Seeking support for renewable energy

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Oak Park Area ClimateAction (OPACA) seeks the support of other green groups for the "Ready for 100% Renewable Energy" Resolution.

The relatively young environmental action group in our community respects and admires the many environmental initiatives of long-established "green" organizations, which gathered on May 15 at the invitation of the village of Oak Park:

The Interfaith Green Network, which provides programmed green initiatives with important moral support from its member religious institutions.

Green Community Connections, known for partnering with other "green groups" in its always-inclusive events and activities, including its regionally renowned One Earth Film Festival.

Seven Generations Ahead (SGA), with its rich history of providing a "green path" for the village through its PlanitGreen sustainability plan for Oak Park and River Forest.  

We especially want to salute SGA for its hard work and expertise in marshalling important data for the Renewable Energy Roadmap Workshop, hosted by the village of Oak Park through its Sustainability Coordinator, Mindy Agnew.

It has now been more than a year since OPACA volunteers joined with Sierra Club to support Sierra's national renewable energy campaign called "Ready for 100% Renewable Energy by 2030." The campaign has since been embraced by over 100 U.S. communities — including Evanston and, most recently, Chicago. On May 18, the two organizations  shared a table, for the third straight year, near the entrance to the Oak Park Farmers Market on Lake Street.

Last year, on a sunny 2018 Saturday morning in May, our table volunteers began soliciting Oak Park area citizen support for "Clean Renewable Energy" through postcard petitions filled out by people entering Farmers Market. By the end of October, we had collected over 1,000 cards, which were presented to village trustees at a late-January village board meeting.

Since then, the campaign has received generous community media coverage in both Wednesday Journal and Oak Leaves newspapers.

At that January meeting, we presented the "100% Renewable Energy Resolution" to the trustees for their consideration and support. We want to recognize just-retired Trustee Bob Tucker for advocating it.

The two-page document calls for official endorsement of its admittedly challenging, aspirational goal — and one, we believe, is well worth working toward. We hope other local environmental organizations will support it.

I'm an old Chicago ad man. Leo Burnette, founder of the great Chicago advertising agency known by the same name, aspired to great things when he told his creative team to "Reach for the Stars."

Oak Park is ready to reach for 100% renewable energy. That might seem like a stretch. But it is one goal worth reaching for.

David Martin

Member of Oak Park ClimateAction

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