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.
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.
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.
SWALCO’s annual rain barrel, compost bin and native plant sale will take place from 9 am – 3 pm at Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville. Details are here.
Help clean up the Chicago River on Saturday morning between 9 am and 12 pm. In Highland Park, there are 2 clean up sites: 1) the northeast end of the Target parking lot or 2) the Golf Dome off the highway north of Park Avenue. Bring gloves and wear rain boots.
Moraine Township is looking for volunteers in the morning to help plant their garden, and in the afternoon to help sort food at the pantry. Details are here. You can also donate to the food pantry by leaving a bag of shelf stable, unexpired food by your mailbox during Saturday’s Postal Food Drive.
There is a hearing Tuesday, March 14 on a bill to ban the use and sale of coal tar sealants in Illinois. Several local municipalities, including Highland Park, have banned these sealants in order to protect our health and environment. You can help support this bill by filing a witness slip as a proponent of the original bill and amendment 1. This will take 3 minutes of your time. Click here to support the bill. If you’d like more information on HB 2958, click here and enter the bill number. Thank you to State Representative Laura Fine for introducing this bill.