The session covered topics such as the emergence and need for the CSLN, the concept of holistic sustainability, and the importance of nurturing the space 'in-between' top-down planning and bottom up community projects.
The Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN) made its public debut on May 22 at GreenTown Chicago, a conference aimed at 'bringing together the public sector and the private sector to connect the dots, to inspire and to work together to remake our communities.'
ICA Executive Director Terry Bergdall facilitated a lively discussion among a panel comprised of seven members of the CSLN. The session covered topics such as the emergence and need for the CSLN, the concept of holistic sustainability, and the importance of nurturing the space 'in-between' top-down planning and bottom up community projects.
The discussion between the audience and panelists delved into serious issues surrounding sustainability, access, policies and resource allotment. Photographs of local sustainability initiatives and a diagram explaining the importance of the 'in-between space' sparked a great conversation. Several audience members self-identified as 'top - down' folks who believe the work of the CSLN is filling a gap in communication that can no longer afford to exist.
Participants' ongoing reflections visioned greater involvement throughout the city, including youth and faith communities. Moving forward, panelists and audience members emphasized the importance of intermediary organizations, like the ICA, to bridge the gap between elected officials at the top and the individual "blades of grass" that make up grassroots organizations.
After the conference, CSLN member Toni Anderson of Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab reflected, "the responses both during and after the session are a testament of how vital and powerful the CSLN voice is to sustainability in Chicago."