Alderman, husband, to be honored for environmental work


Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) attends a city council meeting. Revelle and her husband are being honored for their environmental work at a dinner in November.

Nora Shelly, City Editor

Alderman Eleanor Revelle (7th) and her husband William are being honored for their environmental work by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

The two are to be recognized at The Bulletin’s annual dinner in November. The Bulletin is a group originally started by scientists involved in the Manhattan Project. The group, located in Hyde Park, now runs a public access website that intends to inform residents about the planet’s future, said the Bulletin’s executive director and publisher Rachel Bronson.

The group usually recognizes civic leaders with connections to the organization, Bronson said. She said the Bulletin decided to honor both Revelles together because it was hard to separate their work from one another. Eleanor Revelle was a two-term president of Citizens’ Greener Evanston and also chairs the League of Women Voters Climate Action Task Force.

“We try to honor those who respect and engage the science but who themselves are civic leaders,” she said. “We get to experience Bill’s contributions on a daily basis…but Eleanor and Bill are really a unit, and so it would make sense to honor them together.”

The Revelles have always been supportive of the Bulletin, Bronson said. William Revelle, who is a Northwestern professor, serves on the board. He helped the group evaluate their Doomsday Clock. Each year, the board evaluates the “existential” threat to mankind, primarily focusing on the proliferation of nuclear weapons, Eleanor Revelle said. Her husband first urged the group to include climate change as a factor in the clock.

In a news release sent out by The Bulletin, the group said they are recognizing the Revelles for their “early recognition that climate change poses a threat to humanity.”

Revelle was the president of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, until she stepped down after being appointed as the 7th ward alderman earlier this year. She was crucial in helping to pass the Livability Plan, said CGE’s current president Jonathan Nieuwsma.

The plan helped reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 13 percent by 2012 and by more than 18.6 percent by the end of 2015, Nieuwsma said.

The Revelles have done a lot of good for not only Evanston, but the nation as well, Nieuwsma said, and Eleanor Revelle has helped the city correct more than just environmental issues.

“One of Eleanor’s last things she did as CGE president before she had to step down was to remind us all that CGE’s mandate is not only to make Evanston more environmentally sustainable, but also economically and socially sustainable,” he said. “Most of our focus had been on the environmental stability part…but now we are starting to concentrate on the social sustainability and environmental justice.”

Nieuwsma said Eleanor Revelle helped “get the ball rolling” on some of CGE’s efforts to make the city livable in aspects apart from environmental justice.

The Revelles have a family history of environmental work. William Revelle’s father was a well-known oceanographer who first correlated the rise of carbon dioxide levels with global warming, Eleanor Revelle said.

The two also live in a environmentally-friendly house in Evanston’s 7th ward.

Revelle said she was happy to receive the group’s praise.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized,” she said.

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