New Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is taking climate justice seriously. The environmental justice subcommittee of the mayor’s transition team insists on taking a holistic view of environmental issues including water safety, access to energy and safe housing, and issues of pollution and climate change. The issue of wealth disparity and racism resurface in this report as issues embedded in the way environmental issues have unfolded. Environmental racism is real. They invite us to see the rubric of a “just transition,” and the policy framework of a “Green New Deal” for Chicago as guiding principles for efforts to realize a cleaner, healthier, more just, and sustainable city. In additional to a cleaner, safer, more reliable public transportation trains and busses, accessibility and affordability at all levels, and ample bike paths, an expansive view of Transportation must also factor in racism (such as racial profiling in traffic stops). Access to clean, safe reliable transportation is related to economic security, economic vitality and an overall cleaner environment. The transportation subcommittee insisted the City “needs to work with community in planning transportation strategy.” Again, the importance of engagement and ongoing accountability were uplifted in the transportation subcommittee report as they were in all the other groups.
Building Bridges and Growing the Soul of Chicago: A Blueprint for Creating a More Just and Vibrant City for All