Broadview mayor enlists help from bigger, neighboring towns to fight climate change in her community

Cross Community Climate Collaborative launched in June 2022

ByTracy Butler and Blanca Rios WLS logo
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Small town's big plan to fight climate change
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The small but mighty town of Broadview has a big plan to help fight climate change that includes the help of Oak Park and River Forest.

BROADVIEW, Ill. (WLS) -- When Mayor Katrina Thompson took the lead in her small west suburban village of Broadview, she knew that public safety wouldn't be her only top priority.

"We all look at public safety as number one but if our environment is not safe, we're not protected. And so I shifted and made that on the same platform as public safety," said Thompson.

But she also recognized her town of 8,000 strong would need some environmental reinforcements. She turned to the mayors of bigger communities like Oak Park and River Forest, to spearhead what's known as the Cross Community Climate Collaborative or C4. It's designed to bring communities together to share ideas and resources to ultimately reduce gas emissions. The project is also co-lead by Seven Generations Ahead and the Urban Efficiency Group, organizations that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

"We really wanted to take a different approach and hold the hand of municipalities because a lot of times we don't have sustainability directors or sustainability teams," said Thompson.

C4 launched in June with a big emphasis on renewable energy. Already dozens of homeowners and businesses are reducing carbon emissions and saving money with the use of solar panels. The project has also branched out to 14 other suburbs that like Broadview, are also considered disadvantaged.

"The Black and brown communities are always the last to get the resources. We need to change that mindset, we need to show that we can work with our other colleagues," said Thompson.

But thanks to C4, her community is slowly beginning to reap the benefits of a cleaner and greener environment.

"That gives us the access to look at solar, EV charging stations, Composting, air quality, water infrastructure," said Thompson. "Who would have thought that a small community like Broadview would have EV charging stations, or even have solar panels on residential homes?"

Mayor Thompson says she wants the same for all communities, and wants other suburbs to get involved in the C4 program.

One thing that's for sure and for certain is the air that we breathe, it travels through communities. So it doesn't have a destination or location. We all breathe the same air.