Catalyst Spring 2015


Exemplifying Change at the Local Level

Photo of Kim Stone

An internship at the Union of Concerned Scientists changed the trajectory of UCS National Advisory Board member Kim Stone’s life.

In college, Stone planned to become an artist. But after becoming involved with educational programs on climate change and safer nuclear technologies at UCS, she chose to pursue her passion for environmental issues, earning a master’s degree in public policy and working for nonprofit organizations.

Now a city councilwoman in Highland Park, IL, Stone is creating a local culture of conservation. She cares deeply about energy efficiency, minimizing global warming emissions, and reducing waste. At home, her family of four puts out just one barrel of trash every few weeks. But in her work she says she is careful not to appear sanctimonious to constituents and colleagues.

“I’m very conscious of figuring out how to get people on board and to take action without making them feel guilty. I try to come up with positive ideas and suggestions,” she says.

The Start of a Movement?

Her strategy has proved successful: since her election, Stone has facilitated the purchase of energy-efficient equipment for Highland Park municipal buildings and helped bring car sharing to the Chicago suburb. Next, she hopes to update local building codes to incentivize energy-efficient improvements. “Solar, wind power, green roofs: these technologies are difficult to implement right now because of the codes,” she says.

Stone says she ran for office to help accelerate the pace of change on environmental issues, and encourages other UCS members to take similar action in their communities. She has even volunteered to share her experience and skills with Catalyst readers considering a run for local office.

“We need more people with environmental expertise to be involved in elected offices,” she says. “If we effect change at the local level, we’ll set an example that others will follow.”

Readers can connect with Kim Stone by emailing