In West Antarctica, changes loom at a frightening pace. Last week we learned of the break off of a large iceberg on the Larsen C ice shelf (Larsen A broke off in 1995; Larsen B in 2002). Our founder Will Steger issued his statement about the split, in addition to appearing on MPR News and WCCO-TV. The waters around West Antarctica have warmed by more than a degree Fahrenheit over the past few decades, and the rate at which ice is melting and calving has quadrupled. The West Antarctic ice sheet is two and half miles thick and covers an area twice the size of Texas. Most of the ice sheet rests on the floor of a marine basin that dips more than 5,000 feet below sea level. This makes it especially vulnerable to the warming ocean and as Will stated: “Loss of major ice shelves will considerably alter the landscape of the Polar Regions as we know it; and, by extension, our world.”
July marks the anniversary of my arrival with Climate Generation 11 years ago. Back then it was Will’s call to action to draw awareness to the urgency of climate change and to inspire action. Now entering our second decade as an organization, I am keenly aware of my role and our organizational opportunity: the stakes are higher than they were before, yet the solutions are even clearer today.
At our recent forum, Climate Change in the Age of Alternative Facts, during our 12th annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, we talked about people using their voices, their votes, and their choices to speak up and push back against denialism, skepticism, and fossil fuel industry’s powerful influence. Certainly market forces are working in our favor, as is the momentum of policies and laws at the local and state level. We believe that the momentum is unstoppable and by harnessing that momentum we can channel it into tangible solutions.
Nicole Rom, Executive Director
12th Annual Summer Institute
Last month, we wrapped up our 12th annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment! Over 50 educators from more than 10 states joined us for four impactful days of climate change education. The Institute focused on giving educators the tools and resources to integrate climate change into a variety of educational settings. Check out the Recap page here.
Climate Change in the Age of Alternative Facts
On June 26th, educators and community members packed the Humphrey School’s Cowles auditorium for our free public forum, Climate Change in the Age of Alternative Facts. Watch the video here. In his closing remarks, Dr. Ben Santer emphasized the importance of education in solving this issue, saying, “we need an informed electorate who understand the basics of this issue and what’s really at stake here – what likely outcomes are if we do nothing to reduce emissions; and the only way we’re going to get there is through organizations like Climate Generation, providing the tools for educators to give kids the best available scientific information. I don’t see us moving the needle if we continue to have “trickle down ignorance” and don’t push back against that. So, education is the greatest good.”
YEA! MN students intervene in fossil fuel case
YEA! MN leaders Sophia Manolis and Isabel Watson (‘17 alum) are advancing climate justice this summer. They are two of the 13 Youth Climate Intervenors approved to make a case before a judge to stop Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 replacement pipeline. Line 3 would pump 760,000 barrels a day across Minnesota treaty lands and the Mississippi Headwaters, and these youth argue the climate impacts would directly affect them. Isabel and Sophia will have a chance to represent themselves before a judge, as will Enbridge and other intervenors. The judge’s decision is expected to come Spring 2018. We are proud to see Isabel and Sophia’s continued engagement in critical public policy decisions that affect their future. Read Sophia’s op ed published in the Star Tribune here.
Welcome to the Sunrise Movement
There’s a new youth movement growing called Sunrise. Organized by young people from high school through college, Sunrise youth are “uniting to make climate change an urgent priority across this country, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people.” Climate Generation partnered to bring youth to their first regional summer training, held in Minneapolis. The movement is gearing up for the 2018 elections. Learn more here.
Let the world know: “I Am Still In”
In the wake of the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the number of cities, states, businesses and organizations that have said “we’re still in” and pledged to uphold the U.S. commitment continues to grow. Even better, numerous cities, including most recently Philadelphia, have committed to 100% clean energy goals in the past few weeks. Businesses and local governments are also pledging to quantify their Paris climate agreements in a growing coalition. Now there is something you can do as an individual, too! National climate-focused organizations have created a citizen petition to show that hundreds of thousands of Americans support the Paris Agreement goals as well. Be a Citizen Supporter of the Paris Agreement – click here to say #IAmStillIn!
Join us for An Inconvenient Sequel showing!
In this time of heightened interest for solutions to climate change, the upcoming release of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power provides an important look at what’s happening in the movement for climate solutions. The film addresses the new threat to climate progress created by the Trump administration’s actions, recent climate disasters, and the resurgent movement to advance climate action. We invite you to join us on the film’s opening on Thursday, August 3 at 7:00 p.m. at Landmark’s Lagoon theater in Uptown Minneapolis. Reserve your ticket here. We also have a limited amount of tickets for an advanced, private screening of the film on Wednesday, July 26th at 7:30 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details if you are interested in attending.
Our founder and polar explorer Will Steger issued an official statement on the Delaware-sized iceberg that has broken off from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. His eye-witness account of climate change in polar regions gives him the unique perspective : “…it is evident that the long-term thaw of Antarctic ice has begun. Continued melting and calving events threaten the future stability of the entire ice shelf, an alarming prospect for sea level rise.”
On MPR’s Friday Roundtable, Kerri Miller interviewed our Executive Director Nicole Rom, renowned author and activist Terry Tempest Williams, and local environmental activist Mitch Hedlund on the importance of environmental activism–and an engaged citizenry–in the age of Trump.
Climate Cast, Will Steger and the Larsen C Split
MPR’s Climate Cast featured Will Steger after the Larsen C split was announced on a global scale, discussing his experience as a polar explorer and the reality that the thawing of Antarctic ice has begun. (Link not yet available.)