What better way to mark Earth Month than to renew a commitment to Evanston’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP)? 

CARP will be the topic of a special order of business at the City Council meeting on Monday, April 25. Cara Pratt, Evanston’s Sustainability Coordinator, will provide an update on the plan’s implementation so far.

Like the rest of the world, Evanston is affected by climate change, and every Evanston resident has a stake in the city’s climate plan. This is an opportunity to learn firsthand about any progress toward fulfilling the plan’s goals and to learn about next steps.

In addition to Pratt’s update, a 2022 CARP action agenda will be proposed by council members, along with a Climate Emergency Resolution. The proposals will be in the council packet for review by everyone prior to the meeting. Join the meeting electronically or attend in person in council chambers. The agenda and meeting time will be posted on the city website.

Evanston took a first step toward climate resilience on Dec. 17, 2018, when the City Council adopted CARP, the work of a 17-member community committee. The pages of the plan lay out goals and, in most cases, actions in several areas: Municipal Operations; Building Efficiency; Renewable Energy; Zero Waste; Transportation and Mobility; Urban Canopy and Green Space; Outreach Education and Behavior Change; Green Infrastructure; Health Impacts of Extreme Heat; Resilience Regulations; Community Networks and Education; Emergency Preparedness and Management; Vulnerable Population; and finally, Implementation, Accountability and Partnerships.  A truly ambitious plan! A necessary plan if Evanston is to do its part to make a livable world for the future. 

According to then-Mayor Stephen Hagerty’s introductory letter to the plan, CARP “lays out a bold vision that ‘by 2050, Evanston will be a climate ready and resilient city that has successfully prioritized the needs of its most vulnerable while combating climate change.’

“To achieve that vision, the Climate Action and Resilience Plan sets a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, while reaching ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets along the way. Other goals include securing 100 percent renewable energy for all Evanston properties by 2030, achieving zero waste by 2050, shifting to low- or nonpolluting transportation methods, enhancing Evanston stormwater systems, and, for the first time, ensuring that all residents, including our most vulnerable, are prepared for the impacts of a changing climate. …

“Achieving these goals will require a community-wide effort, and the City can’t do it alone.”

Three-plus years later, what is the report card on Evanston’s progress toward these ambitious goals?  Who has been and should be accountable for implementing CARP?  What actions have resulted in a reduction in carbon emissions? What actions are planned? Have we seen steps taken by large employers in the city?  If “the city can’t do it alone,” how has a community-wide effort, an all-hands-on-deck approach, been encouraged? What has been the role of residents so far and what will be expected of the community in general in days, months and years to come? 

How to watch: Comcast subscribers can view the meeting on Channel 16. AT&T U-Verse subscribers can view Channel 99, select Evanston, and select City Channel 16.  Livestream closed captioning is available on the city’s YouTube channel. Click the “CC” button at the bottom of the video to enable automatic live captioning. You can watch live or review on YouTube after the meeting.

Libby Hill

Libby Hill

Libby Hill is the author of "The Chicago River: a Natural and Unnatural History. She has been writing about birds and trees and Evanston's natural history for the Roundtable since 2004.

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