By Megan Smith
November 25, 2018
Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy and Three Rivers Park District are co-hosting a solutions-focused series of conversations about the changing climate in local communities. The first in their series of Climate Conversations was hosted at Gale Woods Farm on Saturday, Nov. 17 with a focus on agriculture as a victim, culprit, and solution to climate change.
Future conversations have been slated at Silverwood Park on Feb. 16, Hyland Hills Ski Area on Nov. 7, and Eastman Nature Center in March of 2020. There are also plans to host a conversation in a fifth community in the fall of 2020 at a location to be announced.
The opening Climate Conversations event at Gale Woods Farm drew a large crowd of approximately 100 attendees to listen to stories of how climate change affects our lives and land. Presentations were given by state climatologist Dr. Kenny Blumenfeld, naturalist Jim Gilbert, farmer Jerry Untiedt, and Minnetonka High School Alumni Valerie McGoldrick. Following the presentations, participants were invited to engage in solutions-oriented breakout sessions on topics including climate-friendly eating, composting, faith and stewardship, and youth engagement in order to encourage participants to commit to implementing climate solutions in their communities.
The conversation also opened with a resource fair and an ended with a social hour that allowed attendees to ask further questions they had about climate change and the local impacts discussed at the meeting.
“As many of you know, nearly every aspect of our natural resources are being affected by climate change. It’s one of the most daunting challenges of our time,” Jothsna Harris, Public Engagement Manager with Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, told attendees.
Harris added, “What we know is that local communities have a unique opportunity and potential to create an undercurrent of momentum that can bubble up and reinforce efforts at the city, state, and business levels and also create pathways that cannot easily be ignored by our national and global leaders. And that is why we are so excited to be here with you all today for part of the Gale Woods Community to come together, to meet each other, and to deepen your own efforts to support local climate action on climate change.”
Tim Reese, Farm Supervisor at Gale Woods Farm, agreed with Harris’ sentiments. “This conversation wouldn’t happen without you, it wouldn’t be much of a conversation if it was all one sided so we’re glad that you’re all here,” Reese stated.
“As a community we’re really fortunate that 50 years ago there was a group of very forward thinkers in our community that established the Park District and enabled it to grow into what is now 27,000 acres of preserved and natural spaces for the future and for us to enjoy today,” Reese added. “So what we really need to now take the mantle from those forward thinking leaders that started this organization 50 years ago and deal with the issue of climate change.”
The next Climate Conversation at Silverwood Park on Feb. 16 will focus on how art can help to bring climate change data to life.