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Small actions can lead to bigger actions in climate change fight

6 On Your Side with how each Nebraskan can help out
WOWT Live at 10
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 10:32 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2022 at 11:04 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Examining Nebraska’s place in the fight against climate change.

6 On Your Side with how each Nebraskan can help out as the U.N. reports efforts to avert disaster.

SPECIAL REPORT: Last week the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report written by hundreds of leading scientists showing it is “now or never” for worldwide action to avert climate disaster.

Challenges from climate change are also faced in the Heartland.

6 News is reporting a series of stories this week leading up to Earth Day on Friday, April 22. Watch for more reports this week on WOWT and WOWT.com.

It can seem daunting, the idea of maintaining sustainability in Nebraska in the face of unprecedented global warming. But many of those we talked to for the 6 News Earth Week series, agreed, we all need to just take a deep breath and do something.

Don Preister is the guiding force behind Green Bellevue and he fights climate change by doing things he’s always done. He hangs his clothes on a line to dry, grows a healthy garden, plants hardy, drought-resistant grass, and captures more energy through his solar cells than he uses.

He believes every little thing people can do matters.

“We can all do those things,” Preister said. “In terms of carbon, the scientists tell us that we need to stay below 350 parts per million in the atmosphere and we’re already at 450 and climbing. So we’re at the precipice of that cliff, going off. We all need to look at our own lifestyle and find ways to have an impact.”

One way Green Bellevue has had an impact is through the simple act of planting trees. In 12 years, they’ve planted more than 1,100 trees. Omaha has a focus on planting trees, too, as part of an overall focus on sustainability in their parks.

“We have plans in place to replant trees, hundreds of trees, to keep up with just what we need to do in parks and our part,” said Matt Kalcevich, Omaha’s Director of Parks, Recreation and Public Property. “To sustain those things we’re looking at things like stormwater runoff, we’re looking at sustainable practices in terms of management of our turf surfaces and things like that.”

“Sometimes people lose hope but small actions lead to bigger actions which leads to behavior change,” said Nebraska state climatologist Martha Shulski. “So I absolutely feel, and I don’t have a choice but to remain positive, is that we will work together to solve this.”

Earth Day is Friday, April 22, and Omaha’s largest celebration of the week is held Saturday at Elmwood Park.

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