Month: August 2016

#MyBeachIsYourBeach C3 Project

Yesterday was the culmination of my Chicago Conservation Corps training! I finished my project! In partnership with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, I organized an Adopt-A-Beach cleanup event at Oak Street Beach.

While there were some setbacks (such as construction for a volleyball tournament taking up more than half the beach and low volunteer turnout), we still did some good! Armed with gloves, trash bags, and our litter monitoring checklist, we hit the beach.


oak street beach construction

Did not know there would be a volleyball tournament taking up most of the beach! Oops!


After collecting trash for over an hour, our bag weighed a whole 10 pounds! You can check out the infographic I put together below for more of a breakdown of what we collected.

Oak Street Beach Clean Up

If you are in the Great Lakes area, make sure to take part in the world’s largest shoreline cleanup on September 17th to celebrate 25 years of Adopt-A-Beach!

Is Chicago Ready for the Air and Water Show?

I took a stroll yesterday morning along the lakefront trail to get a sneak peek at the set up of the Chicago Air and Water Show.

As I was walking, I took note on how many garbage and recycling bins were set out to accommodate the large crowds that will be at the beach this weekend.

prepping for air and water show

Just from where I was standing facing North Avenue Beach and Castaways to the South, there were at the very least 6 recycling totes in view.

prepping for air and water show2

A little more North up the Lakefront Trail, a bit more away from the main drag of the event, I counted 4 recycling totes. While it is kind of ugly to have totes perched out in the middle of the beach, I think it is totally necessary. Unfortunately, recycling has to be as convenient and easy as possible, otherwise, people will not do it.

so close yet so far

Walking further North, I started looking for pieces of trash or recyclables that were so close, yet so far from where they belonged.

Laid Off and Pushing On

Last week I had a very surprising phone call. My position at a tech company had been eliminated due to some company reorganizing and I was suddenly out of a job.

It took me the rest of the afternoon to come to terms that I would not be receiving a paycheck or insurance anymore, and that was really my only concern. I did not love my job and to be honest, I did not really care about what I was doing. This was just an in-between job.

Having gone to school to study environmental management and sustainable development, I always knew I wanted my passion to also be my career. Since graduating, I have bounced around a bit from Indiana to Washington DC, but being back in Chicago has not brought me much luck in the job hunt.

While I started working for that tech company, I did my best to exercise my passion outside of my work day. This meant volunteering on a non-profit associate board, Delta Emerging Leaders and applying for Chicago Conservation Corps, which I blogged about many times here, here, and here. On top of that, I did some beach clean ups too.

All while I was working for my lack-luster job and volunteering, I was  also always on the look out for an open sustainably related position. So now I am still looking and still applying, but I am not going to settle.

I already had a passion-less job. This next job, whatever it may end up being, is going to make a difference and help create quantifiable and beneficial change. I believe that life is too short to be spending so much time in a job that does not fill you with joy and really makes you think. Overall, I refuse to give up. The topics I write about on this blog are what I want to do with my life, and I feel lucky to have found my calling. I know my dream job is out there.





More Notes on Recycling Totes

While K and I were walking to dinner on Friday, I saw this note taped to a blue cart in an alley. 

The carts already have a sticker on top outlining what should and should not be put inside. Dog poop is obviously not a recyclable, but someone apparently doesn’t know that. It also must have happened enough times that it has caused someone to go through the effort of printing out a sign about it! 

While it is infuriating that people are putting dog waste into recycling bins, it also makes me happy to know that someone out there is taking a stand against it! Nice job random person!

This isn’t the first time I found a note on a tote. You can see that experience here

And We Are Out of Resources Already: Earth Overshoot Day 2016

A slightly hypothetical situation:

Every day I am out and about for the afternoon between lunch and dinner. Since I can barely go 2+ hours without eating, I know to always pack some snacks in my bag. The longer I am out between meals, the more snacks I know I need to bring. Say I have an apple tree that I use to supply my snacks for in between meals, and I am only able to snack on what my apple tree produces. If my apple tree produces 365 apples, then it would be logical to have only one pre-dinner snack every day of the year.

A not-so-logical and gluttonous way to handle my hungry/hangry situation would be to eat more than one apple per day, fully knowing I will run out before the end of the year.

Well, we as inhabitants of Earth have been handling our resources in a not-so-logical and gluttonous way to the point where we used all that our planet can reproduce in one year as of August 8th.

“As of today, we humans have used as much from nature in 2016 as our planet can renew in a whole year. Nothing will seem to change for many of us from this day to the next, but collectively we are draining Earth’s capacity to provide. Overshoot Day is a red light warning of trouble ahead — and it is flashing five days earlier than it did last year (Aug. 13); eleven days earlier than the year before (Aug.19).” – National Geographic

Basically, we have used a year’s worth of resources in 8 months, and we still have 4 more months of 2016 to go.

Just think about that.

Back in my hypothetical situation, if I ate 8 months worth of my apples, I would be out of luck for the rest of the year. OR I could “borrow” apples from my neighbor’s apple tree. While that seems like a quick fix, I would be taking away my neighbor’s resources and creating a debt that I may not be able to repay.

That is what we are doing with our natural resources.

Here is some more information about Earth Overshoot Day or as it used to be called Ecological Debt Day.


No Lid, No Straw, Please

starbucksThe other day I ended up having to work from Starbucks, which is cool and all, but I do not like coffee.

Since I was spending 2+ hours parked at their table using their wifi, I obviously had to purchase something.

It was a bit of a surprise event to be working at Starbucks, so I did not come prepared with my own beverage container. 😦


Although that was a bummer, I did, for the first time ever, remember to ask for my iced tea without a lid and a straw. I felt pretty proud of that! So next time I will hopefully bring my own cup, and if I don’t, I will remember that simple request!