Local Environmental Groups
With 200,000 acres of conservation land, the Chicago metropolitan area encompasses many of the finest and largest tracts of native tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, woodland and wetland left in the Midwest. Audubon Chicago Region saves wildlife and habitat, and to keep it safe permanently we are hard at work creating a local culture of conservation. Though a small staff is ready to step in where necessary, most of Audubon’s work is done by hundreds of volunteers. They include citizen scientists, land stewards, advocates, and more. Everyone is invited to help out.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) has been a leader in urban sustainable development since 1978. As a creative think-and-do-tank, they research, invent, and test strategies that use resources more efficiently and more equitably. CNT takes a solution-oriented approach that reflects a commitment to communities and nature. They use broad-based education and coalition building, public policy advocacy, creation of tools for transparency and accountability in public and private markets, and on-the-ground implementation of urban programs. Work includes: transportation and community development, natural resources, energy, and climate. Their work is intended to simultaneously improve the environment, strengthen the economy, and advance community assets.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. CCL is proposing a Carbon Fee and Dividend policy, which will (1) place a steadily rising fee on the CO2 content of fossil fuels and (2) give all of the revenue from the carbon fee back to households. To generate the political will necessary for passage of this proposal, CCL trains and supports volunteers to engage elected officials, the media, and the public.
One of the City’s boards and commissions, the Environment Board investigates environmental issues and develops policy recommendations for submission to the City Council, on matters related to Evanston and City operations including air, water, waste, transportation, energy efficiency, and public education. Its members are appointed by the Mayor.
The Evanston Office of Sustainability works with residents, businesses, City departments, and regional, state and national partners to develop and implement policies and initiatives that strengthen the environmental and economic sustainability of Evanston. The Office was created in May 2007, shortly after the City’s Strategic Plan identified environmental sustainability as one of three guiding values for Evanston. Focus areas for the Office include climate change, energy and buildings, transportation and air quality, waste reduction and recycling, and land and water.
Collective Resource provides a door-to-door food scrap pick-up service, reducing landfill use through organic recycling and composting.
This Northwestern group organizes activities and events, creates tools and resources, and practice “sustainable living” themselves to raise awareness and mobilize the Northwestern University campus around sustainability. There are Eco-Reps for residential halls, colleges, greek chapters, and off-campus living.
ESW mobilizes students through education, training, and practical action, building collaborative partnerships to meet the needs of current and future generations. ESW-NU builds leaders in sustainability by educating ourselves, educating our community, and committing to action-oriented projects. They have not only advanced sustainability on campus but have inspired several Northwestern students to go on to careers in industry, policy, and organizations promoting sustainability.
ETHS students form this “hub” of the Sunrise Movement, a 501(c)(4) environmental advocacy organization championing political action on climate change. Since its founding in 2017, the national youth-led campaign has established over 300 hubs — organized collectives of volunteers — across the country to fight for environmental legislation and cultural realignment.
This recreational club serves northern Chicago and the northern suburbs. It schedules weekend and weekday rides, from short recreational rides to ultra-marathon events. Its annual fund-raising event, the North Shore Century, is held on the third Sunday in September.
Formed in 1976, the EEA is a community-centered, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting conservation and preserving natural resources through education in Evanston and throughout the North Shore. Objectives include fostering appreciation of natural resources and advancing prudent utilization of those resources in an urban environment. In pursuit of these objectives, the EEA promotes and demonstrates environmental awareness, serving people of all ages in cooperation with complementary groups and community agencies. The Ladd Arboretum and Ecology Center are the focal point of these activities, along with Lighthouse Landing.
The Council is a grassroots group working to ensure everyone’s access to a safe and diverse regional food supply and to foster awareness of healthy food choices. They advocate sustainable agricultural policies, support organic growing practices, and promote active urban-rural connections through our local food system. They specialize in public policy and civic engagement in building sustainable healthy farm and food systems that work for everyone, at every meal.
The Evanston Interreligious Sustainability Circle was founded in 1999 by members of diverse religious congregations as an expression of their Care of Creation, with a commitment to make Evanston a more sustainable place. The Circle has sparked the formation of seven other sustainability groups. The Circle meets monthly on the second Sunday from 3-5 at the Friends Meeting House, 1010 Greenleaf. The Circle supports the greening of individual congregations and sponsors various community-wide events. Participation is welcomed.
Founded in 1919, this organization is devoted to wild birds and their habitats. It is committed to sharing this devotion with anyone interested in the natural world.
Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse is a nonprofit organization that promote reduction of waste in landfills through sustainable deconstruction and renovation building practices.
Evanston TreeKeepers is committed to caring for Evanston’s trees by raising awareness of the value of Evanston’s urban forest and promoting best practices in tree care among residents, local businesses, and organizations. The group organizes work days, family events, and other activities and welcomes anyone who is interested in getting involved. For information about upcoming meetings and events, visit the TreeKeepers’ Facebook page.
The Garden Club of Evanston seeks to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening among amateurs, share the advantages of association through conferences and correspondence in this country and abroad, to aid in the protection of native plants and birds, and to encourage civic planting.
At GES, students learn from workshops led by leaders in the social change sector, network with like-minded peers from across the world, and develop the skills necessary to implement change-based projects. By connecting driven students with innovative thought leaders, GES strives to train students to cross borders and partner with new communities to produce responsible solutions to shared global problems.
Go Green Wilmette is a not-for profit organization dedicated to raising environmental awareness in the community and inspiring residents to take action to make Wilmette a more earth-friendly place to live. Activities include: book discussions, film showings, and Green Teas focused on important environmental topics; community service (park planting and restoration); school garden programs; activities in conjunction with 350.org, Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Wilmette Bike Task Force, and others; advocacy for village ordinances; development and distribution of a recycling guide; field trips; and the annual Going Green Matters Environmental Fair.
ISEN was established in 2008 as an umbrella organization whose mission on behalf of the university is to catalyze new science, technology, learning and policy for sustainability and energy. ISEN meets these challenges through interdisciplinary and transformational education and research coupled with local and global outreach.
This student club at the Kellogg School of Management seeks to increase the Kellogg community’s awareness of environmentally sustainable opportunities and careers in business and to continually encourage, implement, and improve environmentally sustainable practices at Kellogg.
The League is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. A current action priority is global climate change, and the League has produced a Toolkit for Climate Action to support efforts to protect our planet.
This office works to disseminate information and stimulate dialogue regarding sustainability at the university and to collaborate with stakeholders within the institution to lower the university’s carbon footprint.
The Chicago Group is the local representative of the Sierra Club, a nationwide environmental organization with 1.4 million members. The group has 8,000 members in a territory stretching from Wilmette to Indiana. They work on environmental issues such as clean air, clean energy, habitat restoration, and Great Lakes issues. They are active in endorsing strong environmental candidates at all levels of government and lobby regularly on local, state, and national conservation issues.
This undergraduate student organization designs, builds, and races solar cars. It is dedicated to supporting alternative energy though outreach events and participating in solar car design competitions such as the North American Solar Challenge.
SEED’s mission is to pioneer, teach, and model environmental stewardship so as to inspire our future leaders to act in ways that protect and sustain our planet. SEED works to affect the state of the environment and to support progressive environmental movements at Northwestern University. Through event programming, service, and advocacy, SEED seeks to engage the entire Northwestern and Evanston communities to further sustainability.
The Talking Farm is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to cultivate healthy, sustainable communities by supporting the production and appreciation of locally grown food. Their vision includes both a physical space to grow food for sale to the community, as well as the educational and knowledge-sharing activities that emerge from the operations of an urban, organic farm dedicated to establishing sustainable food security for the Evanston/Skokie community. The Talking Farm also partners with ETHS students to develop and maintain the high school’s local garden program.
Wild Roots is a student-directed garden which grows fresh produce for the Northwestern and Evanston communities using sustainable practices. Wild Roots serves the evolving educational and social needs of the Northwestern community by inspiring students to think critically about the food we eat and by starting conversations about sustainability, social justice, and our food system.