Mission, History and Objectives

Mission

Citizens’ Greener Evanston works to make Evanston a more environmentally just, sustainable, and resilient community.

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. Evanston has now exceeded that goal and CGE continues to work with the City as it develops and implements its next Climate Action Plan.

Programs and Objectives

Climate Change

  • Support the development and implementation of the Evanston Climate Action and Resilience Plan.
  • Work to reduce Evanston’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental Justice

  • Foster awareness and promote action on environmental justice issues within the City of Evanston.
  • Work to ensure that no neighborhood or residential area in Evanston bears a disproportionate burden of environmental nuisances, hazards and risks.
  • Work to ensure that environmental assets are fairly distributed across the community and that they have desirable features that support health, well-being, and a sense of community.

Energy

  • Promote Evanston’s electricity aggregation plan while working toward a long-term solution to make renewable energy available to all Evanston electricity customers (residential and business).
  • Advocate for City policies which encourage local renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Promote local solar installations and community solar.
  • Work to improve energy efficiency of all Evanston buildings.

Transportation

  • Make public transportation more accessible and appealing to Evanston residents.
  • Make Evanston a safer place for walking and bicycling to increase active transportation.
  • Advocate for City policies and infrastructure investments which help achieve these goals.

Natural Habitat Evanston

  • Create, restore and conserve habitat that migratory birds and pollinators need to thrive.
  • Encourage public and private policies that enhance habitat.
  • Educate the community regarding the needs and value of birds, pollinators, wildlife, and our natural heritage, including by certifying Evanston as a National Wildlife Federation community habitat.
  • Create habitat corridors that cross into our neighboring communities.

Edible Evanston

  • Create a sense of community around sustainable local food production by creating urban farms, community gardens, greenhouses, and composting sites.
  • Create opportunities for food sharing among residents.
  • Provide educational opportunities for Evanston residents to expand their knowledge of nutrition, growing food, composting, and food waste management.
  • Incorporate a long-term commitment to development and preservation of open green spaces in the urban environment.

Water

  • Protect our watershed and aquatic ecosystem.
  • Keep our drinking water safe and public.
  • Promote infrastructure investments that mitigate pollution and urban flooding.
  • Provide educational opportunities for Evanston residents to expand their awareness of Lake Michigan.
  • Promote water conservation practices.

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 listed below.

CGE Executive Committee
President

Vice-President

Secretary

Treasurer

Jonathan Nieuwsma

Lauren Marquez Viso

Chuck Wasserburg

Ken Olden

CGE Board of Directors

Dick Co

Sara Diggs

Tim Eberhart

Bea Echeverria

James Henderson

Jerry Herst

Steve Hoffman

Ken Kastman

Christie Klimas

Peter Laundy

Bill McDowell

Barbara Miller

Nicolai Schousboe

Leslie Shad

Haley Siculan

Jeff Smith

Hal Sprague

Clare Tallon-Rouen

 

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.