Put On Your Sunglasses: Solar Energy’s Bright New Future

Information originally published by Northwestern University Initiative for Sustainability and Energy, an EcoMyths Alliance Partner. The future looks bright to researchers and scientists working with solar energy at the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern. Imagine being able to save serious money on your energy bill simply by installing shingles painted with photovoltaic paint … Read more

Myth: Switching Out Incandescents Isn’t Worth the Effort

The Bright Stuff: Keeping Your Cool in the Lightbulb Aisle These days, walking into the lightbulb section at a home goods store is like entering an alternate reality, one filled with strange futuristic shapes and a head-reeling supply of options. How do you navigate the extreme selection without mental overload? Allow us to light the … Read more

Out, Darn Desk Jockey! Outdoors, that is

Confession: I eat lunch at my desk. A lot. I know I shouldn’t, but my inner workaholic usually wins the fight. But this time of year, that inner voice is drowned out by another, equally obsessive voice: the desire to go outdoors. It’s a primal urge, and a healthy one. But one I—and thousands of … Read more

Myth: The Earth Under Our Feet in Chicago Is All Landfill

Soils in urban areas are poorly understood. Indeed, until most recently, federal and state efforts devoted to the inventory and classification of soil have been focused on agricultural, rangeland, and forest regions. As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, more attention must be paid to studying urban soil, particularly with respect to urban agriculture and food … Read more

Myth: Earthworms Are Native to the U.S.

Spring is upon us. With the snow off the ground (for now at least), and little new growth to obscure our view of the soil, it is easy to see the early stirrings of earthworm activity. Earthworm castings, neat piles of worm poop deposited on the surface as the worms busy themselves with their soil-work, … Read more

Myth: Fertilizers Are Good for All Plants

When you walk into your local lawn and garden store you’d like to think that they’ve done their homework. The products they’ve put on display will all be perfect for your region, everything will perform as expected and none of it will stir up any environmental mayhem. And what could be more worry-free than fertilizer? … Read more

Myth: Pesticides Only Kill Bad Bugs

Can We Use Pesticides Without Harming Beneficial Bugs? ~ Do not draw your sword to kill a fly – Korean Proverb Whether you’re wrangling with Japanese beetles munching on your flowers, slugs eating holes in your vegetables, or caterpillars feasting on your trees, it’s tempting to use pesticides to solve the problem. And it’s easy … Read more

Myth: The Chicago River Is Toilet Water


To tackle some lingering myths about the Chicago River, let’s start with a pop quiz. Which of the following describes the river? A nature haven A paddler’s paradise Toilet water Really green every March 17 All of the above The answer is 5. Wait a minute. Sure, everyone knows that dyeing the Chicago River green … Read more

Clean water runs through EcoMyths’ veins

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 … Read more

Myth: The Chicago River Is Too Dirty to Be Useable

True or false: the Chicago River doesn’t look clean, so it must be unusable. False! Looks can be deceiving. Although the Chicago River is murky, it has come a long way from the days of foul pollution and dumping. In fact, the water in the river is clean enough today that fish species and other … Read more