2018: Resolved to Resist & Renew

We’re thrilled to start 2018 stronger than ever after a 2017 that tested all of us.  In the face of a full frontal assault from Trump, Pruitt, and their fossil fuel allies, we started Illinois on the path to a 100% clean energy future, defending the EPA and the Great Lakes against severe cuts, marched in solidarity with vulnerable communities, and continued to build a bigger, more diverse environmental movement. We’ve added thousands of new members, built new community partnerships, and welcomed hundreds of new activists and leaders like you.
2018 is the year Illinois decides if we will step up to lead on the environment, and we are 100% in to elect leaders who share our values and will champion clean energy, clean water, nature, and environmental justice.  You can read our 2018 Platform and join us by making a new year’s resolution to be 100% in for Illinois environment.

Women’s March to the Polls

On Saturday, January 20, communities around the country will mobilize to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Women’s March, and to emphasize the importance of getting out the vote in 2018. This year will be critical for determining the future of our planet and our communities. Join a march near you to kick of 2018 with power!

Women’s March: March to the Polls
302 S Columbus Drive, Chicago
Sat. Jan 20
11 am- 1 pm

Sierra Club Chicago Meet-up
10 am @ 70 E Lake St. Suite 1500
Coffee + donuts!
Facebook event

Sierra Club Lake County Meet-up
Union Pacific UP North – Waukegan, North Chicago, Great Lakes, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Fort Sheridan, Highroad, Highland Park

Milwaukee Road North – Fox Lake, Ingleside, Long Lake, Round Lake, Grayslake, Prairie Crossing, Libertyville, Lake Forest, Deerfield, Lake-Cook, Northbrook, N. Glenview, Glenview

RSVP for either Lake County meet-up.

Women’s March to the Polls – Springfield, IL
Sat. Jan 20
12 pm- 1 pm
401 S 2nd St.
Springfield, IL
Facebook RSVP

Women’s March to the Polls – Peoria
Sat. Jan 20th 12pm-1pm
East Peoria Riverfront Park
1201 Riverside Drive, East Peoria
More info

Southern Illinois March to the Polls
Sat. Jan 20
11 am-5 pm
Carbondale Civic Center
200 S Illinois Ave, Carbondale
Facebook RSVP

Quad Cities Women’s March
Sat. Jan 20
Schwiebert Riverfront Park
1st Ave Downtown Rock Island
Facebook RSVP

No to Fossil Fuel Bailouts, Yes to Clean Energy!

No to Fossil Fuel Bailouts: Dynegy, the Texas-based corporation that owns the majority of the aging coal plants in Central and Southern Illinois, is working behind closed doors with Rauner’s administration to rewrite State air pollution rules to allow them to double the amount of dangerous pollution they can spew into our air. Tell state regulators to protect our air from corporate greed! Learn more and submit a comment to state regulators here.  

Yes to Clean Energy: This year, the Illinois Chapter will be working with volunteer leaders around the state to help push local goals of 100% clean energy for municipalities. Are you interested in launching or participating in a campaign in your city or town to build more clean energy and set bold goals for the future? If so, let us know, and fill out our survey about upcoming trainings.

Chicago is One Step Closer to a 100% Clean Energy Future

On November 21, 2017, the Chicago City Council approved updates to the 2014 Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. These updates will improve the visibility and transparency of building energy use, while also making the information easier to understand.

In summary, the updates will create a new Chicago Energy Rating system for large buildings required to report on annual energy consumption.  Properties in compliance with benchmarking reporting will receive between one and four stars on a four-star rating system, based on their 1-100 ENERGY STAR score. Properties with one, two, or three stars will be able to earn an additional star if they have improved by at least 10 points in the past two reporting years. Building owners will be required to post their rating in a prominent location and to share the rating at time of listing the property for lease or sale. The new rating system goes into effect in 2019.

draft placard

A draft mock-up of the rating placard

The new rating system would be based on the following scale:  

  • Zero stars: Out of compliance with energy benchmarking (no report sent to the City) 
  • One star: 1-40 points
  • Two stars: 41-60 points OR a score of 11-40 points and a 10-point improvement in the past 2 years
  • Three stars: 61-80 points OR a score of 41-60 points and a 10-point improvement in the past 2 years
  • Four stars: 81-100 points OR a score of 61-80 points and a 10-point improvement in the past 2 years

The ratings would be issued by the City of Chicago and would be posted on each building required to benchmark. The additional visibility and transparency of the rating system will enable more informed decisions about building operating costs related to energy. If all buildings with ENERGY STAR scores below 90 were to improve their scores by only 10 points to earn one additional star in the new rating system, buildings would see savings of over $70 million per year. The updated ordinance is also an important step to combating climate change and transitioning all of Chicago to 100% clean energy.

The Season of Giving is Here – Why Not Donate a Vehicle

The Sierra Club Foundation’s Illinois Chapter loves its supporters! Wrap up the end of the year by donating your car, boat, truck, motorcycle or RV to our vehicle donation program, and give yourself a tax break.

Helping us achieve our shared vision of a healthy planet through this program, which can make a lasting impact. Just let our partners over at CARS know when you are ready to donate your used or unneeded vehicle, and they’ll do the rest.

Tile_Ses_1080x1080_2Our cost-free vehicle program is fast, efficient and secure. Call today 844-674-3772 or visit scfch.careasy.org, and a friendly representative will help you get started so you can continue to support our efforts in educating and empowering people to protect and improve our environment.

No Massive Tax Cuts for Corporate Polluters & the 1%

TAKE ACTION: The House and the Senate are expected to vote this week on the GOP’s massive tax bill. This bill will gut vital public health programs that keep our air + water clean, harm the middle class, and open the Arctic Refuge to drilling, all in order to finance tax cuts for corporate polluters and special interests. Please call your US Rep + our Senators to ask them to do all they can to stop this harmful bill.

Call your US Rep:

  • Look up who your rep is here.
  • Call their DC office. Numbers below:
District Name Party Phone
1st Rush, Bobby L. D (202) 225-4372
2nd Kelly, Robin D (202) 225-0773
3rd Lipinski, Daniel D (202) 225-5701
4th Gutierrez, Luis D (202) 225-8203
5th Quigley, Mike D (202) 225-4061
6th Roskam, Peter J. R (202) 225-4561
7th Davis, Danny K. D (202) 225-5006
8th Krishnamoorthi, Raja D (202) 225-3711
9th Schakowsky, Jan D (202) 225-2111
10th Schneider, Bradley D (202) 225-4835
11th Foster, Bill D (202) 225-3515
12th Bost, Mike R (202) 225-5661
13th Davis, Rodney R (202) 225-2371
14th Hultgren, Randy R (202) 225-2976
15th Shimkus, John R (202) 225-5271
16th Kinzinger, Adam R (202) 225-3635
17th Bustos, Cheri D (202) 225-5905
18th LaHood,Darin R (202) 225-6201

Sample script: “Hi. My name is ____ and I’m a voter in your district. I’m calling to ask that Rep ____ vote NO on the GOP tax proposal. This proposal will gut important health programs that keep our air and water safe, will give tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and will sell off places like the Arctic Refuge to corporate polluters. Can I count on Rep ____ to vote no?”

Call our Senators:

  • Both Sen. Durbin + Sen. Duckworth have pledged to vote no to this bill. Call them to ask them to do everything they can to stop this bill.
  • Sen Durbin: 202-224-2152
  • Sen Duckworth: 202-224-2854
  • Sample script: “Hi. My name is ____ and I’m an Illinois voter. I’m calling to thank Sen. ____ for opposing the GOP tax bill. I’m asking them to do all they can to stop this bill. If it does pass, I want Sen. ____ to commit to working for a full repeal of this bill, and to ensure that any future tax bills protect the environment, protect people’s health, and draw revenue from those with the most resources to give.”

Let us know if you call, who you call, and if you get any responses! Email Caroline Wooten.

December Discussions on Climate Action

CC Forum 1 - Setup

Last week we welcomed December with blustery temperatures and 3 noteworthy events related to climate action! December 1st marked the one year anniversary of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA); On December 3rd, nearly 1,500 Chicagoans attended the Chicago Community Climate Forum at the Field Museum; and over December 4th and 5th, Mayor Emanuel hosted representatives from more than 50 cities at the North American Climate Summit. Each unique in its own way, these events engaged constituents and elected officials alike in discussions about the bold, collaborative, and systemic strategies needed to lead our communities, city, and state to a 100% clean energy future. If you’re interested in getting involved with our 100% clean energy campaign work as a volunteer, fill out this form so that we can keep you updated about upcoming training details.

On December 3rd, nearly 1,500 guests attended the Chicago Community Climate Forum at the Field Museum. In celebration of diverse, community-led climate solutions, the evening’s program featured the voices of various environmental leaders from across the city. In addition to the testimonies of the importance of education and advocacy, the program highlighted the critical need to recognize the social injustices that are interwoven with our climate issues. A performance by Kuumba Lynx clearly identified environmental racism as a systemic problem and warned solution seekers that “you can’t go green if you don’t go Black”.


Sunday’s forum featured panelists (from left to right): Dallas Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network), Anthena Gore (Elevate Energy), Abigail Derby Lewis (The Field Museum), Alex Poltorak (Urban Canopy), and Toni Morrison (Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab).

The evening concluded with a video launch of the Chicago Agreement on Climate and Community and a reception designed to inspire conversation and new partnerships among attendees. More than 60 organizations, including the Sierra Club, were involved in coordinating the evening’s program which speaks to the fact that Chicagoans are ready to get to work. We are ready for bold programs and policies to protect our lands, prevent the contamination of our water and air, safeguard our health, ensure access to quality and nutritious food, and develop clean energy opportunities.

To read the Chicago Agreement, check here. For a more detailed recap of Sunday’s program, consider the Hanley Foundation’s recap.  

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Representing millions of people from cities across the world, over 50 mayors gathered to sign the Chicago Climate Charter. Photo Credit: Bloomberg Philanthropies Flickr

In light of the limited federal leadership on climate issues, local governments are putting forth bold and innovative strategies to move America towards a cleaner, healthier future. Over December 4-5, Mayor Emanuel hosted the North American Climate Summit in Chicago. The event brought together mayors from more than 50 cities, including Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Vancouver Mayor Robertson, and Dar es Salaam Mayor Charles Mwita, and Vice Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors Christiana Figureres to sign the Chicago Climate Charter.

While enabling mayors to make specialized pledges based on their city’s particular needs and assets, the Chicago Charter reflects a baseline of commitments such as: meeting standards of the Paris climate agreement, collaborating with traditionally underrepresented groups in climate policy, and willingness to quantify and publicly report city emissions. As members of panel discussions and during breakout discussions, mayors were able to discuss local climate solutions and challenges they have experienced as they transition to a new climate economy.


Some of the 2017 Bloomberg Philanthropies awardees with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

As the Summit’s special guest, President Obama thanked attendees for their continued work towards managing and mitigating the climate issues affecting our world. Encouraging guests, he offered that we are each endowed with the ability to make a difference on these issues “wherever we have some impact, wherever we have some influence”. President Obama’s remarks reminded everyone that the work to do be done will involve a sense of collective work and responsibility. Despite what policies may come from Washington, we are able to hold our communities and cities to higher standards to secure a safer and healthier world for ourselves and future generations.


President Obama encourages North American Climate Summit guests. Photo Credit: Bloomberg Philanthropies Flickr

The Summit served as a platform to promote collaborative solution-seeking and a rededication to the globally shared responsibility to improve our environment’s health, safeguard constituents’ health, and equitably construct policy. Despite the tailored emission metrics and localized strategies to achieve them, there was a commonly articulated goal for many mayors at the Summit: developing a 100% clean energy economy.

Mayors from across America and the world offered that a complete transition from fossil fuels was one of the most aggressive and time-withstanding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb the rising global temperature. Repeatedly amplifying the message that economic growth can accompany such a transition, mayors who have made 100% renewable energy commitments strongly encouraged others to consider doing the same. Several Ready for 100 mayors were present and proud to share their commitment to an equitable energy transition in their city before 2035.

December’s debut was filled with conversations about climate action and we at the Sierra Club are confident that the momentum will continue into the new year. As our state and city celebrated notable programming and policies, we are sure that Illinois and Chicago are ready for bold leadership, innovative strategies, and strong community-wide partnerships. Are you ready? If so, keep reading!

This year, we’ll be supporting volunteer leaders across the state, as they work to get their municipalities to commit to 100% clean energy as a long term goal. Are you interested in learning how to lead or engage in a bold + equitable campaign around clean energy justice in your community? We’ll be hosting a training in 2018 for volunteers across the state who want to launch 100% campaigns in their communities. Let us know if you’re interested in joining by filling out this form and we’ll keep you updated.