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Suzanne Malec-McKenna

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Be a Part of the Solution: Celebrate Chicagoans' Actions in Addressing Climate Change

Posted: 08/06/10 06:43 PM ET

Beat the heat and save cold hard cash!

For most Chicago residents, the summer months spark higher electricity and water use, which leads to higher monthly bills. With the temperature hovering around 90 degrees many days, this is an excellent time to think about simple, everyday actions to reduce our energy use and increase the money in our pocketbooks. This is good for our economy while being good for the environment.

Here are a few reminders of what everyone can do:
1. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.
2. Avoid "phantom load." Unplug appliances even when they are off.
3. Turn off lights when not in use.
4. Turn your thermostat up a few degrees.
5. Replace your home air conditioner filter.

More options can be found here.

These and other actions all contribute to our $800 savings challenge, a checklist of easy measures that illuminate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced -- and greenbacks saved - by accomplishing small energy-saving initiatives. And activities like these will be recognized Tuesday (8-10) at Carbon Nation celebration at Millennium Park from 7-10 p.m.

The star-studded event will celebrate the power of everyday climate-change solutions for families, businesses and citizens. Acclaimed documentary host and producer Bill Kurtis will serve as event emcee, and guest artists will include comedian Hal Sparks, the star of Shrek the Musical, and Chicago-based singing troupe The Happiness Club.

The event will culminate in the Chicago premiere and screening of "Carbon Nation", a documentary film that I believe underscores beautifully our city's solutions-based approach to mitigating climate change. As I wrote in a post around Earth Day, a multi-organizational partnership launched the Chicago Climate Action Plan in 2008. It focuses on five major strategies--from energy-efficient buildings and renewable energy to transportation, waste and adaptation--to reduce Chicago's greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The plan identifies 35 individual initiatives that the government, businesses, civic institutions and residents can undertake to reduce emissions.

We are fortunate to live in a city where the vision to create a more environmentally sound and successful city is so strong and shared among both top leadership including Mayor Richard M. Daley, and our diverse communities. I encourage everyone to visit Millennium Park-- one of the world's largest green rooftops -- to have fun and learn about all the small everyday changes we can make to save a little money and lot of energy. In the process, we will enhance the quality of life for our fellow Chicagoans and around the world. For more information on the event, click here.

See you on Tuesday!