Monday, December 1, 2008

Government Field, Sustainability Category

Emcee: Debra Poneman

Mr. Sadhu Johnston is Chief Environmental Office for the city of Chicago. As Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Chief Environmental Officer, Johnston is responsible for oversight of all City of Chicago environmental initiatives.

Prior to serving in this capacity, Johnston served as the Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Environment, or DOE. He was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley in July of 2005 after serving as the Assistant to the Mayor for Green Initiatives. His responsibilities as commissioner included the overall management of DOE, which administers programs to protect and restore Chicago's natural resources, reduce waste, clean up brown fields, promote energy efficiency and reliability, educate the public about environmental issues, and enforce the City's environmental protection laws.

To quote the Time magazine article entitled The Greening of Chicago:
Chicago, a blue-collar city of asphalt and glass and concrete canyons, would seem an odd place for admitted tree-hugger Sadhu Johnston to think he could save the planet. But Johnston, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s environmental commissioner, believes that cities are actually the answer to the earth's environmental ills. And with that in mind, he is working to turn Chicago into what he claims will be the most environmentally friendly city in the U.S. — as well as the nation's center for environmental design and the manufacturing of components for the production of alternative energy.

If it works — and Daley is betting a hefty sum it will, with promises to buy millions in solar panels, for example — the green movement here is expected to yield the city perhaps billions in saved energy costs and new business. “This is way beyond tree hugging in Chicago," said Johnston. "This is about quality of life. What we're talking about is creating a city that exists in harmony with the world, a place that can be a model. Cities have long been hurtful to the environment. Raw materials came in and waste went out. We're trying to redefine that relationship, and cities can be models."
For that forward thinking, we are honored to induct Mr. Sadhu Johnston into the Hall of Fame and before we call him up and give him his due applause, Mr. Johnston will also be accepting an award for Mayor Richard M. Daley.