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Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007 03:18 pm

Turning up the heat

Environmentalists push to make global warming a campaign issue

Untitled Document On Nov. 3, thousands of people across the country will dip an index finger in green ink, congregate in such historic places as the Lincoln Memorial or along Paul Revere’s route, and remind political leaders that their stand on global warming will affect the outcome of next fall’s election.
Springfield environmentalists and social activists will play their part in the national Step It Up campaign by hosting two events this weekend, both geared toward addressing global climate change. On Saturday, Nov. 3, a vigil and rally will start at noon in front of the Federal Building, at Sixth and Monroe. Diane Lopez Hughes, one of the event’s main organizers, says that the crowd will urge Springfield’s political and business leaders to realize that global warming is a problem that affects the heart of the city. “We all share the same air,” Hughes says. “It also makes good business sense in terms of growth for the community,” she adds, “because people desire to live in cities where the quality of living is healthy and progressive.”
These leaders, along with the general public, are also invited to what’s being called the “Cool Town Meeting,” 2-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at First Presbyterian Church, 321 S. Seventh St. Featured speakers are Jim Bonacum, a biology professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, and Chris Young, outdoors editor and photographer for the State-Journal Register. The goal, Hughes says, is to get leaders to listen to the concerns of Springfield residents. “Businesses and other leaders in our community really move to act when they know citizens in the community are behind them,” Hughes says. “That’s what we want to try to get accomplished with this town meeting.”
Co-sponsors are the Sangamon Valley Group of the Sierra Club, Community Energy Systems, Cool Cities Springfield, First Presbyterian Church, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Jubilee Farm, the Justice and Peace Office of the Franciscan Sisters, the Mary Wood Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Pax Christi Springfield, the St. Joseph Parish Environmental Justice Committee, Sustainable Springfield Inc., and UIS Students Allied for a Greener Earth.

Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com
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