SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. -- People gathered in one part of Schuylkill County over the weekend to discuss the possibility of starting a chapter to promote awareness about climate change.
In our area, we experienced a lot of severe weather events last year -- a tornado in Wilkes-Barre Township, historic flooding all across the Commonwealth, and 2018 went down as the wettest year on record in the state's history.
Many believe that is attributed to climate change.
Tucked away and surrounded by mountains in Washington Township is Potters Farm. Leah Zerbe's family has owned this property near Pine Grove since the 1800s. Back then, climate change wasn't a hotly debated issue like it is now, but that was the topic of conversation here over the weekend.
"What we had here the other night was really inspiring," Zerbe said. "We had a room full of Democrats and Republicans, local people coming together saying, 'We're not going to let big corporations or high-level politicians divide us.' We all have the same values here. We care about the same thing here."
Citizens' Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose focus is to introduce legislation that will address climate change. Zerbe is looking to launch a local chapter in the Pine Grove area and held a meeting at her farm on Sunday for those interested in getting involved. She says the drastic changes in weather over the last few years have affected her business.
"With climate change, it's really hard to grow tomatoes without chemicals. When it rains seven inches at a time and when you have a whole summer full of dampness, there's a lot of fungus that grows, so it's really affecting farmers hard, too."
Citizens' Climate Lobby has been pushing particular legislation that would put an annual fee on carbon to help reduce carbon emissions.
"Even climate scientists don't agree on the exact rate of change. They don't know when things are going to happen, but they know things are happening, and it's getting more serious. The consequences could be dire, but let's focus on what we can do to make the change as opposed to what we can't do," said Randy Gyory, PA co-coordinator, Citizens' Climate Lobby.
Citizens' Climate Lobby is also looking to start a chapter in the Scranton area. Get more information here.