President Trump has signed 12 executive orders and published numerous presidential memorandums since he was sworn into office. Many of these proclamations have been directed at the EPA, like freezing federal funding and restarting the notorious Dakota Access Pipeline. These declarations not only affect large environmental government agencies, but non-profits and local organizations in Chicago.
“We are deeply concerned about the Trump administration’s anti-environment, pro-polluter agenda. Their stated policy goals would be a disaster for clean water,” said Robert Hirschfeld, the Water Policy Specialist and Communications for the Prairie Rivers Network, “Their agenda isn’t just unwise, it is reckless and self-destructive.”
Speakers representing Illinois waterways and wildlife spoke to environmentalists at The Wild Things Conference about the dangers of climate change in the Chicago area. This conference, hosted by the UIC Forum, brought together enthusiasts and amateur nature lovers from across a wide area to discuss the past, present and future of the environment.
“It’s become a major political issue, especially as of recently,” said Molly Woloszyn of the Illinois State Water Survey and Illinois Indiana Sea Grant.
A group of Chicago environmentalist met Monday for an Environmental Industry Night for an update on Chicago’s latest green initiatives.
Hosted by Environmental Chicago, the group meets the last Monday of every month at Pint Chicago in downtown Chicago. That establishment provides a casual atmosphere for environmental professionals to network and learn about what’s new on the Chicago environmental scene.
Chicago joined more than 600 cities worldwide in anti-Trump protests. The Women’s March on Chicago drew more than 250,000 protesters, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The city’s sanitation workers were left with cleaning up the trash left behind from the sister march.
Photo at top: Trucks from the Chicago Streets & Sanitation Department were abundant at the rally. (Alaina Boukedes/MEDILL)
There’s a new route in conservation called zero-waste, which is a lifestyle that cuts out all concept of waste by utilizing reusable products instead of plastics or disposables. From singles in the city to families in the suburbs, Chicago residents see this new concept as the ultimate step toward sustainability.
In 2012 Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a blue cart recycling program that collects recyclables from eligible households in Chicago. According to the 2016 Blue Cart collection results, only 9 percent of Chicago’s waste was recycled and the rest was going to a landfill. These statistics concern people like Julie Cahillane, who manages sustainability at Northwestern University through SustainNU.
“Your first step should be reducing [waste] in the first place,” Cahillane said. She commented that many people think recycling is enough, but she added that to really think about environmental impact you should “eliminate before you even create it.”