Aurora Beacon-News Local News

Geneva meeting gives residents a look at proposed Kane County climate action plan


Kane County residents had a chance to get a look at the county’s proposed Climate Action Implementation Plan during a public meeting Tuesday night at the Geneva Public Library.

The plan represents the work of an 82-person volunteer team, including community members and business representatives, along with county and municipal staff members, as well as consultant paleBLUEdot, officials said. The proposal was also influenced by results from 1,000 participants who responded to a countywide survey.

According to a press release, the plan “aims to increase resilience to climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a target of 25% below 2019 levels by 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”

District 4 Kane County Board member Mavis Bates, who also serves as chair of the board’s Energy and Environmental Committee, said work on the plan began over six months ago and that the county “needed a climate action plan in order to do our part locally for what is a global problem of climate change and climate warming.”

The 90-minute meeting Tuesday was led by Ted Redmond from the Maplewood, Minnesota-based paleBLUEdot.

He said the proposed climate action plan is arranged in sections “with cross-community impact zones – everything from transportation to buildings to green space and trees and economy.”

Redmond said for each section “we have included organized, strategic goals and the goals in general are addressing greenhouse gas reduction or adaptation resilience kind of considerations and each of those are backed up with a menu of actions. The plan is structured in such a way that both the county itself can use it as a guide for their actions but also local municipalities and governments in Kane County.”

Redmond said that in terms of changes people might see in the short run, “a lot of what comes out of this is a large amount of information and education.”

“A lot of this is promoting what we already know,” he said. “Information that is available – tax credits, incentives, awareness of technology and how it can help. There’s sort of an education campaign that comes out of it. Within the waste section, we’re looking for reduction of waste overall and increased recycling and increased organics diversion – getting less in the landfill.”

Kane County Board member Mavis Bates talks to the crowd while Ted Redmond from consulting group paleBLUEdot listens in the background during a meeting Tuesday night in Geneva focusing on Kane County's proposed Climate Action Implementation Plan.
Kane County Board member Mavis Bates talks to the crowd while Ted Redmond from consulting group paleBLUEdot listens in the background during a meeting Tuesday night in Geneva focusing on Kane County’s proposed Climate Action Implementation Plan. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-News)

Redmond said similar plans in other communities have been “pretty successful” including one in Northbrook in the Chicago area “whose plan is just a couple of years old.”

“Their annual updates – they are illustrating reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Not all of their goals have been hit yet, but they’re just a couple of years old,” he said.

A crowd of well over 60 attended the meeting in Geneva Tuesday with many offering mixed views about the proposed plan.

Terri Titus of St. Charles said she had a lot of questions about how plans would be implemented and the costs involved.

“Reading it, they want to put more people per acre and they want 99,000 electric cars in seven years – this concerns me,” she said. “Where does the electricity come from? I don’t think the environment is going down and I’d like to see how they’d implement this with all our taxes and what would happen to all the waste.”

Marie Ziegler of St. Charles said she was interested in learning more but doesn’t “believe all this climate change stuff they promote.”

“We’re wondering why they are spending all this money. I’m not sure all of this is necessary,” she said. “I feel like I need to be convinced why this is necessary.”

Madison Watson, 16, of Geneva, admitted she was there for a school assignment but said as a young person she is concerned about the environment.

“This may sound like a cliche but global warning, it’s definitely a concern. A lot of people think it’s fake – but no,” Watson said. “I’m encouraged that a lot of people stepped forward. As far as what I can do, coming here is the first thing so I can learn about it and see what I can do. Looking ahead I’m kind of thinking of going into landscape designing and see if there is anything I can do there.”

Two more public meetings are planned on the proposal, at the Aurora Public Library, Eola Road Branch, on Feb. 21 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and at the Hawthorne Hill Nature Center in Elgin on Feb. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The plan is also available for review online and comment until Feb. 29 at https://palebluedot.llc/kane-climate-action

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.



David Sharos , 2024-02-08 12:00:55

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