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Campaign: Green Schools for Chicago

The Chicago Teachers Union is committed to fighting for a green recovery.
In Chicago in 2021, we face multiple crises that demand bold action. The cumulative effects of a devastating pandemic and unbridled capitalism leave us with worsened structural racism and economic inequality on top of a looming global climate crisis. Thousands of Chicagoans have died from Covid-19, thousands are out of work, and many are struggling to meet their basic needs. Furthermore, Chicago’s pollution and CO2 emissions keep rising, disproportionately affecting Chicago’s Black and Brown communities, causing forced migration from Puerto Rico and Central America, increased flooding on the South Side, lakefront erosion, respiratory illnesses that exacerbate COVID-19 outcomes, and increased pregnancy risks, especially for Black mothers. Our city cannot address these myriad crises without a bold plan to invest in under-resourced neighborhoods, schools and public services. We need a green recovery.

Students rally at the climate strike September 20, 2019
On September 20, 2019, thousands of Chicago’s students joined the global climate strike and rallied for bold climate action. Since then, Chicago’s youth have led the movements to address racism, inequality, and environmental justice. From protesting polluters like General Iron to fighting racist policing in and out of schools, young people have inspired us to fight harder for our communities. Now, young people in organizations like Sunrise are anchoring labor-community coalitions like the THRIVE Agenda to demand a green recovery that prioritizes the health and economic well-being of working-class people and people of color as it transforms our economy, including energy and consumption, to address the climate crisis and our country’s systemic inequities.

Our recovery from the pandemic cannot return us to the world we left behind in March 2020, with the callous and complacent government policies that led us to a devastating economic, climate and public health crisis. Our public institutions must be reinvisioned to uplift and sustain us, and we can start with our public schools. The Chicago Teachers Union is joining the fight for a green recovery by launching a campaign we’re calling Green Schools for Chicago.

We invite you to join us in raising demands for the mayor and CPS to invest in:

Green, Healthy, and Safe School Buildings

  • Retrofit and weatherize our buildings.
  • Remediate schools for lead, asbestos, and mold.
  • Install electric heating and cooling systems.
  • Install new ventilation for COVID-19 and energy recovery.
  • Install solar panels and source 100% renewable energy.

Green Jobs and Environmental Justice

  • Work with unions to train and hire unemployed CPS parents.
  • Provide cooling centers and electricity to communities during heat waves, disasters, and power outages.
  • Prioritize the communities hit hardest by COVID-19, environmental racism, and systemic disinvestment.

Climate and Sustainability Education

  • Support climate justice curriculum across the grade levels.
  • Expand solar energy career programs already in place at Juarez and Prosser.
  • Implement school composting programs, community gardening, and other sustainable practices.
Please join us for a rally and press conference this Earth Day, April 22 at 9am (location TBD). And please reach out to become a co-sponsor and learn more about how to help build the campaign for Green Schools for Chicago!

Get involved!

Fill out this interest form.

Or contact ctuclimatejustice@gmail.com 773-401-5091

Students contact a Sunrise organizer at wilson.madeline42@gmail.com 708-515-5656


Read the Resolution that our House of Delegates passed at its December 9, 2020 meeting.


Sunrise Movement