We have to increase the availability of, and effectiveness, of public transit to reduce vehicle emissions; plant more trees, especially in neighborhoods that lack them; implement green technology in alleys throughout Chicago to protect our water supply; incentivize the use of paper instead of plastic, or the use of biodegradable bags; make sure there is an effective recycling program in every neighborhood, and ensure that CPS students understand the reality of global warming and learn the importance of recycling and increasing energy efficiency. We must support efforts to keep Lake Michigan free of factory runoff and implement the recommendations of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to preserve and improve water quality. And we must do all of this while engaging Chicagoans more broadly to become more environmentally conscious in the choices we make in our daily lives. At the same time, we must be proactive as a city in tackling problems that threaten public health and undermine environmental sustainability. It should not have taken Chicagoans more than a decade of struggle to shut down its south side coal-fired power plants – and South Chicago residents should not be suffering the impacts of petcoke in their communities today, just as our planners and other city officials should not be greasing the wheels for politically connected companies to open operations within the city that fail to meet strict environmental standards.
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