Cassie Carrol from the Illinois Green Business Association gave the first of four webinars on Thursday, Feb. 3rd about sustainable business. You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/_NjMERkTHHE
Sustainability continues to gain momentum nationwide and large corporations continue to drive innovation. Consumers are also seeking ways to not only be sustainable but want to support products and businesses with sustainability missions and activities. In this session, we’ll define sustainability in business and review how consumers are driving a more sustainable economy. Sustainability not only benefits your business, but also benefits your local community. We will discuss the benefits of incorporating green practices into your company and dig into some ways your business can start aligning your business and activities to meet this growing demand for a clean and green economy.
The good news is, we have the solutions. Our outdated laws, energy and economy can and must be adapted to reduce the harm and disruption that they cause to humans, animals and natural systems. People have the power to change the outdated and harmful institutions and to build out clean energy and ecosystems that reduce pollution, create jobs and economic systems that equitably benefit workers, and allow all to lead purposeful, healthy lives.
More information about the event agenda, speakers, and network partners is available at the Resilience Fair website: http://resiliencefairs.com/. This free event is for anyone in the Carbondale and surrounding communities interested in community sustainability and resilience. Everyone is welcome to join us and participate in discussions of our community’s future. Registration for attending is at the website address above or directly at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYvdeyorD8sHN1k6wm2o_vH16Hl3Heg_CO2. This event is the first in a series in Carbondale and other locations across southern Illinois and is aimed at helping our community members navigate these challenging times.
The key to meeting these challenges is our working together to accomplish goals we all can agree on, such as better health, conservation of nature and more and better jobs. The old ways that are causing harm need to be stopped, their workers and communities supported, and the new ways built out and celebrated. Thus the first hour of this event, 1 to 2 pm, will focus on education: on the impacts of climate change and on new models, such as worker-owned cooperative business models, that will help our community bring about positive change for our community and for the natural environment we are part of and depend on. During this first hour, speakers include:
Dr. Justin Schoof, Director of the SIU School of Earth Systems and Sustainability, and Professor of Geography and Environmental Resources. He will discuss climate change impacts for southern Illinois, and the recently released IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on climate science.
Sean Park, Program Manager of the Value-added Sustainable Development Center at the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. He provides technical assistance and training on business plan development and business start-up to cooperatives and other rural businesses in all sectors. He will discuss worker cooperatives and the opportunities for local worker-owned business models.
Gary Willams, Carbondale’s City Manager, and Saxon Metzger, Carbondale Sustainability Commission member, will update the community on the City’s initiatives for advancing Carbondale’s sustainability and on progress made thus far by the Commission on a draft of the Sustainability Action Plan.
Hour 2 of this event, 2 to 3 pm, will be devoted to a community conversation on concerns those attending have about issues their neighborhoods face and on their ideas for bringing about positive change that will make their neighborhoods more resilient. This conversation, focusing on priorities for community resilience, will be guided to bring out ideas that can be integrated into the five areas of the Sustainability Action Plan. Community members are encouraged to attend in order to add their voices to this community conversation and to the Sustainability Action Plan.
A number of groups are already at work on innovative community projects that will make Carbondale more resilient. To promote awareness of this work and promote networking across shared interests, from 3-3:30, during the “celebration” part of the event, several organizations will share their stories about local resilience, information about their resources, including funding available, and how to get involved. Several organizations locally and regionally already provide resources and will be at the event for networking and sharing:
City of Carbondale Sustainability Commission
Southern Illinois Cooperative Business Fund
The Climate Economy Education Inc
SENSE (Students Embracing Nature, Sustainability, and Environmentalism)
Shawnee Group Sierra Club
The Women’s Center
Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois
United Nations Association of the USA – Southern Illinois Chapter
Southern Illinois Collaborative Kitchen
Buffalo Bluffs Hemp Farm
ShopSouthernIllinois.com Local Business Directory and Pollinator
University of Illinois Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES)
The upside of taking bold climate action is immeasurable in terms of better public and environmental health, jobs and sustainable economic growth. We have the technology and all the models and information we need; what we need most is for every person, every member of every community, to be taking action. Attend the resilience fair and find your niche. Contact information:
Get more information about the August 28 event in Carbondale, as well as other events coming up across southern Illinois this fall at the Resilience Fairs website: http://resiliencefairs.com/.
To get more information about the City of Carbondale Sustainability Commission’s Climate Action Plan, contact Jane Cogie, 618-713-7024 or email@example.com.
To get help organizing a resilience fair in your community, contact Amy McMorrow Hunter, firstname.lastname@example.org, 618-713-2896.
It’s really hard to get paid for doing a job nowadays that’s not either directly involved in unsustainable natural resource extraction or closely related to it. Obvious extraction is anything that’s digging up or cutting down natural resources in an unsustainable way. Extraction includes big ag, in that we’re altering the natural landscape so much that it’s no longer able to naturally support itself. This is bad because it’s contributing to drastic climate change, species extinction, migration of human populations, all kinds of unnatural, difficult things. We’re just sucking all the life out of it and then leaving it behind. That’s the extraction we’re talking about. It’s so unnecessary to do it that way but it’s the only way we’re going to get paid because that’s the way our economy is set up. We’re feeding the virus. What’s you’re situation?
You are directly involve in an extractive job or company.
Your work or products are dependent upon production in the extractive industry, for example
architecture, building, you need literally tons of processed resources, wood, concrete, metal, etc. (unless you’re building net-zero let’s say), and you’re using lots of energy
medicine, healthcare, chemicals make up the medicines, single-use devices, made from fossil fuels, and production of the chemicals causes the pollution that makes people sick
retail/restaurant, unless your products/services are local/renewable, your business depends upon extraction.
You depend upon shipment of your products or require use of networks using extractive energy.
You work online and need to use a phone. All that needs energy, and nowadays that’s still mostly extractive.
Renewable energy: people don’t like to think about this, but we have to consider the extractive side of this. We can definitely calculate on a lifecycle value that renewables are less extractive, but who is out there calculating emissions from the production of the massive amount of solar energy needed? I think it’s been done with modeling but we have to continuously be working towards improving this situation, and not just pretend like it’s not an issue.
You are being supported by your partner while you pursue your “passions” for climate action or sustainability, or you’re supported by donors who have benefited from extraction.
This reminds me of my economics teacher and cross country coach “Windy” Childs in high school who said on the first day of economics class: If you can tell me something that’s free, you get an automatic A for the semester. Of course he always could come up with a way to describe how something someone came up with was not actually free. We might try to say that public school teachers are exempt, but then we have to assume that they’re getting paid from taxpayer dollars which may not be “clean,” or taxes collected from local extractive industries. Midwives maybe? Natural practitioners? There are so few things and they’re so hard to make into a job that supports one enough to do it as a stand-alone job. Most of the time we’re hearing about how activists have other jobs or are supported by their organization that’s out raising funds. There’s no “sustainable” money in it, because our society does not value it properly. Obviously someone out there fighting to make things safer or less pollutive to society is doing a valuable service.
But it’s too hard to think about all this stuff, we all have too much on our plates already!! And obviously we can’t just stop doing any or all of these things that are connected to unsustainable extraction. They are literally essential to our survival in some ways. We all have to use the internet and power our phones right?? There’s almost no way to extricate ourselves from it. Almost. And we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We have to improve if we can, or we stagnate and just perpetuate the behavior that’s literally contributing to our early demise. That’s why we have to transform our economy. Not simple, but worth doing. We have to stop thinking that we “have” to do things the way they’ve always been done. We have to extricate those tentacles of extraction that are (deliberately for profit) tentacled into our lives. We can choose to start to contribute to purposeful change! We just have to, all of us, decide to do it. The more we talk about it, the better. Please login or register and leave comments!
April 8, 2021, Southern Illinois – Clean energy and climate change adaptation and mitigation opportunities are the biggest moment of our time. A series of events this April and May are kicking off a concerted #AllTogetherNowSI effort to organize our communities around the efforts to bring these new opportunities to the southern Illinois region, for the benefit of current and future generations. All event schedules and related information are at AllTogetherNowSI.com.
One of our biggest here-and-now opportunities is solar energy (yes there are more big here-and-now opportunities and we’ll be talking about those too at other events in April). Coal plants in southern Illinois continue to close because they’re not economically competitive, people are losing jobs and communities are losing their tax base. Rebuilding our communities with solar energy brings good union jobs, great investment opportunities, cleaner air and water, and educational opportunities for our youth to help prepare them for their renewable energy future. This is a long-term effort, and there are many things already happening in southern Illinois where people can get involved and benefit from change to business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity. That includes solar energy.
We’re having a panel discussion of solar experts who are working in our southern Illinois communities on April 14 at 4:30-6:00 p.m. All the event details, links to registration and sponsorship opportunities for this long-term community effort are at https://all4.earth/events/go-solar-si/. Here is a list of our panelists:
Beau Henson will talk about Solarize SI, the solar group buy program that is currently underway. They’re just kicking off their second year of the program.
Aur Beck of AES Solar, will talk about Coal2Sol, a solar program for nonprofits. Third-party investment in solar systems for nonprofits benefit the investors, the nonprofits and their communities.
Shannon Fulton of StraightUp Solar will talk about “Cooperative Owners for Solar.” Cooperatives in the region have higher energy prices and less options for solar energy. Member-owners can help fix that.
The main topics covered by the panelists will be followed with Q&A so we can dig down deep into the southern Illinois issues. Scott Allen of the Citizens Utility board said:
Significant changes to the way we generate, deliver and use electricity are coming, not just in Illinois, but nationally and globally as well. This massive infrastructure overhaul will create new economic opportunities, allow for corrections to established systems, and re-determine the way that we interact with utilities. In Illinois, we have an opportunity to ensure that the status quo is overturned. We can make policies that create wealth more equitably, protect human health, and prepare our grid for the future.
Amy McMorrow Hunter, President/CEO of The Climate Economy Education Inc (TCE), is the host and moderator of this discussion. Additional sponsors include the Just Transition Fund, experts in helping coal communities transition their economies after coal shutdowns, and ShopSouthernIllinois.com, a locally-owned business directory. TCE’s events are always recorded and put up on our YouTube channel. The change that we need will come from our communities. We can learn what’s happening in our communities to create positive change, and learn how we can get involved today.
The Climate Economy Education Inc is a local nonprofit for education on business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity. TCE also runs the CLimate Economy Action Network at CLEANetwork.com, also funded by the Just Transition Fund. Everything on CLEANetwork.com is free and up and running and available 24/7 so people can check in and get involved when they have time. CLEANetwork.com is all about making it super easy for people take target actions that reduce harmful emissions, increase community resilience, increase civic engagement or help others. Online courses are available so people can hone their skills on the hottest emerging topics that are relevant to southern Illinois. Also, we’re building our community. CLEANetwork.com facilitates online groups, discussions and project management so when the time is right, we take it offline and get some work done outside. Youth programs are also available. It’s all an evolving, long-term project for southern Illinois. Signing up on the CLEANetwork.com is free and people can earn points and rewards for taking positive target actions.