Dear neighbors,

As we near the end of an extremely challenging year, let's resolve to work even more in the new year to build a more sustainable, resilient 47th Ward and city. The Green Council is rebooting its monthly meetings, open to all, and today we are launching a new-look newsletter with legislative updates, green tips and more ways to get educated and get involved to take on the climate crisis.

At our December 3 meeting, we heard from Colleen Smith, legislative affairs director at the Illinois Environmental Council, and she shared a variety of legislative updates from 2020 and priorities in 2021, including affordable access to clean water and energy.

Our working groups focused on Energy, Natural Resources, Waste and Education/Outreach also met to talk about ideas for 2021 programming and initiatives. If you're interested in getting more involved, email [email protected]. Some of the ideas discussed include working with local businesses on a food recovery program and a plastics reduction initiative; coordinating outreach with developers and property owners about residential solar and energy efficiency opportunities; and addressing street flooding issues.

The next Green Council general meeting is at 6:30pm Thursday, January 7. In the meantime, follow our new social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and share this newsletter with at least one friend! .
Municipal and Legislative Updates
Commercial recycling not enforced: The Chicago Inspector General released an audit last week finding that the Department of Streets and Sanitation does not ensure that owners of commercial and high-density residential (5+ units) buildings provide recycling services as required by the Chicago Recycling Ordinance.

Meanwhile, the city is conducting an updated waste study to highlight possible policy changes to better manage our waste. Alderman Martin introduced a resolution earlier this year calling for public hearings on issues related to recycling and composting. Read the audit here.

General Iron/RMG Expansion: A public comment period is open now through December 30 regarding relocation of General Iron metal shredding and expansion with RMG on the Southeast Side. Comments should be emailed to [email protected]. Learn more here.

Protect our tree canopy: A proposal creating an Urban Forestry Advisory Board, co-sponsored by Alderman Martin, has been re-referred from the Rules Committee to the Finance Committee. The Board is part of a broader effort to improve health, create more livable neighborhoods, and combat the sweeping effects of climate change by recommending policies and practices that will help protect and expand our tree canopy. Learn more here. 

ComEd Feasibility Study: In August, the city released the findings of a study looking at the feasibility of creating a municipal electric utility to replace ComEd. The report recommended against municipalization due to the cost of acquiring ComEd assets, groups such as Democratize ComEd have called for a second study. Read the phase one study here.

100% renewable energy: In September, the City of Chicago released a $200 Million RFP for a renewable energy supplier for all city-owned buildings. The contract will help ensure all city-owned buildings and operations are powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025. Learn more.

CTA bus electrification: Alderman Martin introduced a resolution in October calling for a public hearing on CTA bus electrification. The hearing would address the current status of the strategic planning study, ongoing diesel bus purchasing policies and possible funding sources for bus electrification.
Green Tips: Holiday Edition

Give a gift to the environment by incorporating these practices in your gift giving this year:

Shop local to reduce your carbon footprint and support our local economy. Visit BlockClubChicago’s shopping guide, or view gift guides from chambers of commerce in the ward:

Give eco-friendly gifts, such as experiences (museum passes), items that have long life cycles (like books) or items that help others live sustainably. The Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce also compiled a Green Giving Guide with local options!

Wrap with the planet in mind using recyclable gift wrap, reusable gift bags or any of these creative wrapping ideas.

Turn your Christmas tree into free mulch: Drop off your Christmas tree at any one of 25 city-wide locations from Jan. 9-25, including the 47th Ward’s Clark Park, behind Lane Tech. The city turns trees into free mulch, which can be picked up on a first-come, first-served basis at select locations beginning Jan. 12. For more information and a map of locations, visit
More Events & Volunteer Opportunities
Support the Clark Park Nature Play: The Nature Play Space at Clark Park is a long planned and anticipated new feature of the park. Community members, businesses, elected officials, the Chicago Park District, social and athletic organizations have come together to financially support this dream. The goal is to raise $75,000, and the Chicago Park District provided a $10,000 starting grant. Learn more and donate here.

Moving Beyond Plastic: Legislative Action: Join members of Organizing for Plastics Alternatives in a webinar at 5:30pm December 16 to learn about ways that we can move forward progressive policies on single-use plastics at city, state, and federal levels. Ald. Matt Martin will present, as will State Sen. Laura Fine. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin will provide information via a videotaped address with his staff on hand to answer questions. RSVP here.

Openlands tree planting: Openlands TreePlanters Grants provide new trees to communities in the City of Chicago and the near south suburbs. The grants encourage resiliency both through planting trees and creating or reaffirming a network of neighbors to work together. Communities are asked to organize themselves, find sufficient places to plant 10 – 40 trees, meet their neighbors, reach out and invite their elected officials, and create a successful event to learn about benefits of trees and the proper way to plant and maintain their new trees. If you're interested in leading a 47th Ward tree initiative, email [email protected].

Tour Chicago’s tunnels: Join the Metropolitan Reclamation District of Chicago at 2pm Wednesday, Dec. 16 for a virtual trip to the past to learn about the reversal of the Chicago River. Then, go 350 feet down into the deep tunnel and more! RSVP today.

Winter Bike Challenge: It may be cold, but Active Trans has a sure fire way to warm you up and put a smile on your face! It’s the Winter Bike Challenge, Jan. 25-Feb. 7. Learn more.

What’s an Overflow Activist? Learn about the effects of stormwater overflow and how you can help in keep sewage and polluted stormwater out of the Chicago River system through Overflow Action Days from Friends of the Chicago River. Watch now.

Do you have an environmental event or volunteer opportunity you’d like to share with 47th Ward residents? Let us know by emailing us at [email protected].
Paid for by Friends of Matt Martin.