Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ay Mariposa: Butterflies and Borderwalls

Posted on: January 26th, 2020 by rjohnson

Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club invites you to a free showing of the film “Ay Mariposa” on Wednesday, February 19th at 7 p.m. at the Forest Park Nature Center, 5809 North Forest Park Drive, Peoria Heights.

“Ay Mariposa” is a gripping documentary about three characters in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas whose lives are upended by plans to build a US-Mexico border wall.  Marianna Trevino Wright is the director of the National Butterfly Center and has become a de facto leader of wall resistance in the Valley.   Zulema Hernandez is an immigrant from Mexico, life-long agricultural worker, and great grandmother who is a dedicated advocate for all migrants in the Valley, both human and wild.  Finally, La Mariposa, the butterfly, fights its own daily battle for survival in a landscape where more than 95 percent of its habitat is long gone and much of what remains lies directly in the path of the wall.  This is a film about tenacity, justice, wild beauty, and the future of the US-Mexico borderlands.   Human impacts are told and interspersed with challenging environmental concerns and amazing photography. 

The 1-hour film was created by Krista Schlyer, an award-winning photographer and nature writer.  See the trailer at Ay Mariposa Trailer.  The public is invited to attend.

Ay Mariposa Trailer from Ay Mariposa Film on Vimeo.

Solar Panels

Posted on: January 10th, 2020 by rjohnson

Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club members, Beth and Ryan Johnson, of East Peoria, are thrilled with their new solar panels. The pollution free electricity the panels generate will help the world win the battle against climate crisis. They said that the thought that they are helping to preserve the environment with this installation is very satisfying. They are also looking forward to tracking the energy produced by their array in real time with an app on their phones. The installation was designed and installed by Ruyle Mechanical. Kiersten Sheets of Ruyle made the whole process from start to finish relatively stress free. The panels are American made, high efficiency, Solaria panels and were installed by union workers from Ruyle. As you can see in the picture their 5KW system is made up of 14 panels and should cover the electricity needs of the Johnson household. Because of incentives and rebates the Johnsons will have recovered all of their investment in less than 8 years. The solar panels are warrantied for 25 years and will probably last well beyond their warranty. 

America Recycles week facts

Posted on: November 28th, 2019 by rjohnson
  1. On average, recycling 1 ton of recyclable household materials saves enough energy to power 36 homes for one month. 
  2. Purchasing a live Christmas tree is more environmentally friendly than purchasing an artificial one that lasts for 10 years.  It is even better if it is sustainably and locally sourced without pesticides and herbicides.
  3. Americans collectively throw away an extra 1 million tons of garbage WEEKLY between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  Go to: for ways to do your part to reduce your waste during the holiday season. 
  4. Approximately 1.5 billion cards are sent over the holiday season in the U.S., which requires 300,000 new trees to be harvested per year.  Consider sending electronic Christmas cards instead.
  5. The night before Thanksgiving is one of the top 3 nights of the year to order pizza.  Pizza boxes are recyclable, but only if they are not contaminated with food or grease.  Rip the top of the box off to be recycled and throw bottom away or compost it if that is an option for you. 
  6. Holiday lighting consumes over six TW of energy per year, which is equivalent to the total monthly energy consumption by around 500,000 homes.  Be sure to use LED lights to save 90% of the energy over incandescent lights.
  7. Shopping locally not only helps the local economy, but is often more environmentally friendly if products are locally sourced and since you drive a shorter distance.  For further distanced shopping trips, online ordering may be better as long as you don’t choose expedited shipping.

Fuel Standards Make Cents Too

Posted on: November 4th, 2019 by rjohnson
Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

I recently drove my 2019 Chevy Equinox down to Bowling Green, KY. It was manufactured with the fuel economy standards set by President Obama. These standards were established to reduce the amount of CO2 that is put into the atmosphereby the transportation sector. Transportation now puts more CO2 into the air than the CO2 produced by heating and cooling buildings.

First, I will tell you thatI do drive with an eye on conserving fuel. I only drive 65 mph even when the speed limit is 70 mph. The total mileage for the round trip was about 960 miles and almost all highway driving. I achieved 42 miles per gallon with my Equinox SUV. About 8 years ago I was getting the same mileage with my compact 2004 Chevy Cavalier. Until 2013 I was happy to get 32 miles per gallon with my Chevy HHR,which is substantially smaller than the Equinox.

You can see that fuel economy standards have done a great job of pushing the car manufacturers to improve vehicle fuel economy. At 42 miles per gallon with the Equinox I used about 23 gallons of gas for the trip. If I had been driving my 2008 HHR I would have used about 30 gallons of gasoline. So in this one trip I didn’t burn 7 gallons of fuel that I would have before the fuel standards were improved by President Obama. That is about 1/5th fewer green house gases that were put into the air.It also saved me about $17.50 for the entire trip. That is figuring $2.50 per gallon of gas.

At this time President Trump is planning to roll back the fuel standards put in place by President Obama. If that happens we will be paying more money and polluting the air more for the same vacation trip. Over time you drive a vehicle, say 90,000 miles, you would save $1575 dollars in $2.50 per gallon gas. Even more importantly you are polluting the air 20% less than you would be without fuel economy standards. With the planet in Climate Crisis it is extremely important to reduce the green house gases that we put into the atmosphere by extending vehicle fuel economy standards instead of rolling them back.

Please call your Representative and Senators to let them know they should oppose the roll back of vehicle fuel economy standards.