CLIMATE ACTION PLAN
Declare a Climate Emergency! 2022
This is necessary for the Village of Oak Park to have access to emergency funds and streamline drastic changes during times of disaster.
ROYAL consulted with experts Dr. Bryan Ramson and Dr. Marlene Brito-Millan in the fields of particle physics (Ramson) and marine ecology (Brito-Millan) when writing this climate action plan.
The plan is based in the finds from the Sixth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (AR6). According to AR6:
- We’re on track to be above 3 degrees Celsius; there is no way that we will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius target.
- The new target is 2 degrees Celsius, and we have to act within 2 years.
- We need to transition to renewable energy, specifically wind and solar. Geothermal is too expensive to use on a large scale and the science behind carbon capture technology is faulty. Nuclear is also an option that Village should consider.
• ROYAL is against carbon footprint talk, recycling and composting and other initiatives that put the responsibility on the individual instead of large corporations. Just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. Composting, recycling, and planting trees are not relevant; Oak Park needs drastic change.
• Oak Park has the financial means to address climate change, but there is a current misallocation of resources. The Village can be a leader in the region and be bold and unapologetic. Everything else that the Village is spending on in the next 2 years is not going to matter unless this is done.
• ROYAL is against electric vehicles being the sole source for sustainable transportation; lithium is incredibly toxic and the batteries from electric vehicles only last 10 to 15 years. Hydrogen-powered cars are a safer alternative. Additionally, mining for lithium is displacing Indigenous people in Latin America.
• There are several examples of different communities coming up with innovative ways to stop climate change. It is the Village’s responsibility to work alongside community members and lay out the next steps to make the following actions happen.
FREE THE BIKES NOW
- Police in Oak Park target youth of color who have bikes, ceasing the bikes from their owners and storing them in the basement of a Village building.
- These bikes should be given out to youth of color in Oak Park and Austin.
- The bike permit ordinance is extremely harmful to the public and only used by the police to harass youth of color.
- This is a low-cost action that the Village can take to show that they are listening to the community.
ESTABLISH YOUTH DELEGATION
- Similar to the Sunrise Movement, the Village should establish a youth delegation for climate change. This delegation would meet with local, state, national, and international organizations and bring best practices back to Oak Park. This includes entities like the Governor’s Office, Cook County Commission, and the United Nations.
- Costs associated with travel, boarding, and other logistics will be covered by Village funds.
- As the Midwest experiences an influx of climate migrants, water will become scarcer.
- We need to ensure that current and future BIPOC residents continue to have access to fresh water without the threat of utility bill increases or general scarcity.
ESTABLISH HOME BUYING GRANTS & OTHER APPROACHES TO STOP DISPLACEMENT
- To counter displacement, we want to make sure that the Village provides current BIPOC residents with home buying grants and ensures that property tax hikes do not push people out.
- Additionally, there’s a need for housing with a bridge between home owning and renting. To combat this, the Village will create more affordable housing through tiny homes and mobile homes. i. Space that is not being used should be available for housing. Lots near the old concrete facility at Harlem and Garfield have the potential to support this cause. Vacant lots (especially in Austin) and churches (at Washington and North Austin) can also be used.
- The Village will create sustainable and co-op living spaces equipped with solar panels that meet zero-emission energy efficiency building standards.
- The Village will permanently house all residents experiencing homelessness.
ENACT A VILLAGE-WIDE MORATORIUM ON GHG-EMISSION CONSTRUCTION
- All construction must be stopped immediately unless the construction and the building reach zero-emission standards.
- Because of the mass construction, we have to think of emissions that come from the supply chain and the freight that is needed to deliver materials. i. Case study: NYC banning natural gas hookups for new buildings; construction projects submitted for approval after 2027 must use electricity instead of gas/oil.
SHUT DOWN ALL GAS STATIONS
- Gas stations should be shut down to deter the burning of greenhouse gases that come from the transportation sector.
- The Village must make it easier for residents to access alternative forms of transportation that use renewable energy.
- Public transportation must be improved, especially the PACE buses. i. Alternatives to cars are important as they improve the health and wellbeing of residents.
COMMUNICATION & EDUCATION
- The Village of Oak Park has the power to send out literature on climate change and educate the residents. It takes time to provide educate and have people feel informed; people need context.
- There needs to be commitment to listening and also resources, including financial ones, that come to community partners.