There is a primary election in Illinois on March 20, 2018 and early voting is now in progress. Get more details on where, when and how to vote here. If you live in Cook County, you can find your voting information here.
The City of Highland Park recently received Bronze designation from SolSmart, a national program that recognizes cities that that foster solar energy usage and remove obstacles to solar development at the local level. Highland Park made changes to our permitting, inspection, planning and zoning processes that will help solar companies reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. To make it easier to navigate the process, the City has posted a solar permitting checklist on its website.
Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus worked with Highland Park and 14 other Chicago-area municipalities and counties to achieve SolSmart Designation. There are now 18 SolSmart designated municipalities in Illinois, the highest number of any state in the country. Our participation in this program shows that we are open for solar business. SolSmart is an initiative led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association and funded by the US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
If you are interested in using solar energy to meet your electricity needs but aren’t able to install solar panels at your home, you can subscribe to community solar. A group of Wilmette residents is working to put together a community solar project that will be open to people in our area. To learn more, click here. There will be an informational meeting on Tuesday, February 20 from 7 – 8:30 pm at the Wilmette Public Library. The meeting is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
The primary election in Illinois is March 20, 2018, and now is the time to be sure you are registered to vote. On the ballot will be candidates for Governor, Attorney General, State Representative and State Senator, among other races. You can check on your voter registration here. If you are a student away at school, are spending your winter away from Highland Park, or simply want to avoid lines at the polls, you can request a ballot by mail here.
Please join me on November 29 for this Environmental Town Hall meeting in Highland Park. Experts from Illinois Environmental Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, Moms Clean Air Force, Sierra Club and Illinois Solar Energy Association will address climate change, clean energy, flooding and air pollution, along with suggestions on what you can do.
In the spirit of the Fourth of July, I want to share this video about solar roads. This is an American story of innovation that could help power our world. Take a few minutes to watch. Enjoy the holiday weekend!
On Monday, July 3 from 8:30 – 9:30 am, you can join others at Park Avenue Beach for All Hands on Deck. On that day, people across the Great Lakes will link hands around the lakefront in their respective cities in support of Great Lakes Protection efforts. The Great Lakes is the largest source of fresh surface water on Earth, containing 18% of the world’s supply of fresh surface water and 90% of the US supply. Our drinking water comes from Lake Michigan. With this proximity to the lake comes a special responsibility to protect it. The choices we make have an impact on the health of the Great Lakes. Please join us to show your support for protection of this important resource.
Go Green Illinois works to encourage and support the establishment of citizen’s environmental groups in every community in the northern suburbs, to share best practices among the groups and to collaborate on addressing environmental challenges that cross municipal boundaries. The group meets every other month to coordinate and share ideas. Presentation topics have included active transportation, electrical aggregation, natural landscape practices, local politics, recycling, stormwater management, community solar, community engagement and food waste. Please go to the website to learn more about how to get involved, and to sign up for their email newsletter.
To those of us in the trenches, it may seem like we are not moving forward (I have been working on climate issues for 29 years!). However, there are some promising signs. In the past 24 hours, three states have said they will work towards the US commitments on climate in the absence of federal involvement. Thank you to California, Washington and New York! Carbon emissions may have peaked (according to preliminary data). Renewable energy prices are dropping rapidly. Historically, social change begins with grassroots action and builds until it reaches a tipping point. So, we must keep up the momentum to reduce carbon emissions, and keep up the pressure on our elected officials. Let’s hope we are on the cusp of a social change regarding action on climate. We do not have another Planet, and the Earth cannot afford to wait.