Need A Model For Climate Action? Look to Chicago
Emily Schwartz is an intern at the Religious Action Center and a senior at The George Washington University.
Picture this: giant solar panels powering skyscrapers, dirty coal plants
shaping up or shutting down, less traffic on the roads, rooftop gardens filled
with trees and flowers as far as the eye can see. Sound like a dream?
It is. This is my dream and the dream of millions of people like me who want to see real change in order to preserve a sustainable future. Now, thanks to the hard work of scientists, politicians and environmentalists, this dream is in reach. Late last week, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago announced a new multi-faceted plan of action to combat global warming.
This aggressive plan will turn the Windy City into one of the greenest cities in the country, with more energy-efficient buildings, clean and renewable energy sources, improved transportation, and reduced waste and industrial pollution.
The plan complies with emission reductions outlined in the Kyoto Protocol, saying we need to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases 25 percent from their 1990 levels. These levels were determined by a group of experts who researched area-specific effects of climate change.
Encompassing everyone, there are initiatives for big businesses as well as individual households. Chicago skyscrapers will be competing for the most efficient buildings; private consumers will learn ways to save hundreds of dollars while reducing harmful emissions.
A highlight of the plan includes an $800 savings challenge. There are dozens of easy, environmentally friendly ways to save money that quickly add up to a whopping $800 a year! Speaking as a college student who needs to make her dollars count, this is great news.
Chicago has taken a bold and necessary step in the fight against global warming. Mayor Daley and other environmental leaders want the city to serve as a model for the rest of the country. They set the bar in new environmental policy; it is time for the rest of the nation to follow. This dream is attainable in Chicago, in America, and the entire world.