Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- WGN-TV/Channel 9 meteorologist Tom Skilling will be the keynote speaker for a public forum on “Climate Change: The Issues, the Consequences, the Challenges” at St. Irenaeus Church in Park Forest on June 23. The church is located at the corner of Indianwood Boulevard and Orchard Drive and the event, which runs from 2 to 4 p.m., is free to the public.
He will be joined on the program by Deer Park Mayor Dales Sands, an internationally renowned authority on climate disasters, and by John A. Ostenburg, former mayor of Park Forest and the immediate past chair of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Environment Committee.
Congresswoman Robin Kelly is tentatively scheduled to provide a federal perspective on the topic of climate change, depending on her availability.
Tom Skilling will celebrate his 41st anniversary as a member of the WGN staff in August. He serves as the superstation’s chief meteorologist and appears weekdays on three weather broadcasts daily. He is respected both regionally and nationally for his expertise on matters relating to weather and is a frequent speaker on weather and climate. He is the holder of honorary doctorates from Aurora University, Lewis University, and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. In 2018, he was honored by the Illinois Broadcasters Association as its “Broadcast Pioneer” of the year. He acknowledges that he was not always a believer in the threat of climate change but has changed his mind based on the evidence that he has witnessed.
In addition to his role as mayor of Deer Park, Dale Sands is an internationally respected consultant on matters relating to climate change and disaster. He is the co-chair of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction Public Sector Initiative known as ARISE. He also was the author of the chapter on “Adaptation” for the National Climate Assessment Report. He has held numerous management positions worldwide and has master’s degrees in environmental science and business administration, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He will speak on worldwide disasters that have been caused by climate change.
As chairperson for the Environment Committee of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, an organization of 270 municipalities in the Chicago region, John Ostenburg oversaw the development of the MMC’s Greenest Region Compact, to which 125 communities are signatories. While mayor of Park Forest, the town developed its award-winning sustainability plan, Growing Green, and also gained national status by becoming one of fewer than 60 municipalities nationwide to receive the prestigious Four-Star rating as a STAR community. He will speak on the encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si, that deals with stewardship of the environment.
The event is sponsored by the Park Forest People of Faith, an inter-domination group of Park Forest residents concerned about peace and social issues.