Water and Sanitation in the 21st Century: A Human Rights Perspective on Domestic and International Challenges

Inga Winkler, Columbia University

Water challenges are increasingly acknowledged. We read about water scarcity, water conflicts and the looming potential of water wars. However, the world is not running out of water, and there is more than enough water to meet everyone’s basic needs. The question of scarcity is largely a question of social, economic and political drivers and priority-setting in allocation. The talk will therefore shift the focus by addressing some of the issues that are usually neglected: the sanitation crisis and the lack of access to water and sanitation not only abroad, but in marginalized communities in the United States. The United Nations officially recognized the human rights to water and sanitation in 2010, and the talk will explore what the human rights framework can offer to address the existing challenges.

Breaking Down Barriers to Energy Efficiency

Do you want to save energy and money but aren’t sure how to start or where to direct your efforts? Want to learn more about public sector energy efficiency programs? Need help figuring out how to finance an energy efficiency project? Attend “Breaking Down Barriers to Energy Efficiency,” a SEDAC workshop, on behalf of Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. Uncover strategies and tools to advance your energy efficiency projects. We’ll discuss how to overcome these challenges and give you a chance to interact with experts in the field. Topics include public sector energy efficiency programs, SEDAC services, financing energy efficiency, and EPA resources. Lunch will be served.

Sept. 20th, 11:30-2 pm; Room 409
Town of Normal City Hall
11 Uptown Circle, Normal, Illinois 61761

EAC Employment Opportunities: Education Coordinator and Assistant Director

The Ecology Action Center is seeking to fill up to two full-time positions:

Education Coordinator

This position is responsible for much of EAC’s education and outreach efforts related to solid waste and clean water topics including elementary school programs in all of the fourth grade classrooms in McLean County and all third grade classrooms in Bloomington and Normal.  Additional responsibilities include outreach via tabling events, coordination of educational workshops for composting and rain barrels, marketing of EAC programs and solid waste and clean water messages via traditional and social media, outreach projects like storm drain stenciling and creek clean ups, special event coordination, and other technical services.

Education Coordinator Job Description

Assistant Director

This position will combine several program-oriented roles with some management level responsibilities.  Candidates should possess a strong environmental health, energy efficiency, or environmental studies background along with skills and experience in finance, personnel management, excellent written and verbal communication skills, and familiarity with relevant technology and software.

Assistant Director Job Description

How to Apply

Update 12/15/17: Positions Filled

Equal Opportunity

The EAC is an equal opportunity employer for all qualified employees and applicants. All decisions regarding employment are made without regard for race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, or physical and/or mental disability unrelated to ability.

 

Restoration of Woodland Properties

Woodlands are a natural community type intermediate between forests and savannas which typically support an oak-hickory tree canopy. Woodlands have the potential to support numerous species of native plants and animals, some quite rare, but are under threat by several factors. Many examples are in private ownership in Illinois and these landowners are key to maintaining and improving woodlands for conservation purposes. The presentation will cover aspects of assessing land and vegetation, setting realistic management goals and implementing a stewardship vision for the land.

Bob Szafoni has over 30 years experience in natural areas identification and stewardship. He has written and/or implemented stewardship on woodlands as well as other natural community types statewide. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from University of Illinois and is retired from the IL DNR where he served as the Illinois Natural Areas Program Manager for over 10 years. Prior to that he was an IDNR Natural Heritage Biologist (covering McLean County for a time!) and has worked at the Illinois Natural History Survey. He currently is an ecological consultant as well as manages his own woodland in East Central Illinois.

This event is free and open to the public. The Mennonite Church of Normal is a handicap accessible building.

Wild Ones is a national non-profit organization of local chapters promoting the use of native plants in home and urban landscapes. For more information on our local chapter, Illinois Prairie, please visit our website at http://illinoisprairie.wildones.org.

Restoration of Woodland Properties

Woodlands are a natural community type intermediate between forests and savannas which typically support an oak-hickory tree canopy. Woodlands have the potential to support numerous species of native plants and animals, some quite rare, but are under threat by several factors. Many examples are in private ownership in Illinois and these landowners are key to maintaining and improving woodlands for conservation purposes. The presentation will cover aspects of assessing land and vegetation, setting realistic management goals and implementing a stewardship vision for the land.

Bob Szafoni has over 30 years experience in natural areas identification and stewardship. He has written and/or implemented stewardship on woodlands as well as other natural community types statewide. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from University of Illinois and is retired from the IL DNR where he served as the Illinois Natural Areas Program Manager for over 10 years. Prior to that he was an IDNR Natural Heritage Biologist (covering McLean County for a time!) and has worked at the Illinois Natural History Survey. He currently is an ecological consultant as well as manages his own woodland in East Central Illinois.

This event is free and open to the public. The Mennonite Church of Normal is a handicap accessible building.

Wild Ones is a national non-profit organization of local chapters promoting the use of native plants in home and urban landscapes. For more information on our local chapter, Illinois Prairie, please visit our website at http://illinoisprairie.wildones.org.

McLean County HHW Collection

On Saturday, September 9, 2017 McLean County residents will have an opportunity for safe disposal of their Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW).  The Ecology Action Center has again led a public-private partnership to raise funds for to cover the costs of a HHW collection; Rivian Automotive (located at the former Mitsubishi Motors North America) is generously providing their facility as a venue for the public event. Proper disposal of HHW items is crucial for the protection of local water supplies.

The September 9 HHW collection will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free and open only to McLean County residents.  Per state regulations only residential HHW can be collected – no business or commercially generated wastes may be accepted.  Residents may enter the event via the south entrace to the Rivian Automotive Facility, from West College Avenue in Normal.  The event will occur rain or shine.

For an efficient event and to minimize wait times, residents are encouraged to follow these guidelines:

  • Items that will be accepted include oil-based paints, household batteries, paint thinners, used motor oil, herbicides, drain cleaners, insecticides, lawn chemicals, pesticides, solvents, old gasoline, antifreeze, pool chemicals, hobby chemicals, cleaning products, aerosol paints and pesticides, mercury, fluorescent lamp bulbs, double bagged and wetted asbestos, old and outdated medicines and pharmaceuticals, and electronics, including tube-style TVs or monitors (limited to one tube style TV accepted per household).
  • Items that will not be accepted include latex paint, tires, agricultural chemicals, propane tanks, business/commercial sector wastes, smoke detectors, explosives, farm machinery oil, fireworks, fire extinguishers, lead acid batteries, institutional wastes, medical wastes, sharps, needles and potentially infectious medical wastes.
  • Latex paint is not hazardous and may be disposed of in household trash once it has been completely dried to a solid.  This is easily accomplished by pouring the latex paint out onto several layers of newspaper or other disposable material in an appropriate amount and letting it air dry.  Once it is dry and solidified it may be safely and legally thrown in the trash.  This technique is only applicable to latex paints; oil paints are always considered hazardous and should be used up for their intended purpose or disposed of at a HHW event.
  • Materials should be kept in original labeled packaging and containers – do not mix materials together.
  • Carpool your HHW.  To reduce excessive traffic and waiting time at the event, residents are strongly encouraged to work with their neighbors and friends, especially in helping the elderly, to bring HHW materials from multiple households in one vehicle.
  • Materials will only be accepted during the event hours – dumping of materials before or after the event is illegal.

Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes pollutes our local water supplies and environment.  Whether it is thrown out with regular trash going to a municipal waste landfill, dumped illegally down the drain, storm sewer, or in a ditch, these actions compromise the safety of drinking water thereby threatening the health and well-being of area residents.  The Ecology Action Center, a local leader in recycling and solid waste management efforts, receives inquiries daily from concerned residents who wish to dispose of materials properly.  HHW collection events are the primary means for safe disposal of many of these materials.

To cover the estimated $175,000 cost of this one-day event, the Ecology Action Center is accepting donations to the McLean County HHW Fund.  Tax deductible donations may be made online or by sending a check to: Ecology Action Center, 202 W College Ave, Normal, IL  61761.  Please donate to make this event a success.

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered – we now have all volunteer slots filled.  

Light the Night Bike Light Giveaway

Bicycling is a great way to get exercise, have fun, and reduce your transportation-related carbon footprint. However, you definitely want to ride safely! If you bring a bike without lights to the Light the Night event, you’ll get a free set of LED front and rear lights!

Ecology Action Center Encourages “Carpooling” for Household Hazardous Waste Collection

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release
August 28, 2017

Contact: Michael Brown
Phone: (309) 454-3169 x.11

With less than two weeks to go until the September 9 Household Hazardous Waste Collection for McLean County residents, the Ecology Action Center is asking everyone to share a ride. The EAC’s Executive Director Michael Brown says, “Nobody likes to sit in line—but there’s not much we can do about it, right? Wrong. The single most important thing residents can do to help reduce wait times is to carpool their hazardous waste with that of their friends and neighbors”.
According to Brown, one vehicle carrying the hazardous materials from several households is much more time-efficient for the hazardous waste crews to unload than the same volume of materials transported in multiple cars. “So this also means much fewer cars, which means the lines will be both shorter and will move faster,” added Brown.
Under the regulations allowing for one-day HHW collections in Illinois, the EAC is restricted from directly organizing any transportation of hazardous materials. They can only collect it at the event and have it transported to processing/treatment facilities. But residents can organize on their own for carpooling of materials to the collection, whether it’s through their neighborhood association, informally through word-of-mouth, or through social media sites like Nextdoor.com and Facebook.
The McLean County Household Hazardous Waste collection event will be held on Saturday, September 9 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rivian Automotive, located at 100 N. Mitsubishi Motorway in Normal. Residents must enter the facility using the south gate from West College Avenue instead of the west side entrances used in the past. Participation is limited to McLean County residents. Illinois regulations mandate that only residential HHW may be collected—no business or commercially generated wastes can be accepted.
In the past, state-sponsored HHW collections were a legal, safe, and reliable way of disposing of HHW in Illinois, but budget cuts resulted in the loss of state funding for five years. In 2012, the EAC and its partners decided that the community needed to take matters into its own hands. They developed a public-private partnership to cover the costs of holding a one-day collection. The unprecedented turnout at that event led local government partners to increase support for the 2015 collection. HHW collections are expensive; this year’s will cost as much as $180,000. The City of Bloomington, Town of Normal, and McLean County have provided $140,000. Current sponsors and event partners include Illinois Farm Bureau, Home Sweet Home Ministries, Midwest Fiber, WGLT, Radio Bloomington, Area Disposal, Henson Disposal, State Farm Insurance, and Republic Services.
The Ecology Action Center needs support from private individuals to make this a success. Donations to the McLean County HHW Fund may be made online at HHWmclean.org or by sending a check to the Ecology Action Center at 202 W College Avenue, Normal, IL 61761. The EAC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; contributions and sponsorships are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Fundraising efforts will continue through the date of the HHW collection.
Details including what materials can and cannot be accepted at this event are available at HHWmcLean.org. Volunteers are still needed to help with traffic control at the event; signup is available online at the same address.
The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit environmental agency with a mission to inspire and assist residents of McLean County in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment. The EAC acts as a central resource for environmental education, information, outreach, and technical assistance in McLean County.

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