The continent’s major waterways, forests and prairies meet in Cook County, as do the nation’s transportation networks, representing both the promises and perils that fall within the portfolio of sustainability. Sustainable communities do not just have a clean environment. They are attractive communities, good for families, and desirable places for businesses to locate and create jobs. A clean environment, green space, jobs near housing and choice in modes of transportation create desirable communities and drive investment and higher property values. Renewable energy and energy and water efficiency conserve resources for our future, while also growing well-paying jobs and saving money for residents, businesses and local governments.
Despite significant improvements in air and water quality, Cook County’s industrial heritage and its concentration of people, development and transportation still cause environmental challenges that impact residents’ quality of life. From the effects of climate change, uneven development across Cook County and persistent segregation, we must address past environmental injustices in underserved communities. Additionally, we must proactively promote equitable growth by removing barriers to the “green” economy to ensure all residents can benefit.
ARPA funding allows Cook County to invest in clean energy and green jobs while starting to address climate change, equitable access to open spaces, and environmental justice.