Over the past 50 years, from the Fifth City community development project in 1963 to the fifth year anniversary of Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network in 2018, ICA has developed a wealth of programs, projects, methods, training materials, and more. Over the course of one week each spring and fall, colleagues from across that history gather at the GreenRise to work on a thriving Global Archives project that aims to organize and translate an estimated four million documents into a comprehensive story.
When Terry Bergdall returned to ICA-USA to serve as CEO in 2009, the organization was in the midst of a missional shift to meet the emerging climate crisis. The City of Chicago was also attempting to respond to climate change, but the government’s approach was to convene expert consultants who crafted environmental programs, and then tried to “sell” them to Chicagoans. ICA believed that this top-down approach to policy-making perpetuated the mentality of treating residents as consumers and in 2011 launched the accelerate77 project to instead show that residents as producers.
The first Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN) meeting of the year carried a sense of new energy with a host of familiar names and faces among the 24 who gathered at Windsor Park Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Our host, Alvyn Walker, has been deeply involved and active in CSLN for years, just as Windsor Park Church is deeply involved in the life of the South Shore community it calls home. To start the meeting, Alvyn gave a tour of the church, explaining both the challenges and opportunities of maintaining such a community anchor.
ICA CEO Ted Wysocki attended the 28th annual Just Economy Conference hosted by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) this past month. He highlighted the role of ICA GreenRise as a community anchor on a panel about Strategies for Preventing Displacement.
Ted shared reflections on his experience at the conference on his personal blog, U2CANDO, in a piece titled “Preventing Displacement & Championing Justice”.
For the One Earth Film Festival (OEFF), when the credits roll, the conversation is just beginning.
“The One Earth audience experience often flows like this: watch the film, absorb and digest, discuss and identify an environmental action you can take”, reads a piece titled Focus on Facilitators in this year’s Festival Guide. “We want audience members to leave with something they didn’t have when they arrived, be it fresh information, a deeper understanding, a new connection, or a pledge that will set them on a course of action for the planet.”
A resilient Chicago requires its residents to have clear lines of communication and engagement with its local government.
That was the feedback shared by the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN) policy team with a team of representatives from the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office across a series of roundtable meetings in 2017 and 2018. During those roundtables, the Chief Sustainability Officer shared an early working version of a resilience plan for the City of Chicago. Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative, the new plan sought to prepare Chicago for shocks and stresses that threaten both residents and the city at large.
The cultural landscape of Chicago is often described by its 77 community areas and 231 neighborhoods. The political landscape, however, is defined by its 50 wards, each represented by an elected alderperson who serves on the Chicago City Council, the City’s legislative body.