IMG_0054Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle spoke about the importance of local action on the environment to an enthusiastic crowd on April 21st, at the Rally for the Planet sponsored by the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Sierra Club, and  Faith in Place among others.  She told the crowd:

Local action is more important now than ever. The threats to our environment include not just climate change, toxic pollution and the loss of open space and habitat — but unfortunately our own national government.

Local action is more than just a bulwark against a federal administration that clearly does not assign the same priority to environmental protection as we do.

Local action is effective

In Cook County, we have worked hard to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, in only a few short years, we are already exceeding our goals.

And just yesterday, we celebrated the fact that our own building at 69 West Washington was awarded LEED Gold status – the first Cook County government building to receive this environmental designation.

Local action is efficient

Furthermore, our energy reductions and renewable energy projects over five years saved Cook County taxpayers more than $5 million.

Local action is equitable

I believe every resident of Cook County should have the benefits of a clean environment, no matter their income or their community of residence. That’s why we are taking action to make all of our communities more sustainable and healthy.

We are doing this through a variety of programs: through community solar, requiring that material from building demolitions be recycled and re-used, and by promoting transit- and cargo-oriented development throughout Cook County.

We are also assessing contaminated industrial brownfields; removing harmful lead from homes; and promoting energy efficiency for residents and businesses.