Riverside last summer joined with more than a dozen neighboring communities in Chicago’s west suburbs to launch the Cross-Community Climate Collaboration – C4 for short – pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while promoting equity and sustainability.
Part of a larger regional effort to address the effects of climate change, C4 members have made it their goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, using 2010 as the baseline, by 45 percent by 2030 and by 100 percent by 2050.
Exactly how C4 and the rest of the region will get there is a work in progress, but Riverside’s team has already begun that work and will host a public event later this month to gain more input and perhaps recruit more volunteers to start working on the team’s strategic priorities.
The meeting, titled Road to 2050, will be held in the auditorium of the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road, on Jan. 19 from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
“It will serve as an introduction to the concept of a regional climate action plan,” said Aberdeen Marsh-Ozga, a Riverside trustee and the chairwoman of Riverside’s C4 team.
C4 is working in collaboration with consultants from the Urban Efficiency Group and Seven Generations Ahead to support initiatives to combat climate change and promote equitable sustainability outcomes.
Funding comes from a $98,000 Partners for Places grant along with an equal match from the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation.
The Jan. 19 meeting at the township hall will include a presentation by Wynton Jones, community sustainability coordinator for the Urban Efficiency Group, who is Riverside’s designated consultant.
Jones, along with the Urban Efficiency Group’s president, Darnell Johnson, were present at the first meeting of the Riverside C4 team in December, where they set strategic priorities – place, prosperity, health and well-being, resource regeneration, living infrastructure and connectivity – and their supporting pillars, green generation (education) and eco-networking.
In addition to Marsh-Ozga as chair of the Riverside C4 team, members (and the strategic priorities/pillars they are leading) include Riverside Trustee Cristin Evans (place); Susie Kahle (prosperity), who is a member of the Riverside Economic Development Commission; John Carroll (health & well-being), who is a Riverside Township Trustee; John Haugland (resource regeneration), a Riverside resident who works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Lisa Lambros (living infrastructure), who is chairwoman of the Riverside Landscape Advisory Commission; Riverside Assistant Village Manager Ashley Monroe (connectivity); Riverside Elementary School District 96 Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye (green generation) and Von Tarverdi (eco-networking), who is a member of the Riverside Farmers Market and Riverside Community Garden.
As chair of the Riverside team, Marsh-Ozga last month also participated in C4 “mini-group” session titled Green Landscape Technology, which sought to identify practical ways for local governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as converting public works landscaping equipment to electric versus gas-powered.
In addition to Jones’ presentation, which will emphasize community engagement, those attending the Jan. 19 meeting in Riverside will also have the opportunity to participate in a small-group activity where they can share their visions for Riverside, discuss challenges and identify priorities.
“It’s going to be the beginning of a lot of great conversations,” Marsh-Ozga said.
For those who are not able to attend the Jan. 19 meeting, the Riverside C4 team will be posting an online survey on the team’s web page.
The Riverside C4 team will also hold meetings, which are open to the public, the last Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of the Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road.
The next meeting of the team will be Jan. 26.
“At that meeting we’ll be sifting through all of the information we got as part of this [Road to 2050] meeting and the survey,” Marsh-Ozga said.