Greenleaf Communities 2020 Year in Review

Greenleaf Communities investigates environmental influences on public health and works with partners to address climate change, safe and available supplies of fresh water, and soil health for food production. As we enter 2021, we reflect on our program priorities and look forward as we continue to advance these projects.

Released economic policy reportAddressing Climate Change Using a Carbon Tax & Dividend Plan Within a Global Compact, authored by Drs. Roy Wehrle (Senior Economic Advisor), Don Wuebbles (Senior Climate Scientist), and Francine van den Brandeler (Greenleaf Communities). We are informing and engaging a wide range of economic and policy experts, stakeholders, and decision-makers on effective and equitable national and international climate policy.

Designed a climate mitigation project with the University of Illinois’ Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus - Addressing Climate Change and Urban Stresses with Sustainable Urban Infrastructure.  The project plans for green infrastructure, clean energy, and cooling centers among other improvements, to serve vulnerable communities in the Chicago region drawing upon lessons from international cities.

Led our sixth program in the Healthy Soils Series, this time on soil sensor technologies for data usage to inform agricultural practices and markets. We are working with Illinois farm leadership and national carbon markets to enroll farmers in programs that compensate them for practices to protect soil, water, and climate resources.

Developing the Chicagoland Green Schools Initiative with partners on Chicago’s South and West sides for urban redevelopment that mitigates climate risk and restores vibrant and healthy communities. This project will enhance community resilience and social cohesion through green infrastructure, clean energy, and environmental curriculum.

Partnering with Sustainable Waters to protect water supplies in the Colorado River Basin, serving 40 million people, industries, farmland, energy, and habitats across five states. A water shortage crisis can be addressed through water-market solutions and transitioning agriculture practices, which is the primary consumptive use of the resource.

Optimizing Northern Illinois water supplies with Resources for the Future and Jacobs Engineering by developing a strategy for efficient water allocation to communities facing dwindling groundwater. Broad collaboration is needed, including cross-jurisdictional water governance where the water cycle is managed in an integrated manner.