Speakers included former EPA environmental justice chief Mustafa Santiago Ali
On Sunday December 3, The Field Museum hosted a gathering of over a thousand civic leaders, community members, and representatives from 60 civic and environmental organizations from across the Chicago region to discuss ways to take action against climate change despite U.S. plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
The Chicago Community Climate Forum focused on building strong communities and committing to climate solutions and culminated with the unveiling of a Chicago Agreement on Climate and Community. The agreement outlines a set of principles and commitments by the city’s neighborhoods, institutions, and organizations to curb climate change. Just as the Paris Agreement facilitates collaboration among nations of the world, the Chicago Agreement offers a way for community members and local organizations to contribute to practical climate solutions.
The Forum took place on the eve of the North American Climate Summit organized by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change and Energy. Mayors from around the world will convene in Chicago December 4-5 to discuss municipal commitments to the Paris Agreement to curb climate change.
"As Washington fails to act, community leaders across Chicago are taking up a crucial role in protecting our planet and the health and safety of our residents," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The Chicago Community Climate Forum is a great example of how neighborhoods and local organizations are working together with policy makers and businesses to tackle climate change."
At the event, Chicagoans discussed the Mayor’s Summit and global climate goals, showcased local voices and stories of progress, shared practical solutions for local climate challenges, and celebrated a shared vision of vibrant communities made stronger and more resilient through climate action.
The Forum featured speakers well-known for their work on climate solutions including keynote speaker Mustafa Santiago Ali, former chief of the Environmental Justice Office of the EPA, now with Hip Hop Caucus, and Chris Wheat, Chicago Sustainability Chief. A diverse group of community leaders spoke including Field Museum conservation scientist Abigail Derby Lewis, Indigenous Environmental Network activist Dallas Goldtooth, and MacArthur Foundation president Julia Stasch. A performance by Kuumba Lynx, a spoken word youth arts ensemble, explored the intersection of art and climate issues.
The event was planned by 60 Chicago region community and environmental organizations, including the Environmental Law & Policy Center, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, One Earth Film Festival, the Institute of Cultural Affairs, Faith in Place, The Nature Conservancy, the Illinois Green Alliance, and more.
Event sponsors: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional support provided by the Center for Carbon Removal, The Chicago Community Trust, Crown Family Philanthropies, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Energy Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Hanley Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Manaaki Foundation, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Moller Family Foundation, The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation USA, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.