Moving Towards a Healthy and Sustainable World –
Reflections on Greenleaf’s contributions in 2021

Greenleaf, in collaboration with many, is making progress towards a more sustainable and just world that includes a safe climate, clean and available freshwater supplies, healthy soils, equitable resources, and good governance. Please consider supporting our work through a tax-deductible donation.

We developed economic research to inform domestic and international climate policy and support society-wide shifts towards carbon free economies. Our recommendations stand on three fundamental pillars: a domestic carbon tax; formation of a global Climate Club; and establishment of Carbon Surcharge Transfer payments to assist developing countries. These policy recommendations are increasingly being embraced around the world.

Dr. Francine van den Brandeler, our Climate and Water Lead, co-authored a UN Environment Programme report, "Global Environmental Outlook for Cities: Towards Green and Just Cities." This report aims to inform, engage and support dialogue among decision makers and other actors involved in urban issues around the world.

Greenleaf and partners authored a Crain's OpEd on a letter to Illinois leaders: We can solve the Chicago area's water challenges. Image Credit: Revolution MacInnes/Unsplash

We advanced a One Water approach to water resources management. In an OpEd, we called on Illinois' leadership to collaborate on a regional water plan that is resilient, just and economical, with Lake Michigan at the heart of the solution. Regional water security improved when the City of Chicago and Joliet agreed to cooperate to meet Joliet’s needs, informed by our economic analyses in collaboration with Jacobs Engineering and Resources for the Future. Collaboration can benefit many Chicagoland communities and enhance the region’s security, resilience, quality of life, and competitiveness.

We advanced Soil Health through research into carbon measurement and emerging market platforms so that farmers can receive compensation for regenerative practices that mitigate climate change via storage of carbon in soils. These practices also reduce soil erosion, prevent nutrient runoff, and support economically and environmentally resilient farms. We are investigating ways to “demystify” regenerative agriculture by measuring specific microbes associated with beneficial soil traits.

We supported the Chicagoland Green Schools Initiative on Chicago’s South and West sides working to transform schools into pilot “green schools.” The goal is to enhance community resilience and social cohesion through green infrastructure, clean energy/energy efficiency, and an environmental curriculum to educate the next generation on sustainability.

We supported development of the Community Project Lab led by the University of Illinois bringing tools and knowledge for climate resilience, water resource management and more. We also contributed to climate resilience strategies to benefit northern Illinois and protection of water supplies in the western U.S.

Thank you for supporting Greenleaf with your time, insights, resources, and collaboration as we work together toward a healthy and sustainable world. We look forward to making more progress towards our goals in 2022.