Activists in Chicago, including RAN’s Chicago chapter, organized a protest and rally on Monday demanding that the city of Chicago shut down the 2 existing coal-fired power plants that are currently polluting the air and spewing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. The event was a great success, check out pictures and a summary below!
On Monday RAN Chicago joined local environmental justice groups LVEJO and PERRO for a mock “Energy Election” and rally to shut down the city’s two coal-fired power plants. The Chicago Chapter of the Rainforest Action Network organized this rally with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization because we see the problem of the coal-fired power plants in Chicago as every Chicagoan’s problem.
Living in the shadows of the coal plants, residents of Pilsen and Little Village suffer disproportionately with 40 deaths per year attributed directly to the coal plants and countless hospital visits and days missed at school and work.
But we live under 1 sky, and air knows no borders. Chicago’s air quality is among the worst of the worst in the nation, and Chicago’s asthma rates are double the national average.
Health effects from the plants affect us locally, but coal is a national and an international problem. Coal is the leading emitter of carbon emissions causing climate change, and any real solution to the climate crisis needs to include cutting off our dependence from all coal and all fossil fuels. We need to invest in wind, solar, geothermal and conservation as alternatives to dirty fossil fuels. It is proven that through conservation alone we can reduce our energy usage by 30%! Moreover, clean energy jobs yield 2-3 times more jobs than conventional energy.
Coal devastates the health of communities and the health of the planet. We call on the city of Chicago to stand by its commitment to being a green city and to shut the Fisk and Crawford Coal-Fired power plants down by 2010.
On Monday, about 100 people gathered downtown and solicited “votes” from passersby with 2 choices on the ballot: to keep Chicago’s two dirty coal plants open, or to shut the plants down and invest in clean renewable energy. Street theater and props depicted the “dirty energy future” and the “clean energy future” of the ballot choices.
The rally kicked off a summer-long series of Energy Elections throughout the city. Ballots will ultimately be presented to city officials in a public ceremony.
- Debra Michaud, RAN Chicago