Mayor Brandon Johnson of Chicago was welcomed by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative as they celebrated their 20th anniversary Annual General Meeting. During this meeting, Mayor Johnson took the opportunity to reiterate his vision for climate action and environmental justice.
“Climate action and environmental justice are top priorities for my administration, and we will address them with equal vigor,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Whether reducing greenhouse gas emissions or removing lead pipes for safe drinking water, we must ensure that every Chicagoan – especially those suffering from decades of disinvestment and neglect – benefits from our efforts to prepare for climate change and challenge conditions that continue to harm our environment and public health.”
In addition to discussing his plans for Chicago’s transformation, Mayor Johnson shed light on the potential impact of the Inflation Reduction Act, highlighting how federal funding through this act could play a crucial role in achieving equitable changes in the city.
The primary objective of the Cities Initiative’s annual gathering was to ignite local climate action in communities spanning the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin.
A recent survey conducted by the Cities Initiative shed light on the current situation, revealing that a mere 17 percent of the surveyed U.S. and Canadian local jurisdictions were actively implementing a climate action plan. More concerning was the fact that over a quarter of the respondents had yet to initiate the development of such a plan.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the elected leaders attending the annual meeting in Chicago were offered practical training in climate action planning. This hands-on training aimed to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to implement effective climate action strategies in their respective communities.
Additionally, these leaders had the invaluable opportunity to gain insights from experienced senior officials from the United States and Canada. Through collaborative brainstorming sessions, they explored practical strategies to enhance cooperation with their counterparts across the basin, fostering a united front against climate challenges.
“Mayors have been – and will continue to be – at the forefront of climate action,” said Mayor Billy McKinney of Zion, IL, the Cities Initiative’s Chair. “I am excited to continue to work with Mayor Johnson and other inspiring leaders to improve climate action and build a more equitable future for all basin residents.”