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Former Mexican President To Speak In Twin Cities

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Former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón will address climate change at the Adlai E. Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series at Illinois Wesleyan University March 23.  His lecture is titled “Better Growth or Better Climate: Do We Need to Choose?”

Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series Board member Greg Koos said the board was searching for a world leader with a specific interest in climate change in a variety of national bodies that could also address specific issues.  For example, the windmills of McLean County.

"Well that's a new technology in a sense that's addressing issues of climate change," said Koos.  "What Calderon is asking, is that once we acknowledge climate change, and we know climate change comes from the application of a carbon based technology over a long time ... can we not utilize the technologies and thereby make significant advances in terms of financial well being of peoples."

In other words, weaning ourselves from carbon based energy can be an economic engine, creating new jobs, industries and investment opportunities.

"There is money to be made in taking care of this problem, which some people's ears might perk up to hear," said Koos.

Credit Jon Norton / WGLT
Adlai E. Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series board member Greg Koos.

Four months after the election of Donald Trump is an interesting political climate to bring in a former President of Mexico, and one who fully embraces the reality of man-made climate change.  Koos said the selecting Calderón has been in the works since way before the 2016 Presidential election.

"So the point was what exactly do we (as a board) feel the community wants to be paying attention to? Climate change is one of those world issues and we need to be hearing from world leaders about that issue.  But yes, the issue to do this came before the election," said Koos.

The Adlai E. Stevenson Lecture Series was created for the Bloomington-Normal community in 1965, with the goal of bringing highly informed world leaders and expert commentators involved in day-to-day international viewpoint into the community.  Koos said this allows the residents of Bloomington-Normal to hear what they have to say from an international viewpoint.  He also outlined a number of guests the series has featured in past years, including retired Polish politician and labor activist Lech Wałęsa, and 2015 speaker Mohamed ElBaradei, a Noble Peace Prize winning diplomat from Egypt.

"He talked about issues of disarmament," said Koos. "And certainly that's a little bit interesting in terms of what we're looking at today."

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