I have been inspired to see so many young people across the globe, such as Vanessa Nakate in Uganda, Autumn Peltier in Canada, Greta Thunberg in Sweden, and Mari Copeny in Michigan, raising their voices and demanding that local, national, and world leaders take action to avoid the catastrophe that will result if we do nothing about climate change. Young people in Bloomington-Normal have also taken the lead, for instance, by organizing a climate strike in September 2019 that drew hundreds of people. They demanded that, among other things, Congress to pass a Green New Deal and Illinois enact the Clean Energy Jobs Act.
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After the Bloomington-Normal climate strike, a group of people formed the Climate Action Campaign. Our immediate goal is for Bloomington and Normal to put in place a climate action plan that protects residents at risk during extreme heat and cold. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, by mid-century, Bloomington-Normal will go from seven to 41 days/year with a heat index over 100 degrees. Stretches of extreme cold are also getting more frequent. Community members who are housing insecure or who do not have adequate heating, cooling, or water will increasingly be in danger during extreme weather.
We call on Bloomington and Normal to immediately adopt a climate action plan that enacts measures such as offering facilities where folks can cool off or warm up during extreme heat or cold; creating a weather command center to coordinate services; and prohibiting water shut-offs during extreme heat.