The CSLN draws individuals and organizations who practice a holistic, intersectional approach to sustainability. The member-driven network aims to have members share resources, support each other’s work, collaborate, build a stronger collective voice, and nurture equitable and impactful relationships with policymakers. This year, many practical initiatives have helped move those aims forward.
Policy Working Group
The CSLN policy working group aims to get community voice into City policy. On November 2nd, the policy group met with Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer to continue the network’s ongoing relationship with the City and hear updates on current City sustainability initiatives.
Chicago is part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program which helps cities create plans of action to become more resilient to physical, social, and economic shocks and stresses. One of the Resilient Cities program goals is to create a Citywide Resiliency Plan. The CSLN is exploring ways its policy group can work with the City to make sure that community engagement is embedded both in the planning process and as a component of the plan itself.
While network members are passionate about a variety of sustainability arenas (recycling, waste, water, etc.), members agreed that community engagement must be front and center in the conversation. Members emphasized that community engagement in a planning process is not an altruistic afterthought; rather it is imperative for successful planning. The policy group will continue to try to work with the City to get more Chicagoans’ voices into future policies and plans.
Collaborative Events Working Group
The CSLN collaborative events working group is planning a series of community events for 2018. CSLN partners will explore the various ways they contribute to community nourishment across four events, focused on civic technology, biking, Chicago’s coastal region, and intergenerational connectivity. Adhering to CSLN’s collaborative event guidelines, each event will be organized by at least 3 network members representing diverse approaches to the topic, ensuring a unique event design and multidisciplinary approach. The events will connect to existing and new regional sustainability hubs, local sites where residents can continue to engage.
CSLN hosted its first cross-network mixer with another network on November 15th. CSLN partnered with Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) leaders, a network of Chicago residents interested in taking leadership around local environmental action who have completed an 8-week leadership program at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. With a shared belief in the power of community-based sustainability action, the mixer was an engaging space for CSLN community organizations and C3 volunteers to meet and explore potential collaborations. This meeting was the last of the 6 bi-monthly meetings of the network for 2017. The network will meet again to kick off the work of 2018 in January.