After years of research and writing, Mark Schwiebert has decided to take the next step in his efforts to fight climate change. The former Rock Island mayor and alderman has established a fund that will award grants each year for environmental education and studies.
"One is to serve as an educational instrument to try to better inform the public about the serious and very real problems that climate change represents for our survival as a species. And part of it is to look at research and development of new products or processes that could be more environmentally responsible."
He calls it "one of THE great issues of our time" that's not getting the attention it deserves.
"But we're having strange and increasingly weird weather cycles and it's all influenced by what we humans are doing in terms of the pollution that we're putting into the atmosphere and the way we're using up the earth's resources at a reckless and irresponsible rate - it's just not sustainable."
The maximum grant will be for two years, and up to $2,500 per year.
The fund is overseen by the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, and the first recipients, announced Thursday, are the Bi-State Regional Commission, Augustana College, and the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.