HUDSON – Residents who care about climate change, who want to share their knowledge or who want to learn more will have opportunities to participate in four workshops.

The League of Women Voters of Hudson is sponsoring the climate change workshops open to the public beginning Oct. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Community Room of the Laurel Lake Retirement Community, 200 Laurel Lake Drive. Additional workshops will be held in November, February, and April in varying locations.

This is the first time the League of Women Voters has done a program like this, said Tracey Mackay, committee and board member.

"The public can just come," Mackay said. "They don't have to register."

Vice President Mimi Becker, who is chair of the LWV Hudson's Environmental Work Group, said the public workshops are part of the series, "A Climate Change Investigation" and the public is invited to participate in the process.

The aim is for the community to learn about climate change and help develop informed recommendations for Hudson concerning policies and actions needed for fostering safety and sustainability in the midst of climate change.

"We're investigating to see if something is impacting the community regarding climate change," Mackay said.

Regional and local impacts of climate change, as well as mitigation strategies, will be presented at the first three workshops; the fourth and final workshop will culminate with a working session to compile information and develop recommendations.

Some of the topics include the Great Lakes and water rights.

"One of the things that has been happening in Northeast Ohio where we have a fair amount of ground water, is you get outside commercial industrial interest buying land and removing water," Becker said. "We haven't thought about that water may not be accessible in the future if we don't manage it well now."

Another factor to discuss is the use of fertilizers and chemicals that drain into the rivers, ponds and lakes and grow toxic bacteria, Becker said.

"Some communities are banning fertilizers because of the problems they cause," she said. "It becomes a host for toxic bacteria that hangs onto the algae."

Another topic will be the rapid change in climate and the difficulty in adapting, she said. Humans are affected by increases in asthma and upper respiratory diseases and plants are stressed with changes in the ecosystem.

"There are a plethora of indicators that show the system is not happy," Becker said. "This is not the normal rate of change, and the rate of change is human induced."

Becker said changes, especially glacier melts, are happening at an ever increasing rate and a tipping point could occur in as little as 11 years.

"This is the time to act," she said.

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan group but takes a stand on issues such as health and safety for the community, Mackay said, adding water, air quality and climate change are non-partisan issues.

"We're looking to create a discussion around this and see what is available and what we can do to make the community better," she said.

Since the 1940s the carbon emissions have increased and made the planet hotter, Mackay said. Other communities are developing plans, and Hudson residents can give input for a plan as well.

Each forum will have time for round-table discussions, Mackay said. Someone will facilitate with questions, and participants will have time to discuss issues the speakers addressed and then consider recommendations to give to the city of Hudson.

The topic of the Oct. 10 workshop is Regional and Local Impacts of Climate Change: What effects of climate change are being seen in Northeast Ohio? Community members will provide an overview of climate change as well as how it is impacting local farming, health, and water. Participants will break into small groups and join in a discussion with other community members about their observations of climate change in Hudson.

Speakers include Gary King, BSEE, climate reality leader, who will discuss "Climate Change in the Great Lakes Midwest"; Sam Rubens, of Summit County Public Health, who will talk about air quality and public health; Marc Amante, of Crown Point Ecology Center, who will discuss agriculture; and a representative form the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District who will discuss water resources.

Workshop 2 is Nov. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Laurel Lake Community Room.

The topic is Regional and Local Climate Change Mitigation Strategies: How do scientists measure the effects of climate change and the success of mitigation? How are local communities responding to climate change?

A climatologist will teach about scientific tools used for measuring climate change and mitigation success. Representatives from other Northeast Ohio communities will present the strategies they are using to reduce their carbon footprint and share the economic impact of these adaptations. Participants will break into small groups to discuss ways they are adapting in their own lives and how to apply strategies for the larger community as a whole.

Workshop 3 is Feb. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Barlow Community Center.

The topic is The Hudson Story: What effects of climate change impact Hudson? City leaders will provide updates on energy use, storm water management, emergency preparedness for health and weather events and more. Participants will break into small groups for discussion on strategies for addressing challenges and building on strengths.

Workshop 4 is Apr. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hudson Library Flood Room.

The topic is Going Forward: Where does Hudson go from here? Participants will compile all the information from previous workshops and work together to craft recommendations for an achievable community plan.

The League of Women Voters is nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public. The organization claims that since the 1960s it has been at the forefront of efforts to protect air, land and water resources.

"As citizens of the world, we must protect our planet from the physical, economic and public health effects of climate change while also providing pathways to economic prosperity," the League states.

For questions about the workshop series, contact Tracey Mackay at tdebilmac@gmail.com or 330-608-5264. For more information on League positions on the environment, voting rights, and other issues, see the League of Women Voters of Hudson website: http://lwvhudsonoh.org/

Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or lfreeman@recordpub.com.