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Climate and Sustainability

Evanston is committed to taking decisive action to limit climate change and to help the community adapt to the effects of the changing climate. To that end, our Climate Action and Resilience Plan sets appropriately ambitious goals: to be a carbon neutral and zero waste community by 2050.

Over the next four years, our actions should focus on the interim goals CARP set for target years 2025 and 2035. These include the following:

Increase our waste diversion rate to 50% by 2025. (Current rate is 23%.)
Action step: Waste Reduction Coordinator hired to work with commercial customers to increase waste diversion and thereby reduce disposal costs.

Reduce building energy use by 25% by 2025 (from 2005 levels).
Action steps: Update building codes to transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions standards. Help residents/businesses implement energy efficiency improvements and reduce utility bills.

Achieve 100% renewable electricity community-wide by 2030.
Action step. Enlist Northwest Municipal Conference communities in advocating with the state legislature to expand municipal aggregation to include larger businesses and commercial entities.

Recent initiatives  

Environmental Justice Resolution. This policy is designed to ensure that every resident has equitable access to our environmental assets, equal protection from environmental hazards, and an opportunity to play a meaningful role in making decisions that affect the quality of life. Representing Citizens’ Greener Evanston, I served for two years on the committee formed in 2014 to draft an EJ policy for Evanston. After more than five years of work, the EJ Resolution was approved by the City Council in September 2020.   

Natural Areas Ordinance.  Approved in December 2020, this ordinance implements a CARP action step: to protect, conserve, and expand natural areas throughout the city. It recognizes the tremendous work that volunteers already invest in stewarding such areas as the Ladd Arboretum, the Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary, sections of Harbert-Payne and Twiggs Parks, and the Habitat Garden at the Civic Center.

In progress

Leaf-blowers.  I am working with members of the Environment Board, Council colleagues, and City staff on a strategy to phase out entirely the use of fossil-fuel powered leaf blowers and landscaping equipment.