Gary Leabman

Gary Leabman

Hermann resident and business leader Gary Leabman will make an appearance in Wright City to talk about climate change and renewable energy.

The Climate Control presentation will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at Scenic Regional Library’s Wright City Branch.

Guests may register at the library at 60 Wildcat Drive, Wright City, by calling 636-944-6100 or online at scenicregional.org.

Leabman is a climate reality leader with the Climate Reality Project (climaterealityproject.org). He’s one of about 20,000 people in 154 countries who have been trained and are making presentations about climate change and renewable energy.

The Climate Reality Project started as a movement to raise awareness about global warming. Today, the organization raises momentum to find solutions to the climate crisis.

Training climate reality leaders for leading presentations in their own communities is just one of the ways they’re trying to do it.

Climate Reality leaders also talk about how the clean energy transition is bringing a new energy economy. Students of all ages take note: science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors are and will continue to be in high demand.

“STEM jobs are growing twice as fast in Missouri than all other jobs,” Leabman said. “There are nine times as many jobs in solar than in coal across the United States. Solar and wind jobs are the fastest growing job categories in the United States.”

They are needed so the planet can move away from the old way of doing things.

According to Climate Reality Project, carbon dioxide is released into the air by fossil fuels. The Earth’s atmosphere acts as a barrier to the carbon dioxide.

“The more carbon pollution in the air, the more the sun’s energy gets trapped as heat,” the organization’s website says.

“The air is holding more carbon dioxide than ever in history. About 110 million tons of carbon dioxide is released into the air each day, the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs, every day,” Leabman said.

As Leabman will explain, as the Earth’s surface warms, glaciers melt and sea levels rise. Precipitation will increase in some parts of the world, while other parts will see more droughts.

When climates change, the soils, plants, and animals that live there move out or are destroyed.

The social, economic and health impacts on humans will be felt, too.

Efforts of all kinds, large and small, from individuals to big corporations can be part of the solution. During Leabman’s presentation, he will address ways that people can reduce their carbon footprints. Areas of savings include how we use energy, shortening our food chain, rethinking our transportation needs, our landscaping and gardening habits and our lifestyles.

He will talk about how to keep learning about climate change and the importance of activism, especially at a time when some people are still trying to resist the science.

Farming is one example where change is happening. He said there is no tilling in regenerative farming. The benefit is soil conservation.

“It’s not releasing carbon. It’s preventing erosion and conserving moisture. It’s drilling and dropping a seed and saving 50 percent of fuel costs. Or, as one farmer told me, he doesn’t miss the hours of crossing back and fourth across the field,” Leabman said.

“There’s a huge amount of no-till farming happening in the Midwest now,” he added.

Leabman is originally from the city of St. Louis. He and his wife, Marsha Nyberg, bought a small house in Hermann in 2000 that was close to downtown and had a great view of the river, he said. Eventually, they expanded the home to include guest suites for out-of-towners.

Their lodging business opened as the Spirit Hill Guest House and Gardens.

In 2010, in keeping with their clean energy ambitions, they installed a geothermal system to heat and cool the 3,500 square foot space that also is their home.

Leabman is a Master Gardener active in community gardening in Hermann.

His two-hour presentation ends with 30 minutes of Q&A.

“The conversations afterward are great,” he said, adding that different generations seem to have a different ways of seeing climate change.

“Seniors citizens having grandchildren, they’re seeing all this climate change in their lifetime. Young people — many of them are angry we haven’t done more.”

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