Category: sustainability & resilience

Meet Evanston: a Mid-Sized Climate Powerhouse

Picture the scene: Approximately one thousand ten-year-olds packed into an expansive field house, explaining to their parents, teachers and other guests what worsening climate impacts will feel like in Evanston, Illinois, and how their ideas or products could help mitigate these effects. The crowd convened at Evanston Township High School (notably, the country’s largest high school

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How the Last Fire on the Cuyahoga River Kick-Started the Clean Water Movement

Many American rust belt cities have risen high, fallen hard, and come back to life – and a case could be made that none rose so high nor fell quite so far as Cleveland, Ohio. The fortune of this city on the shore of Lake Erie has ebbed and flowed in tandem with its iconic

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How Northeastern Illinois Aims To Become the Greenest Region

Solar power development is skyrocketing in Northeastern Illinois, communities are gaining new sustainability coordinators, and mayors are taking a literal seat at the table in global environmental conferences. It’s all fueled by the nation’s largest regional collaboration on sustainability called the Greenest Region Compact (GRC). With 115 municipalities and 10 councils of government as signatories, and

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14 Local Leaders Are Taking Action On Contaminated Drinking Water

PFAS substances are a group of man-made chemicals that were made and used in a variety of industries around the globe—and these chemicals are making their way into drinking water systems across the country, particularly in communities near military installations or industrial sites. 14 local leaders from the National League of Cities (NLC) Energy, Environment,

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How Cities Can Revive Recycling

As America celebrates the 49th Earth Day, we reflect on how much has changed and how much more still needs to change to create a more sustainable world. Municipal recycling has always been closely linked to Earth Day as one of the most direct and personal ways that Americans contribute to sustainability efforts. But if you’ve

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How American Cities Made Earth Day

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans from all walks of life took to the streets, the auditoriums, and college campuses to put environmental concerns on the front page. This first Earth Day was a response to dire environmental challenges of the era. An oil well blew out and spilled off the coast of Santa

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Local Leaders Will be Our Climate Change Heroes

As another Earth Day approaches, I feel the need to make a confession related to something I heard at a climate conference two years ago. The speaker (who will remain anonymous), exclaimed to the jam-packed and dumbfounded room, “Folks, somehow, I am able to hold two totally contradictory ideas in my head at once: ONE

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A Growing Number of Cities are Concerned About Contaminated Drinking Water

From Florida to Washington and many communities in between, local officials are facing drinking water contamination from per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). More cities, towns and villages are now becoming aware of the contamination and there is growing concern across all levels of government regarding health risks and how to address the issue. PFAS substances are

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Top 5 NLC Reports from 2018

What did city leaders want to learn about most this year? The numbers don’t lie: autonomous vehicles, recycling, small cell deployment, the census and local trends. At the National League of Cities, we are dedicated to ensuring that cities are able to thrive and stay abreast of emerging issues in an ever-changing national landscape. And

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Ten Tips for Going Zero Waste

This is an excerpt from NLC’s new recycling guide, Recycling Reimagined. The health of our citizens and the safety of our environment depend on sustainable waste management systems. Cities should feel empowered to improve diversion rates and reduce waste. Examining your waste and recycling system can jumpstart local circular economies. A linear economy’s model is

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