Glossary

Listing of common terms used in the environmental sustainability space and throughout this website.

Executive-level role within a company in charge of environmental programs.

Professional credential indicating competency in the fundamentals of climate change preparedness and strategic planning.

Originally known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, this is the most comprehensive and equitable climate policy yet enacted in the country. Signed into law in September 2021, CEJA makes Illinois a national model in the fight against climate change.

Federal law (5 U.S.C. § 552) that requires the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the U.S. government, upon request.

18.5-mile-long shared-use path running along the western shore of Lake Michigan within Chicago's city limits.

Stretch of Lakeshore Drive between Grand Avenue and Hollywood Avenue.

Volunteer resident who lives in a Blue Cart area, tasked with sharing information with neighbors about city recycling programs.

Canal built in 1900 to reverse the flow of the Chicago River by connecting it to the Des Plaines River.

Multi-decade infrastructure plan to prevent combined sewer overflows by temporarily diverting excess water into underground tunnels and reservoirs.

Drainage channels designed to direct, filter, and retain stormwater runoff, typically through vegetation.

Economy in which we keep objects and materials in use for as long as possible by recovering and reusing them multiple times and in multiple forms — unlike the "traditional" economy, in which such things are produced, consumed, and then disposed.

Dumping of untreated wastewater from Chicago's combined sewer system into the Chicago River when heavy rainfall causes the system to exceed capacity.

Direct involvement of the public in scientific research, typically through data collection and reporting. Also known as "citizen science" or "civic science".

Sustainable management of natural resources in the presence of human intervention, along with the social movement and moral philosophy that inform its practice.

Social movement focused on the equitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens.

Responsible use and protection of a natural area such as a nature preserve through monitoring, maintainance, and sustainable practices.

Non-native species that spreads aggressively through an ecosystem, causing ecological, environmental, and/or economic harm.

Barrel connected to the downspout of a building to collect rainwater from the roof, diverting it from the sewer system and storing it for use in outdoor landscaping and cleaning.

Recycling system in which all recycled materials are combined, brought to a recycling center, and sorted there — for example, Chicago’s Blue Cart program.

Creative reuse of discarded objects and materials such that a new product of equal or higher quality is produced.