Conservation is #SoSimple

Content Creator, including photographs: C3 Blogger Tom from

The word ‘conservation’ can be confusing. It is defined as the prevention of injury or waste. When we refer to conservation from an environmental viewpoint, we are talking about not injuring animals & insects and their homes, and not wasting natural resources–energy, land, and water.

Conservation is #sosimple

Informally I’ve asked “What is conservation?” to scientists, conservationists, and those who have no interest in the topic. There is a general theme that appears–taking care of our planet–but the answers are all different, which makes me think the topic of ‘conservation’ is confusing to everyday people. So I’m here to make it simple for you. As a volunteer with the Chicago Conservation Corps, I’ve learned that if conservation is anything, it is


Think: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We’ll show you 3 #sosimple ways for each. Conservation can take place at home with many simple actions. At the bottom there is a checklist to save or print and post on your wall as a reminder that conservation is #sosimple. Pass this on to your friends & family as well. Thank you.


  1. water consumption by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving.
  2. waste by purchasing a reusable grocery bag.
  3. energy consumption by turning off the light in a room you’re not using.


  1. dryer sheets with 20 uses for a used dryer sheet.
  2. drink containers. Buy a reuseable water bottle or coffee mug to bring to work or refill at Starbucks.
  3. somebody’s previous belongings by shopping at a thrift store (Brown Elephant or Salvation Army in Chicago).


conservation is #sosimple

  1. all plastic, but NOT #6. Look on the container and bag for the symbol (right).
  2. junk mail.
  3. wine bottles & beer cans.

A tweetable definition of ‘conservation:

Conservation is improving our quality of life for the future by living in collaboration with nature

Please print or save the JPEG below as a reminder. Thank you for reading.

Conservation in Chicago

How To Save Water & Save Money

Content Creator: C3 Trainee Tom from

Chicagoans are fortunate to have a large source of fresh water as our neighbor. Over 5.4 million people—44% of the Illinois population—depend on the Chicago Department of Water Management to provide a reliable supply of drinking water from Lake Michigan. Chicago is working hard to avoid situations similar to what is happening to the Colorado River and Aral Sea in Russia where the fresh water supply is being depleted.

Water conservation Chicago

To avoid a similar situation, Chicago is preparing by providing citizens with convenient options to conserve water. MeterSave is a new program offered by the City of Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM). Non-metered Chicago homeowners can volunteer to have a water meter installed. Water meters help to save water and save money.

In Chicago, water charges in non-metered homes are tied to factors such as building size, lot-size and the number of plumbing fixtures. However, metered homes are billed according to actual water usage. This means that with minimal effort, participating homeowners could save money on their water bills.

Signing up is completely FREE. The DWM will install your water meter, free of charge, and a wireless radio technology will report your water usage to the DWM. There are 3 ways to sign up:

  1. Visit
  2. Call 311
  3. Call 312-744-4H2O

ALSO, by signing up for a Water Meter, you will qualify for one of these additional incentives (while supplies last):

A rain barrel – for more details: rain barrels

or An outdoor water conservation kit

  • A hose timer
  • Rain guage
  • Water restricting hose nozzle
  • Moisture sensor

or An indoor water conservation kit

  • Low flow shower head
  • A shower timer
  • Toilet flapper
  • Leak Detection Tablets
  • Toilet tank bank–a toilet tank water displacement pouch
  • 4-quart fill cycle diverter that helps save water after flushing the toilet
  • Swivel low-flow kitchen aerator
  • Two bathroon sink aerators
  • Teflon tape
  • Water Conservation wheel

or A water meter monitor (a refrigerator magnet that shows water usage)

Watch this video to learn more about the MeterSave program:

MeterSave video

Testimonials about the program: Neighborhood Testimonials

Our previous post: Indoor Water Conservation Tips

How To Make Air-friendly Cleaning Products

air-friendly cleaning products

We are in the heart of winter, and most likely, your windows are closed and fresh air is at a premium. So don’t pollute the air in your home with cleaning products that contain hazardous chemicals and volatile organic compounds. We will make it easy for you to find another option. Here is a recipe for making your own air-friendly cleaning products. A friendly mixture of science, conservation, and cooking skills.

Basic All-Purpose Cleaner Formula

1/2 teaspoon baking soda or 2 teaspoons borax

1/2 teaspoon liquid soap detergent

2 cups hot water

spray bottle

Combine everything into the spray bottle and shake to blend.

Content Creator: C3 Trainee Tom from

How To Promote Healthy Lungs & Clean Air – Turn Off Your Car

Most of us are guilty of leaving our car running while we sit and wait, and wait, and wait. Sometimes we’re waiting for a friend while parked in front of their apartment, other times we quickly run into a bank or coffee shop. What you may not know is that idling your car engine wastes fuel, creates extra air pollution, and contributes to global warming. We would like to share with you a few facts & tips from the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago about idling your car engine:

  1. Idling more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting the engine.
  2. Idling 2 minutes uses the same amount of fuel as driving 1 mile.
  3. The best way to warm up a vehicle in cold Chicago weather is to drive it.
  4. Excessive idling can damage your engine. Idling partially burns fuel, which can cause residue build-up and can increase fuel consumption.

The road to becoming a more environmentally conscience individual starts with baby steps.  Please turn off your car. Thanks for reading!

Content Creator: C3 Trainee Tom from

Weatherization Workshop at Green Tech U Tomorrow: 1.27.2011

Greencorps trainee Darlene Pope demonstrates weatherization techniques

Arctic winds, drafty doorways and high energy costs got you down this winter?

You don’t have to battle the icy temperatures alone. Join the Chicago Conservation Corps, eZing, Greencorps Chicago and the Chicago Green Homes Program for this fun, hands-on weatherization workshop.

We will show you the DIY tricks of the trade and provide you with your very own complimentary weatherization kit.

Please RSVP in advance, SPACE IS LIMITED. or 312-746-9642

Please limit one kit per household
This workshop is limited to Chicago residents only.

Great Website About Home Rain Water Solutions

168 Elm Ave. – One Drop at a Time

This Web page describes the principles of innovative and responsible treatment of rain water in and around the home garden. The treatments are organized into seven subjects or stations: 1) the green roof, 2) the rain barrels, 3) the porous pavement, 4) the rain gardens, 5) the gravel grass, 6) the cistern, and 7) the bioswale.

These seven stations take you on a virtual tour around the house, explain the rationales of the applied sustainable practices and explore the opportunities that present themselves to combine the beautiful and useful. You will also find information on the clay soils of the pilot project site and their infiltration capacity, how much the runoff quantity was reduced, and thoughts towards the larger cumulative effect and the probable positive impact on the local waterway (in this case Salt Creek).

Convenient Truths: A Green Video Contest

Channel your inner eco-critic. Seventh Generation, Inc. and asked citizens to share their solutions to climate change. Help out our expert judges by watching and rating the submissions.

I submitted two videos to the Convenient Truths: a green video contest.

My first film asks “What can regular people do about global warming? This film takes a look at how average Americans perceive the climate crisis while giving practical, everyday tips toward reducing our Carbon dioxide footprint.”

My second film takes a look at how one business has combined style with sustainability to create solar paneled bags. Its a great way to integrate renewable energy into daily life!

Here are the links…

What Can Regular People Do About Global Warming?

Carrying Power: Solar Energy On The Go


Sprouting: The Winter Garden

Home tip from Living Gently Quarterly:

When the price of head lettuce climbs to $2.50 or more per head and the frigid arctic winds are rattling the windows, you can still enjoy freshly grown produce. And, you don’t even have to leave your home. It doesn’t require long-range transportation from warmer or tropical climes nor energy-intensive greenhouses. What is this wonder? One that has been around for thousands of years: sprouting — the growing of edible plants from seed.


Make Your Own Rainbarrel — FREE BARRELS

Here’s a great way to help the River from home – add a rain barrel to your house. Rain barrels help you conserve water, reduce the amount of water going directly to the sewer system and provide water for your garden.

Friends of the Chicago River board member Grant Crowley has a great offer for anyone who is looking to have a rain barrel at their home. Crowley’s Yacht Yard has approximately 25 55-gallon plastic barrels that can be adapted to make rain barrels.

The 55-gallon drums held a non-toxic antifreeze used to winterize boats at the yacht yard. Just rinse and reuse! Grant wants to offer them for FREE to anyone who would like to make a rain barrel. Here is how to make a rain barrel.

CONTACT Grant Crowley. Crowley’s Yacht Yard is located at 3434 E. 95th Street in Chicago. You will need to pick up the barrel yourself.

DIY Plans for Greening a Space

While contemplating project possibilities, the energy and water use audits our C3 class were asked to do for homework came to mind. In trying to find more comprehensive do-it-yourself plans for greening a space I have come across a few resources that may be of help to y’all!

Recall from C3:

I strongly recommend checking these out:

I also picked up some valuable resources this summer working with Rock the Earth and Reverb:

Resources for developing your project

Here are some useful resources to keep in mind when you’re developing your project proposal:

Project Proposal Worksheet: Please fill out this form by hand or type it up and submit it to your C3 liason by Friday, June 30.

12 Step Project Process Document: The steps to follow as you work with your C3 liason to plan and implement your project.

Materials Worksheet: This worksheet will help you think about the materials you will need to carry out your project.

Sample Project Checklist: A sample checklist from Chicago Cares that lays out the logistics of running a project.

List of Community Newspapers: As you start thinking about volunteer recruitment and community outreach, you might try contacting your local paper.

Reminders and Docs from Water Class

Thanks to everyone for another great class Saturday. Who knew water could be so fun? Here are the materials and info you need to prepare for our last class, Community Organizing, on June 17.

Class To Do’s
Self Test and Water Audit homework

Project To Do’s
– Contact and meet with potential partners from your asset map. Use the 12 Step Project Process Document as a guide.

– We’re excited to hear project ideas: Be prepared to say something about yourself and describe your top 1-2 project ideas. It should be quick and informal. Even if you won’t be starting your project until after you attend a make-up class in the fall, we’d love to hear from you.

– HHW: Bring in your Household Hazardous Waste to class June 17. A C3 Rep will be taking materials to the drop off center after class. If you have large items, be sure to let us know (if you haven’t already) so we can prepare for proper transportation. Leave a message with Marissa at: (312) 744-9137.

– Potluck: We thought it’d be fun to celebrate our last class together with a potluck. So, bring in something to share with the group! Neil’s crackers were a hit last week….

Water Class Demo Documents
In case you didn’t get a paper copy, here are the handouts that accompanied the demo stations: How to Make Your Own Rain Barrel and a few sketches of “Shady” and “Sunny” rain gardens.