Building sustainable communities across Chicago is essential to making sure the next generation – new families and our children – keep living in our city. A lack of diverse green job options and rising prices on food, energy, and waste pickup keep pushing more people and small businesses out of our city limits. And Lake Michigan, the fifth largest fresh water supply in the world, is increasingly put at risk by the reckless actions of big corporate polluters both here and in neighboring states.
Our next mayor and a brand-new city council must commit to future-focused solutions: protecting our natural resources, green infrastructure and job investments, removing lead water lines, and reforming the recycling system. The 40th Ward can lead by example and help move the city forward.
As your alderman, I will work to invest in local energy production like solar and expand green infrastructure, urban farming & gardening, and compost pickup throughout the ward. I will bring parents and teachers together to institute green-minded classes and after school programming at our parks and schools.
As a start, I pledge to work with the 40th Ward community to:
INVEST IN GREEN JOBS & INFRASTRUCTURE
Our city is ready to battle climate change and invest in green job training & infrastructure. It’s not just the right thing to do - it’s also the smart and profitable thing to do. As a community and city, we will:
Support block-by-block initiatives including permeable alleys, pedestrian and bike lanes, clean water conservation, and removing dangerous lead water lines once and for all
Increase green job training in our community and throughout Chicago
Expand urban farming and community gardening options in our city
Legislate new tax incentives for solar panel installation for buildings and businesses, as well as expanding community solar lots and farms throughout the ward
Change the zoning code to allow green roofs on all new and current developments that can support the additional weight
Create new recreation centers and jobs along the Chicago River, including boat rentals, tours, and more
Host a green neighborhood festival to promote green business and education
COMMIT TO LESS WASTEFUL LIVING
Chicago’s current 9% recycle rate is the worst of any major city in our country. In order to both conserve our resources and cut waste and energy costs, we will:
Create the Sustainable Living Committee in the 40th Ward and in City Council
Build a coalition of aldermen and nonprofit organizations to reform the recycling program, where currently only 9% of materials actually get recycled, and renegotiate current city contracts expiring in 2019
Institute a new recycling redemption program for both residents and businesses that will generate additional revenue for the city
Fund a green education program for local schools, teachers and parents, including environmental classes in early education
Minimize waste through a composting pilot program, and provide access to waste and energy-saving programs
BETTER PROTECT OUR NATURAL RESOURCES
The 40th Ward and Chicago are home to stunning natural resources -- parks, green spaces and rivers -- that blend beauty into our urban environment. But they are now at risk, and we must work together to demand their protection. We will:
Work with Progressive Caucus to pass harsher penalties on polluters in our city, and work with the State of Illinois to protect Lake Michigan from polluters in neighboring states
Work with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to better prepare for rainwater and river flood reduction, which often overload our alleys, streets and sewers
Change the municipal code to remove non-invasive and native plants from “weed” classification to support natural growth and habitat
Reduce landfills and their carbon-producing waste throughout Chicago
Support and reinforce the great work being done by existing park advisory councils to protect public green spaces
Hold monthly park and lot clean ups throughout our neighborhoods
Creating a sustainable future is essential to the health and financial well being of our neighborhoods. It will take a lot of work to achieve our goals. But I know that if we all work together, we can do great things and make sure our communities are a welcoming home to future generations.