"What is the value of having a house if there isn’t a decent planet to put it on?" – Henry David Thoreau Calendar

News
and Events

Check out our full calendar of activities, events, and educational opportunities. You're sure to find something to interest you. Please join us!

Events include:

  • Monthly educational programs and issues discussions
  • Local bird walks
  • Field trips
  • Preserve work days

For more details, see the current newsletter.

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Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021
NIAS Newsletter Deadline... >

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Northwest Illinois Audubon Society is a chapter of National Audubon Society, Inc.

Audubon

Climate Change

Bobolinks photo credit: Ruhikanta Meetei/Audubon Photography Awards

Our planet's changing climate is the most significant conservation issue of this time. While some people deny this change or contend that humans have no responsibility for it, the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society believes we must act.

The National Audubon Society’s Survival by Degrees Report: 389 Species on the Brink, released in October 2019, indicated that future climate change will put two-thirds of birds in North America at risk of extinction due to projected range losses. Of the 604 species analyzed, none were projected to remain untouched by either climate-driven range loss or extreme weather, sea level rise, or other climate change-related threats. National Audubon Society also provided information on how climate change will affect Illinois’s Birds, such as Bobolinks, Scarlet Tanagers, and Red-headed Woodpeckers.

Our Chapter provides programs and activities to educate the public about climate change and each individual's opportunities for action.

We suggest three paths that all of us can follow:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Influence our energy and climate policy
  • Get involved and continue to learn

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Our daily activities, such as heating our homes, driving our cars, water usage, and diet, can increase the amount of greenhouse gases that influence climate change. Though some people may think that getting millions of people to change their personal habits and energy usage is a daunting task, this is where each of us could start.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

Calculate your carbon footprint. Use the Carbon Footprint Calculator to discover your household's contribution to the global CO2 problem.

You will need to gather some preliminary data – such as your utility bills, automobile use, and travel records – but calculating your carbon footprint will only take a few minutes. Don't be too surprised when you get the result. Many of our "normal" lifestyle choices have negative impacts to the environment that we might not realize.

Once you have calculated your footprint, we suggest the following to reduce your footprint:

  • Get an energy audit. Many energy companies offer these for free and can be a good first-step into energy conservation.
  • Increase efficiency of existing HVAC systems in your home. Get regular tune-ups and change filters.
  • Improve the insulation in your homes. This can reduce the burden on your HVAC systems and ensure that they are used at their most efficient level.
  • Power your home with renewable energy. Research whether your utilities offer renewable sources or choose one that does. If possible, install solar panels for your home.
  • Cut down on water use and water heating. Using cold water when washing clothes is just as effective as using hot water, but saves energy. Reduce the amount of water used for daily activities as well. Using a dishwasher with a full load is often more efficient than hand-washing.
  • Update home appliances, systems, and light bulbs that are more efficient. Look for Energy Star labels that can help consumers identify energy efficient appliances. LED light bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs.
  • Eat less meat or consider vegan and/or vegetarian diets. The meat industry is energy intensive as well as land-use intensive. A large amount of land is used for grazing and/or food for the animals, which typically requires large amounts of water, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides on top of the deforestation that occurs to create the space. Ruminant animals, such as cattle, also release methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas. Start small with “Meatless Mondays” and start a produce garden, which will help change your palate and foster creativity in meal planning.
  • Eat the food you buy and reduce food waste. Food waste not only wastes money but also increases greenhouse gases when it rots in a landfill. Plan your meals ahead of time and purchase/grow only the food needed. Consider composting the appropriate waste as well to prevent food waste from entering the landfill.
  • Consider different modes of transportation. Instead of flying, use public transportation, buses, and/or trains, which can release less emissions. Using a bike or walking releases no emissions and is also healthier! If possible, consider investing in a fuel-efficient vehicle and for any vehicle, maintain it by keeping tires inflated and changing filters.
  • Rethink your lawn. Plant native plants, which can absorb carbon dioxide and provide habitat for local wildlife.

The National Audubon Society provides a Climate Action Guide, which provides abundant information on how to make a difference.

Influence Our Energy and Climate Policy

A large percentage of the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change are generated by activity beyond the immediate scope of individual consumers. The industrial base that creates the consumer goods and the business and government actions that provide our products and services are a major source of our climate crisis.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

In a democratic society we can clearly influence these activities by our votes and political actions. Here's what you can do:

  • Contact your local, state, and national lawmakers. Northwest Illinois Audubon Society's 501c(3) status prevents us from working as a group for specific political candidates. But as individuals, to address climate change, we must elect and support lawmakers who are committed to do so. Each of us can and should support the candidates whose positions show the most promise for protecting our environment and creating a more sustainable culture.

Federal

Senator Richard Durbin
230 S. Dearborn
Suite 3892
Chicago, IL 60604
312-353-4952

Senator Tammy Duckworth
230 S. Dearborn, Suite 3900
Chicago, IL 60604
312-886-3506

16th District
Rep. Adam Kinzinger
628 Columbus Street, Suite 507
Ottawa, IL 61350
815-431-9271

17th District
Rep. Cheri Bustos
2401 4th Ave.
Rock Island, IL 61201
309-786-3406

State

45th District
Sen. Brian Stewart
50 W. Douglas Street, Suite 1001
Freeport, IL 61032
815-232-0774

36th District
Sen. Neil Anderson
1523 47th Ave., Suite 3
Moline, IL 61265
309-736-7084

89th District
Rep. Andrew Chesney
50 W. Douglas Street, Suite 1001
Freeport, IL 61032
815-232-0774

90th District
Rep. Tom Demmer
105 E. 1st Street, Suite 110
Dixon, IL 61021
815-561-3690

71st District
Rep. Tony McCombie
2510 Locust Street
Sterling, IL 61081
815-632-7384

Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
State House Switchboard: 217-782-2000

When using either switchboard, simply ask to be connected to the legislator's office.

Other organizations committed to educate and address the climate crisis: