We are all experiencing the dramatic difference an election can make for the direction of our country and our planet. Sierra Club evaluates candidates for local, state, and federal office, endorses those who share our values, and then works hard to help them win an office where they can make a difference for our future. To get involved, email Caroline Wooten.
Illinois Chapter Political Program
Illinois’ constitution establishes the right to a healthful environment for everyone, and charges both our elected officials and each of us to protect it:
“The public policy of the State and the duty of each person is to provide and maintain a healthful environment for the benefit of this and future generations. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the implementation and enforcement of this public policy.” Illinois Constitution, Article XI
The people of Illinois have never needed their leaders to fulfill this constitutional duty more than in the years to come. A half century of effort and investment in environmental protection have made the Illinois we know today possible. Our air, water, and land are cleaner. Generations of workers have supported households building and operating environmental infrastructure, and entire economic sectors focusing on energy and environmental innovation and solutions have been launched. A system of state parks and conservation lands have protected our natural heritage, and provided recreation opportunities and key local economic assets. Yet, despite this great progress, not all communities across Illinois have been able to access these benefits.
The pillars of environmental protection in Illinois are crumbling. The federal safeguards, enforcement, and funding that have long been the foundation of the progress we have made are under assault. Our state’s fiscal problems and lack of political will have contributed to steady declines in spending and personnel on environmental protection. Our Department of Natural Resources that used to be a national model for science and conservation has been reduced to a hollow shell that leaves hard working staff with less than the resources needed to merely keep our state park system open and functioning. We have essentially stopped any effort to acquire and protect lands for future generations.
It is time for Illinois to commit - 100% - to provide a healthful environment for each and every one of us. Illinois can step up to ensure that our environment is cleaner, and our economy healthier, by being all in to seize the opportunities in restoring our environmental leadership.