The Truth is Powerful
Fighting climate change will require more than big plans, Chicago. We need a new vision for mobility.
Chicago loves to make big plans. Our history is full of them: Reversing the Chicago River, beautifying the lakefront, building the world’s tallest buildings. The famous dictum of Daniel Burnham—“Make no small plans”—is practically the city’s motto.
So, what’s our big plan for climate change? It’s the greatest challenge Chicago has ever faced, given the prospect of multiplying floods, heatwaves, and other natural disasters. At the same time, it’s a great opportunity for Chicago to do what it has always done best—reinvent itself for a new era.
Curiously, there are no big plans—although there is, to be sure, an “action plan .” Published in 2008, under Mayor Richard M. Daley, it laid out several strategies for combating climate change, like energy efficient buildings and renewable energy sources. Chicago’s failure to achieve even an effective recycling program speaks volumes about both its influence and our overall seriousness.
The initiative you’ll probably remember Daley for isn’t that plan. It’s tree planting. Daley wanted to make Chicago “the greenest city in America.” He apparently meant that literally, and set the goal of planting half a million trees during his tenure. It garnered a lot of positive press . Unfortunately, it turns out that tree planting […]