The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) aims to dramatically increase investment in clean energy across Illinois, driving equitable economic development, fossil fuel divestment, and energy efficiency. CEJA is not the only energy legislation proposed in the Illinois General Assembly this fall, but it is unique in building upon a “grassroots movement of ideas from everyday people across Illinois."
Each year, the Uptown Garden Walk grows. In 2016, a garden hub day at ICA planted the seed that would blossom into the first Garden Walk. The next year, the second Garden Walk aligned with the Out and About Uptown’s Coast series to explore connections between present day gardens and the history of Uptown’s coast. During the third Garden Walk, stewards from local gardens greeted participants who opted to guide themselves. On September 7th of this year, the Fourth Annual Uptown Garden Walk featured yoga, a garden workday, educational tours, and a social gathering.
“Our intent is to share success stories of participatory methods that evidence profound respect and inclusive participation,” said Jane Stallman in her opening remarks to a webinar on community development co-hosted by ICA and the Center for Strategic Facilitation (CSF). On hand to share these case stories were ICA Program Director Seva Gandhi and Jennifer Vanica, co-lead of VanicaCummings and Senior Fellow with PolicyLink.
This past August in Omaha, NE, five new Certified ToP Facilitators (CTFs) formally joined a national cohort. Congratulations to John Beranek of Sioux Falls, SD, Marcia Hodges of Oakland, CA, Greta Leach and Colleen Svoboda of Lincoln, NE, and Kayla Schnuelle of Diller, NE! In October, five additional candidates passed their assessments in Minneapolis, MN. Congratulations to Minnesotans Levitie Danielle Dryke, Meg Knodl, Jake Melson, Al Onkka, and Karie Terhark! There are now 115 CTFs in the United States.
Where Simonds Drive, Montrose Avenue, and Marine Harbor Drive meet, so did participants on August 15th for Bikes, Birds, and Butterflies, a bike ride that explored immersive natural areas and plants thriving in Chicago’s Uptown community. Most of the participants rolled up on their own bikes, while the rest took advantage of loaner bikes provided by Divvy.
A clean energy future for Illinois would be based around jobs and economic opportunity, 100% renewable energy, reduction of fossil-fuel-burning vehicles, and a carbon-free power sector under a proposed legislation known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA). Those four pillars, and the policies and programs contained within them, were crowded-sourced from residents across the state who participated in over 70 community conversations on clean energy as part of the Listen. Lead. Share. (LLS) campaign organized by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.
In the midst of a Chicago heat wave, people tend to need a good reason to go out on a weeknight. Some who attended the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN) meeting last month were drawn to the location, easily accessible in the heart of downtown Chicago. Others came to visit Openlands, among the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation. Newcomers were drawn by the appeal of meeting like-minded people, while old friends affectionately refer to CSLN summer meetings as “the fun ones” for their focus on celebration and relationship-building.
The first group was large, a cohort of over 60 students from Engage Chicago, a summer field study program offered by Northwestern University. The second group traveled far, a delegation of four senior officers from Singapore nonprofit Yayasan Mendaki. Both groups came to ICA this July to learn about the organizing model that underpins our work.
“Public participation in the planning process is key to creating successful and implementable plans. Unfortunately, the term often conjures up images of angry residents, stifling-hot rooms in old buildings with dim fluorescent lighting, and a group of people that simply cannot agree.” –ICA Program Director Seva Gandhi, The ToP Focused Conversation: A Facilitation Tool for the Planning Process, APA PAS Report 595