This is the first edition of “Our Changing Climate,” and we need your help. Our goal for the column is to provide unbiased information about climate change from a local perspective, presented by a variety of local authors. We hope that you, the readers, will tell us what you want to know about the subject of climate change, and we will do our best to find expert, science-based answers. In this first edition, we will touch on how the subject of climate change is finding its way into the news, and we will highlight local activities.
NBC devoted its last “Meet the Press” broadcast of 2018 entirely to the subject of climate change. Tom Skilling, a chief meteorologist for WGN-TV, regularly reports on climate change and speaks about the subject in the Chicago area.
Chief meteorologist Mark Henderson of WIFR, Channel 23 in Rockford, also has discussed weather-related extremes in connection to a warming planet, as well as the distinction between weather and climate.
The November 2018 federally mandated report to Congress and to the president stated, “Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life and the rate of economic growth.”
Locally, DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith recently joined more than 400 other U.S. mayors who are working to protect the climate. The Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District – serving the city of DeKalb, Northern Illinois University and surrounding DeKalb County area – is on its way to achieving a goal of being energy-neutral by 2030. As part of the program, the district has a drop-off program for disposing of cooking oils and grease, which can be used to create electricity. The Sycamore-based Citizen Advocates for a Sustainable Environmental Committee meets regularly to discuss ways to address climate change. These are only a few of the current area climate-related activities.
The idea of a monthly column on climate change is the brainchild of 350Kishwaukee, a DeKalb-based, all-volunteer nonprofit. Named after the Kishwaukee River Watershed, the organization exists to allow everyone to participate in the global climate change movement.
350Kishwaukee is 3 years old and was incorporated Jan. 1, 2016, in Illinois. The organization regularly hosts education-based events, including climate-related forums. It spawned the Save Our Illinois Land nonprofit, and it acts as the fiscal sponsor for other climate-based organizations, including Chicago 350.
For our next column, we hope to have a local scientist discuss the difference between climate and weather, how the two are related and how our climate is changing. Please let us know if you know of someone – maybe you – who might be willing to submit unbiased articles to this column. Of course, as we mentioned above, please tell us what you want to know about the subject of climate change.
• Meryl Greer Domina of DeKalb is co-chairwoman of 350Kishwaukee, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the Kishwaukee River Watershed that exists to allow everyone to participate in the global climate change movement.