July 5th, 2023 Clean Up

Posted on: July 25th, 2023 by rjohnson

Toilet Paper – Stars and Stinkers!

Posted on: December 20th, 2022 by rjohnson
Photo by danilo.alvesd on Unsplash

As you might know I have written a couple articles lately on the damage being done by the cutting of old growth forests that hold a great deal of carbon to make Toilet Paper.  Some big name Stinker companies like Charmin, Cottonelle, and Quilted Northern, among others, are clear cutting trees from places like the Canadian boreal forest at a rate of 1 million acres of forest every year.  These virgin forests hold a huge amount of carbon, much more than forests that are even 50 years old.  These companies are making single use toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues, and the carbon that is sequestered in the old trees is dumped back into our atmosphere speeding up climate change. 

On the other hand there are Star companies, including Seventh Generation and Marcal that make these same paper products from 100% recycled paper content.  There are also some great Star companies, like NATUREZWAY, that make all of their paper products from bamboo pulp with no tree pulp or recycled paper at all. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to know which companies and paper products are Stars and which are Stinkers?  Well, we are all in luck because the Natural Resource Defense Council has put together such a list.  NRDC has rated more than 140 paper products in their use of sustainable materials that companies use in their products.  They have rated these products on a scale of A – F.  This list even includes superstore products with say the Walmart or Costco brand on them.

Please take a careful look at the ‘Issue with Tissue’ scorecard put out by the NRDC by visiting nrdc.org/tissue. After you see the sustainable score of your paper products you can buy accordingly. 

Thanks again to the Natural Resource Defense Council, NRDC, for the information in this article and the great Sustainability Scorecard Chart.


Posted on: December 7th, 2022 by rjohnson

Ameren Illinois is giving away free Google Smart Thermostats to most customers in Central IL.  They are available until December 31, 2022.

All you need to do is Google  “Smart Thermostats Ameren IL giveaway 2022”.   Then look for “Smart Thermostats Ameren IL”.   That should take you to an Ameren website that will explain how to see if you qualify and fill out an application.  You might also want to read the section called ‘People also ask:’ which will point out some pros and cons.

Of course you can look at Youtube to find a video on how to install it.  I’ve watched the video and I think even I can do it.  My NEST should arrive in a few more business days. 

Another great energy saving buy from Ameren is light bulbs.  You can get them at Haddad’s Grocery Store in West Peoria, on Rohman Av. 

  • LED 4 packs of bulbs – $.99
  • LED night lights – 2 for $.99
  • LED desk lamp – 2 for $2.99
  • LED shop lights – 2 for $1.99


Posted on: September 19th, 2022 by rjohnson

First you need to know that live trees use the process of photosynthesis and absorb Carbon Dioxide from the air.  They then release oxygen that we breathe and retain the carbon to store in the wood of the tree.  So we need more trees to take CO2 out of the air and retain it.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is released when materials that have stored CO2, in a solid form like wood, coal, and oil are burned.  The more CO2 that is in the air the more heat is held in the Earth’s atmosphere.  The CO2 acts like a blanket.

A term we need to start hearing more is ‘proforestation.’ This means protecting and preserving the old growth forests, which are holding CO2.  Old growth forests sequester more CO2 in the last 50 years of their lives than they do in their first 50 years.  So it is not an even match to cut an old tree and to plant a new tree.

The Tongass National Forest in Alaska has 16 million acres of mature trees and stores about 2 ¾ billion tons of Carbon.  Terrible to say some climate denying legislators have tried for years to increase the logging of the Tongass’ old growth forest, in part to make ‘soft’ toilet paper. Some of these hemlock and cedar trees in the Tongass are 1000 years old and 200 ft tall.  Think of all the carbon they are all keeping out of the atmosphere to slow Global Warming. Just recently President Biden has said, “No more industrial logging of the Tongass will be allowed.”

Some trees are better at sequestering CO2 than others.  The characteristics that make trees good carbon sinks are:  live a long time, grow very large, have a large canopy to aid in photosynthesis, grow quickly, are native trees, are resistant to diseases and insects, and have a hard dense wood.  Deciduous trees meet some of these criteria but need to grow faster.  Conifers are usually fast growers but tend to capture much less CO2 than hardwoods.  Some of the top trees in our climate region are: Scarlet Oaks, Horse Chestnuts, and Silver Maples.

In summary old growth forests like Tongass and the Amazon Rain Forest must be immediately protected.  Many new high quality carbon storing trees must be planted, and people need to find alternatives to wood and fossil fuels to use in their daily lives.