Brookfield is actively connecting the dots on sustainability. And it is impressive to watch.

For too long, and in most places, towns and villages have approached sustainability as a series of one-offs. Recycling. Composting. Water waste. Lead pipes. Biking and transit. Electrification.

And our thanks to those who have championed those important issues over the decades. The reality is that citizen initiatives, volunteer driven, have almost always pushed local governments into action, into modifying waste-hauling contracts, into rethinking just laying down asphalt, and toward Complete Streets that welcome bikers and safeguard pedestrians.

Now as the Earth accelerates toward great and imminent peril, we see an alliance between local government and local climate activists reflecting the realization that, while national and international action is critical, decisive and intentional local action is just as necessary.

Brookfield’s conservation commission has been working toward a draft of a thorough-going sustainability plan for the village. Certainly it builds off steps the village has already taken. But the group is consciously borrowing from efforts in other communities and also the Cross-Community Climate Collaborative (C4), which is an alliance of near-west suburbs and a template offered by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, a regional initiative.

Also good to hear from Bridget Jakubiak, chair of the conservation commission, that her group is stocked with local volunteers who are expert in many aspects of the conservation conversation. Some have professions that intersect with these potent issues; others just bring life experience that focuses on these complex and intersecting issues.

Brookfield is filled with citizens like these who want to volunteer their talents and knowledge. And the village is getting better and more receptive to that input.

A draft plan is being circulated. A final version will go soon to the village board for input and approval. 

This is all good.

The light of Arthur Williams

“Arthur could not help but shine.” That’s the quote from Kimberly Coughran, executive director of Brookfield’s public library, after the sudden death of Arthur Williams, the much loved and front-facing circulation assistant at the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library.

Mr. Williams, 52, suffered a heart attack while at work on Nov. 9. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Loyola Medical Center. 

Arthur was the lead person at the library’s check-out desk and an always positive and welcoming presence, both to library patrons and his colleagues on staff.

“He just had the kindest heart. He was someone you would want to be the face of the library, period,” said a shaken Coughran. A reflection of his impact on the institution is that the library closed early last Thursday and remained closed on Friday as staff gathered to mourn and remember their colleague.

Our sympathy to all who knew Mr. Williams and grew within his light.