Dirty Hands at Working Bikes Cooperative

Content Creator, including photographs: C3 Blogger Tom from www.letUbeU.com

Working Bikes Cooperative is a non-profit organization in Chicago devoted to the motto: Reduce Reuse Recycle. They collect neglected bikes and tune them up to reuse & sell. The revenue is used to ship the remaining bikes to different corners of planet earth so that a poor person in Tanzania, Guatemala, or Peru can get to work and make money to feed his family.

Stored in a warehouse, they appear as a sea of bikes. There are old bikes, and older bikes. Rusty bikes, and dirty bikes. Bikes without wheels, and bikes with banana seats. Some bikes are blue, others have a white basket. Everywhere you look…bikes, bikes, bikes.

On Tuesday January 31, two trainees with the Chicago Conservation Corps (myself & Ben) attended Volunteer Night, which happens every Tuesday night. We immediately noticed the benefits of volunteering at Working Bikes, including:

Chicago Conservation1. Free food

2. Learning the skills to fix my own bike

3. Finding inspiration from the numerous posters (left)

Ben and I removed axels from tires for 2 hours while other volunteers fixed chains, polished metal, and attached pedals. All of these bikes are on their way to helping a good cause. Unfortunately, the demand for bikes is much higher than the rate at which they can be repaired, so volunteers are in high demand. Volunteering is simple. Go to the store or call during business hours and notify a staff member that you wish to lend a helping hand.

We want to warn you though, being kind can sometimes be dirty. Bike repair is accompanied by oil & grease, so wear appropriate clothing and prepare for dirty hands. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget, Reduce Reuse Recycle.

Conservation is simple

Working Bikes Cooperative Volunteer Night, Jan 31st, 5PM

Explore Bike Maintenance

Tuesday, January 31st

5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Working Bikes, 2434 S. Western Ave

No registration necessary.  For more information, contact volunteer@workingbikes.org.

Come out and learn about bike maintenance at Working Bikes, a local non-profit that diverts bicycles from the waste stream by repairing them for sale and charity.  Have a fun-filled night and learn how to keep any bike running smoothly.

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 www.letUbeU.com

Get Tuned Up for Bike to Work Week, June 11-17

Image courtesy of Active Trans

Photo: Jason Greenberg

Join the Active Transportation Alliance for the 2011 Bike to Work Week Commuter Challenge! Re-discover the joys of cycling and explore the utility and ease of cycling in an urban environment! Tone your muscles, support improve air quality, reduce your carbon output and make new friends. All of these benefits and more can be discovered next week during the Bike to Work Week Commuter Challenge. Don’t stop there, keep the momentum by riding through the summer and maybe even until the Winter Bike to Work Week Challenge in 2012!

Be sure to stop in your local bike shop this week and get ready for the ride.

Hope to see you out there.

Photo: Jason Greenberg

Green Field Day June 11 9:30-12:30 at IIT

Friday, June 11
C3 Trainee, Yvonne White-Morey:
On Track for the Environment –Greening a School Field Day Event

9:30 am -12:30 pm

The 4th Annual Chicago Virtual Charter School Field Day Event will be a lot greener this year as students incorporate green games with track and field events.

Yvonne will coordinate the addition of a Green Resource Center designed to educate students and their families on Recycling/Upcycling options, Vermicomposting, improving indoor/outdoor air quality by making green cleaning solutions and taking alternative transportation, energy efficiency and water conservation. Students will receive refillable water bottles. Families will take the $800 Savings Challenge.

Following awards and raffle prizes, families will gather on the lawn of Illinois Institute of Technology for a picnic lunch and hear a green literacy reading of Seeds of Change by Author Jen Cullerton Johnson, from her book based on the life of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. (Four C3 leaders or trainees willing to make ten-minute presentations on the environment to students and families are still needed.) 

For volunteer opportunities, contact C3 trainee Yvonne: ywm@alumni.depaul.edu

National Park(ing) Day, September 19th


I was looking at the Chicago Conservation Corps website today, and thought that your organization might be interested in participating in or promoting National Park(ing) Day 2008, an annual event, happening in Chicago on September 19th, which celebrates parks in cities by creating temporary parks in public parking spaces. National Park(ing) Day is an all-volunteer event, and any participation is welcome. One can, build his or her own park, help others build parks, or simply visit Park(ing) Day parks throughout the day. Look at www.tpl.org/parkingday for details, a how-to manual, photos and videos, or to connect with participants near you.

Nathan Tone

DOE News and Opportunities – June 2008

Department of Environment News and Opportunities – June 2008
- June 7: Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility Open
– June 9-11: NeoCon at Merchandise Mart
– June 13: Bike to Work Day Rally
– June 21: Environmental Resource Event at U.S. Cellular Field
– June 30: Registration Deadline for Solar PowerUp! for Kids
– Alert: Protect yourself and your family from West Nile Virus

Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility Open

– Saturday, June 7, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
– 1150 N. North Branch St.

Celebrate summer by ridding your home of unwanted chemicals, paints, and computers. Bring in your old computers, monitors, cell phones and household chemicals this Saturday to the City’s permanent facility at 1150 N. North Branch St., 2 blocks east of the Kennedy at Division St. for proper recycling and disposal. For a complete list of accepted materials, visit www.cityofchicago.org/Environment and click on “Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility” on the right-hand column.

– Monday June 9 – Wednesday June 11 at the Merchandise Mart
– Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

At NeoCon® World’s Trade Fair, discover thousands of innovative products and resources for corporate hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, institutional and residential interiors from more than 1,200 showrooms and exhibitors. Stop by the Chicago Center for Green Technology’s booth to learn about their programs and check out green product samples. For more information on NeoCon, visit www.neocon.com.

Bike to Work Day Rally
– Friday, June 13, 7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
– Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St.

Riding your bike can help displace more than 238 million gallons of gasoline annually and reduce the amount of volatile pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, released by vehicle emissions. Choose the healthy alternative and become a bike commuter. The Bike to Work Day Rally challenges commuters to put down the keys, step off the bus and bike their way to work! Join fellow cyclists, local media celebrities, live bands and the City of Chicago at Daley Plaza for a day full of activities from 7:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Cyclists will enjoy live music and receive a free continental breakfast and T-shirt while supplies last. For more information, visit www.bikechicago.us or call (312) 744-3315.

Environmental Resource Event
– Saturday, June 21, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
– U.S. Cellular Field, 333 W. 35th St.

Be Safe at Home: Exchange household hazards for environmental resources. Participate in the Department of Environment’s second Environmental Resource Event of the year. Take this opportunity to:
– properly dispose of your household hazardous waste
– recycle your old computers, monitors, laptops and cell phones
– keep medicines out of our water system by bringing them for proper disposal
– pick up a free compact fluorescent light bulb (limit one per household)
– drop off your old gas-powered lawn mower and receive a $100 rebate towards an electric or push mower
– reduce your landfill waste by purchasing a $30 outdoor compost bin and reuse rain water by investing in a $40 rain barrel (both are available to Chicago residents only, must pay with check or money order, limit 1 per household)

Questions? Call the Chicago Department of Environment at (312) 744-7606.

Chicago Solar Powerup! For Kids
– Session 1: July 14- 18; Session 2: July 21-25. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento Blvd.
– Registration ends June 30

The Chicago Center for Green Technology wants future scientists, engineers, and designers for the 3rd annual Chicago Solar Powerup! Solar Powerup gives students ages 9-11 the opportunity to design, build, and race model solar cars while learning about renewable energy sources. Students are give instructions in various design factors and then work in teams to build their car. Following testing, these workshops culminate in a series of one-on-one races in a tournament on Daley Plaza on Wednesday, July 30, to determine champions.

Please note: Registration is limited to 20 students per session and will be admitted on a first come, first serve basis. Spots may only be reserved by the receipt of payment ($75, check only) no later than 2 weeks prior to the first class. Before mailing in payment, please call (312) 746-4155 for availability. Limited scholarships are available.

Alert: Protect Yourself and Your Family from West Nile Virus

This information bulletin is an advisory to assist members of the public in taking precautions to minimize their risk of exposure to the West Nile Virus (WNV). WNV infection is an illness conveyed to humans primarily by mosquitoes. In most cases, people infected with WNV either show no symptoms or have very mild flu-like symptoms, called West Nile fever. WNV is an urgent issue that needs to be taken seriously in the Chicagoland area every summer. Since WNV can affect anyone, we ask that the following steps be taken to prevent or minimize any chance of mosquito bites:

Get rid of sources of stagnant or standing water in your backyard or neighborhood, as mosquitoes can reproduce in standing water that exists for more than 4 days.

– Call 3-1-1 immediately to report any stagnant or standing water than needs to be removed – it is important to provide the location and number of days that the water has been there.
– Protect your skin by wearing protective clothing such as long pants, shirts with sleeves, and socks.
– Use insect repellants containing the active ingredient DEET (chemical name, N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). Products containing DEET are available in various liquids, lotions, and sprays and do not present a health concern as long as the product labels are read and directions are followed. DEET has been approved for use by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).
– For more information, go to the Chicago Department of Public Health’s webpage that can be found under the City Departments link at www.cityofchicago.org and look for the West Nile Virus information under the Infectious Disease link.

Join the 2008 Bicycle Commuter Challenge, June 7-13

How green is your workplace? The 2008 Bicycle Commuter Challenge is now open to all companies who want to compete to be the most environmentally friendly company in Chicagoland. Sign up now at www.biketraffic.org/commuterchallenge.

Companies competing in the Bicycle Commuter Challenge strive to earn the highest percentage of employees biking for part or all of their trip to work during Bike to Work Week, June 7-13, hosted by the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.

“Bicycle commuting transforms the atmosphere at work – it boosts the health and energy of employees, encourages team spirit, lowers costs, and builds the organization’s reputation for being green,” said Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.

For organizations and companies raring up to compete in the annual Challenge, designated Team Leaders get their office excited about commuting by bike. They recruit co-workers, track team-members’ biking trips, and offer tips on making bicycle commuting easy and fun.

Plus, team leaders distribute discount member cards to participating employees, which provide Bicycle Commuter Challenge participants the same discounts as Chicagoland Bicycle Federation members from May-July.

Participants can bike for all or part of their trip to work. They can also stop for a quick snack and tune up at Bicycle Commuter Stations located around Chicago and at suburban Metra stations.

Teams face off against companies of similar size and type, i.e. public agency, business, non-profit and bicycling-related business. Winning Bicycle Commuter Challenge teams receive fabulous prizes and are honored at a luncheon.

“Public esteem is a big incentive in this competition. It’s a sign of the vitality and vision of the organization when employees compete for health instead of parking spots,” Sadowsky said.

Register your company or organization at www.biketraffic.org/commuterchallenge or by calling (312) 427-3325. Individuals can also register in the Commuter Challenge.

Learn how to ride safely and comfortably to work at www.biketraffic.org/commute.

Community Bike Programs Forum – Feb 9

Attend the Community Bike Programs Forum Saturday, Feb. 9, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. The forum will introduce many different types of existing and possible future bicycle programs based in communities and supportive resources in Chicagoland.

The forum presentation is by the Chicagoland Consortium to Support Community Bike Programs and West Town Bikes.

For more information or to RSVP please email sarahm@westtownbikes.org or call Keith at 312-427-3325 ext. 244. Download the flier at http://www.biketraffic.org/docs/pdf/community_bike_programs_forum_flier.pdf

Envisioning the Bloomingdale Trail Exhibit

Imagine a 3-mile-long elevated linear park running through the heart of Chicago, connecting neighborhoods, the river, and our great park system. Built from a former rail line, the Bloomingdale Trail will make us healthier, get us to school and work faster, and provide us with great chances to play and mingle. Join Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail today and help us realize this vision, for Chicago’s Next Great Park!

Envisioning the Bloomingdale is an exhibit of early visions for the elevated park we’re all hoping to see emerge on the Bloomingdale line.

The exhibit, sponsored by the Bloomingdale Trail Collaborative, has been extended through the end of the month. It’s open Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment. Acme Art Works, 1st floor, on 1741 N Western Ave. Free and open to the public.

For more information about the Bloomingdale Trail, visit http://www.bloomingdaletrail.org/

Action on Vehicle Idling – the PURE AIR card

Elaine Lemieux posted this comment on an older post, but it certainly merits more attention than that:

Almost every day, I walk with my daughter to her elementary school. Personally, I am grateful to take time and walk this short distance with her. Unfortunately on our way to school we see on the streets all kind of cars and trucks idling, for example, vehicles owned by the City of Chicago. By leaving their engines running the city workers pollute the air as well as waste fuel and money.

The following was written by Rebecca D. Stanfield, the Environment Illinois State Director: “There is no question that reducing pollution from cars- now the source of about one-third of our nation’s carbon dioxide emissions- will have to be a large part of the plan to protect the planet and our future from the threat of global warming”. It is clear that this also applies to cars, SUVs, trucks, buses, and other motor vehicles.

After much thought, I decided to do something. I now talk directly to city workers and every person I encounter on the street whose vehicles are idling. One-on-one I ask them to turn off their engines. To be more convincing, I designed the PURE AIR card. Every time I hand out the card and ask them to turn off their engine. I also ask them to spread the word. Overall, the response has been positive.

Recently I wrote a letter to Alderman, Mrs. Margaret Laurino about my concerns. I was very pleased to receive a letter from the Department of Fleet Management of the City of Chicago. The Commissioner, Mr. Howard Henneman informed me that, in 2005, the City of Chicago took a step to implement its Vehicle Idling Management Policy. In addition, the City of Chicago sent me some important information about the effect of idling that I want to transmit: “Unnecessary idling of the City’s fleet wastes approximately 1 gallon of fuel per hour for diesel vehicles and roughly 0.75 gallons of fuel per hour for automobiles or light-duty vehicles. If the City’s fleet of vehicles were to idle for one hour per day, yearly emissions are estimated to approach 87 metric tons of Nitrogen Oxides, 390 metric tons of Carbon Monoxide, and 13,929 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide. From a cost perspective, the same amount of idling would result in approximately $2,861,000 in unnecessary fuel expenditures.

These facts apply only for the City of Chicago Department of Fleet Management. Imagine the numbers for the whole city and beyond. However, many states and cities all around USA adopt new idling reductions laws and regulations for better air quality. Unnecessary idling is a habit that costs us millions of dollars a day in wasted fuel and energy, produces enormous amounts of pollutant, and after all get us nowhere. I really wish that everyone could receive this PURE AIR message so we could all together really make a difference. This country is capable to be one of the leaders in the environment issues.

Thank You, Elaine!

Convenient Truths: A Green Video Contest

Channel your inner eco-critic. Seventh Generation, Inc. and TreeHugger.com 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


Climate Town Hall Mtg, Jan 20, 10a, Whitney Young HS

From http://www.cnt.org/calendar:

Take part in this engaging town-hall style meeting about real solutions to curbing global warming, participate in Q & A with panelists, and connect with dozens of grassroots organizations.The event features Sadhu Johnston, Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Environment, with Rev. Calvin S. Morris Ph.D., Exec. Director of Community Renewal Society moderating, and panelists Rev. Clare Butterfield, Director of Faith-in-Place, CNT’s Steve Perkins, Sr. Vice-President, and Lori Morrison Contreras, Vice-President of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization.

edited to add more info from http://climatechicago.org/:

Learn how we can work together to:

  1. Create new jobs.
  2. Get cars and trucks off the street.
  3. Move to clean, affordable renewable energy.
  4. Reduce utility costs with conservation and efficiency.
  5. Buy locally grown food or grow our own.
  6. Reduce costly waste disposal.

Winter Cycling Class

Check out the Chicago BikeWinter — Schedule of Events which includes this:

Winter Cycling Class in Little Village: Biking Keeps you Warm! Sarah and Nadia will share tips to help newbies try riding in cold weather–how to dress, be seen, and take care of your bike. This class is free! English and Spanish! We’ll have free snacks and door prizes!
Boys and Girls Club, on 25th st and Sacramento
Tue, Dec 19, 2006
Sarah 773/704-4047

individual action on car idling

From the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation:

Armed in August with a $150, 2-by-5-foot aluminum sign, Lynn Romanek pitched the anti-idling suggestion to Glencoe District 35, where she carpools her 6th grader to Central School. Officials quickly warmed to the idea, and Romanek produced and donated a sign for each of the three buildings in the small kindergarten through 8th-grade district.Hauled out each morning since the beginning of the school year, the 20-pound A-frame signs read: “Be socially responsible … TURN OFF YOUR ENGINE WHILE WAITING.”

Energized by success, Romanek expanded her campaign to include the Glencoe Park District, Am Shalom congregation in Glencoe, Temple Jeremiah in Northfield, a Hubbard Woods grade school and most recently A.W. Zengeler Cleaners, which agreed this week to place no-idling signs at its drive-through locations in Libertyville, Deerfield, Northfield and Northbrook.

Wed. Oct. 25 with Logan Square Walks

The more we are in the habit of walking, the less likely we are to use more destructive forms of transportation.  Exercise your walking muscles!

WHERE:  Meet at Fireman’s Park, northeast corner of Milwaukee and Diversey
WHEN: Wednesday, October 25 at 6:30 PM
DISTANCE: 1.9 miles
INFO: email Trisha Sternberg at trishasternberg@yahoo.com or call 773-772-1944
Snacks provided
ROUTE: http://www.wayfaring.com/maps/show/25662

sponsored by Logan Square Walks

see also: http://chicagowalks.org  (CDOT site)