Something is percolating in Oak Park regarding climate action. A phalanx of citizen leaders and small, focused organizations are aligning to pursue an environmental agenda for the village.

Monday evening’s virtual meeting of the village board was almost entirely focused on climate-related topics. From the welcome designation of 2021 as the “Year of the Butterfly” to more substantive and, for the moment, contentious discussions of constructing green vs. concrete alleys, to an education and grant program to build momentum for home energy audits and upgrades, to a perceived need to hire a staff member at village hall to focus entirely on climate, it was a jam-packed meeting. 

And it ended, as many such meetings in Oak Park do, with decidedly mixed results. 

The reality though is that Monday’s meeting was mainly a preview of what might come depending on the outcome of the April election for village president and three open trustee seats. Among the remaining candidates for trustee, several are highly focused on climate. And Susan Buchanan, a sitting trustee, has made plain that environmental action is critical to her goals on the board.

An infrastructure of citizen leadership seemingly stands at the ready to craft an agenda and to lend urgency to local action on climate.

Post-election, we may see some real, and welcome, movement on this issue.

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