Updated: Jul 21, 2022
Artwork by Angie Sunflower Talbert, member of the Edgewater community.
The Chicago Sustainability Forum grew out of the need for public inclusion in the process of having our society adapt to a changing world where our current economy is unsustainable and we are not adapting fast enough. The government by itself seems so far incapable of making the changes needed for all of us to adapt because there is too much resistance from entrenched industries with lots of lobbying money and control over our mass media. It is therefore incumbent on the people to become more active in the process of a transition to a sustainable society.
The problem of global warming and ecological destruction is a complex problem interwoven into the fabric of our economy and society. That is why it is going to take a large variety of people from all walks of life to come together and collaborate on solutions. No one segment of society seems capable of solving the problem by itself. We have known about this problem for more than 50 years and have made only a small amount of progress.
The United Nations warned us in 2018 that we only have about 11 years left to reduce GHG emissions by 50% or face catastrophic consequences. It is now 2022 and that leaves only 7 years left. We still have much to do and the government is not going to be able to do this for us all by itself. It is going to take a concerted effort by regular people and the government as well work together to solve this problem.
In Chicago, the reaction to the 2018 UN warning there were widespread protests and demonstrations in 2019 by many environmental groups in the area. This led to the declaration of a Climate Emergency for Chicago in February of 2020.
But the measures that followed, such as the Chicago Climate Action Plan in 2022, many people such as myself consider insufficient to really address the full problem. We understand the target of 2029-2030 to reduce GHG emissions by 50% set by the UN, and we think that it is clear that much more work needs to be done, and the measures that are being taken are not far-reaching enough.
Chicago City Council Alderman Harry Osterman of the 48th Ward, represented by his aide Emily Volini, recommended to Edgewater residents, in January 2022 that we work together within neighborhood organizations in our own neighborhood, Edgewater, to create public forums and places where ordinary people can come together and be heard.
Right now, the city does not have the budget or capacity to hold these public forums so they must currently be done by local neighborhood organizations until there is more clearly evident a definite need for these forums that are visible to government officials.
The Edgewater Environmental Coalition (EEC) has been gracious enough to help promote and coordinate these public forums. The EEC already has many projects that will help synergistically to move us further down the road toward sustainability.
All of these considerations are on the table and open for discussion at the Chicago Sustainability Forum. We invite all members of the public to this forum to share their unique insights. Together we will transform our understanding and our way of doing things for the sake of preserving a livable future for our children and our children’s children.
Please also consider joining the Chicago Sustainability Forum Google Group to discuss these matters in greater detail. The link to the Chicago Sustainability Forum Google Group is here: https://groups.google.com/g/chisustforum.