On the Record

Improving the environment

On the Record with Marilyn Hrymak

Marilyn Hrymak
Marilyn Hrymak

SYCAMORE – Marilyn Hrymak of Sycamore noticed climate change and environmental issues close to home, so she decided to do something to help make a difference.

Hrymak helped found CASES, Citizen Advocates for a Sustainable Environment–Sycamore Area, in the fall of 2017 as a way to promote and advocate for a sustainable environment for the benefit of the community as well as the nation.

CASES has partnered with the Sycamore Public Library to offer presentations on various environmentally friendly topics, such as communities coming together to work to improve the environment, consumerism and reusing items and waste management.

The presentation, “How Can I Get My Electricity from the Sun?,” will be held at 6 p.m. May 29 at the Sycamore Public Library, 103 E. State St. The presentation will focus on how solar energy works, residential installation and the economics of solar-powered energy.

CASES also will partner with the Sycamore Park District to offer summer presentations at the Sycamore Park District Community Building, 480 Airport Road. The following presentations will be held 6 p.m.: “Art and the Environment” on June 26, “Composting” on July 31 and “Water: Why Worry about It?” on Aug. 28.

All of the programs are free to attend and open to the public. For more information about CASES, visit the group’s Facebook page.

MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton spoke to Hrymak about CASES and the upcoming programs.

Milton: Tell me about CASES.

Hrymak: CASES was founded in fall 2017 after talking to Sycamore Mayor [Curt Lang] about signing on to Climate Mayors [www.climatemayors.org]. He suggested starting a committee of like-minded Sycamore people. That’s how the group got started, and now we’re a devoted, diverse group of like-minded people with a common goal, concerned about the environment.

Milton: Who can join the group?

Hrymak: Our group is very diverse, it’s for anyone in the community that cares about the environment and wants to join: college students, people who are retired, professionals. Having more people attend the presentations would be wonderful, too. It would help us achieve our goal of a sustainable environment. CASES’s goal is to promote and advocate for a sustainable environment for the benefit of our community.

Milton: Why did you help found the group?

Hrymak: It disturbed me that we weren’t experiencing the right weather in the right season. I’m a cancer survivor, and when we presented to city council, we mentioned the fact that cancer rates are higher now, especially in DeKalb County. We pointed out that there are more respiratory problems and allergies now, too.

Milton: Why did the members of CASES choose to present on certain topics?

Hrymak: We present about the topics most important to our committee. Our library and park district presentations help to further our goal of making a sustainable environment for the benefit of our community.

Milton: What are a few examples of presentations?

Hrymak: In April, I led a presentation on consumerism and the environment. I explained how to shop with companies that are kind to the environment and are fair to their employees. Our upcoming presentation is about solar energy. In June, Professor Bart Woodstrup will show his art. One of his most famous pieces, and one of my favorites, shows the increase of lightning and severe weather. It will be a very interesting presentation. In July, our presentation will be about composting, and in August, water.

Milton: What is one of the group’s main focuses?

Hrymak: Our main focus is getting the Sycamore City Council to approve of Sycamore becoming a Climate City on Climate Mayors.org. DeKalb, Montgomery, Elgin, Elburn and Rockford have already joined. Signing on means that the city aligns with the Paris Climate Accord. It’s a nonbinding agreement.

Milton: How will becoming a Climate City improve Sycamore’s environment?

Hrymak: A benefactor has agreed to help us pay for a community climate inventory, which will give us information on where we’re at, helping us make goals to improve the environment of Sycamore in the future. There are a lot of things we could do to reduce city spending and help the budget, including reducing fossil fuel usage. We made our presentation to city council in mid-February and are waiting to be invited back if they have any questions. We’re waiting to put our request to a vote and for Sycamore to become a Climate City.

Milton: What is the group’s goal after the presentations end?

Hrymak: We hope to continue the presentations beyond this summer. Participants have made suggestions and we still have many ideas. … CASES has a lot to do and would very much welcome more participation in our committee work. As we already established, we have a diverse membership.  

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