111 E Schaumburg Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60194
RSVP here
Dinner Provided

Thursday, June 28, 6:30-9 pm
@ 3S501 Landon, Warrenville, IL 60555
RSVP here
Dinner Provided