Joining Illinois Sierra Club Members in Lake and Northeastern Cook Counties

Spring 2010, Issue #65

In This Issue

Go To Article Sierra Club Endorses New Talent for IL Legislature
Go To Article W&W Public Meetings
Go To Article More Endorsements: Environmental Champions
Go To Article Waste Incinerator Option Proposed for Lake County
Go To Article RTA Mass Transit Plans
Go To Article Wisdom of the Ancients
Go To Article Stormwater Rangers
Go To Article Help Lead our W&W Group
Go To Article Make Every Job a Green Job
Go To Article US Mail Slow, Switch to E-Mail
Go To Article 403 kBPrintable, Portable W&W News
Go To Article Next Issue of W&W News
Go To Article Previous Issue of W&W News
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   C A L E N D A R  
{ Meetings O Outings


Return to TopSierra Club Endorses New Talent for IL Legislature

By Chuck Knight

Daniel Biss, Illinois District 17.

Voters in the 17th district, which includes all or parts of Evanston, Glenview, Golf, Morton Grove, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie, Wilmette, and Winnetka, will have an opportunity to select a successor to long-time representative and environmental champion, Beth Coulson, who is running for the U.S. Congress.

The club endorses Daniel Biss. Biss, a mathematician, teacher, and community organizer, will be an articulate voice for the environment and promises to advance the cause of clean, renewable energy in Springfield and Illinois. Among his many community activities,

Biss served on the steering committee of Our Climate Matters, a global warming project sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wilmette.»



Carol Sente, Illinois District 59.

In September, Carol Sente was sworn in as the new State Representative for District 59, which includes all or parts of Waukegan, Gurnee, Park City, North Chicago, Green Oaks, Mettawa, Vernon Hills, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods, Buffalo Grove, and Wheeling. Although a newcomer to Springfield, Sente got to work fast joining the house Renewable Energy Committee and the Green Caucus.

Sierra Club endorsements are based on evaluations of candidates’ responses to our questionnaire, research of their accomplishments and a face-to-face interview, and are approved by two separate Club committees.

Sente describes her top environmental priorities as creating green collar jobs through the development of renewable energy, expanding open spaces, reducing the state's carbon footprint, and encouraging green-practices throughout the state. Her background as the President of SRBL Architects, which specializes in designing green and LEED certified buildings for local governments, has given Sente a keen understanding of realistic ways to reduce our carbon footprint while spurring economic growth. Prior to her appointment to the state legislature, Sente served as a commissioner and vice president of the Vernon Hills Park District Board.» 

Julie Hamos, US District 10.

Julie Hamos

Julie Hamos is one of the strongest environmental voices in Illinois state government. As a State Representative, she passed legislation in 2009 to require state of the art energy efficient building practices statewide. She passed legislation establishing the Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force to promote sustainable food systems, and led fights to increase funding for mass transit in Illinois, and for open space protection. She is now running for Congress to take her strong record, advocacy skills, and strategic thinking to the U.S. Congress.»



See the rest of our endorsements at Vote


Return to TopW&W Public Meetings

Beyond Coal
Becki Clayborn,
Sierra Club
Tuesday, February 9th, 6:45 p.m., 6:45pm
Vernon Area Library, Lincolnshire 
Our first meeting of the new year!


Electric Cars
Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 6:45pm

See what has changed since last year.


Save These Dates for these W&W Events

Wednesday, March 17,
Vernon Area Public Library
Thursday, April 15,
Vernon Area Public Library
Tuesday, May 11,
Vernon Area Public Library

For updates, see Meetings.


More Endorsements: Environmental Champions

By Chuck Knight

Rep. Elaine Nekritz

Elaine Nekritz, district 57.

The Club is proud to once again endorse State Representative Elaine Nekritz in her bid for election to a fifth term representing the 57th District (parts of Des Plaines, Glenview, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, and Prospect Heights). A long-time Sierra Club member, Nekritz has made environmental protection a top priority of her campaign and of her legislative agenda. Nekritz was recently elected the new chair of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission, a 10-state group of state legislators and officials leading efforts to improve the region’s passenger rail system. Nekritz's record in the legislature has consistently earned her a 100% score by the Illinois Environmental Council.»

Rep. Karen May


Karen May, district 58.

Another state representative who has earned consistently outstanding marks from the Illinois Environmental Counsel is State Representative Karen May. May is endorsed in her run for her sixth term representing the 58th District that spans Lake Bluff to Glencoe to Northbrook. May is a committed advocate for protecting open space and the environment and her committee assignments reflect her devotion to environmental issues. In the current legislative session, Karen is serving on the house committees for Environment & Energy, Environmental Health (as Chair), Mass Transit, O'Hare Airport Environmental Impact, and Renewable Energy. May is also the Vice Chair of Environmental Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.»

Rep. Eddie Washington

Eddie Washington, District 60.

The club enthusiastically endorses State Representative Eddie Washington in his bid for a fifth term in the Illinois house. Washington is a community activist and grassroots organizer devoted to improving the economic climate in District 60 which includes Waukegan, North Chicago, and Park City. Among his many other activities and interests, Washington is also a committed member of the legislature's Environmental Caucus and he has compiled an impressive record of supporting pro-environment during his service to the state.»


See the rest of our endorsements at Vote


Return to TopWaste Incinerator Option Proposed for Lake County

By Jeff Maras

Rep. Eddie Washington

An option to build an incinerator for solid waste disposal has come before the Public Works and Transportation Committee of the Lake County Board. It is currently being discussed as one option for waste disposal for the county. Proponents argue that it is only one possibility being considered and is not a final decision at this time. A host of Detractors suggest even considering an incinerator in Lake County would be a very bad idea for various reasons. They include:

  1. Toxic emissions would be spread over Lake County and surrounding areas, including Lake Michigan.

  2. It would derail efforts to reduce, reuse, or recycle waste in the county.

  3. It would be very expensive to build and provide fewer local jobs than reuse or recycling.

  4. It would convert solid carbon in the form of plastic, paper, or wood waste into greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide.

  5. The proposal is vague and wouldn’t limit what type of incinerator could be built.

  6. Once built it would need to be fed a continual diet of resources in order to justify its construction thereby further reducing incentives to reduce, reuse, recycle.

  7. The recent EPA ruling that CO2 is a pollutant would require the incinerator use “best available practices” to reduce CO2, which would mean sequestration. That technology is expensive, unproven and most likely would not be viable with our local geology.

The Sierra Club opposes incinerators nationwide», and the construction of a waste incinerator in Lake County, and asks for your support by contacting your local Lake County Board Members to let them know an incinerator is not the answer. Visit the website of a local group opposing the incinerator at»

The members of the Public Works and Transportation Committee who will decide whether to include an incinerator option in the SWALCO Plan are:


Return to TopRTA Mass Transit Plans

by Doug Ower

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA») held a series of public meetings to discuss the 2010 budget, provide updates on state and federal funding, and review recommended projects for RTA programs. Several Woods and Wetlands members attended one of the Lake County meetings.

The RTA, composed of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA»), Metra», and Pace» provides 2 million rides every day via a network of 3800 buses and 2300 train cars. The CTA serves the City of Chicago and 40 neighboring communities with bus and rail transportation. Illinois state law requires the three RTA service boards - CTA, Metra (the suburban rail system), and Pace (the suburban bus system) to recover collectively at least 50 percent of operating costs from farebox and other system revenues. The RTA provides public funding for the agencies' remaining operating expenses. The RTA needs at least $1 billion dollars each year just to maintain the current network and currently has a need for at least $10 billion dollars over the next five years to maintain, enhance and expand the current system. The Federal stimulus is providing one time funding of $414 million and $2.2 billion in the next five years in formula funds. The State Capital plan will provide $2.7 billion over the next five years. Some of the capital projects will include new CTA rail cars and hybrid buses, rehabilitated rails cars and locomotives for Metra, and new buses and paratransit» vehicles for Pace.

One of the longer range projects for the RTA is the Bus Rapid Transit system which can operate similar to rail without the massive capital expenditures necessary to build new rail systems. Bus Rapid Transit will provide faster mass transportation services along highway corridors similar to rail systems. Bus Rapid Transit service will also provide CTA customers a faster and more predictable alternative to existing bus service by incorporating features such as fewer stops, dedicated lanes, priority signals at intersections, and improved fare collection methods. To get more information about RTA mass transit systems and plans go to» and».


 Return to TopWisdom of the Ancients

By Amy Maras

I have been blessed this year to learn from Swamis, Shamans and Native Americans.
What a humbling experience it has been.

They live with such a joy and reverence for all life
Holding a deep respect for the teachings of nature

Life spent in celebration
Knowing all is connected
There is no separation
We all share the same breath
The circle of life,

I believe we are cut from the same cloth
Their ancient wisdom is stitched into our souls

We are healers
Walking gently on this earth
Working for the highest good

Our actions
Create ripples across the universe
Shifting the balance through
Purity of intention
Positive action
All done within the realm of possibility
And within a quiet mind

We have been honored to do our work
Sharing our gifts,
Our wisdom.

Our work is done with a deep knowing
That we are building bridges
Between the inner and the outer
The seen and unseen.


Return to TopStormwater Rangers

By Ashima Gupta


I am a relatively new Storm Water Ranger. I took the training provided by Sierra Club in Oct 2009 and I must say, it opened a whole new world to me! I learned so many things…from how a sudden rush of muddy water kills life in our streams, to the laws and resources that already exist and can be used to protect our local environment! Did you know there is such a thing as a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that developers are required to submit to the EPA to be able to get a permit? Ordinary citizens like us can even submit a complaint form to the EPA if we find construction sites that are not adhering to the environmental standards and polluting local streams. And its amazing how easy it is!

I went on my first site visit (Sunset Grove at Aptakisic and Rt. 83) lead by Evan Craig, the highly driven and committed Chair of the Woods and Wetlands group. It was a fun outing, and an eye opener. I was looking at a construction site with a completely new perspective. We used a Prairie Rivers cool mini-field guide to identify inconsistencies and blatant violations at the site, and took pictures of problem areas like blocked culverts, silt fences and an non-stabilized hill of dirt. Evan also showed us how to measure the water quality in the storm drain to which the site was connected, using the Ohio Sediment Stick. All of this information was submitted by Evan to the IEPA and is also tracked on a wiki web site we Rangers can all edit.

What really excites me about the Storm Water Ranger program is that it equips a layperson like me with the knowledge and tools to actually make a difference in my local environment, and protect the health of my local creeks, streams and rivers, and the life they sustain. It makes it easy for me to be a hands-on citizen activist and gives me a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. And it’s a great field trip!


Return to TopHelp Lead our W&W Group

By Evan Craig, Chair

Does this newsletter give you the impression that our 2100 member group is well managed? If not, then we could probably use your help.

Sierra Club's groups organize members to enjoy and protect the environment at the local level, and this local member involvement makes the Sierra Club one of the most effective environmental organizations in the country. Group leaders decide how to use club tools and resources to engage our members. We can participate in campaigns and activities devised by Illinois or national leaders, or create our own campaigns and events to support the Club's mission.

The Woods & Wetland (W&W) Group includes members from most of Lake County, and also Northbrook and Glenview in NE Cook County. Our W&W Executive Committee meets for two hours once a month to discuss and plan. In between meetings we follow through on our plans, arranging outings, and meetings; writing alerts, websites and newsletters to our members; reaching out to community leaders; and coming together to celebrate our successes.

W&W Executive Commissioners serve two year terms, and about half of the seven seats are up for election every year. We invite you to consider serving as an elected W&W Executive Commissioner. If you would run for a seat this spring, or would like to know more about it, please contact me by e-mail or phone (847-680-6437) by January 31. 


Return to TopMake Every Job a Green Job

By Evan Craig, Chair

With world leaders assembled in Copenhagen for COP15, the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference, most here in the US have jobs on our minds. If you have one, you’re hoping you’ve made it through the recession with it. If you lost one, you’re hoping companies start hiring soon. A few are looking at all the available talent around, and thinking about starting a company. If you’re reading this, I hope you’re thinking about how your job can help stop what Amory Lovins calls Global Wierding. That’s one thing I was thinking about when I left my job designing medical analyzers in 1987, and joined a small company researching high efficiency battery technology – still the lynchpin for electric vehicles. In 1995 I left that technology in the care of Motorola, and thought about what my next job should be. I decided I could have as big an impact helping a regular polluting company to clean up as I could working for a company already working on the new technologies for a cooler planet. I still have the job I found then. I’d like to share some of the ways my plan is working out and challenge all of you working in or outside the home to think about how yours might.

The first part of any job is getting to it. Some of you have the luxury of working in your home, and enjoy the 20 ft commute from bed to your workplace in your slippers. As an Engineer, I work with things and other people, so I resigned myself to at least some commuting to get to where that would happen. I decided that I’d be willing to trade a rung or two of my steep career path for a couple of hours not spent commuting or working extreme hours. So I stuck a stack of resumes on my bike’s rear rack and rode a small area around my house handing them out to nearby business. That resulted in an interview and some leads less than two miles away! I rode a little larger area, and got some more leads, but no job. So I resorted to the usual methods, and after exploring more distant possibilities I decided to call back those first ones. The HR manager at one of them said, “We thought that you were overqualified, and when you didn’t call back, thought you weren’t interested.” I took that job less than 5 miles from home. This gave me the option of a 20 minute bike ride to work. One day I put a sign on my back that said “ONE LESS CAR” and hitchhiked. I got a ride from one of my neighbors I hadn’t met before! True, most of the time I still drove to work, but this simple choice has saved me thousands of hours of my personal time while keeping tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere. Deciding to work and live less than five miles apart is the first step to a green job.

The next element of a green job is to minimize the direct impact of the operation. After a while at that job I realized that many of the people where I worked were concerned about the environment, and luckily, one was the owner. He was a pioneer in, among other things, using the internet to sell from business to business, and now we’re serving our customers better, printing our catalog less, and saving money. I started asking for small changes: recycled paper in the copier, reduced packaging on our products. I also started designing our products – small electronic circuits inside steel boxes – without toxic lead, and other materials that make them hard to recycle. A few years ago the owner sold the company and now I work for a global multi-national. When we moved to a new facility I noticed that the place had single temperature thermostats, and convinced my boss to upgrade them to programmable ones. Now we save energy and money every night. This June the company announced savings from energy conservation measures, and plans to do more energy audits to save even more. And - this just in - has committed to 10% emissions reduction in the next 2 years. Some of the furnaces and air conditioners on the building are failing, so this will make it easier for us to convince the building owners to replace them with high efficiency units, like I did at home (see Newsletter 47  - white plastic furnace pipes on the outside wall of your utility room are a better green status symbol than a hybrid SUV in the driveway). Remember that less waste in the environment often results in less wasted profit. Green business is good business.

The third part of a green job is the same for any business as it is for solar cell and windmill manufacturers. Find ways to help your customers reduce their environmental impacts. Almost every product, from service to heavy equipment, leads to environmental impacts by its consumer. Recently I designed a new product line, and took simple steps to make it more energy efficient. These small improvements save energy and money in manufacturing, will save megawatts of power in use, and provide a more desirable product for our customers.

There are literally hundreds of opportunities to reduce energy use at every company, and most of them can save money and make the company more competitive. Our job as environmentalists is to create demand, through public education and lobbying, to help make them priorities for our recovering economy.

In the mean time, try not to get swept up in the claims of those who think that we shouldn't reduce our CO2 emissions to slow global warming. It's crunch time, and industries that make their money emitting carbon dioxide are spending millions hiring hundreds of lobbyists, and creating fake science and astroturf (fake grassroots) campaigns. Remember when the government went after cigarette smoking, and the same tactics of doubt were deployed? The leaders of companies making millions appeared before Congress to say, "I believe that nicotine is not addictive." Don't be surprised to see the same thing happen now. Tragically, delaying action to slow global warming will have a compounded effect, making it impossible to prevent the worst consequences later. The time for doubt is over. The science is in, and getting more compelling every year. It's time for all polluters to make green jobs. 

Return to TopMail Slow, Switch to E-Mail

By Evan Craig

No more silly rhymes and monkeyshines with the US Post Office. With the cost of postage still rising, and Sierra Club donations down, it’s time to say goodbye to the old L&P. This is your last edition of the Lake & Prairie with our W&W News attached.

Don’t get all misty faces, we’ll just be sending our Sha na na´s and Doo be down´s in our newsletter by e-mail instead of by mail. It’s fast, and it’s free! We’ll send you these same great stories and events, with better pictures and richer content - in time to respond and participate! To sign up, address an e-mail message to


and then include the following commands in the body of the message :

SUBSCRIBE IL-WWG-ALERTS firstname lastname yourtown

(inserting your first name and last name and your town).

Worried that you might have missed an issue? We post this newsletter here on our website too. Bookmark our website:

Still don’t do e-mail? Mail us a note at our POB and we’ll keep you on a list for a printed copy - when we have them.

Join Our Free E-mail Lists! Return to Top

Members are invited to join the W&W group's e-mail lists. On the ALERTS list you will receive infrequent timely posts from the Group Chair (only), primarily on local issues. Some of these appear on this website, and if you subscribe you will learn about them in time to help. The ISSUES list allows you to share in a discussion with other W&Wers. To sign up, just visit each of these websites and click Join :



We do not share e-mail address lists, and you can remove yourself from either list at any time.

Printable and Portable W&W News Return to Top

Here's the printed version of this issue of the W&W News in pdf ». It's 194 kB and you'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it. If you want to give a copy to a friend who doesn't have internet access, we suggest printing this pdf rather than this web page. This issue of the W&W News is also found in print as part of Volume 51 #1 » of the Illinois Chapter's Lake & Prairie newsletter. It's 4 MB.

Another option is to take this on your PDA with AvantGo », a free service that lets you download and synch web pages with your PDA. Just have it synch this one from Woods & Wetlands News #65 » .

Contributions Welcome

Contact the Group Chair to discuss the issue and how much space to take, or send your finished article directly to our Newsletter Designer.


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