Here in the city of Chicago, individuals and organizations work each and every day to ensure that our city is operating at the highest level of sustainability possible. To do so, many environmental policies and regulations have to be put into effect to accomplish our city’s goals. One environmental regulation implemented at the beginning of the 20th century to protect Chicago from over flooding from the great waves of Lake Michigan was the construction of wooden revetments along the most vulnerable parts of the shoreline. However, with information found from the City of Chicago “In the 1950’s, the wood piles began collapsing, leaving shoreline protection structures and park land to erode and wash away. Following in 1964, the year Chicago recorded the all-time lowest water levels on Lake Michigan, the wood piles became exposed and started rotting, further increasing the erosion process.” (Shoreline Protection Project.)
As a result, areas near the shoreline were at high risk of being damaged through flooding or erosion by the resilient waves of Lake Michigan. Natural, as well as man-made environments such as Lake Shore Drive, had to be shielded before excessive impairment could be done. Hence, in 1974 the City of Chicago and Congress joint with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to construct a new impervious framework to restore eight miles of deteriorated shoreline, known as the Chicago Shoreline Protection Project. (Wagstaff, M., & Michael Krecic) With a $300 million dollar budget approved in 1994 the new revetment system used durable steel timber piles and reinforced concrete instead of limestone. (Heath, J) The Chicago Shoreline Protection Project is a fine example of how the inter-relatedness between urban and national politics have to “shake hands” in regards to environmental issues. Michael Lerner in his book “The Politics of Meaning: Restoring Hope and Possibility in an Age of Cynicism” sums it altogether perfectly when introducing his five goals toward a progressive politic stating “To change the bottom line.” Many organization’s bottom line is to reach the highest level of wealth or power through profit maximization, however our goals must be completely different with respect to environmental issues. We must have a common understanding as well as a common ground to ensure a more sustainable future.
Wagstaff, M., & Michael Krecic, M. (n.d.). Rehabilitation Of The Chicago Shoreline: A Costal Engineering Perspective … Retrieved March 29, 2016, from http://www.fsbpa.com/05Proceedings/11-Krecic-Wagstaff.pdf
Heath, J. (n.d.). Chicago District. Retrieved March 29, 2016, from http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorksProjects/ChicagoShoreline.aspx
Shoreline Protection Project. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2016, from http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/supp_info/shoreline_protectionproject.html
Lerner, M. (1996). The Politics of Meaning: Restoring Hope and Possibility in an Age of Cynicism. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.