As the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress continue to rollback environmental protections and ignore climate impacts, keep in mind Illinois, Chicago and local communities are leading our clean energy future. Tuesday’s uplifting Go Green Illinois meeting highlighted brighter days ahead. Expect to see solar panels popping up on homes, businesses, schools, churches and fields in a BIG way! After a hard slog, a momentous clean energy and climate law was passed in Illinois late last year. Thanks to the Future Energy Jobs Act, Illinois is now poised to dominate the solar energy industry in the Midwest. It will stimulate substantial job creation and economic development, while reducing carbon pollution, improving air quality and keeping electricity rates low. And for those lacking appropriate rooftop space, new community solar opportunities will allow consumers to subscribe to shared solar farms.

 

Jonathan Nieuwsma (not shown), Lisa Albrecht, Jon Carson and Dave Wilms provided great insight in their presentations.

 

Go Green Illinois members present at the gathering briefly shared a sampling of green initiatives happening in their communities (from Oak Park to Mundelein and Evanston to Lake Bluff):

  • community solar pilot projects
  • progress on Climate Actions Plans
  • electrical aggregation for 100% renewable energy
  • plans for a regional bike share system from Evanston to Lake Bluff
  • expansion of electric car charging stations
  • installation of permeable pavers and green infrastructure for improved stormwater management
  • a sustainability task force linked to school district master plan
  • residential food waste collection (for composting)
  • refuse & recycling contracts that reduce rates and waste (pay as you throw)
  • food composting at a high school cafeteria
  • “Shedd the Straw” campaigns (avoiding single-use plastic straws to prevent waterway pollutions
  • local regulations for pesticide use to reduce risks posed to children, pets, and pollinators
  • municipal bans of coal tar pavement sealer
  • smart, LED traffic light retrofits

Looking for ways to channel your environmental concerns? Get inspired and take action at an upcoming eco event:

Check out www.gogreenillinois.org for calendar of events for details.  The next Go Green meeting meeting is Tuesday, Nov 14, 1-3 pm, with a focus on Sustainable Suburban Transportation

Many thanks to Beth Drucker and Kim Stone for organizing this essential info-sharing network!

 

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