The Chicago Agreement on Climate and Community

The Chicago Agreement on Climate and Community (“Chicago Agreement”) is a call to action to address immediate challenges and opportunities facing our region. It reflects the values and aspirations of a determined group of people from diverse neighborhoods, organizations, and institutions. Chicago Agreement signatories share a common vision of vibrant communities made stronger and more resilient through climate action. Just as the Paris Agreement facilitates collaboration among nations of the world, the Chicago Agreement offers a platform to engage community members and local organizations on practical climate solutions.

The Chicago Agreement articulates principles and commitments to advance collective impact through specific climate actions. By highlighting the intersections between community and climate, this document is a vehicle to grow the broad-based movement that is needed to solve our most urgent problems.

In developing this document, we strive to honor the progress and recognize the shortcomings of previous climate efforts, to bring new voices to the discussion about climate and communities, and to set the stage for further discussion, collaboration, and action in the Greater Chicago region.

Recognizing our responsibility to our common home, the Chicago region, we affirm that:

  • The well-being of our region is rooted in the integrity of our communities, experiences of our people, vitality of our economy, and splendor of our natural environment and its biodiversity. These should be celebrated, cared for, and shared.
  • Climate change is a real and present danger. It threatens the natural and cultural fabric of our communities and undermines equitable access to clean water, breathable air, safe neighborhoods, green space, and economic opportunity.
  • Human activities are the primary cause of recent climate change. 
  • Low-income communities and communities of color, both in the U.S. and abroad, disproportionately bear the threats and burdens of a changing climate.  Add:
  • It is our collective responsibility to slow and reverse climate change, safeguard our communities from its impacts, and improve our ability to respond to emerging risks.
  • Everyone has a vital role to play in contributing to climate solutions. 
  • Climate solutions must anticipate and respond to global and local needs, taking inclusive, participatory approaches that respect diverse community priorities, identities, and values.

Joining together in care for our communities and the planet, we commit to:

  • Take up the Paris Agreement’s goal of holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees C and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C — starting with action in the Chicago region.
  • Strengthen our collective ability to manage the emergencies, shocks, and long-term stresses that Chicago-area communities face now and in the future.
  • Learn from the leadership of low-income communities and communities of color and support their efforts to attain the benefits of climate action.
  • Incorporate natural and technological solutions to a shifting climate, bolstering our region’s ability to thrive.
  • Hold elected leaders, institutions, communities, and ourselves accountable for immediate and effective action to mitigate climate change and increase community resilience.
  • Build common language, priorities, and goals that will enable collaboration in addressing climate change across diverse geographic, cultural, social, and economic boundaries.

Putting these values into immediate action, we each resolve to:

  • Identify and adopt specific, evidence-based efforts to reduce my personal contributions  to greenhouse gas emissions and to address the effects of global climate change.
  • Join or support a climate initiative in which I am not currently involved, or deepen my involvement in existing initiatives.
  • Advocate for climate programs and policies that create access to resources and opportunities for rewarding work.
  • Invest or participate in sustainability and resilience-building efforts in low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Raise my voice through the media, politics, purchasing power, and other means to express and defend environmental and community values.
  • Fulfill my responsibility as an American to appeal directly to my elected leaders, demanding national legislation that will rapidly and effectively reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Practice and encourage stewardship of the natural world, which connects and supports our communities.
  • Engage family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues in working toward livable, healthy, safe, and resilient communities for ourselves and future generations.

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