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It's Our Future

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All around the world, we see a growing concern for the heating planet, as shown by the estimated 4 million people who showed up for the Climate Strike rally on Sept. 20. On that day, the world became more aware of the young Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, and the many other young people who care about our planet's future.

Young climate leaders can be found around the world, including right here in Oak Park and River Forest. Some are joining the newly formed program, It's Our Future, started by Seven Generations Ahead in collaboration with One Earth Film Festival and multiple community partners. Through this program, we're getting support to equip us to advocate for climate change solutions — and our futures.

The need for such a group in our community is important because our generation's future is at stake. We only have little more than a decade to keep global warming to a minimum of 1.5 C, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The urgency of this prediction has ignited our collective energy to take action for our future.

To that end, It's Our Future provides a platform for local young leaders to mobilize our community in seeking effective climate solutions. Here's what we plan to do:

We will work alongside the PlanItGreen Core Team to ensure the Oak Park and River Forest communities can reach their stated sustainability goals. The 2018 PlanItGreen report card gave the community a D in the area of energy, a C for waste, and a B for environmental education. We have created our own PlanItGreen Youth Core Team to help improve the grade in those three vital areas:

We intend to urge OPRF High School to become more sustainable. We will advocate for the reduction of plastic and Styrofoam in the cafeteria, as well as the introduction of compost. Additionally, we will urge OPRF to buy green energy.

We want to see all the new developments, especially high-rises, become as environmentally friendly as possible, particularly in the area of energy usage. 

We will engage with leaders in the community about their important role in effectively addressing our local climate-related issues.

Many Oak Park and River Forest residents are already conscious of climate change and actively involved in local initiatives to combat it.

In fact, it was an Oak Park native, the late Wallace Smith Broecker, who is credited with popularizing the term "global warming." He is sometimes referred to as the "Grandfather of Climate Science." We want to follow in his footsteps by enacting change and spreading awareness about what is happening and what can be done.

Evidence continues to build that shows we are facing a climate crisis — and it's happening where we live.

In the Great Lakes area, frequent and heavy rainfalls are causing inconsistent water levels in Lake Michigan. Beaches on Chicago's lake shore are disappearing. Fish populations are changing. A report from the Environmental Law & Policy Center draws on the work of scientists and experts who have assessed how the shifting global climate impacts the Great Lakes region. We believe the science.

Although It's Our Future has big plans, we believe, as Greta said, "Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope, but I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire — because it is."

The time to take action is now. We can't delay. It's our future and we deserve to live it. 

We are still growing It's Our Future. We need more members to contribute their voices, their ideas. If you are between ages 12 and 21 and want to join us, email amy@sevengenerationsahead.org.

Charlotte Meyer, Ellie Raidt, Charles Roeger, Jess Senger, and Elizabeth Short are organizers of It's Our Future.

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Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 1:59 PM

Lets say there is no global or climate change. Would any one like to explain why the Ice Caps are melting so quickly, the weather patters have never been recorded to be the way they are and the Ocean's are warming. There is always going to be a group who says it is not true and a group that says it is true. Remember, engineers proved how two buildings could be flattened by two planes although Tower 7 which was never hit just fell down without any real explanation. People either except things or they are able to be manipulated into believing things because it requires no effort to think. Just think for a moment why things occur or at least think that things do occur. Without the collapse of the buildings there would be not occupation in the Middle East. Without the opposing side saying their is climate change, you would not have the opposite side saying it is not true and that allows the keep digging for oil even if it means digging in what is suppose to be protected lands. All you have to do is think and that part is just to difficult for some people to want to do. By the way, all of the scientists that disagree with climate change can be grouped in all of those engineers who said the planes knocked down the Tower's. You will always find opposing sides. Which one is right is your chose to believe

Neal Buer  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 1:12 PM

I noticed the article used the term "climate crisis". Well done as that term adds fear which was not evident in global warming and climate change. Those terms are so passť.

Adrian Rohrer  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 1:08 PM

@ Ray Simpson - Given the current administration, and their very proactive measures to push back against any admission of climate change as a valid issue, what reason would the fact that a scientist "derives their income" from a federal grant right now suggest a bias in favor of finding climate change as real? If anything , the exact opposite is true right now, and any scientists pushing a pro-climate change message right now run the risk of being cut off by the White House. There is so much more special interest money out there pushing AGAINST the idea that climate change is real that I'm always somewhat amused to hear "money" as a bias factor in relation to the pro-climate change camp.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 12:49 PM

@MO - and your scientific proof is? Actual verifiable data that has not been tinkered with! If you contend that 97% of actual scientists agree that anthropogenic climate change is real, who are they? What percent of your list derive their income from federal grants.

Michael O'Malley  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 11:38 AM

Mr. Simpson, you can't refute science with gibberish. Your entire post is nonsensical. Who are "they"? What computer search? By whom? Who ignored what? When was "several years ago"?

Ray Simpson  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 8:26 AM

Sorry that million number should have been 100,000 scientists. Still a big number of people who drink Kool-aide

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 8:19 AM

@ Neal Buer - Interesting that you bring up that 97% number. There is no list of all of the scientists and their resume's! Several years ago a computer search was done looking for technical papers related to "Climate Change" The result yielded about a thousand papers in a 2 year period. They next searched the abstracts for "Anthropogenic" and came up with 235 papers 97% of which implied verification of human causation. When they expanded the search to the entire papers the assumption dropped to 80% which was inconvenient to the argument, so it was ignored. Remember that very few technical papers are created to prove a negative and even fewer by people who might put federal grants at risk. There is a list of almost 3,000 real scientists, with their resumes who do not go along with the human caused climate change. Extend that to the universe of the false argument and you need to provide close to a million "scientists" who are in agreement. Just not reasonable!

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: December 2nd, 2019 7:49 PM

If you are looking for an interesting read, google Michael Mann lawsuit before the Canadian Supreme Court, where Mann filed a suit against Dr. Tim Ball who stated the Manns work was misleading. The Canadian Supreme Court dropped the case Mann filed against Ball even though Mann brought the case to court. If you can find the American Thinker article you will find a copy of a memo from one climatologist to another saying he used "manns tricks" or "mikes tricks" in stating data about climate change is misleading and the Mann hockey stick in Balls opinion is indeed false. Might have it wrong but Mark Styen has a civil suit against Mann here in the US. More to come. What fun.

Neal Buer  

Posted: December 2nd, 2019 7:27 PM


Neal Buer  

Posted: December 2nd, 2019 7:26 PM

I always hear that 97% of scientist agree... Here is my challenge - collect 100 people, ask them their opinion on any question in the world, and I will quarantine you you will not get a 97% consensus. There is an article from the AP dated June 29, 1989, that states - "A senior U. N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000." This was before we changed the term to climate change, so it may not count.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 1st, 2019 6:18 PM

Ray Simpson the taxes are going in to a general fund so they can be used for anything and there seems to be a shortage of money to put down some more green lines for bike's so maybe it will be used for that and that means it will help with the Global warming although I think there has been some mention about using the money for helping people that the use of cannabis has caused problems to

Ray Simpson  

Posted: December 1st, 2019 12:32 PM

Last week, sister village Evanston, IL committed to giving the proceeds from pot sales to pay "Reparations" to their black residents. Not to be outdone Oak Park should pledge it's proceeds to the UN Global Warming Folly! Perhaps it would provide some comfort to our dooms day worriers!

Monica Halloran  

Posted: October 23rd, 2019 1:58 PM

Thank you for your advocacy and your work. We need everyone to get on board.

Peggy Senger Morrison from Salem, Oregon  

Posted: October 18th, 2019 8:09 PM

OPRF class of 76. I applaud these young peoples intelligence, effort and focus. They are not looking back at the aging naysayers. The are going to act, not argue. We have failed them, but perhaps they will not fail us. My deepest gratitude.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park   

Posted: October 16th, 2019 2:54 PM

@ Kaylynn - the most precious gift we can give our kids is the ability to examine both sides of an issue and judge the facts to determine the truth. In actual science if you present a theorem with false data your whole belief must be judged to be false. Mr Haag and I are not misguided because we have refused to drink the koolaide and see sources for information that isn't progressive liberal disinformation. Teach our children HOW TO THINK never WHAT TO THINK!

Kaylynn Kiddo  

Posted: October 16th, 2019 12:32 PM

Great letter! Thanks for taking initiative and taking action. Earlier comments here seem misguided, given that you are high school kids determined to make a difference and respond to science. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

Edwin Haag  

Posted: October 16th, 2019 9:58 AM

Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old environmental activist who thoroughly enjoys sharing her frustration about the climate with the rest of the world. She is not a scientist nor offers any solutions to climate change. She is a media darling and a simple google search of her will result in 176 million results. Then we have Boyan Slat. He is a 23 year old inventor who designed the world's first ocean plastic removal machine at the age of 16. He continues to advance his technology and his solution involved no "carbon credits" and minimal cost. A google search of him will come up with 270,000 results. The media and those in power are not interested in solutions. They prefer their faux moral superiority to the masses as opposed to results.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: October 16th, 2019 8:53 AM

It might be a worthy effort to temper your "Political Science" with a healthy dose of "Actual Science." Where data is presented without, outcome desired, tinkering. Two weeks ago the temperature in Oak Park had a high of 88 and a low of 68 that is a 24 hour range of about 10 degrees Celsius, the hand wringers are panicked over a half degree C increase in the next 50 years. Will that half degree be at the top of our daily or as I hope, at the cooler side. There are about 3,000 actual "Scientists" who have looked at the manipulated data and have discredited it as "Drivel" Al Gore has become a multi-millionaire selling Carbon Credits and this is just the next step in his ever growing empire.

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