4 comments on “Beautiful (Not Ugly!) Bags of Mostly Water”

Beautiful (Not Ugly!) Bags of Mostly Water

Star Trek writers famously created an alien who described humans as “ugly bags of mostly water.” This bluntly spoken line is always certain to make a trekkie smile—thanks to the pure scientific truth of the matter. And the same might also be said of our Chicago area ecosystem, and in fact the Earth as a whole.

Here are three quick and useful links to the rapidly increasing media coverage of water that we at EcoMyths have enjoyed lately, one featuring our institutional partner Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Consider these links a cheat sheet to water issues in our daily lives, pocketbooks and local politics:

#1:  Great Lakes face increasing pressure for water from world, own backyard (WBEZ)

Part of a series on the topic of water, this story was originally broadcast on June 21, 2011. Joel Brammeier, head of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, an EcoMyths Alliance institutional partner, joins other expert voices in a discussion of Lake Michigan, the global water shortage and water politics closer to home.

#2:  Chicago River cleanup required (Chicago Tribune)

The Chicago Tribune has been a leading voice in the coverage of the rapidly moving legislation this year requiring increasing clean-up of the Chicago River. This article does a good job of introducing you to the complex issues of river disinfection—the same topic we explored in our latest EcoMyth,“The Chicago River: Eau de Toilet?”

#3:  Water Affordability:  Who’s Going to Pick Up the Check?  (AgingWaterInfrastructure.org)

Who’s going to foot the bill as moving water from source to tap becomes more expensive? This lighthearted article helps illustrate how we will be deciding “who picks up the check” over the next few years.

Enjoy the light reading! And remember—you’re a beautiful (not ugly!) bag of mostly water, like every species on Earth. Celebrate it, and pay attention to how you replenish your supply.

– Margy Sweeney, Director of Partner and Public Engagement, EcoMyths Alliance

0 comments on “Clean water runs through EcoMyths’ veins”

Clean water runs through EcoMyths’ veins

Photo Lake Forest Open Lands Association

Welcome to EcoMyths’ new website. We have a new look, but the same mission: to bring you simple nuggets of information about nature that are relevant to your daily life – and to have some fun with it! EcoMyths’ partners started busting myths in January 2009, inspired by the MythBusters TV show on Discovery Channel. Our whole first year was about Water in Chicago: Lake Michigan, the Chicago River system, and Illinois wetlands. We assembled a team of 21 people from 15 environmental groups in Chicago, all of whom had an interest in clean water.

The groups represented at the start included most of those who are still our partners today, including Alliance for the Great Lakes, Chicago Botanic Garden, Friends of the Chicago River, the Wetlands Initiative, DePaul University Environmental Science Department, the Wetlands Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Field Museum, Lake Forest Open Lands, and others. Even the City of Chicago Department of Environment chimed in on our early myth-busting efforts! Since then we have expanded our partnerships even further and are busting myths on all kinds of eco-topics!

We wanted to help people become aware of the sometimes unintended consequences of their well-intended actions and we thought busting environmental myths would be a fun way to go about it. As an active board member of a land trust in the Chicago region, I was motivated to help people with property adjacent to our nature preserves understand that their good intentions to create a lush, green lawn was making more work for our land managers. The chemical fertilizers our neighbors were using encouraged nasty, undesirable plants to grow in our woodlands and prairies – the same plants we were trying to get rid of! We realized that all of us make assumptions about how nature works, but there is no easy way to find out if our assumptions are right.

In 2009, EcoMyths was created to entertain and educate the public about the way nature works, simply as a collaboration among many partners. By the end of that year, the partners decided to incorporate as a non-profit organization — and EcoMyths Alliance was officially born!

Our early articles were all about water myths like

  • Is Lake Michigan so big it will never run out of water?
  • Is the Chicago River too dirty for fish?
  • Does pollution in Northern Illinois rivers stay in Illinois?
  • Do wetlands foster West Nile virus?

After our water series, we wrote about even more myths, including

This new website you are perusing introduces EcoMyths’ new myth-busting cartoons! We are growing our staff and will be adding even more topics, soliciting your ideas, expanding our offerings of regional events, and bringing you cutting-edge conservation science coverage. We will also be reaching out to you regularly on Twitter and Facebook, meeting you where you are spending time already. Your questions and ideas are the most important part of EcoMyths! We will be providing many ways for you to give us feedback and we look forward to hearing from you!

– Kate Sackman, President and Founder, EcoMyths Alliance

0 comments on “So you think your plumber is expensive…”

So you think your plumber is expensive…

Photo by Meshawn Ayala

I love my plumber—but I really hate having to call him, since I’m pretty sure we’re funding his kids’ college educations every time a pipe springs a leak.  So I’ve wondered lately:  who’s minding ourcollective Chicagoland “plumbing” underneath our streets and before the pipes reach the kitchen sink? Is there a big whopping bill on the way to us as a community, too?

The delightfully surprising answer?  Truth be told—yes, there is indeed a big whopping predicted $13.5 billion expense that’s been forecast.

But on the other hand, that number may well go sharply down, thanks to the huge amount of R&D, headlines and political attention being devoted to clean water right now.