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Former TILT trustee gave lecture on climate change

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CLAYTON — The Thousand Islands Land Trust’s free TILTalks program ended for the 2013 season Saturday with a former U.S. delegate to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero talking about climate changes.

Zell Steever, former TILT trustee, gave his lecture, “Dirty Weather,” to a crowd of about two dozen people that sought information on why the area has experienced both long droughts and big storms, and what they can do to change that.

Speaking specifically to the Thousand Islands region, Mr. Steever said the area has had higher temperatures, more precipitation and drought, and less ice on the river and Great Lakes.

“What we’re seeing again is significant changes in the ecosystem,” he said. “The ecosystem continues to evolve over time, but the rate of the change is the problem. Other concerns are going to be human health, such as ticks and other series of diseases potentially related to climate change.”

Mr. Steever said contributions from global warming and people’s means of using energy are some causes behind those changes. He suggested people could utilize solar power or wind power, although the latter is a contentious issue along the St. Lawrence River.

Paying attention to climate changes will be important for land trusts since “open space preservation is critically linked to climate change. A changing climate will impact the species composition of TILT’s holdings.”

Mr. Steever is a Grindstone Island resident who worked for more than 30 years in environmental and water resource issues at the local, state, national and international levels. The land trust’s free TILTalks lecture series was made possible by donations from the late Guthrie S. Birkhead Jr. and his wife, Louise, both longtime TILT members.

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