By: David Mack

Location: Chicago, IL


David Mack (center) talking with the LETS GO team in summer 2012

Hello everyone! My name is David Mack. I am from Evanston, but have lived in Rogers Park all of my life. I just finished my freshman year on June 12. I’m one of the youngest to join Summer of Solutions at the age of 13 (I am 14 now). I am doing my second year here. I like this program because it gives me the chance to make a change in my town. I mean, who wouldn’t want to make their home a better place if they were given the chance? I was given the chance, and now I’m making my home a better place.

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Late last month, LETS GO Chicago teamed up with independent filmmaker Brendan Brown to produce this short video about our work building up the green economy in Chicago. The video was made for our online fundraising campaign on the FunderHut website, but also tells our story in general for those who are curious.

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Yesterday, 40 student leaders in Chicago for the Power Vote training-for-trainers rallied outside the headquarters of Obama for America to symbolically kick off our campaign with a message for candidates across the country: we must break the silence on climate change.

Young voters are mobilized, we demand climate action and a just energy future, and we are calling on candidates to follow our lead.

Sign the Power Vote pledge and join the campaign to break the silence on climate!

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Two years ago I moved from my community to work as the Environmental Justice Director at Energy Action Coalition to help connect local community organizing to the national youth climate movement. Today I am back home in Chicago celebrating a long-awaited victory with my community.

For more than a decade my community has been fighting two of the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the nation. Today we got the official word that the Fisk and Crawford coal plants will be shut down! After 10 years of community organizing we see the beacon of cleaner air on the horizon, and we can begin to breathe with ease.

This victory is a testament to what can happen when community organizers set their eyes on a big goal, and build the people power and partnerships to make it happen.

Join me in celebrating the work of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and the Clean Power Coalition by sharing their story and this photo on Facebook:

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Bank of America is sponsoring the Chicago marathon. Which is ironic, because Bank of America is also a leading financier of the Fisk coal-fired power plant in the Chicago community of Pilsen.

The marathon runs right past the Fisk plant. In other words, Bank of America is lending its name to an event that promotes health and fitness while also contributing to the dirty air that runners and Pilsen community members are forced to breathe.

That’s why I woke up early for the Chicago marathon this morning. I didn’t run the race — instead, I joined dozens of activists in Pilsen to use Bank of America’s sponsorship of the race as an opportunity to protest the bank’s financing of coal plants that spew toxic pollution into the air that thousands of people breathe every day.

While Bank of America is touting the economic benefits of its marathon sponsorship, its core business practices are causing a drag on Chicago’s public health and the economy. The Bank of America marathon should be about supporting physical health and Chicago’s future. Sadly, as the lead financier of Chicago’s toxic coal plants, Bank of America is doing far more to keep the city’s air polluted and asthma rates up.

We held a banner along the race route where the Fisk power plant is visible, and we joined the race while wearing gas masks to provide a stark reminder to Bank of America of its role in polluting Chicago’s air. View more photos of RAN activists at the Chicago marathon on Flickr.

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We are working with Summer of Solutions and Grand Aspirations and one of the goals this past week was to bring a chicken coop, a bike rack and a three-bin compost to fruition in the side yard.

So far the bike rack has been fully constructed, the three bin compost is nearly finished and the chicken coop is well under way.

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Ready? Set? Plan!

July 5, 2011

By Anna Nilles

During my first day as a solutionary, I drifted into a conversation among my program leaders about the “side yard wish list.” Simply put, this is all the stuff they wanted to put in the grassy space next to our house.  There was mention of chicken coops, bike racks, 3-bin compost systems, tool sheds, and rain barrels. I took one look at the side of the house and chuckled. This would be like when my parents talk about fixing their garbage disposal--- it sounds like a great idea, but they never quite get it done.

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