Climate Change Forum a Great Success

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By Elizabeth J. Guscott-Mueller, Event Chair


Our League had a terrific turnout—about 175 attendees—for our climate change forum, "Post-Election Analysis: The Future of Climate Change Strategy in a New Administration," on Saturday, November 12, 2016, and the feedback has been excellent. Video of the event will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Our presenters were terrific, and we are so grateful for their generous donation of time. Tom Skilling, WGN-TV Meteorologist, left a house full of newly arrived guests from Australia to join us. Doug Sisterson, Research Meteorologist with Argonne National Laboratory, drove all the way from Homer Glen, and Mary Gade, former Regional Administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, drove 6 hours round trip from Wisconsin to join the panel. ‎ They also spent a great deal of time on conference calls and through email to develop, prepare, and organize the forum as well as participating in a conference call the day after the election to complete our preparation in light of the election results. Finally, all three of them stayed afterward to individually speak with audience members.

Tom Skilling coordinated with us to post our flyer and some promotional material on his blog and the WGN weather website. He also announced the event on television, providing us with audience members from as far away as Elmhurst. Tom's generosity of time and spirit cannot be overemphasized.

The outstanding turnout and smooth operation of the event could not have been accomplished without the teamwork that was practiced throughout our planning and preparation. I am grateful to my Co-Vice-Presidents of Program, Carol Gayle and Sharon Borg, for all of their efforts and assistance with this event. Many thanks to Sharon Borg for organizing our Climate Change Interest Group and the Board of Directors to distribute and post flyers, label, stamp, and send out postcards (many thanks, Helen Potsic!), and to volunteer on the day of the event. Carol Gayle coordinated with LFTV to record and broadcast the event and assisted in the preparation of articles for the newsletter publicizing the event. Also, Carol Gayle reached out to the Lake Forest College community, which accounted for many of the college students present in the audience.

Also, many thanks to Co-Moderator David Mueller, who guided the panel through an interactive panel discussion, interweaving audience questions with his environmental expertise to elicit informative and engaging responses from the panel. David also spent a morning with the staff at the Lake Forest Library Media Lab, compiling all of Tom Skilling's slides and Doug Sisterson's video into a single PowerPoint presentation for the program. David also assisted in audience development: after we researched the current curriculum at the high school, he reached out to Lake Forest High School Social Studies Department Chair Stephen Dunn, resulting in many high school students and teachers in attendance. This goal is something we have been working toward for the last year, and it was gratifying to see it materialize in such a significant manner on Saturday.  

Kudos also go to Marilyn Turchi for her membership and registration efforts on the day of the event, Wyn Cain for coordinating with Carol Russ, Nicki Snoblin, Mary Mathews, and myself the posts for e-alerts, the website, and Facebook, and to Steve Potsic and Wyn Cain for their cooperation with us in the space arrangements with Gorton.

Our volunteers on the day of the event included Sharon Borg, Carol Gayle, Marilyn Turchi, David Mueller, Wyn Cain, Carol Russ, Cynthia McKenzie, Anne Sorensen, Linda Bartmes, Russell Bartmes, Beth Berg, Zhuming Smith and her daughter. Many thanks to each of you.

Also, our Climate Change Interest Group and Board of Directors posted flyers ‎throughout the community. Thank you to you all.

In addition, Lisa Dietrich of the Lake Forest Bookstore has agreed to order additional copies of Doug Sisterson's book that he wrote with last year's Climate Change speaker, Seth Darling, entitled How to Change Minds About Our Changing Climate. It sold out again this year after the program, but will be available at the bookstore.

The future of climate change strategy in this new administration is uncertain and, based on the information we received Saturday, possibly in peril. I am confident, however, in the League's ability to effectively educate and inform the public in a way that empowers individuals and the community to seek solutions and advocate for local, state, and national policy that contributes to the betterment of our government and society at large, and, ultimately, the choices we make to protect our environment. Our collective efforts toward Saturday's successful forum demonstrate that effectiveness.