Exploring Spatial Justice in Chicago on Oct. 7th at the Institute for Cultural Affairs

This coming Tuesday, Oct. 7th, please join the Center for Humans and Nature, in partnership with The Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network and the Institute of Cultural Affairs, for a free interactive discussion entitled “Is It Just Space?” — how justice is a critical component in how we create, maintain, and engage with urban spaces. Refreshments are provided, and there are still a few spots available for the program!

Photo credit: Center for Humans and NatureWhen/Where: Tuesday, Oct. 7th, 2014 | 5:30-7pm | Institute of Cultural Affairs, 4750 N. Sheridan Rd. (a short walk east from the Red Line’s Lawrence stop)

  • Through interactive activities, all participants will be encouraged to share stories and ideas about justice and space in Chicago.
  • Julian AgyemanA facilitated dialogue with four panelists—community activists Melanie Eckner (Uptown) and Orrin Williams (South Side), Sustainability Studies Professor Michael Bryson (Roosevelt University), and Professor of Urban + Environmental Policy + Planning and CHN Senior Scholar Julian Agyeman (Tufts University, at left, participating via Skype)—will reflect on key ideas surfaced by the full group about the relationship between justice and space.
  • The event will conclude with a full group discussion about implications for community action in Chicago.

Reception to follow the meeting. Space is limited and expected to fill quickly! Register to attend & join the online conversation today. The event is free, with a suggested donation of $5-10.

Is It Just Space 2014Oct at ICA

Posted in architecture, cities, community, ethics, events, faculty, humanities, parks and public land, planning, policy, social justice, transportation

SUST 220 Water Class Goes With the Flow!

North Branch Canoe Trip 2012Sept 1This autumn the SUST 220 Water class at Roosevelt University has taken full advantage of the glorious weather by exploring Chicago’s waterways.  SUST professor Michele Hoffman Trotter and class joined forces with Friends of the Chicago River for a memorable tour of the North Branch of the Chicago River.  After putting in just south of Addison, the group paddled north almost all the way to Foster.

North Branch Canoe Trip 2012Sept 4In addition to a fantastic array of native wildlife, the class had the opportunity to witness shoreline restoration work first hand, see and learn about input points to the Deep Tunnel, and discuss legal issues that swirl around the private docks along the river way.  Without prompting, class members began hauling in garbage and comparing notes on odd finds that included a flip flop, fishing line, and a variety of beer cans.

North Branch Canoe Trip 2012Sept 5North Branch Canoe Trip 2012Sept 2It was a Chicago that few get to see and appreciate.  As the Brown Line zipped by overhead, we wondered if its passengers saw the gaggle of geese that took flight in response to the grind of urban life whizzing by.

North Branch Canoe Trip 2012Sept 6North Branch Canoe Trip 2012Sept 7

In order to better understand the issues that impact water quality in the Chicago River, SUST 220 also paid a visit to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s Stickney wastewater treatment plant a week later.  It was not a coincidence that the canoe trip came first!  Though the smell at Stickney is . . . special, it is incredible to note that while most wastewater treatment plants are designed to handle a million gallons at a time, Stickney has the capacity to manage over one billion gallons per day of wastewater and is still the largest treatment plant in the world (in terms of both area and volume of effluent treated).

MWRD Stickney 1 MHT
MWRD Stickney 2 MHTDue to the sheer size of the grounds, students were transported by shuttle to the various treatment points across the property to learn about the staged process of wastewater treatment.  After learning about the large scale filtration process, students were treated to a visit in the chemistry lab to hear about advanced testing that takes place, and how specific pollutants can impact the price that certain industries pay to have their wastewater treated.  In the greenhouse students had the chance to see how solid waste materials can get converted into valuable compost materials.

Fall in Chicago is a beautiful time of year, and there is no better classroom than the one nature provides — just ask the crew in 220 Water!

Hoffman portraitThis post (and outstanding photographs!) is by SUST adjunct professor Michele Hoffman Trotter, and marine biologist (science!) and photographer (art!) who is teaching our 220 Water class for the first time this Fall 2014 semester. See more of Michele’s photos from the North Branch canoe trip and the Stickney WTP tour.

Posted in cities, ecology, education, faculty, field trips, pollution, Roosevelt, students, water, wildlife

Free Event: Exploring Spatial Justice in Chicago on Oct. 7th at the Institute for Cultural Affairs

The Center for Humans and Nature, in partnership with The Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network and the Institute of Cultural Affairs, invites students, faculty, alumni, and friends of Roosevelt — as well as anyone interested in promoting urban sustainability and social equity — for a discussion about how justice is a critical component in how we create, maintain, and engage with and within urban space. SUST director and professor Mike Bryson is one of the participants in public forum.

Photo credit: Center for Humans and NatureWhen/Where: Tuesday, Oct. 7th, 2014 | 5:30-7pm | Institute of Cultural Affairs, 4750 N. Sheridan Rd. (a short walk east from the Red Line’s Lawrence stop)

  • Through interactive activities, all participants will be encouraged to share stories and ideas about justice and space in Chicago.
  • Julian AgyemanA facilitated dialogue with four panelists—community activists Melanie Eckner (Uptown) and Orrin Williams (South Side), Sustainability Studies Professor Michael Bryson (Roosevelt University), and Professor of Urban + Environmental Policy + Planning and CHN Senior Scholar Julian Agyeman (Tufts University, at left, participating via Skype)—will reflect on key ideas surfaced by the full group about the relationship between justice and space.
  • The event will conclude with a full group discussion about implications for community action in Chicago.

Reception to follow the meeting. Space is limited and expected to fill quickly! Register to attend & join the online conversation today. The event is free, with a suggested donation of $5-10. Please share the pdf announcement widely!

Is It Just Space 2014Oct at ICA

 

Posted in architecture, cities, community, ethics, events, faculty, green design, humanities, parks and public land, planning, policy, Roosevelt, social justice, transportation

SUST Students Contribute to Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future Blog Project this Fall

This Fall 2014 semester at Roosevelt, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future (online) and SUST 240 Waste (Chicago) classes will be making significant contributions to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future online project. These undergraduate students will be contributing 3-4 blog posts each week throughout the semester — posts that will highlight and analyze sustainability-related news/events in and around Schaumburg, the Chicago region, and other suburban/urban communities.

Aerial view of Schaumburg today (source: USGS satellite image)

Aerial view of Schaumburg today
(source: USGS satellite image)

In addition, each class will be undertaking final research and writing projects that describe and assess relevant sustainability issues that impact suburban ecosystems and communities.

The capstone class assignment for SUST 210 online is a profile of a particular suburb, whether one of Schaumburg’s neighboring towns, another community in the six-county Chicago region, or a suburb elsewhere in the US. Each of these profiles will document and critique the sustainability initiatives, accomplishments, and challenges in these communities.

Garbage truck bound for the Glenview Transfer Station (source: Chicago Public Media)

Garbage truck bound for the Glenview Transfer Station (source: Chicago Public Media)

In 240 Waste at Chicago, the first time this core 200-level course has been offered through RU’s Honors Program, students will contribute weekly post to this blog or the SSF Project that focus more specifically on waste, recycling, consumption, and/or environmental justice news and issues in the Schaumburg/Chicago region and in suburban and urban communities more generally. These students will tackle final research projects on waste and environmental justice issues in a suburban community of their choosing, and the write-ups of their research will be published on the SSF website for wide public distribution.

The upcoming flood of  research and writing this fall will build upon the foundation work done by SUST students in previous sections of 210 The Sustainable Future, 220 Water, and 240 Waste since the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website debuted on Earth Day of 2011.

Posted in courses, research, Roosevelt, students, suburbs

Guided Tour of Chicago Portage National Historic Site on Sat 10/4

The “Friends of the Chicago Portage” would like to announce their next public walking tour of the Chicago Portage National Historic Site, Saturday October 4th, 2014 at 10:00 A.M. Please join veteran tour guide Jeff Carter who will explore the “Birth Story of Chicago” from the geological beginnings of the Portage to how it is still functioning in Chicago today. One of only two national historic sites in Illinois, the Chicago Portage site is the only place where you can stand on the same ground walked by all the early explorers, early settlers, and creators of Chicago. The Tour is approximately ½ mile in length on a gravel path through the woods and will take about 2 hours. Wear long pants and walking shoes or boots. The Tour will run rain or shine.

The tours will continue on the 1st Saturday of the month through November 1st, 2014.

The late Tribune columnist John Husar, after touring the site, called it “Our sacred ground.” It is certainly Chicago’s “Plymouth Rock.” This is a must-see event for history lovers, historians, educators, tour guides, and anyone who communicates the stories of Chicago to others.

All tours are free and open to the public.

Location: The Chicago Portage National Historic site is at 4800 S. Harlem, which is on the west side of Harlem Avenue (7200 W) just 2 blocks north of the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Meet at the monumental statue of Marquette and Joliet and their Native American guide at 10:00 am.

Contact: Gary Mechanic at 773-590-0710 or visit http://www.chicagoportage.org

Posted in activities, education, field trips, history, humanities, Illinois, parks and public land

Study Abroad Fair at Roosevelt Today

The Fall 2014 Study Abroad Fair will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 17, from 11 – 2 in the Auditorium Building’s Fainman Lounge (second floor) on RU’s Chicago Campus (430 S. Michigan Ave). Meet students who have studied abroad and talk to representatives of summer, semester and year-long programs.

Study abroad is a great opportunity for Roosevelt University students who wish to gain credits for their degree while living or traveling in another country. Students can use financial aid; additional scholarships are available for many programs. Foreign language proficiency is not required.

Question/inquires can be made to Justin Osadjan, Director, Office of International Programs (josadjan@roosevelt.edu).

Posted in activities, education, events, Roosevelt, students

Update on the IDNR’s Revised Fracking Regulations by the IL Enviornmental Council

A message from Jen Walling, Executive Director of the non-profit environmental legislation watchdog organization, the Illinois Environmental Council, on the current political process surrounding the IDNR’s regulations on fracking.

On May 29, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources sent to the Joint Committee on Administrative Review (JCAR) revised rules for High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing (“fracking”).  The revised rules are available online here.

As you may be aware, tens of thousands of comments were made on the first notice to JCAR during public comment.  You can view these comments here. The rules and comments are accompanied by a 350+ page response document that summarizes and responds to the comments made to IDNR.  This exhaustive, footnoted document demonstrates an improved effort by IDNR to address concerns by the public.  While you may not have time to read the entire document, supporters who follow this issue and news at IDNR may find the response to IDNR’s role in protecting the environment, response to calls for a moratorium, and other sections (such as water management and water pollution) of interest.  The response document is available here.

The environmental community is still reviewing the document and has begun to identify deficiencies.  Ann Alexander at NRDC has produced an excellent blog summarizing the reasons for our opposition to fracking as well as the significance of this new set of rules.
The process to adopt or reject these rules is a complicated one going forward. JCAR is a body made up of 12 legislators, 6 democrats and 6 republicans, who vote to adopt agency regulations.  After the filing of these rules for second notice, JCAR has up to 45 days, which can be extended to 90 days to take action.  Because action must be taken within one year of first filing the rules, action must be taken by November 15.

JCAR has a few options that it can take at this point in the process.  It can issue a certificate of no objection, a recommendation, or an objection.  These rulings issued to the agency all result in eventual adoption of the rules.  (This Pantagraph article has a good explanation of the process).  Each of these require a majority of those present and voting (7 votes if all 12 members are there).  JCAR can also prohibit or suspend the rules, requiring 3/5 of those present and voting (8 votes if all members are present).  For more on the JCAR rules, visit their website.  While JCAR meets next on September 16, it is possible but unlikely that action will be taken at that meeting.

Jen Walling
Executive Director, Illinois Environmental Council

Posted in energy, Illinois, news, policy, pollution, waste