The City of Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO) is thrilled to support Rock the Green’s return in 2022. The last two years have been a challenge for all of us, but 2022 brings renewed hope for our future. We are excited to gather with you all to celebrate our love for the Milwaukee community, the miracle of life of our precious Earth, and our shared commitment to be stewards of the earth’s resources and natural beauty. We are also excited to support Milwaukee’s new Mayor, Cavalier Johnson, as he charts a bold path forward for a safer, stronger, and healthier city. He has already signed on Milwaukee to a national coalition to develop policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in commercial buildings by Earth Day, 2024.
While have an outlook of hope, we also must act with urgency. Global warming, social isolation, and racial equity all deserve action. In 2021, we unveiled the largest solar energy project in the City’s history, a nine-acre solar field on a City owned landfill near General Mitchell Airport. ECO has been working tirelessly with the Mayor, Alderman Nik Kovac and the Common Council, and Community leaders through the City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity to adopt and fund a new Climate and Equity Plan. The Task Force has recommended Ten Big Ideasfor climate action that supports racial equity. We are now working with a consultant team on the draft report and will be working with the community this summer to raise awareness of the plan and take additional community input. We also co-founded the Wisconsin Local Government Climate Coalition to advocate for statewide policies that can help local governments achieve their climate goals.
In October, the Common Council allocated funding to kick-start Climate and Equity Plan projects. This includes $2m to support energy efficiency in targeted neighborhoods, to be coordinated with the City’s lead abatement work. An additional $1m has been allocated to develop a pilot project in support of new, net-zero energy homes in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods using advanced building construction.
We also have made progress in many other areas of environmental sustainability, including new environmental justice work and neighborhood engagement with Sherman Park. We continue our Water Centric City initiative, working with partners from around the Great Lakes Lakes on tangible water quality and coastal resilience projects. Our Me2 home energy efficiency program, Milwaukee Shines Solar Program, and PACE financing programs also continue to provide tangible resources to the community to reduce energy bills, greenhouse gas emissions, and create local green jobs. Visit our website to get connected with these practical programs.
Thank you to all of YOU who have supported the work of ECO and embraced the broader vision of climate action and environmental stewardship in our community. Together, we can make Milwaukee a world class eco-city on America’s Fresh Coast.