At a time when the COVID pandemic seems to be peaking, and when rancor and fear stemming from the January 6, 2021 insurrection are running high, it is vital not to lose focus on climate change, the deepest crisis of all. So I am pleased to see Wednesday Journal announce a monthly column on sustainability by IGov, a group representing our local taxing bodies. Consistent attention to this issue is essential.

The enormous challenge of climate change requires work at all levels: international, national, state, local and individual. The IGov column lists a number of steps being taken locally, including very important programs to help us cut emissions from our homes — the biggest source of greenhouse gases. Oak Park has also made electric vehicle charging stations available on village-owned land.

But it will take much bigger changes to reach carbon neutrality. The next really big step would be to draft and pass a proposed ordinance to require new buildings in Oak Park to be all-electric. New York City has just passed such an ordinance. The governor wants to take the proposal to cover the whole state of New York. Dozens of municipalities in California are doing the same. If we mean to become carbon-neutral, we can’t put up new structures that will require fossil fuels. We need to move to electricity. The technology exists and is cost-competitive.

Doug Burke
Senior Climate Action

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