Naomi Davis


What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability means waking up to our role between the impossible needs and unthinkable consequences of global warming—where every kindergartener and every corporation can recite “the math” of our climate crisis: 402 ppm [parts per million] greenhouse gases rising to heat our planet; a new industrial revolution needed to avert the catastrophe of 2 degrees celsius climate increase over pre-industrial levels; our need to stop all climate emissions in 5-10 years with rapid decline every year after or else; a cost of $500 billion per year for every year we delay; or unstoppable heating with broad, deadly consequences as early as this century.

Sustainability means making the tough call now—in our families, with our neighbors, through our legislators, and by our favorite companies—that we are unbecomingly selfish to use all the assets today that are needed for tomorrow. It means giving up that greed.
Sustainability means we effect the immediate end of all subsidies to, investments in, and production of emissions that accelerate climate increase – because other people deserve to be born and live on a life supporting planet, too

What has been your greatest experience working towards a more sustainable Chicago?

The many ‘light bulb moments’ the first time folks imagined with me a “walkable-village,” where black folks walked-to-work, walked-to-shop, walked-to-learn, walked-to-play, like back in the day when I was a little girl; when folks danced with the idea that blacks were the Earth’s first environmentalists and today’s fierce advocates, by our own definition thank you very much; when I could feel my call to a livelihood where my ancestors were alive and blessing me with memories of their genius and sacrifice, and I was inspired to commit my heart to reviving their traditions on the field of solutions. That journey has been the best thing that ever happened to me. I have loved being with people.