Tag Archives: #ActOnClimate

Illinois Takes Action: People’s Climate March + May Day

On April 29, thousands marched in DC, Chicago, and in cities across the state and the country to demand climate justice as part of the People’s Climate March.

Some highlights from our Chapter:

Illinois Sierra Club activist Connie Schmidt marches in DC

Illinois Sierra Club sent three buses (one from Chicago, one from the suburbs, and one from Central Illinois) and countless others traveled on their own from Illinois to DC’s massive 200,000 person march.

3000+ braved the rain and cold in Chicago to rally and march to Trump Tower

In Chicago, 3000+ people and more than 80 organizations came out in the cold rain to rally and march.

Activists (including Octavius Hayes, right) lead chants at the end of the march at the Trump Tower

At the rally, activists heard from rank-and-file union activists and environmental justice community leaders, including Octavius Hayes–a leader with Clean Power Lake County who spoke about the community’s work to address ongoing coal pollution and transition their community to a clean energy economy.

Champaign PCM

Community members gather in Champaign

In Champaign more than 200 community members gathered at Grace Lutheran Church and heard from speakers including State Sen Scott Bennett, State Rep Carol Ammons, and Sierra Club Prairie Group Chair Alice Englebretsen. Ten different organizations tabled at the event. After the program, people marched down Prospect Street, and were greeted with enthusiastic honks and waves from passersby.

Community members rally in the Quad Cities

In the Quad Cities, more than 300 people gathered at a local ball park. Speakers included the former Mayor of Rock Island, a local student leader, and an Indigenous leader from the Sage Sisters of Solidarity who are doing pipeline resistance.

Shawnee Group members at the Carbondale event

In Carbondale, hundreds gathered for a rally at Gaia House and a march through Carbondale.

Just two days later, the Sierra Club mobilized in Chicago yet again for a massive May Day rally in Chicago to bring attention and urgency to all the challenges facing our communities, especially in the wake of Trump’s election. May Day traditionally honors the work and dignity of immigrants and of labor. This year’s event also brought attention to urgent needs around racial justice, economic justice, environmental justice, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. State Director Jack Darin was one of the speakers at the end of the march.

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Statement on Clean Power Plan & Illinois

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama Administration released the final version of the landmark Clean Power Plan.

In response, Jack Darin, Director of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club released the following statement:

“The Clean Power Plan is the most significant single action any President has ever taken to tackle the most serious threat to the health of our families: the climate crisis.

“Today marks a new era of growth for affordable and safe clean energy sources that don’t fuel climate disruption and sicken our communities. It is a step towards improving the quality of life for low income neighborhoods and communities of color, which have disproportionately borne the brunt of power plant pollution in Illinois for decades. It is an opportunity to protect what we treasure most here in Illinois; from Lake Michigan to our state’s vital farmland.

“We know we can meet these goals for reducing carbon pollution in Illinois because we’ve already started. Since Illinois started adding wind and solar to our power grid, and investing in energy conservation, we’ve created over 100,000 jobs in clean energy, saved consumers over $1 billion on their electric bills and reduced the emissions that threaten our health and our climate. With a strong state Clean Power Plan, we can build on that success to create good jobs where we need them most, protect ratepayers, and clean the air we breathe. The Illinois Clean Jobs bill is the best way to bring Illinois a clean energy future by ramping up renewable energy like wind and solar to 35 percent by 2030 and cutting energy use through efficiency by 20 percent by 2025. These efforts will save consumers money while bringing clean energy investment to new communities to strengthen local tax bases and create family-sustaining jobs.

“We are especially proud that a President from Illinois is leading America to confront the climate crisis, and seize these opportunities. With so much at stake, it’s time to come together to build solutions to ensure that no Illinois community is left behind as we shift to a clean energy economy. As we work to build a better future for our children and grandchildren, these efforts must include ensuring good jobs and economic vitality in diverse Illinois communities so families can grow and thrive.

“We stand ready and eager to work together on a Clean Power Plan for Illinois that delivers the better future we all want for our families and our future.”

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IL Leaders Join 160 Midwest Organizations Applauding Obama Climate Action Plan

Today, 160 businesses and organizations from six Midwest states, including Illinois businesses,  religious and health organizations, sent a letter to President Obama thanking him for the Climate Action Plan he laid out in June. The letter emphasized the importance of the President’s directive to EPA to develop carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.

As reminders that climate change is upon us,  the letter cited record flooding in parts of the Midwest this spring, less than one year after devastating drought over much of the region last summer and fall. “We look forward to working with you, EPA, and Midwestern electric utilities to meet this challenge,” the signatories wrote to the President.

Much of the letter is focused on recent extreme weather, adverse health impacts brought about by climate change, and how the region’s low-income communities are especially susceptible to climate change impacts.

“Cutting carbon pollution from large sources will doubly benefit families living with lung and heart disease,” said signer Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs for Respiratory Health Association. “Transitioning to energy sources like wind, solar and efficiency will not only reduce global warming over the long term, but will provide immediate health benefits by eliminating major sources of smog and soot pollution now harming millions of vulnerable adults and children across the Midwest.”

In addition, the letter highlights how carbon pollution standards can boost the Midwest’s economy.  “The Midwest can be the world’s leader in manufacturing the clean energy technologies that meet our energy needs and protect the environment for future generations,” says the letter from businesses, health groups, religious groups and community groups from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

“Modernizing and cleaning up our nation’s electric grid is one of the greatest economic development opportunities of our lifetime,” said Amy Francetic, CEO of Clean Energy Trust, among the Illinois leaders signing the letter.

The letter stresses the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and threatens Midwest ecosystems.

” The Chicago Botanic Garden believes that climate change is a real threat to plants and is taking action to help flora adapt to a changing climate and to reduce the impact of the changes.  Both on the Garden’s property and through working with partners, we will advocate for protection of native habitats as well as their management and restoration,” said Sophia Siskel, President and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, who also signed the letter.

“We applaud President Obama for calling for bold action to address the threat of climate change,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter.  “We look forward to working with the President and his team to craft climate solutions that protect our health and environment for today, and for future generations.”

A copy of the letter is available here.8.7.13 POTUS Thank you

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