Mission, History and Goals

Mission

Citizens’ Greener Evanston works to make Evanston a more sustainable community— environmentally, economically and socially—and to address climate change by dramatically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

History

In October 2006, the Evanston City Council voted unanimously to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, thereby pledging to achieve the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-reduction target set in the Kyoto Protocol. For Evanston, this translated into a goal to reduce emissions 13 percent (relative to a 2005 baseline) by 2012.  The agreement had been championed by several sustainability groups known collectively as the Network for Evanston’s Future. The Network then recruited community volunteers to work with City staff to develop a plan of action to meet the emissions-reduction goal.

The resulting Evanston Climate Action Plan (ECAP) was presented to the community in May 2008 at a gathering of over 300 enthusiastic Evanstonians—and was unanimously accepted by the City Council that November. The volunteers who had worked on the plan then formed an organization—Citizens’ Greener Evanston—to help implement it.

As one of its first major initiatives, CGE played a lead role in securing voter approval of the Community Choice Aggregation referendum in March 2012 and in encouraging the City Council to contract for 100 percent renewable electricity for aggregation participants. Thanks chiefly to the shift to green power for residents and small businesses, Evanston reached its 13 percent emissions-reduction goal in summer 2013.

Recognizing that much more remains to be done, CGE worked with the City’s Sustainable Programs Coordinator to develop a next climate action goal—a 20 percent reduction in emissions by 2016—and a plan to achieve it. The City Council unanimously approved the 20%-by-2016 goal and the Livability Plan in May 2014.

Goals

In working towards the 20%-by-2016 goal, CGE is pursuing several key strategies.
Renewable Energy. Retaining 100% green power for homeowners and small businesses and promoting local renewable energy resources.
Building Efficiency. Helping homeowners and other property owners make energy efficiency improvements to their homes/businesses.
Green Transportation. Working to get Evanstonians to walk more, bike more, and use public transit more.
Climate Adaptation. Helping Evanston prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

CGE Board of Directors

CGE is registered with the state of Illinois as a not-for-profit corporation and has been recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. CGE is governed by a volunteer board of directors. Its officers and board members for the current program year are —

CGE Executive Committee CGE Board of Directors
President

Vice-President

Secretary

Treasurer

Jonathan Nieuwsma

Leslie Shad

Chuck Wasserburg

Ken Olden

Jerry Herst
Ken Kastman
Christie Klimas
Eudald Lerga
Bill McDowell
Dick Co
Nicolai Schousboe
Sara Diggs
Jeff Smith
Chris Wissemann

Accomplishments

  • Partnered with the City to draft the Evanston Climate Action Plan (ECAP), a blueprint for reducing the community’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 13 percent by 2012. The ECAP was approved unanimously by the City Council in November 2008.
  • Played a lead role in securing voter approval of the Community Choice Electricity Aggregation referendum (March 2012) and in encouraging the City Council to choose an electricity supplier providing 100 percent renewable energy. Thanks in large part to the aggregation contract for green power, Evanston achieved its 13% emissions-reduction goal in 2013.
  • Established the Evanston Climate Action Fund to receive contributions from Evanstonians wishing to compensate for their GHG emissions. The Fund supports emissions-reduction projects benefiting local nonprofits. Early grants supported lighting upgrades for five nonprofits and helped several others pay for the energy audits they needed to qualify for a comprehensive energy upgrade program. Most recently, the Fund supported a major electrical upgrade for the Mt. Zion Apostolic Church and the space that the church rents to the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse. The Fund is maintained by the Evanston Community Foundation. To learn more, visit www.evanstonforever.org/community/climateaction.html
  • Received a $15,000 donation from Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, the amount of the Climate Protection Award sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Walmart and given in recognition of the progress Evanston has made in reducing its GHG emissions. (September 2011)
  • Initiated discussion with Evanston’s state legislators that led to the creation of the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council, charged with evaluating issues related to offshore wind energy projects in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan. Two members of CGE’s board of directors were appointed to the Council. (2011)
  • Continued to work with Evanston’s state legislators to advance the recommendations of the Advisory Council. This moved forward with passage of the Lake Michigan Wind Energy Act that calls for a study to determine the best locations for wind energy projects in the lake. (June 2013)
  • Awarded four generous grants from the Civil Society Institute — to support an education campaign to inform Evanston citizens about the benefits of offshore wind energy, to fund a survey of opinions and perceptions regarding offshore wind development, and to promote energy efficiency and other sustainable practices in the community.