With locally-grown food in their diets, students have stopped getting fast food and vending machine snacks for lunch, feel sustained until dinner time, and are more alert in class. The students have also grown closer to the cafeteria staff and gained a greater appreciation for food and where it comes from. IEC pays a visit to Pawnee Schools to see their farm-to-table school lunch program!
As the climate crisis looms and the unending pace of development threatens natural spaces across the country, it is imperative that green initiatives are advanced and that the benefits of those initiatives are shared among those who are already experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis.
Here’s some conservation news years in the making: in 2016, Illinois passed a law greenlighting a monarch license plate decal which would generate funding for pollinator habitat in IL. A few years, and 2,000 pledges from enviros later and the Decal is finally here!
Our 2023 Legislative Tour season has come to an end, which means it’s time to take a look back on all the amazing places we took legislators and other key decision-makers to over the past few months.
The Natural Areas Stewardship Act allows IDNR to award grants to conservationists like land trusts. Now, over 5 years into the law, take a look back at the impacts of this bill with IEC’s Conservation Director Lindsay Keeney— the wins, progress made and the work that couldn’t have been done without it.
By: Iyana Simba, City Programs Director The Illinois Environmental Council congratulates incoming Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson on their recent election victory. We are excited to
Illinois needs to break up with plastic. For decades, we’ve known that single-use plastic items, including polystyrene foam cups, plates, and containers are among the most common and harmful forms of pollution found in the environment. So, what are Illinois’ plans to eliminate outdated foam foodware?
A Southeast Side Story: A Closer look at Environmental Justice, Resistance and Sustainability on the East Side
Illinois is home to a diverse range of natural landscapes: from native prairie lands to forest preserves and state parks to marshes, rivers, and other iconic waterways. A large part of IEC’s mission is preserving these natural spaces and building healthy environments for the communities who call them home; however, this mission cannot be approached in the same exact way for each and every community across the state.
In June 2019, I wrote a blog post introducing readers to one of the Illinois Environmental Council’s most successful programs, legislative tours. Since then, we’ve conducted dozens of informative “tours” with legislators and local officials, taking them out of their office buildings and into the natural areas we need their help to protect.
End of life planning is not the most exciting subject for many people. Folks tend to avoid it whenever they can! But not having the conversation means people are unaware of their potential opportunities.
From our conversations in Illinois communities and the surveys we collected, it is clear there is overwhelming support for an increase and acceleration of conservation in Illinois. Over 85% of respondents believe that 4% of Illinois land in protection is not enough.
With gas prices skyrocketing, the need for increased investment in clean energy has never been greater. To understand the current situation and what needs to happen next, let us take a look at history and how we got here.
A decade ago, the City of Chicago under the Emanuel administration dissolved its Department of Environment, leaving a broad range of environmental issues to be dealt with across scattered and, at times, understaffed city departments. It’s long past time to reestablish Chicago’s Department of Environment, read our blog to learn why.
In December of 2021, Lindsay Keeney and Eliot Clay of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) sat down with Mike Chandler and Bob Caveny of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to discuss the department’s agriculture lease program. Mike Chandler is the Agricultural Lease Manager for the IDNR and has been with the department for 29 years. Bob Caveny is the Farm Programs Manager and has been with IDNR for 10 years.
Though Chicago has recently made historic climate and environmental justice budget investments, the city still has much to do in the way of ensuring equitable public health and environmental protections in our EJ communities.
Get a peek behind the scenes during some of our farm and conservation tour stops with Illinois legislators and decision makers.
Don’t wait on leadership to act on climate– here are some simple ways to start decarbonizing your own home!
From Toxic Fluff in Lincoln Park, to the Smoke that Blanketed Little Village: A Snapshot of Environmental Justice Issues in Chicago
Start learning up on what’s happening in Environmental Justice communities across the city– and we’ve just released a great blog to get you started!
It’s probably no surprise to you that here at IEC, we believe government is meant to play a primary role in improving the quality of
By: Jen Walling, Executive Director People often ask for advice on ways that the everyday person can actually make a difference for our environment. Voting
By Crystal Kern, Finance Director This year hasn’t been quite what I had in mind when I was saying goodbye to 2019. I’m sure a
Many people overlook our natural areas as a major highlight of things Illinois has to offer, but that’s a mistake: Illinois is beautiful.
Our work expanding access to open spaces and public lands isn’t done until everyone can safely access these spaces free from discrimination and harassment.
The LWCF has had an outstanding, though often unrecognized, impact on some of Illinois’ most significant places, from historically meaningful sites to a myriad of recreational spaces including national refuges and urban open spaces.
We need to accept that we were wrong. We must take a holistic approach to our food system if we want to survive another crisis.
Looking back on this decade of questions, one of the most commonly asked is, “What is the single most impactful thing an individual can do to help save the planet?”
Nutrient pollution from excess fertilizer carried downstream by water and erosion is poisoning our drinking water, feeding toxic algal blooms and contributing to a massive deadzone in the Gulf of Mexico.
By Crystal Kern | IEC Finance Director I grew up on a self-sufficient farm in central Kentucky. We had a diverse garden with more plant varieties
To educate lawmakers on the importance of agriculture and natural resource conservation practices, we connect them with experiences that demonstrate the real-world impacts of their votes in the legislature.
With input from the environmental community, Illinois is about to become the national leader for environmental protection in the cannabis industry. Earlier this year, Governor
It is past time for dedicated capital funding for water infrastructure to ensure every Illinoisan has access to clean, affordable water.
As one of his first acts, Governor Pritzker signed Illinois onto the US Climate Alliance
The winners of yesterday’s election will be making decisions that have wide-ranging impacts on Illinois’s environment.
By Cary Shepherd Policy Director, Illinois Environmental Council The federal administration unveiled its latest attempt to prevent our nation’s transition to a clean energy economy