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At least 15 dead as severe weather sweeps across central US; on Memorial Day, IA labor leaders honor fallen workers; Medical center installs microgrid to safeguard clinic power supply; 'Second look' laws gain traction, but MS sticks to elderly parole; Will summer heat melt New Mexicans' cravings for ice cream?

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One congressman cites ways Biden could get more support from communities of color. A new Louisiana law reclassifies two abortion medications as controlled substances. And Ohio advocates work to boost youth voter turnout.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Older Illinoisans have a resource to address climate change

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Friday, December 22, 2023   

The country is feeling the chill of winter now, but 2023 will be in the history books as the hottest year on record.

And worries are growing about how climate change will affect the most vulnerable segment of the population - the elderly.

In Illinois, about 22% of the population is over age 60 - and that's expected to grow to 25% by 2030. Cornell University has created its "Aging and Climate Change Clearinghouse" to examine this intersection.

Weill Cornell Medical College Gerontology Professor Karl Pillemer said the clearinghouse has a dual purpose.

"This new clearinghouse," said Pillemer, "is aimed at bringing together researchers, environmental and aging organizations and older people who are wondering, 'How can I get involved, and what should I be doing to protect myself now?'"

Pillemer noted that older Illinoisans may wonder if their actions to combat climate change would make a difference. The consortium will offer strategies for older adults and environmental organizations to partner on solutions.

The Nature Conservancy has released a study citing average daily temperatures in Illinois are one to two degrees higher in this century than last.

The report also warns that, by the end of this century, the state's historically brisk winters will be warmer - by four to nine degrees Fahrenheit on the low end, and perhaps as much as 14 degrees on the high end.

Pillemer said warmer summer temperatures already present warning signs.

"There have been many studies of extreme heat events in places like Illinois," said Pillemer. "Older people living alone are vastly disproportionately likely to die or to become sick in those extreme heat events."

The report indicates as temperatures climb, the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke will increase.

Other related impacts, such as climate change-related flooding, will mean more mold, and more mosquitoes and ticks - along with the diseases they carry.




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Ice cream makers in the U.S. produce more than 1.38 billion gallons of ice cream annually, with consumption usually peaking in July. (auremar/Adobe Stock)

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