Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Environment Fair

This past Saturday was our big Environment Fair that we've been working up to these past two months. For our first time doing something like this it was a huge success. There were about 30 presenters who shared with the citizens of Kendall County practical ways they can care for the environment as individuals and in their community. Here is a brief rundown of the groups that had booths at the Fair and links for you to learn more about them if you're interested:
  1. Green Earth Institute
    Organic farm in Naperville that promotes nutritional health and ecological sustainability through education and operating as a CSA.

  2. Chicago Solar Energy
    Solar Collection Systems that provide heat and hot water for residential homes.

  3. Vintage Tech Recyclers
    Electronics recycling based in Plainfield, IL.

  4. Yorkville Congregational Church Green Group
    An environmental awareness and action group at one of our local churches. They've been instrumental in helping the Coalition pull off this fair and other events.

  5. Sheaffer International, LLC
    Environmentally friendly and sustainable wastewater recycling and stormwater management processes.

  6. Wiesbrook Sheet Metal, Inc.
    Provides geothermal heating systems to heat your home and water with the natural heat beneath the earth's surface.

  7. The One Watt House by Conservation Technology International
    An energy efficient home design that has a maximum heat energy consumption of one Watt per square foot. Developed in Germany, this design can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs over the life of your home.

  8. Rain Garden Network
    Landscaping design that helps conserve fresh water by redirecting stormwater run-off into backyard rain gardens. They also provide education and consulting for municipalities and other public groups.

  9. Heavenly Winds, LLC
    Provides wind turbines and solar power systems to help make your home entirely energy independent (i.e. completely off the grid).

  10. Fuel Freedom International
    Provides an engine treatment that increases total miles-per-gallon on your vehicle and reduces harmful emissions.

  11. Jean Marie Kauth
    A concerned citizen with information about the dangers of lawn chemicals and environmentally and human-friendly alternatives.
    Contact at Jkauth@ben.edu. Also visit:

  12. Aux Sable Watershed
    Local watershed coalition involved in fighting the recent landfill proposal here in Yorkville.
    For more info contact Joan Soltwisch at jksoltwischblue@yahoo.com.

  13. ComEd
    Local electric utility offers much in the way of energy conservation tips.

  14. Kendall Citizens for Farmland Protection
    A community-based effort to advocate for farmland protection and to develop a county-wide strategy for this goal.

  15. ReUseIt Center
    Building supply outlet in Batavia that recycles and resells building and home improvement materials. Also provides home repair assistance to low-income families.

  16. The Conservation Foundation
    Local non-profit organization dedicated to preserving natural areas around suburban Chicago. They are currently involved in promoting the Open Space Referendum here in Kendall County (vote April 17!)

  17. SCARCE
    School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education
    Based in Glen Ellyn, works with schools, businesses, community groups, etc. for environment and recycling education.

  18. Friends of the Fox River
    Non-profit organization of concerned citizens taking action to protect and maintain the quality of the Fox River Valley watershed.

  19. Kendall County Soil & Water Conservation District &
    Northeastern Illinois Regional Groundwater Protection Planning Committee

    Conservation interest group for networking and education.
    630-553-5821 ext. 3

  20. LiveRoof, LLC
    Company that installs rooftop gardens for commercial, institutional, and residential buildings.

  21. Kendall County Waste Management
    Local recycling and waste disposal utility.

  22. General Motors
    Alternative fuels and advanced propulsion systems.

  23. Illinois Solar Energy Association
    Promotes clean energy use.

  24. Citzenre REnU
    Residential solar power without any upfront investment costs.

Main stage speakers included Marko Speigel about the One Watt House, Grace Koehler with Midwest Groundcovers speaking about drought resistant plants, Jason Petit with the Kendall Forest Preserve District, Rick Bak talking about bio-diesel, Robert Veach sharing about affordable solar panels, and Kay McKeen with SCARCE giving basic household conservation tips.

In addition to these presenters, Via Christus Community Church in Yorkville sponsored a video viewing room featuring short videos about various new green technologies as well as the "Another World Is Possible: Creation" DVD from Shane Claiborne and the Simple Way, a neo-monastic Christian community among the urban poor in inner-city Philadelphia that practices sustainable living and fights environmental racism in their neighborhoods.

Two of the videos had to do with alternative waste disposal technologies: Thermal Depolymerization and Plasma Gasification - both of which turn garbage into energy and other usable by-products (like fertilizer, oil, bricks and asphalt). It's amazing stuff. If energy really is the most valuable resource in today's society, then these processes are really nothing short of the fulfillment of the alchemist's dream of turning worthless materials into "gold".

This is an especially relevant issue for our community right now given the recent landfill controversy. The question is why would we bother with a landfill at all when we could be generating electricity with our trash? With technologies like this it's hard to see why we would ever need another landfill anywhere. Why bury our trash when we can turn it into electricity? As of right now, only a few waste disposal facilities around the country utilize either of these processes. We're throwing away a golden opportunity to solve our energy problems and our trash problems at the same time.

Anyhow, if you want more information about any of the groups or technologies presented at the fair, just follow the links above.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Kendall Environmental Coalition is sponsoring several events over the next few months. We hope you will join us for these informative and fun learning experiences.

Contact any of the people listed below for more details.

February 18, 2007
An Inconvenient Truth

Watch the movie that has sparked an important discussion about Global Warming and the future of humankind.

Movie Starts at 6:30 p.m.

Yorkville Congregational Church
409 Center Parkway
Yorkville, IL 60560
Contact: 553.5073 / 553.5188

March 5, 2007
Faith & Our Environment
Local pastors share a discussion on faith and our environment.

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Yorkville Congregational Church
409 Center PKWY
Yorkville, IL 60560
Contact: Mike Clawson 630.742.4062

March 24, 2007
Environmental Fair

- Building awareness of local recycling programs
- Teaching energy efficiency
- Exploring new technology
- Local recycling programs and you
- Cars and fuel for the future
- Children and families: tour the nature museum
- Electronics recycling drop-off

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Old Kendall Courthouse
110 W. Madison St.
Yorkville, IL 60560
Contact: Danielle 630.553.4111

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Welcome to the Kendall Environmental Coalition

We are a coalition of concerned citizens, churches, conservation groups, and governmental organizations in Kendall County, Illinois. We desire to help residents of our community learn and do more to protect our environment. We are organizing several events during 2007. Check back here soon for more details.