At a time when the federal government has abdicated its role in climate leadership, public officials and residents across the country are stepping forward to take local action against the climate crisis.
Leading the way in Lake County, Illinois, is Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor. He recently launched an initiative in partnership with the Sierra Club to encourage local community leaders and public officials to deliver local, bipartisan action on the climate crisis.
“With vision and determination, Lake County can move beyond coal, toward a 100% clean energy future, and invest in fiscally and environmentally sustainable infrastructure. Climate action isn’t just an issue for our president to fail on or Congressional leaders to ignore. Climate action needs local leaders to step up and lead us forward, and it’s going to start right here in Lake County!” Lawlor said.
Lawlor announced the initiative, the Lake County Climate Action Pledge, before a crowd of 175 Lake County residents and public officials who gathered at the Waukegan lakefront for the 4th Annual Clean Power Lake County Waukegan Beach Rally and Cleanup.
The new initiative consists of three pillars:
- Move Lake County beyond coal
- Adopt ambitious clean energy goals
- Build climate-resilient infrastructure
The solutions to these issues are related to solutions to serious social issues, said Dulce Ortiz, a Waukegan resident who spoke at the rally on behalf of the Sierra Club.
“We sit at an unprecedented and, frankly, dark moment in our country’s history that has to be spoken to—when the President refuses to denounce racism and white supremacy, when immigrant communities and Muslims are under attack, when the head of the EPA is a climate denier and is actively rolling back critical environmental policies, leaving us to protect our own communities,” Ortiz said. “These are not separate issues: They are absolutely interconnected and so, too, are their solutions. We are called to new levels of courage to speak out on these threats to our community and environment and to take decisive action at the local level in partnership with one another.”
Eight public officials have already joined Lawlor in taking the Lake County Climate Action Pledge:
- Lake County Board Members Vance Wyatt, Diane Hewitt, Judy Martini, Mary Ross Cunningham, Sandy Hart, and Ann Maine
- State Senator Melinda Bush
- State Representative Sam Yingling
Both the Lake County News-Sun and Daily Herald published good recaps of the August 26 rally.