Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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NU alum takes on role of co-chair at Climate Action Evanston

Courtesy of Jack Jordan
NU alum Jack Jordan says nobody is too small to make a change toward climate action.

From majoring in environmental sciences and American studies at Northwestern to serving as  a co-chairman of the Board of Directors for a local environmental advocacy organization Climate Action Evanston, Jack Jordan (Weinberg ’22) said anyone can impact climate action.  

During his senior year at NU, Jordan wrote his American Studies honors thesis about the role of public participation in climate action throughout Evanston’s history, combining his passion for policy and preventing climate change. This work formed his connection with Climate Action Evanston and allowed him to identify the main challenges and solutions the city faces.

“A lot of the efficacy or the success of climate action comes down to how you get people involved and how they see themselves in the creation of the plan,” Jordan said. “I think that’s what we’re trying to do with Climate Action Evanston is continue to get as many people involved.”

Jordan assumed his role on Sept. 1 alongside Climate Action co-chairman Joel Freeman. The two work to ensure the effectiveness of the organization. Increasing resident engagement in fighting climate change is one of their driving goals, Jordan said.

Though both bring a different perspective and contribution to Climate Action, there is a common force behind their work – a fight against climate change.  

“Jack’s trying to connect with students at Northwestern,” Freeman said. “We’re trying to populate different kinds of boards and commissions throughout the city. There are people on the Environment Board; there are people on the Utilities Commission, so we’re trying to reach out to all the places that we can.”

Jordan said Climate Action focuses on working with NU and Evanston Township High School students. The group is also in contact with Chicago Field Studies students to establish internships at Climate Action Evanston, Jordan said.

Additionally, the group has an application open for student board members on their website.

Leslie Shad, CAE’s Natural Habitat Program Lead, said CAE has “space on the board for either Northwestern or high school students.” Young people advocating on behalf of climate action programs are important voices to be heard, Shad said. 

Climate Action engages community members through events. Saturday’s Harvest Festival, run by two of Climate Action’s programs — Edible Evanston and Natural Habitat Evanston — “saw tons of different people that were out learning about climate action,” Jordan said. Each of the group’s five programs focuses on a different area of sustainability in Evanston.

“We get some new blood in there, whether they’re students from Northwestern or Evanston Township High School — or more importantly, if they’re people that have never, never been engaged with climate action,” Jordan said. 

Besides supporting energy, waste, food-growing, wildlife habitat and environmental justice programs, Jordan said Climate Action will focus on building a network that can address issues with engagement.

He said Evanston residents are lucky to live in a place where there is already an environmental plan in place and people who care about it. The next step is to get the city organized and aligned with a mission, Jordan said. 

“I see that we have the potential to make a much greater difference,” Jordan said. “If there’s one thing that doing this work has taught me is that the whole idea that an individual can’t make a difference is completely false because I work with a number of individuals who show that you can make a difference in climate action every day.” 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @_megija

Related Stories: 

—​​ Citizens’ Greener Evanston changes name to Climate Action Evanston

—​​ As Evanston works to cut carbon emissions, locals say affordable solutions are key

—​​ Evanston Harvest Festival leaves residents falling for autumnal celebrations

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