Sierra Club Illinois Chapter staff and volunteers joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel last week to announce that the Windy City would transition all of its municipal buildings and operations to 100% clean, renewable energy. That currently makes Chicago’s the largest fleet of public buildings in the country to commit to clean energy.
This victory would not have been possible without the work of so many Sierra Club volunteers and partners who worked for years to push Chicago to move beyond dirty coal and retire the notorious Fisk and Crawford coal plants. Now, Chicago takes the next step.
“Leadership on clean energy and climate change is not coming from Washington—quite the opposite. It has never been more important that local communities step up where national leaders step back. Chicago is pushing forward. We won’t let Donald Trump’s attempts to enrich his fossil-fuel-industry cronies deter us here in Chicago,” said Tony Fuller, Sierra Club Chicago Group Co-Chair.
By committing to power every city, park, public school, city college, and public housing building with 100% clean, renewable energy, Chicago is helping to bring the benefits of the clean energy economy to every neighborhood in the city.
100% clean energy means more than just wind and solar projects for Chicago. This commitment opens doors to new economic opportunities in every Chicago neighborhood—especially where they are needed most. A job on a solar energy project can mean new skills and a new career pathway for a Chicagoan who needs it most. Scaled citywide, these projects can help thousands of individuals and communities reap the benefits of a rapidly growing global economic sector.
Working with community groups and labor unions is critical to our efforts. Groups like Little Village Environmental Justice Organization are ensuring that these opportunities reach everyone. Our brothers and sisters at IBEW are actively preparing workers for the good-paying jobs that will be created.
Chicago’s commitment to 100% clean energy also will bring cleaner air to a city where too many residents struggle with asthma and other respiratory diseases. Pollution from coal plants near and far contributes to smog and soot levels that can send kids to the emergency room just for playing outside. With this commitment to clean energy, Chicago is putting its money where our lungs are.
Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Director Jack Darin with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Shedd Aquarium for the City’s announcement of its pledge to move to 100% clean energy for all city buildings.
Clean energy is healthier for the city’s pocketbook, too. Although wind and solar projects require upfront investment, once built, their fuel sources are free. Chicago taxpayers will be protected from spikes in the prices of conventional fuels, saving a huge amount of money in the long run.
Moving to 100% clean energy is clearly a winner for our future, but unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. Our President, Donald Trump, seems intent on doing everything in his power to reverse the progress we have made as a country to act on climate change and move to clean energy. He has essentially erased America’s Clean Power Plan, and handed the keys to the EPA to those who would take it apart.
We all dream of the day when all of our power will come from clean, safe, renewable energy. And thanks to advances in technology and decreasing costs, it’s time to stop dreaming, and begin making that 100% clean energy vision a reality. This announcement is a big step as Chicago starts building toward that goal for our community, and we will all be healthier, wealthier, and happier for it.
We applaud the City of Chicago for their leadership in this bold commitment, we look forward to working with the people of Chicago to show the world that we are indeed Ready for 100% clean energy.
Join Our Effort to Get All of Chicago Ready For 100% Clean Energy!
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Join our upcoming events:
- Rogers Park Solar Forum: Thursday, April 20, 7 p.m. Sullivan High School, 6631 N Bosworth Ave
- Chicago March for Science: Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m., Rally at Congress Pkwy
- Sierra Club Chicago at Science in Chicago Expo: Noon to 3 p.m., Field Museum
- People’s Climate March: Saturday, April 29, Noon, Federal Plaza
- Sierra Club New Volunteer Open House: Tuesday, June 6, 6 p.m., 70 E. Lake St. RSVP here