Action Alert: Citizens Urge Oak Park Board to "Get on Board" with Green Energy

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Action Alert: Citizens Urge Oak Park Board
 to "Get on Board" with Green Energy

On October 18, 2011, the Oak Park Village Board approved a plan making Oak Park the first municipality in Illinois to aggregate the resident and small business energy purchasing power and invest in a 100% renewable energy program. (Read our article on the action.Since then, 91 communities in the state followed suit.

On Friday morning, April 11, 2014, the Oak Park Village Board reversed its commitment to renewable energy and voted to change our community choice aggregation investment from green to brown.  (See the related Chicago Tribune article.)

All of the available options included rate increases; the Oak Park Village Board chose the lowest cost option.  We appreciate that the board is being cost-sensitive on our behalf, but we also know that opting for dirty energy has hidden health and climate costs that are not included in the price.  These are what we can’t afford to pay!

Right here in the U.S., climate change is taking a toll on people's lives, damaging land and wildlife, threatening our food supply, and hurting the economy. Think about it: severe weather was not good for Oak Park this past winter, it is not good for the drought stricken farms of the western U.S., it is not good for the flooded Southeast, and it was not good for the people who lost homes and loved ones in Super Storm Sandy.

Most disconcertingly, the Village Board made its decision just days after the release of a United Nations report on climate change that was written by hundreds of the world's leading climate scientists. The report called for immediate policy action to reduce carbon emissions. One of the best ways to do so is to invest in renewable energy.

It may be too late to change this particular decision by the board, but it is NOT too late -- and it is crucially important -- that we use our voice to express our continuing desire to have Oak Park take leadership in building a sustainable, resilient community and to ensure that the Village Board is "on board" with us!!

If that is a message that you would like to send to our local representatives,  Let's show our overwhelming support for green energy in our community by taking the following actions:

  1. Help us pack the house during the next village board MEETING, scheduled for Monday, April 21 at 8PM at Village Hall (Lombard and Madison). Our attendance will demonstrate support for green energy and sustainability policies.
  2. Sign the PETITION, urging the board to recommit Oak Park to 100% renewable (green) energy now.
  3. SHARE a link to the Oak Park Green Energy Appeal page with your family and friends via an email or social media.  Watch for updates, background and additional action ideas.
  4. Stay tuned for information about how you can opt out of brown (fossil fuel-based) energy in Oak Park.
  5. OTHER CREATIVE ACTIONS as you are so inspired, e.g., write a letter to the editor at Wednesday Journal, Oak Leaves, Tribune, and/or Sun Times. Make signs to bring to Village Board meetings.

As Trustee Lueck said, “This [slight cost increase to support green energy] is a hit I could live with, because I think green is important to Oak Park. . . I also think it is important to the future of our world.”

We do, too!

Upcoming Community and Regional Events

Green Tuesday Series: Tuesdays in April, 7:00pm, Oak Park Public Library. Free.
  • 15th - Mike Iverson:  State of the Environment 2014:  Village of Oak Park
  • 22nd - Greening Oak Park:  Karen Rozmus on residential waste diversion rates, and Skyler Larrimore on how residents can make their homes more energy efficient
  • 29th - Green Campuses:  Models for Green Cities - Cynthia Klein-Banai, UIC - Using greenhouse gas inventory and ecological footprint to measure progress towards sustainability goals.

Repair CaféSat., Apr. 26, 10am - 2pm, Oak Park Senior Citizens Center, 414 S. Oak Park Ave.,  Oak Park    

Oak Park EarthFest: Sat., Apr. 26, 10am - 2pm, the Village of Oak Park’s fifth annual celebration of green living. Oak Park Public Works Building, 201 South Blvd, Oak Park.

Recycling Extravaganza: Sat., May 3, 8am - 1pm, River Forest United Methodist Church, 7970 Lake Street, River Forest.

25th Annual Plant Sale: Sat., May 3, 8am - 4pm and Sun., May 4, Noon to 3pm,
 Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield St, Oak Park.

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