Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=100523
Story Retrieval Date: 5/21/2013 2:20:37 AM CST
Polar explorer and environmental activist Will Steger is bringing the longest summer to Chicago.
The Longest Summer Tour kicks off here on Tuesday to raise awareness about global warming.with forums at the University of Chicago at 1:30 p.m. and on Northwestern University's Evanston campus at 4:30 p.m.
Steger is headlining the tour with his eyewitness accounts of traveling through the polar regions for more than 30 years. He will participate in both forums.
Lt Gov. Patrick Quinn is set to speak at the University of Chicago forum along with Steve Wiesenthal, an associate vice-president at the university and university architect.
At Northwestern, Melissa Hulting, climate change coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will be speaking with Tobias Thorleifsson, an avid Norwegian polar explorer.
The tour, presented by the Will Steger Foundation, brings together students, faculty members, policy-makers, environmental advocates and curious citizens to converse about climate change.
Running until Wednesday, Oct. 22, this 10-day tour will travel across the upper Midwest, making stops at 11 college and university campuses in seven cities throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.
Each university venue will feature a panel with climate experts, faculty members, local policy-makers and two student representatives. The discussion will focus on the impact of climate change at global, national and local levels.
The first goal of the tour is to educate people, said Abby Fenton, education program manager for the Will Steger Foundation. “The second piece is really an inspiration and an empowerment message,” Fenton said.
She said the tour aims to draw attention to student initiatives led by student leaders who are already working on climate change solutions and to help support their efforts while connecting them with state-wide, established networks.
Fenton launched the Will Steger Foundation’s emerging leaders program to promote global warming awareness among young adults aged 17-28.
“One of the things that we’re trying to do with the emerging leaders program is to support state networks of student climate leaders,” said Fenton.
Twenty-one-year-old Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, who has been working with climate change movements across the country for the past five years, will be a guest speaker at the two Illinois forums.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to inspire youth," he said, adding that he hopes they will see "the power of their own involvement both from the political process but also beyond that in really rebuilding our local economies.”
DenHerder-Thomas, a student at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and 2008 Brower Youth Award recipient, said he’ll speak specifically about how young people have been working around the country to “make both policy change (and) also local change in their communities towards a clean energy future and solutions to global warming.”
Fenton said the tour hopes to plug students into a growing generational movement that’s taking place nationally to address climate change by “supporting those emerging leaders who are already doing things.”
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” she said. “Students and young people are already active” and the tour is one way to help support their efforts,” she added.
The tour is made possible through funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Program Office and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The forums are free, but attendees need to register with on-sight computers and are encouraged to arrive 10-15 minutes before events are set to begin.
The University of Chicago event is at Swift Lecture Hall and the Northwestern event is at the Norris University Center.