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Coal Ash Stories / Forum

Coal Ash Stories

Coal Ash Stories – Public Forum
June 29, 2015, 7pm to 8:30pm

Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ
615 W. Wellington Avenue, Chicago (Lakeview Neighborhood)

Organized by Eco-Justice Collaborative
Co-Sponsored by Citizens Against Ruining the Environment; the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club; Prairie Rivers Network; Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ; and Working Films

What must it be like when coal ash contaminates your community? Can you imagine how it would be if you were unable to drink your own water, take a bath, fish or farm without worrying about long-term health effects?

Learn about the issue on July 29 and find out what you can do to help prevent the unraveling of newly adopted federal regulations AND to ensure that Illinois adopts the strongest rules possible to protect our residents!

BACKGROUND

This June, Eco-Justice Collaborative is partnering with organizations across Illinois to launch Coal Ash Stories, a statewide screening tour featuring four short documentary films focused on coal ash. Illinois’ coal-fired power plants generate more than 4.4 million tons of coal ash waste each year.

Coal ash is the toxic by-product that is left over after coal is burned. It contains toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, selenium and other health-threatening substances. Coal Ash Stories expose the environmental injustice, public health concerns, related policy,and community responses to current methods of disposing of this hazardous waste.

The four films featured in Coal Ash Stories are An Ill Wind, At What Cost?, Coal Ash Chronicles, and Downwind and Downstream. A fifth film, Waiting for Disaster – Coal Ash on the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, prepared by Eco-Justice Collaborative, highlights the leaking and potential breaching of Dynegy’s coal ash ponds along the state’s only National Scenic River.

Collectively, these films paint a grim picture of what life looks like when coal ash contaminates a community. People are unable to drink their own water, take a bath, fish, or farm without worrying about long-term health effects. Similar fears are felt by communities located near coal-fired power plants in Illinois, including Waukegan; Chicago’s Little Village Neighborhood; and Joliet.

Each event pairs the films with a discussion led by those who have worked on, and are impacted by the issue in Illinois. The June 29 screening in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood features Rhiannon Fionn, journalist and filmmaker, Coal Ash Chronicles; and Cindy Skrukrud PhD,Clean Water Advocate, Illinois Chapter, Sierra Club

Currently, Illinois is working on a state rule on how to address the over 90 coal ash waste sites in the state. Most of the ponds are unlined and were built in floodplains; on top of mines; and near rivers and lakes. where they threaten Illinois’ water supply. In fact, water contamination has been found at every site tested.

The health of residents in our community and in many communities throughout Illinois is at risk due to leaking coal ash disposal facilities. Now is the time for the people of Illinois to call on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to enact strong rules that will protect the quality of drinking water for everyone in the state”, said Ellen Rendulich, president of Citizens Against Ruining the Environment and a Lockport resident who lives within a mile of coal ash pits owned by NRG Energy.

CALL TO ACTION

Join us on June 29 at 7pm. Learn about what can be done to keep federal regulations adopted in December 2014 in place, and ensure that Illinois enacts strong rules that protect its residents.

Click here for Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/106661166338391/

Click here for information on the July 25, 7pm screening in Vermilion County!

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Events are being held in Alton, Chicago, Champaign (Vermilion County), Springfield, and Peoria.

The Illinois screening tour is co-presented by nineteen organizations including: Eco-Justice Collaborative, Prairie Rivers Network, Prairie Group of the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club, Students for Environmental Concerns, Metro East Green Alliance, Piasa Palisades Group of the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club, La Vista CSA, The Alton Cluster of United Congregations of Metro East, Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, Citizens Against Ruining the Environment, Sangamon Valley Group of the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club, Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance, Heart of Illinois Group of the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club, Global Warming Solutions Group of Central Illinois, League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria, Central Illinois Chapter of the Interfaith Alliance, Greater Peoria Progressive Democrats, Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste, and Working Films.

Schedule:

Vermilion County

Thursday, June 25th 7:00pm: Kickapoo Landing at Kickapoo State Park
1 Clear Pond, Oakwood, IL
Hosted by: Eco-Justice Collaborative, Prairie Rivers Network, Prairie Group of the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club, and Students for Environmental Concerns.

Alton

Saturday, June 27th 7:00pm: Riverbender Community Center
200 West 3rd Street, Alton, IL
Hosted by: Metro East Green Alliance, Piasa Palisades Group of the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club, La Vista CSA, and the Alton Cluster of United Congregations of Metro East

Chicago
Monday, June 29th 7:00pm: Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ
615 W. Wellington Avenue, Chicago, IL
Hosted by: Eco-Justice Collaborative, Citizens Against Ruining the Environment, Illinois Chapter Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network, and Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ

Springfield

Tuesday June 30th, 6:30pm: Lincoln Library
326 S 7th St. Springfield, IL
Hosted by: Sangamon Valley Group of the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club.

Peoria
Wednesday, July 1st, 7pm: Unitarian-Universalist Church
3000 W Richwoods Blvd. Peoria, IL
Hosted by: Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance, Heart of Illinois Group of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, Global Warming Solutions Group of Central Illinois, League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria, Central Illinois Chapter of the Interfaith Alliance, Greater Peoria Progressive Democrats, and Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste.

Coal Ash Stories

Coal Ash Stories

Coal Ash Stories banner - Version 2

COAL ASH STORIES – COMMUNITY FORUMS 

Thursday, June 25, 7pm to 8:30pm

Kickapoo Landing, Kickapoo State Park

and

Monday, June 29, 7pm to 8:30pm

Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ
615 West Wellington Avenue, Chicago

Organized by: Eco-Justice Collaborative
Co-Sponsors:  Prairie Group of the Illinois Chapter of Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network, Sierra Club (Illinois Chapter), Students for Environmental Concerns, and Working Films

Join us on Thursday, June 25 at Kickapoo Landing in Kickapoo State Park near Oakwood, Illinois or on June 29 at Wellington Avenue Church of Christ in Chicago, as we screen five short films that expose public health concerns, related policy, and community responses to this environmental injustice. The purpose of these events is to draw public and political attention to the toxic impact of coal ash on communities in Illinois and throughout the country.  This is particularly important since Illinois is now in the process of creating rules for handling and disposing of this hazardous waste.

Why Care

Coal ash, our country’s second largest waste stream, is the waste material left after coal is burned. It contains arsenic, mercury, lead, and over a dozen other heavy metals, many of them toxic.  Coal ash has been linked to the four leading causes of death in the U.S. – heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and stroke.

Imagine being afraid to drink your water, take a bath, fish, or farm because your community is being poisoned by coal ash.  According to Earthjustice, more than 200 lakes, rivers, streams and drinking water aquifers in this country already have been contaminated by coal ash.  They say that the amount of toxic coal ash that has spilled in the U.S. in the last six years is more than 100 times the amount of oil that spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Hazards of Coal Ash in Illinois

Illinois generates over 4.4 million tons of coal ash every year and imports ash from six states, storing it at over 90 sites across the state.

Most coal ash is dumped in wet impoundments at power plants that hold millions of gallons of coal ash sludge, and that discharge coal pollution to nearby rivers and lakes. Coal ash also is dumped in coal mines and quarries, directly threatening groundwater and air. Since 2009, when Illinois EPA first required groundwater data to be collected at power plants, contamination from coal ash pollution has been found at every site investigated.

Waiting for Disaster

One of the films that will be screened was prepared by Eco-Justice Collaborative to expose the hazards of Dynegy’s three coal ash ponds, located upstream from Kickapoo Landing and along the floodplain of the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River.  This is Illinois’ only National Scenic River, and it is heavily used for recreation and fishing..

Photo by Jeff Lucas, Gutting the Heartland
Photo by Jeff Lucas, Gutting the Heartland

The old, unlined ash ponds are leaching harmful coal ash pollution into the Middle Fork, and the meandering river continues to erode the walls of these ponds. In spite of this, Dynegy has proposed a closure plan that would leave the ash dumps in the floodplain without addressing the ongoing pollution of the river.  One only has to remember disasters like the Dan River coal ash spill in North Carolina in 2014, and the massive 2008 ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee to know that this is unacceptable and places the river and those who live downstream at risk.

Take Action

Learn about the issues, and talk with friends, colleagues and issue experts, including journalist and film director Rhiannon Fionn; Tyler Rotche, Water Policy Specialist; Prairie Rivers Network (June 25 event); and Cindy Skrukrud, Clean Water Advocate for the Sierra Club (June 29 event). Learn what you can do to:

  • Call on the Illinois EPA to create strong rules for the handling and disposal of coal ash.
  • Urge local, state and regional decision makers to act with and on behalf of their constituents to support complete closure and cleanup of Dynegy’s ash ponds to preserve the health of Illinois’ only National Scenic River and the communities that depend on it

Download printable fliers:
Coal Ash Stories 6-25 Forum Flier
Coal Ash Stories 6-29 Forum Flier

Coal Ash Stories banner

Weekend Delegation to Southern IL

Weekend Delegation to Southern IL

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AND THE IMPACTS OF COAL
Weekend Delegation: April 10, 11 and 12, 2015

Interested in learning first-hand about the true cost of coal in Illinois?

EJC delegates explore Peabody Energy abandoned mine lands
EJC delegates explore Peabody Energy abandoned mine lands

Join EJC as we partner with Shawnee Hills and Hollers and the Shawnee Vineyard Indian Settlement and head to southern Illinois this April for a guided tour of some of the southern Illinois’ coalfields.  Participants will experience both the beauty and magnificence of Illinois’ natural wonders (such as Garden of the Gods and High Knob) while learning about the impacts that the entire coal life cycle has on the lands, waters, health, and quality of life of southern Illinois communities.

Plan to meet with some of the residents directly affected by Peabody Energy, the largest private-sector coal company in the world.  They will share stories about strategies adopted by Peabody to secure rights to mine in this rural community; their courageous resistance; and how their lives have been affected by blasting, dust; coal truck traffic; road vacation; living next to coal slurry ponds; community displacement; and more.

As an added bonus, we’ll gather with activist and poet Barney Bush and friends at the Shawnee Vinyard Settlement, as they celebrate their Spring Onion Festival.

The cost will include travel, lodging and meals. We’re working out the details to make this trip as cost-effective as possible.

Contact us if you are interested, and continue to watch this website as details for this delegation continue to evolve!

 

This Changes EVERYTHING

This Changes EVERYTHING

This Changes EVERYTHING
Faithful Responses to Climate Change

Today, a majority of Americans believe that the status quo is no longer possible if we are to avert the most devastating consequences of climate change. But how many of us are willing to consider the seemingly impossible – that our changing climate is a result of our fossil-fuel driven, growth-oriented consumer economy? Or, that the changes the climate crisis demands of us today actually may provide the opportunity to to rebuild our broken political and economic systems into alternatives that improve our quality of life; well-being; and connectedness to one another?

Join us for a six week study of Naomi Klein’s newest book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate”:

Wednesday evenings, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
2/25; 3-4; 3-11; 3-18; 3-25; and 4-1
Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ
615 West Wellington Avenue, Chicago (Lakeview neighborhood)


This interactive series has been designed to test our beliefs about a changing climate and provoke us into actions that can avert the worst impacts of a changing climate by addressing its root causes – our current political and socioeconomic systems, which have stood largely unchallenged for decades.  Each evening begins at 6pm with a light meal and fellowship, before moving into discussion.  We’ll learn and sing together “Do It Now.  Sing for the Climate”; watch short videos that help us understand each week’s topic; participate in the art project “Rolling Away the Stone”; and come away with concrete ideas and actions for systems change that can contribute towards building a more just world.

Session 1 – February 25:
Welcome, introduction to the book and overview of the series.  Come prepared to answer these questions:  “Why are you here?” “What do you want to get out of this study series?” Led by Pastors Dan Dale and Alli Baker.

Session 2 – March 4:
Part One:  “Bad Timing” (Chapters 1-4 ) and “Confronting the Climate Denier Within” (Chapter 5). Led by Pastors Alli Baker and Dan Dale.

Session 3 – March 11:
Part Two: “Magical Thinking” (Chapters 6, 7 and 8). Led by Yuki Schwartz Minister of Theological Formation, and Pastor Alli Baker

Session 4 – March 18:
“Listen to Voices from the Front Lines” The evening will include a panel of representatives from communities on the front lines of the struggle for environmental justice, and selected videos highlighting their work. Prexy Nesbitt, African activist and educator, renowned for his work in the anti-apartheid movement, will moderate the panel. Organized by Pam and Lan Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative, and Dan Dale, Senior Pastor, WAUCC.

Session 5 – March 25:
Part Three:  “Starting Anyway”. Led by Clinton Stockwell, former Executive Director, Chicago Semester, and Dan Dale, Senior Pastor, WAUCC.

Session 6 – April 1:
COLLECTIVE ACTION – Building the social movements that are getting in the way and building the alternative future. Led by Pam and Lan Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative, and Dan Dale, Senior Pastor, WAUCC.

For more information, contact Pam or Lan at 773.556.3417 / 3418 or Kathy at 773.935.0642

Click here for a printable flyer

This Changes Everything Flyer. Please share widely!

Bridging Visions Summit

Bridging Visions Summit

Bridging Visions for a Fossil-Fuel Free World

Join EJC for this inaugural summit in beautiful southern Illinois:

November 14, 15, and 16
Touch of Nature
Carbondale, Illinois

Briding Vision.001

Click here for a printable Bridging the Vision flier with detailed information.

The November 6, 2014 decision to approve rules that regulate hydraulic fracturing in Illinois places the spotlight on fossil fuel extraction in this state. The summit will bring together grassroots organizations and activists working to move industry and policies to transition from fossil fuels and build a new economy based on clean, safe, renewable energy and energy efficiency. This promises to be a weekend of fun, sharing, learning, and building the relationships that we need to bring about a fossil-free future.

Guest speakers include Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog; Pam and Lan Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative;Barney Bush, Shawnee Vineyard Indian Settlement; Braze T. Smith, Shawnee Forest Sentinnels; Bill Price, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign; Tom Shepherd, Southeast Environmental Task Force; Debra Michaud, Tar Sands Free Midwest; Natalie Long, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund; Penni Livingston, Attorney; Tyler Rotche, Prairie Rivers Network; and more.

Weekend Highlights:

  • Friday evening, will feature a “Friendship Dance” with the Vinyard Indian Settlement. Afterward, sit around the campfire with old and new friends.
  • Warm soups, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, drinks, and local music will be waiting your arrival for the weekend Summit.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner theater frame Saturday’s calendar featuring a keynote speaker, guest speakers, panel discussions, and workshops, ending the night with a silent and live auction and some of the best live music Southern Illinois has to offer.
  • Sunday begins with breakfast and another keynote speaker, followed by a tour of Rocky Branch ending at High Knob, sacred ground of the Shawnee. A picnic lunch will be provided.

Registration

Registration includes food, spirits and music. Just click here to register and select the appropriate PayPal button for the day(s) you intend to come, then follow the PayPal directions. http://shawneehollers.wordpress.com/events.

Full Weekend Workshop, Nov. 14-16:   $60
Saturday/Sunday, Nov. 15 & 16:             $40
Saturday only, Nov. 15:                             $30
Student discount price:                             $20

Separately purchased lodging s available onsite at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.  Cabins are available a few miles south at Giant City Lodge; camping, at Giant City State Park or Little Grassy; B&B’s and cabins, along the nearby Shawnee Wine Trail; and other chain motels are about 5 miles north in Carbondale.

ACT to Stop Fracking in IL

ACT to Stop Fracking in IL

Take Action to Stop Frackin in ILMake Calls to the Joint Administrative Committee On Rules

Do you want to stop fracking in Illinois? If yes – you need to get involved NOW.

Make calls to members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) today, Tuesday, 9-9 through Monday, 9-15. Ask them to vote to PROHIBIT the revised rules on fracking.

What You Need to Know

Contact information for members of JCAR can be found here: http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/member.pdf

SAY:

Please prohibit the rules for fracking. The IDNR (IL Dept. of Natural Resources) did not develop detailed plans for air pollution, radiation, seismicity and chemical disclosure that will actually protect Illinois residents from fracking related harm. The IDNR has ridiculously low fines violations. Fracking can harm people, animals and the environment – why give the industry a pass?

 

The IDNR is understaffed and underfunded. They admit it themselves. They are not ready to take on the daunting task of regulating this dangerous industry.

If JCAR, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, votes to prohibit the rules then that would shoot a hole in the hydraulic fracturing program in Illinois and would send the regulations back to the General Assembly, which would provide the opportunity to work for a ban.

The rules can be found at: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/OilandGas/Pages/PublicHearingTranscriptsAndComments.aspx

The IDNR admits, in their responses to the over 30,000 public comments about fracking, that they are understaffed, and face many challenges and unknowns about the daunting task of regulating of the fracking industry. (You can find it on page 14).

Click here for background.

Honor those Who Honor the Earth

Honor those Who Honor the Earth

Join Eco-Justice Collaborative on Friday, September 12, 2014, as Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ honors the council members of the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Settlement and Barney Bush Poet, chair, from southern Illinois! The award ceremony takes place at 615 West Wellington Avenue, from 6pm to 9pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Those we are honoring are hurt by coal mining and threatened by hydraulic fracturing, but they are fighting back. The rules for hydraulic fracturing are back for review and action by the Joint Administrative Committee on Rules, and Peabody Energy – the largest private sector coal company in the world – has received its permits for expanding strip mining operations in southern Illinois.

During this event you will:

(1) Hear from the Shawnee how current methods of extracting oil, gas and coal ravage the land; poison the water; and displace communities.

(2) Learn what the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Settlement is doing to protect their homelands from corporate interests and hear about their proposal to create eco-friendly jobs, countering the assertion that the extraction of fossil fuels is the only basis for a viable economy in southern Illinois.

(3) Find out what you can do to support their initiatives.

As we honor our guests, we also honor the spirit of Elizabeth I. (Betty) Benson, long-time member of Wellington, who set the example of working tirelessly for justice.

Betty-Benson

We will begin with a light meal 6pm, which will be followed by an exciting and informative awards program at 7:30pm. The evening will include film, music, dance, and poetry readings by Barney Bush.

Talk with Resource Partners Heartland Coalfield Alliance (represented by Eco-Justice Collaborative), Gutting the Heartland, Rising Tide Chicago, Tar Sands Free Midwest, and Nuclear Energy Information Service about campaigns and initiatives that will move our dependence on fossil fuels to policies based on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Visit Wellington’s website for more information and click here to let us know you are coming!

Date: Fri, Sep 12th, 2014
Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ 615 W WELLINGTON AVE CHICAGO, IL MAP

If you need to drive, parking is on street or in the lot immediately north of the church.

Honor Poet / Activist Barney Bush

Honor Poet / Activist Barney Bush

previewEco-Justice Collaborative is working with Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ to honor the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Settlement, members of the Council, and its chairman, Poet /Activist Barney Bush, at the 8th Annual Elizabeth I. Benson Award on Friday, Sept.12, 2014, at Wellington Avenue UCC, 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. The event will begin with a light meal and refreshments at 6 pm. followed by the awards program at 7:30 p.m.

The Elizabeth I. Benson Award was created in honor of Elizabeth (Betty) I. Benson, the inaugural recipient of the award and long-time member of Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ. The award is given to a person(s) or an organization who has worked tirelessly and faithfully for peace, social justice and the environment in the Chicago area and beyond, while simultaneously shunning personal recognition of their efforts. We hope you will help us honor Betty by becoming a sponsor of this year’s event. Betty died in May 2014 at the age of 97.

About the Event

Located in southern Illinois, the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Settlement is working to buy back their homelands along the Ohio River amidst a landscape where corporations are trying to secure properties and mineral rights to allow them to strip mine for coal and “hydrofrack” for oil and natural gas. These corporations include Peabody Energy, the largest private sector coal company in the world.

Many of the Settlement’s members and volunteers are on Federal Tribal rolls. The Settlement also is working on a 5-year plan that would create small, ecologically-oriented businesses that will provide jobs for both native and non-native citizens.

The evening will include music, film, poetry readings by Barney Bush and a light meal. But we will be raising funds through donations and sponsorships. See details below.

Tell Us You are Coming!

This event is free and open to the public.  Click here to visit our Brown Paper Tickets website to let us know you are coming.  Click on the “General” menu at the top of the list and let us know how many tickets you’ll need. This will help us provide enough food and drink for everyone. You will receive an email that confirms you are registered for this event.

How to be a Donor or Sponsor

The evening is free and open to the public. It will include music, film, poetry readings by Barney Bush and a light meal (stew, cornbread and pumpkin pie). The evening will raise funds for the work of the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Settlement through donations, sponsorships and the sale of crafts and artwork. The Shawnee Vinyard Indian Settlement needs funds in order to carry out its mission and work, so please consider being a sponsor.

The different donor levels include:

Corn of the earth
Name and logo listed in program
$50.00
Flowers of the fields
Name and logo listed in program, on our website, and on our FB event page
$100.00
Trees of the forest
Name and logo listed in program, on our website, and on our FB event page. Plus framed, autographed event poster by artist Brenda Friedman
$250.00
Birds of the sky
Name and logo listed in program, on our website, on our FB event page, on sponsor board and projected onto screen. Emcee recognition during the event. Plus framed, autographed event poster by artist Brenda Friedman
$500.00
Fish of the streams
Name and logo listed in program, on our website, on our FB event page, on sponsor board and projected onto screen. Emcee recognition during the event. Plus framed, autographed event poster by artist Brenda Friedman and DVD “Fracking Southern Illinois: Faithful Opposition” featuring Barney Bush
$750.00
Animals of the hills and valleys
Name and logo listed in program, on our website, on our FB event page, on sponsor board and projected onto screen. Emcee recognition during the event.. Framed, autographed event poster by artist Brenda Friedman and DVD “Fracking Southern Illinois: Faithful Opposition” featuring Barney Bush. Plus sharing a meal with guests Barney Bush and Shawnee Indian Vinyard Council immediately before or after the event, as mutually-agreed upon (Friday breakfast, lunch or light dinner or Saturday breakfast)
$1,000.00

Please consider sponsoring this event at one of the levels listed above and asking others you think might also want to sponsor. You can either use our online sponsorship form, or mail a check to Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 West Wellington Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60657. Please write “sponsorship for Elizabeth I. Benson Award” in the memo field.

If you cannot sponsor this event, please consider giving a one-time donation to the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Settlement. We’ve made it easy for you to choose any amount you want to give! Just click the donate button below.

__________________

Commemorative Corn Poster

We are offering a 27”w x 18”h commemorative poster for sale ($35). The Five Sacred Colors of Corn print was created by Brenda Friedman, artist and member of Wellington. You can view and purchase your copy or this beautiful print by clicking the “Buy Now” button below. All proceeds will go to support the work of the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Settlement. 

__________________
Posters ordered in advance will be ready to take home the evening of the event.

Closing the Cloud Factories

Closing the Cloud Factories

Lessons from the fight to shut down Chicago’s Coal Plants
Book reading and discussion with author / journalist Kari Lydersen

The closing of Chicago’s coal plants is a fascinating story on many levels, a story that continues two years after the historic shutdown.

Join EJC and other organizations who participated in the campaign to close Chicago’s coal plants  to hear author / journalist Kari Lydersen reads from her latest book:  Closing the Cloud Factories: Lessons from the fight to shut down Chicago’s Coal Plants (Monday June 16 , at 7:30 pm).

This book documents the stories of neighborhood activist and their years-long struggle against two of the city’s biggest polluters. A discussion will follow selected readings.

Closing the Cloud Factories Release June 16

Click for Flier – Closing the Cloud Factories Release June 16

About Closing the Cloud Factories:
At the turn of the millennium, the Fisk and Crawford power plants in Chicago had declined from workhorses of the Industrial Revolution to arcane relics—more notorious for polluting the nearby Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods than for providing electricity.

Author, journalist, and Pilsen resident Kari Lydersen tells the story of how a fragmented coalition of neighborhood activists, national environmental groups, and city leaders came together to close the coal plants down for good. Richly detailed and expertly reported, The Cloud Factories chronicles a groundbreaking victory in the environmental and social justice movements, and how neighborhood activists helped spearhead a cause that resonated worldwide.

 

Background
In 2009, Eco-Justice Collaborative re-invigorated a campaign by community groups and environmental organizations that had stalled after a ten-year fight. This included building a coalition of diverse groups with representation from the faith, health and environmental communities; businesses; students; attorneys; labor; and more.  By the end of the campaign over 60 groups had signed on to be part of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition.  About 20 of these organizations became what was known as the coordinating committee. These groups led the way, meeting continuously to strategize in a political landscape that was unyielding.

The coordinating committee drew upon the expertise and resources of those in the coalition to carry out a vigorous campaign that included awareness-raising and education; lobbying; media work and social media networking; public meetings and hearings; and direct action.   They focused their message on the impacts Fisk and Crawford had on the health and well-being of residents Pilsen and Little Village where the plants were located.  After a two and one-half year fight and a change in administration, the plants were closed down and initiatives for cleaning up and reusing the sites were launched by the City of Chicago, with input by Pilsen and Little Village.

Nature’s Way to Net-Zero Buildings

Nature’s Way to Net-Zero Buildings

Discover Innovative Solutions to Net-Zero Buildings 
An Immersive Prairie Lab Experience

Prairie Lab is offering a facilitated brainstorming and problem-solving workshop in an immersive learning environment. Participants will be presented with net-zero challenges, and facilitators will guide them through a hands-on learning process to identify biomimicry and cutting-edge energy solutions to those challenges. Attendees will walk away with strategies they can use in their current practice.

Friday, May 30th. Program from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. 
Registration and Breakfast at 8:00 a.m.
Venue SIX10 – 610 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago
4 CEUs. $250.

Click here to register

NetZero_May30th-300

Prairie Lab is a new professional development venture founded by three former Chairs of USGBC-Illinois. We specialize in hands-on, university-style courses customized to a firm’s needs. Occasionally we host public workshops to offer a sample of the Prairie Lab experience. Our expertise is in sustainability, energy, biomimicry, health, business, and facility management.

Amy Coffman Phillips, one of the founders of Prairie Labs, also is a core team member of Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago.  Be sure to attend this innovative workshop!