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Mary Alice Drain's avatar

Mary Alice Drain

Illinois Green Alliance

"How can I use the gifts I've been lucky enough to get for the best benefit to the Whole Earth community possible? Do it!"


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Mary Alice's actions


Use Muscle Power

#49 Cars

I will cut my car trip mileage by only taking necessary trips, and I will only use muscle-powered transportation for all other trips.



Test Drive an Electric Bike

#69 Electric Bikes

I will test drive an electric bike at a local distributor to see if it makes sense to use one in place of my car, or to extend the area I can cover by bike.



Research and Consider Switching to a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle

#26 Electric Vehicles

I will spend at least 60 minutes researching and weighing my options to see if a hybrid or electric vehicle makes sense for my lifestyle.



Learn the Truth About Expiration Dates

#3 Reduced Food Waste

I will spend at least 10 minutes learning how to differentiate between sell by, use by, and best by dates.


Participant Feed

Reflection, encouragement, and relationship building are all important aspects of getting a new habit to stick.
Share thoughts, encourage others, and reinforce positive new habits on the Feed.

To get started, share “your why.” Why did you join the challenge and choose the actions you did?

  • Mary Alice Drain's avatar
    Mary Alice Drain 4/26/2018 11:25 AM
    This was a great inspiration and opportunity to learn more about what I can do to improve my footprint. I hope everyone enjoyed the challenge and we can all inspire others be conscious of our actions. Cheers Everybody!!!

  • Mary Alice Drain's avatar
    Mary Alice Drain 4/19/2018 8:35 AM
    I'm probably at the old end of the spectrum of participants. I started working in science-based sustainability back in the 70s (bachelors in Bio/minor in chem, masters in engineering) - before it really existed. At first it bugged me when people would "discover" truisms about our careless-consumption behavior.
    Then, the biggest most basic truism occurred to me; everyone - young and old - has to discover things for themselves before they'll really engage in them. (Right, you're thinking ... well duh!!!) But that's what I appreciate most about the Drawdown Ecochallenge. It takes that body of knowledge and makes it so accessible and inviting to engage and encourage each other.
    Thank you ALL!
    Transport Research and Consider Switching to a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle
    Reducing (or eliminating) exhaust emissions and improving public health are two benefits of green vehicles. What other motivators inspire you to consider switching to a more fuel-efficient vehicle?

    Mary Alice Drain's avatar
    Mary Alice Drain 4/19/2018 8:17 AM
    In addition to eliminating (I'm looking at electric cars) exhaust emissions and the health issues that addresses, I love to support innovative, problem-solving products; even if the makers of those products also make the traditional, polluting and fossil-fuel consuming (problem-causing) products. I also love to support the production of renewable sources of electricity, which I do by buying my electricity only from wind and solar production. (I'm so glad Illinois is in the un-regulated energy market.)
    So added to the smiles plugging in my car will bring, I get to crack a smile for driving past a gas pump. Yayayay!
    Transport Test Drive an Electric Bike
    Half of all trips made in the US are three miles or less; 72% of them are driven. Private vehicles account for 60% of trips of a mile or less. Do you feel that these facts apply to you? If so, how might you incorporate an electric bike into your lifestyle?

    Mary Alice Drain's avatar
    Mary Alice Drain 4/16/2018 9:37 AM
    I live in a NW-suburb that does not really support walking or bicycling. However, groceries, work and workout destinations are all within 7 miles of my home. So I thought an e-bike would be a great alternative to my car. And, it turns out according to googlemaps, I can knock a mile off my longest trip by bike.

    Unfortunately, the routes are fast-moving high-traffic roads I wouldn't ride an e-bike on. The upside is, I could ride my bicycle on most of the sidewalks - since there aren't any pedestrians on them ;)

    I'm a little disappointed. I liked the ride and think the e-bike would be worth the investment. But I will ride my bicycle to work now that I've explored the route, when it stops snowing.
    Transport Use Muscle Power
    How do your transportation choices affect your engagement in your community? Does your experience differ while walking, riding transit, biking or driving?

    Mary Alice Drain's avatar
    Mary Alice Drain 4/16/2018 9:09 AM
    Absolutely it differs! When I'm driving I barely engage; I'm either focused on the mechanics of covering unknown territory or on getting to my destination as efficiently as possible. If there's little traffic, I might look around some. Bicycling isn't as much better as I expected before thinking about it, but I'm still moving along and watching traffic unless I'm using the bike for fun and not really for transportation. It's definitely better than driving though.

    Walking is good for engaging with my surroundings and the folks in it, but I cover relatively much less territory than I would with a car or bike. Transit is the big win for engagement. There, the opportunity and motivation for engagement is best. I discover so much riding the L, Metra or buses. Most of the people-engagement is really from walking/waiting, except I engage with a lot of new faces (and familiar ones) because of on-transit discoveries!

  • Mary Alice Drain's avatar
    Mary Alice Drain 4/10/2018 2:18 PM
    I’m participating in this effort because it’s important to own your beliefs for oneself to encourage your positive behaviors, and for others to encourage their contemplation, which might lead to their participation. 
    I’m choosing my challenge starting with what I understand least. 
    Food Learn the Truth About Expiration Dates
    Now that you know the difference between use by, sell by, and best by dates, how will you view expiration dates differently?

    Mary Alice Drain's avatar
    Mary Alice Drain 4/05/2018 5:07 PM
    I’ll intentionally look for perishable items with near approaching expiration dates and use them before that date in my meal planning. And I’ll buy items I know I can consume soon after the sell by date instead of avoiding them. 

  • Mary Alice Drain's avatar
    Mary Alice Drain 4/05/2018 4:38 PM
    Today I picked up some clothing alterations and asked, if I leave the hangers and bags would they reuse them. They said yes, so I took my clothes out, rolled them into my reusable bag, thanked them and said I’d recommend them to all my friends. They said they would make a special place where customers could leave their hangers and bags.