More than 200 people rallied Monday in West Chicago to call on U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam to take action on climate change and support clean energy.
The demonstrators, some of them holding signs with slogans such as "Follow the science" and "Clean energy creates jobs," gathered in a large meeting room down the hall from Roskam's district office at the DuPage Airport before dropping off postcards for the congressman.
"We want to let him know that we think we need to do something about climate change," said Tim Milburn of the Sierra Club Northwest Cook County Group.
Milburn said local Sierra Club chapters organized Monday's rally because they're concerned that President Donald Trump's administration may reverse the progress that's been made on climate change mitigation and clean energy.
Organizers decided to reach out to Roskam because "he's not exactly a climate change proponent," Milburn said. He added that Roskam has "a bad record when it comes to dealing with this environmental issue."
J.C. Kibbey said during the rally that 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is real.
"Climate change is happening and it is caused by humans," said Kibbey, Midwest outreach and policy advocate for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "There is no continuing debate in the scientific community. And there is no question that the science is conclusive."
To fix the problem, "we need to move to a clean energy economy as soon as possible," he said.
Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club's Illinois chapter, said everyone who attended the rally is "part of the majority" of residents in Roskam's 6th Congressional District "who want to keep moving forward." The district includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.
"We want to listen to the scientists and act on climate change," Darin said. "Move beyond dirty fuels to clean energy for all the benefits that it offers to all the citizens of the 6th District, our country and our planet."
While there's a new president, Darin said, people in the 6th District didn't vote to stop creating jobs in solar and wind and energy conservation.
"They didn't vote to opt out of the global effort to stand up and solve climate change," he said.
Therefore, Roskam and other members of Congress should support efforts "to make sure the worst of President Trump's promises will never come true," Darin said.
Roskam wasn't at his district office Monday. According to a spokesman, he was in Washington D.C.
The spokesman issued a statement saying that Roskam supports an "all-of-the-above approach when it comes to energy."
"American ingenuity has made it possible to rid ourselves of our dependence on foreign oil and eliminate a major national security threat," the statement reads. "Each year, new advancements in technology and research allow us to better provide for our energy and security needs while safeguarding our natural resources for the future."