Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! I hope everyone takes a moment today to give back to our beautiful earth.

Check out this Earth Day post about how blue is the new green

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Green Family Festival

I attended the Green Family Festival that was held at the Irish American Heritage Center on April 17th and 18th, 2010. I was on the advisory board for the festival, which was an Earth Day Celebration for families to share natural, healthy ways to raise children and positively impact their communities and the environment. It was a fun, interactive and educational festival for families with children of all ages. In the picture above, I am with the organizers of the festival: Tim McDonnell, Executive Director of the Irish American Heritage Center, Mary Johnson Gorski of the Irish American Heritage Center and Co-Chair of the festival, and Marybeth Rebedeau of the Green Parents Network and Co-Chair of the festival. I presented a MWRDGC resolution to the organizers in honor of the Green Family Festival. I appreciate and applaud their dedication to organizing the festival and promoting healthy, happy homes.

At the festival we had Chef Carole Nyitray cook up some tasty Asian carp dishes. In the picture above we are tasting the Asian carp tacos. Chef Carole also made Asian carpcakes, and Asian carp chowder.

I moderated the Asian Carp Update Panel at the Festival. Speakers on the panel included Ed Staudacher, Civil Engineer with the MWRDGC, Steve Pescitelli, stream biologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Colonel Vincent J. Quarles, Chicago District Commander for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Mike Weimer, Assistant Regional Director for US Fish and Wildlife, and Todd Main, Senior Policy Advisor for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. We discussed the current state of the Asian carp issue here in Illinois.

I also helped organize the Environmentalism and Religion: An Interfaith Discussion Panel which was moderated by Tim McDonnell, Executive Director of the Irish American Heritage Center. Featured on the panel were Jill Zenof, Director of the Gan Project, Father Thomas J Loya, STB, MA pastor of the Annunciation of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Parish in Homer Glen, IL, Reverend Doctor Velma E. King, and Sheikh Kifah Mustapha an Imam and the Associate Director of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, IL. The panel discussed the role that different religions can play in promoting environmental stewardship.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

National Pesticide Forum

On April 9th and 10th, I attended Greening the Community: The 28th Annual Pesticide Forum in Cleveland, Ohio. The Forum was organized by Beyond Pesticides and focused on pesticide-free communities, opportunities for a green economy, organic lawns and community spaces, pesticides and health, Great Lakes and water, and much more. It was a very informative and eye-opening conference.

Monday, April 19, 2010

FDA to review safety of Triclosan

Triclosan is a chemical that I have concerns about. Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical found in many antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, dishwashing soaps, and other personal care products. Health and environmental concerns have been raised about the chemical in the past few years. Studies have shown that triclosan may disrupt the body's endocrine system, the system responsible for growth and devlopment, and may also create bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Triclosan also has negative affects on the environment. The chemical is toxic to algae, phytoplankton and other aquatic life and ends up in our waterways after products that contain triclosan wash down our drains and pass through our water systems. That's why I'm pleased to see that the Food and Drug Administration will be doing a safety review of the chemical. Read about it here.