The City of Highland Park is proactively striving to become an even greener and more sustainable community. Each City department has made great efforts to improve its operations and provide high-quality services and information that enrich the fabric of the community.
The City formed the Green Initiatives Alliance in 2008 as a means of connecting Highland Park governments and collaborating on new and better ways to “go green.” The Alliance members include the City, school districts 112 and 113, the Library, Township, Park District, Highland Park Hospital, the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Alliance, and the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO). Representatives from the Natural Resources Commission are also actively involved. Beginning in 2009, the City began the process of creating a community-wide sustainability master plan that is funded through revenues from the commercial and multi-family refuse and recycling franchise. The plan was approved in 2010 and the City has taken initial steps to implement the recommendations within the plan.
On February 16, 2005, the Kyoto Treaty, the international agreement to address climate disruption, was adopted by 141 countries throughout the world. For countries with advanced economies, the treaty sets legal and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases on average of 5.2% below 1990 levels.
The United States, a country responsible for emitting 25% of all global greenhouse gasses with less than 5% of the world's population, chose not to ratify the treaty. In March 2005, the U.S. Conference of Mayors asked its members to join the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement by signing a resolution in support of efforts to meet or exceed the Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing global warming pollution. Mayor Michael Belsky signed the resolution on April 25, 2005.
Sustainable Strategic Plan
On August 23, the City Council
approved the City's Sustainability Strategic Plan. The Sustainability Strategic Plan is a 20-year road map that provides direction in ten specific goal areas as to how the Alliance partners can improve levels of sustainability. The plan also includes a greenhouse gas inventory and collection of data indicators that provide a baseline for the community’s current practices pertaining to sustainable lifestyles. Examples of indicators include vehicle miles traveled per household, municipal solid waste generation, and diversion rates of recyclables and landscape waste.
The plan's ten goal areas are:
- Built environment
- Community engagement