Carbondale Community Resilience Fair introduces environmental changes to the community

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Dominique Martinez-Powell | @dmartinez_powell.photography

The Carbondale Resilience Fair panel discusses Justin Schoof’s presentation, An Overview of Climate Science (and implications for Southern Illinois), Aug. 28, 2021 in Carbondale, Ill. “We have choices…We’re locked into some impacts from climate change but we have great choices in front of us about how serious those impacts have to be,” Justin Schoof said.

The Carbondale Community Resilience Fair is the first one to come to Carbondale. The Resilience Fair was held over Zoom on Aug. 28 to discuss climate change in Illinois and how Carbondale plans to initiate environmental change in the city. 

The Resilience Fair was put on by the Carbondale Sustainability Commision, which aims to make Carbondale more environmentally sustainable, and other organizations that also want to better Carbondale’s sustainability. The fair’s main goal was to educate and inform people about what environmentally sustainable practices are going on in the Carbondale community. 

Amy McMorrow Hunter, founder and sponsor Climate Economy Education Inc., is one of the event organizers. She said… 

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“I am one of the organizations running the fair. It is being organized by the Climate Economy Education Inc. which is a non-profit which I am the President and CEO of. It is also being organized by The Southern Illinois Cooperative Business fund  

Thirteen organizations came to the event, including The Carbondale Sustainability Commission, Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois and SIU-C’s Students Embracing Nature Sustainability Environmentalism (SENSE).

Brenna Whitley, a student representative for SIU-C at the Sustainability Commision and also a member of SENSE, said they hope the fair will get more students involved with improving the environment.

“I would love it if we had a really good representation of our student population from SIU and there is a number of takeaways that I would like students to gain from this event. I would love to see students understand the opportunities here in Carbondale,” Whitley said.

During the fair’s panel, which discussed Carbondale’s sustainability action plan, Justin Schoof, a Geography Professor at SIU-C, spoke on the effects that climate change has had on Illinois.

“I am going to be talking about the climate change that has happened in our region and the climate change that may potentially happen in our region. I will talk a little bit about the causes and the impacts of those changes,” Schoof said.

Gary Williams, the Carbondale city manager spoke on the future plans Carbondale has to combat climate change. 

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“We charged the sustainability commission with developing a climate action plan… the purpose of the plan is to present some aspirational goals to the city council… to see how we can reduce our energy usage,” Williams said.

Saxon Metzger, a member of the Sustainability Commission talked about the action plan and how it will benefit the Carbondale area.Sean Parks, program manager of the Value-added Sustainability Development Center, will speak about how co-ops can help improve the community and environment.

The action plan was organized by the Carbondale Sustainability Commision. The action plan’s purpose is to provide better insight about what plans the city of carbondale has to move forward with making Carbondale a more environmentally sustainable place.

Metzger focused on showing how the action plan will help improve Carbondale

Williams talked about some of the operations they have now that are helping the community. He stated that Carbondale is a certified tree city, which has allowed Carbondale to plant more trees and a recycling program.

Schoof said carbon dioxide is the main cause of climate change, and the last decade has been some of the warmest on record.

Metzger said switching to renewable energy will result in a massive reduction in fossil fuels and expanding the recycling program would reduce the expansion of landfills.

Parks said he works with co-operatives, and believes they can also help improve the environment because the democratic structure allows businesses to make decisions based on community needs instead of profit.

“We know with more certainty than ever what climate change is doing to our environment and to our natural systems, to our economy. We know we have solutions to fix that,” Hunter said.

Staff reporter Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram at janiyah_reports.

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Tags: Janiyah Gaston, SIUC, Daily Egyptian, Carbondale, Environment, Sustainability Commision, Climate Change, Breanna Whitley, Amy McMorrow Hunter, Justin Schoof, Sean Parks, Gary Williams, Saxon Metzger, Jane Cogie, Resilience Fair

 

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