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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:48pm
Tue Oct 28, 2014

Election Preview: A Look At The 'Toss-Up' 12th Congressional District Race

Progress Illinois profiles the state's 12th congressional district race, which is considered to be a "toss-up."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:17pm
Fri Jul 18, 2014

Chicago Commercial Buildings In Retrofit Program Making Progress To Cut Energy Use

In the first two years of the Chicago Commercial Building Initiative, participating buildings have cut their collective energy use by seven percent compared to their 2010 baseline, officials with the city and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said Friday.

The seven percent reduction in energy use is the equivalent of avoiding 28,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, or taking some 5,800 cars off the road for a year. 

Over the past two years, the 32 commercial buildings enrolled in the voluntary program reduced their collective energy use by switching to more efficient LED lighting; installing motion sensors connected to heating, cooling and lighting systems; upgrading heating and cooling systems with better ventilation fans and motors; and improving tenants' office-space efficiency.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:56am
Mon Jul 14, 2014

Study: Vegetarian & Low Meat Diets Can Help Mitigate Climate Change

Eating less meat or none at all has the potential to significantly shrink an individual's diet-related carbon footprint and "can make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation,"according to a recent study published in the journal Climatic Change.

The study examined the diets of 29,589 meat eaters, 15,751 vegetarians, 8,123 pescatarians (vegetarians who eat fish) and 2,041 vegans between the ages of 20 to 79 in the United Kingdom. Participants took a "food-frequency questionnaire" asking how often in the last year they consumed 130 different food items. Researchers were able to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions, which trap heat and warm up the planet, associated with the various foods.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:18pm
Thu Jun 19, 2014

Report: 6 Million Pounds Of Toxic Industrial Pollution Discharged Into Illinois Waterways (VIDEO)

Industrial facilities discharged 6.1 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Illinois' rivers and streams in 2012, shows a new report by the Environment Illinois Research & Education Center.

The "Wasting Our Waterways" report ranks Illinois as the 13th worst U.S. state for the total volume of toxic industrial releases to waterways.

At the national level, polluting facilities dumped 206 million pounds of harmful chemicals into American waterways in 2012, according to the report. And some 8.39 million pounds of toxic pollution were discharged into the Great Lakes watershed. Ammonia, chromium and lead are among the chemicals released into Illinois' waterways, according to the report.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:38pm
Mon Jun 2, 2014

Manufacturing, Green Infrastructure Co-Ops Offer Job Opportunities For Chicago Youth

Several Chicago youths are taking part in efforts to increase democracy in the workplace while tackling economic and environmental issues in their neighborhoods through the use of innovative business cooperatives owned and controlled by workers.

Young people from the city's Austin and Rogers Park communities discussed their involvement with cooperative businesses, which are entities owned and managed collectively by workers, at a 2014 Worker Cooperative National Conference held over the weekend at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In the West Side neighborhood of Austin, an impoverished community struggling with high rates of unemployment and crime, students at the manufacturing-focused Austin Polytechnical Academy launched a business cooperative at their school last year called Mech Creations, which makes trumpet mouthpieces. And on the city's far North Side in Rogers Park, which also faces issues of unemployment and crime, young people are participating in a worker cooperative focused on green infrastructure called Grassroots Ecology. The North Side youth-focused cooperative started building green infrastructure, including rain gardens and barrels to mitigate flooding, in 2012 and plans to incorporate as a limited liability company with cooperative by-laws this fall.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:56pm
Thu Nov 7, 2013

Austin, Galewood Residents Unveil Community Sustainability Action Plan

Chicago's Austin and Galewood community members unveiled their draft "sustainability roadmap" Wednesday evening, detailing ways in which they will take action to strengthen their neighborhoods.

The new community-based planning initiative on the West Side is taking place in Ald. Deborah Graham's 29th Ward. Prior to Wednesday's meeting, residents and other community stakeholders held two "visioning sessions" where they floated ideas to be included in their plan on how to make their neighborhoods more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Check out Progress Illinois' full coverage of the first visioning meeting here.

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