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The Daily Northwestern

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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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Climate Hope event generates joy in Evanston climate community

Evanston%E2%80%99s+Climate+Hope+event+brought+together+residents%2C+activists%2C+students+and+climate+organizations+to+discuss+their+feelings+about+climate+change.
Lily Ogburn/The Daily Northwestern
Evanston’s Climate Hope event brought together residents, activists, students and climate organizations to discuss their feelings about climate change.

When Jessy Bradish, a board member for Climate Action Evanston, took out her ukelele and played a song about climate action for a crowd of community members at Sunday’s Climate Hope event, the audience applauded her witty lyrics. 

Bradish’s performance was one of many testimonies during the event’s open mic, where residents and organizers discussed their feelings about climate change and their hopes for the future. 

CAE, an organization that works with residents, businesses, faith communities and city government on climate action in Evanston, helped organize the event in collaboration with Evanston Township High School’s E-Town Sunrise and Fossil Free Northwestern. 

Around 40 residents made their way through tables inside Arrington Lakefront Lagoon shelter at Dawes Park, creating crafts, reading educational materials and engaging in conversations with other community members. 

Event organizers said they wanted to spark dialogue among residents, students and activists about climate change, and share ideas for how to build a more sustainable future. 

Milo Slevin, an ETHS senior and the hub coordinator for E-Town Sunrise, said the event’s purpose was to instill hope in a topic surrounded by “doomism.” 

“There’s just a lot of negativity, and it’s really hard to stay positive when the world is at stake,” Slevin said. “We feel like there needs to be a space for climate hope.”

Slevin also highlighted that Climate Hope was an “intergenerational event.” People of all ages attended the event to discuss climate solutions and learn about local organizations. 

According to Bradish, the idea for the event stemmed from conversations among collaborators after an Oct. 6 presentation at Northwestern by Adam Aron, a professor from the University of California San Diego. Following the presentation, members of E-Town Sunrise wanted to promote hope in climate activism and started planning the event alongside the other activist groups. 

Bradish said she hoped attendees would “make new friends that they can do actions with together, and that they see there’s other people that also care.”

She also noted that most Americans are anxious about climate change.

“The fossil fuel companies probably want us to be hopeless because it’ll be easier to continue their path of business as usual,” she said. “We have to have hope, so we believe we can change.”

Fossil Free members, Bienen sophomore Alex Neuser and Weinberg sophomore Ruth Debono, also attended Climate Hope. Debono said that climate can feel like “a hopeless space,” so they wanted to work with Evanston climate organizations on the event. 

Neuser and Debono acknowledged the need for NU students to continuously collaborate with students and leaders in Evanston to work on climate solutions.

“Northwestern can be such an isolating little bubble,” Neuser said. “As Northwestern students, we’re just guests in this bigger Evanston community, and so I think it’s really important that we reach out and get in touch with the community.” 

Bradish and Slevin said the organizations hope to collaborate to host similar events in the future.

“If you’re worried about climate change, you’re not alone. Talk to people about it,” Bradish said. We have way more power than we think.” 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @LilyOgburn

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