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Testimony for Public Hearing

Appropriations Committee
April 26, 2017

Margot Schwamb
1934 N Washtenaw Ave, #409
Chicago, IL 60647

S.B. No. H20 (Committee) A Resolution to mandate climate

change impact assessments for all infrastructure

improvement, redevelopment and development projects.

Representative Quigly, Members of the Committee. Thank

you for the opportunity to be here today to testify in support

of Resolution H20. I am here today not only as a concerned

citizen but also as a spokesman for hope in the future. I am

the founder of The Village Green in Chicago, a creative

cooperative of educators and aspiring environmental

innovators who collaborate on green development projects

to serve our collective communities. Since 2015, we have

inspired over 200 students from fields such as agriculture,

art, botany and engineering to learn innovative design and

since then they have designed and built over 30 structures

including a beautiful wildlife overpass that reconnects

wildlife to their natural habitat and a high-tech water

management system to manage saltwater intrusion.

I founded The Village Green because I wanted to cultivate

and nurture creative problem solving in the environmental

field. I have a BS in environmental science and Im fully

aware of what the data show. I am a person, however, who

cant shake the responsibility, albeit self imposed, of trying

to make things right and that is why I am here today. Ive

seen what can happen when people, all sorts of people, put

their heads together to make things better.

Climate change is tricky, not because its hard to be sure it

exists, but because its hard to predict. But that doesnt

mean we shouldnt try. Scientists are coming together to

share what they know; climate scientists, biologists,

physicists, and engineers. We now have global climate

modeling systems using computer technology so that we can

perform what if analyses and simulations. Now, policy

makers can sit at that table and discuss approaches such as

mitigation or adaptation and general risk management.

Americas infrastructure is in desperate need of repair or

replacement. More than that, it needs modernization so that

it can withstand the new environmental landscape. This has

always been the case. Improvements in materials and

methods have and always will come along after that bridge

or dam is built. No longer can we use the test of time as a

measurement, however, because the climate of the past is

no longer the climate of the future. We have to adapt and

become flexible, agile in how we move forward. The planning

process for infrastructure projects will need to incorporate

the new environmental landscape, which includes climate

change. Conducting a climate change impact assessment to

create a map of this new landscape will provide much

needed information to decision makers when determining a

course of action. This will enable a scientifically sound (and

defensible) determination of 1) which structures are at most

risk of failure; and 2) which failures will have the greatest

impact to loss of life. Further, the incorporation of

development priorities in the assessment will save time and

money from being invested in lower precedence, lower

payoff ventures.

Resolution H20 is a proactive, smart and cost-effective

approach to strengthening Americas infrastructure from the

inside out.