2017-12-06 Sierra Club Press Release

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Lake County Board Chairman, Sierra Club and Partners Help Raise More Than $5,200 for Puerto Rico Hurricane Victims

Lake County Officials Reaffirm Commitment to Act Locally on Climate Change and Transition County to 100% Clean Energy

WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS (December 6, 2017)—More than 100 people representing environmental, faith and civic organizations in Waukegan and surrounding Lake County communities tonight raised $5,236 to help Puerto Rico hurricane victims and highlighted the critical need to act on the climate crisis.

The climate action event, held at the Puerto Rican Society in Waukegan, was hosted by Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, Sierra Club, the Puerto Rican Society and Clean Power Lake County.

More than 10 weeks after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, causing unprecedented damage, the majority of the island still lacks reliable electrical power and safe drinking water. The immediate response by President Trump’s administration has been widely criticized as inadequate. FEMA and many other relief organizations continue to provide food, fuel and water to survivors.

“I am determined to make a difference for Puerto Rico. Like a small grain of sand, from a small organization in Waukegan, I will make a difference,” said Lucy Rios of the Puerto Rican Society.

Among those making donations to help hurricane victims were members of the Waukegan High School JROTC. They presented $1,000 to Rios.

An anonymous donor pledged to match cash donated during the event, up to $1,500.

Community members also donated supplies such as bottled water, diapers, flashlights, and batteries.

“Hurricane Maria may have fallen out of the headlines, but our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico still need us to step up for them,” Lawlor said. “Frequent, severe storms like Hurricane Maria are unmistakable warnings of the escalating impacts of climate change. Washington’s failure to act leaves our economic future more uncertain and the destruction of our environment more rapid.”

In Lake County, 17 public officials have joined Lawlor in signing the bipartisan Lake County Climate Action Pledge.

The most recent signatories include Mayors Al Hill of Zion, Leon Rockingham of North Chicago, Harriet Rosenthal of Deerfield, and Nancy R. Rotering of Highland Park, and Village President Kathleen O’Hara of Lake Bluff.

Among the first to sign the pledge were several Lake County Board members: Steve Carlson, Mary Ross Cunningham, Paul Frank, Sandy Hart, Diane Hewitt, Ann Maine, Judy Martini, and Vance Wyatt.

Additional signatories include State Representatives Rita Mayfield and Sam Yingling, and State Senators Melinda Bush and Julie Morrison.

Tonight, Faith in Place, which works with houses of worship throughout Illinois to protect our land, air and water, became the first community organization to sign the pledge.

“Faith in Place is proud to lead as the first Lake County Climate Action Partner, committing to advocating for a just transition beyond coal in Lake County, a long-term vision of 100% clean energy, and building smart, sustainable infrastructure and transportation plans,” said Celeste Flores, Lake County Outreach Director for Faith in Place. “We are committed to continuing to empower people of all faiths to be leaders in caring for the Earth, providing resources to educate, connect, and advocate for a healthier Lake County. ”

“The Lake County Climate Action Pledge embodies all of Sierra Club’s top environmental priorities that will deliver the most significant reductions in our carbon footprint and help grow our clean energy economy,” said Anthony Vega, Lake County Organizer with the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Since the launch, we’ve had close to 20 local elected officials from both parties take the pledge, demonstrating broad, bipartisan support across all levels government to deliver local action in moving Lake County beyond coal toward 100% clean energy.”

As local governments respond to federal policies that ignore climate change or undermine advances made under the Obama Administration, the Lake County Climate Action pledge signatories prioritize three central pillars of climate action necessary to make meaningful reductions in Lake County’s carbon pollution. The pillars are: move Lake County beyond coal, adopt ambitious clean energy goals, and build climate-resilient infrastructure.

Other organizations participating at the event included Citizens Utility Board, Livable Lake County, Mano A Mano, Moms Clean Air Force, Sierra Club Woods and Wetlands Group, Waukegan Township, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.