Letter from the Executive Director
In early July, climate science was vindicated by several British commissions and in the United States from the dubious “Climate Gate” scandal. As Jim Lenfestey eloquently captured in a recent op-ed in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune, “most importantly, all review panels affirmed the underlying science and thereby the established scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet.” Thus, the rigor of climate science is no longer in doubt.
This was the theme of many of our summer events this month. Dr. Naomi Oreskes, climate historian and author of Merchants of Doubt joined us for a reception and public forum where she spoke to over 250 people about the tactics used by corporations to confuse and misinform the public of the validity of climate science. She also captured the attention of educators at our 5th annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, who were most interested in understanding climate change basics and tools to address the topic in the classroom.
In more unfortunate news, the U.S. Senate did not proceed with a comprehensive climate bill this summer. It truly is a failure of leadership in this country. Billions of dollars in private investment is waiting for a price on carbon, a signal that will provide the necessary innovation in the new clean energy economy. We need our Senators to act on behalf of all Americans and not just the oil and coal industries. In open letter to those working on climate change, 1sky eloquently captured what must happen next:
“We must redouble our efforts to unite American society across all divides in an unyielding call for action on the scope and scale of the enormous challenge and opportunity we are confronting. We are galvanized by the understanding that the political, human-rights, and economic repercussions of climate change transcend the “environmental issue” label, and present a nationwide challenge requiring a unified response. As United States citizens, we understand our moral and ethical responsibility to act with resolve — both as members of a global community, and as the leading per-capita emitters of global-warming pollution. We must succeed in building a nationwide movement that changes the politics of what is possible to deliver what is necessary; our very lives depend on it.”
August 31 marks the end of our fiscal year. We would appreciate any last minute support of our programming!
Climate Champions Program Launches
Will Steger Foundation is launching the ‘Climate Champions’ program this fall in partnership with the British Council, a not for profit organization based in the UK fostering international cultural relations and educational opportunities www.britishcouncil.org. The ‘Climate Champions’ program is an international network of young people solving the global climate crisis by taking local action. The goal of the program is to create a network of young people across the U.S., starting in California and the Midwest, who are committed to undertaking projects in their communities that both raise awareness of climate change and actually reduce the pollution that causes climate change. Stay tuned for updates from our 2010 Champions!
In Conjunction with the Green Schools National Conference
Will Steger Foundation is collaborating with the Green Charter Schools Network to co-host the Green School Youth Summit in conjunction with the Green Schools National Conference, October 25th in downtown Minneapolis. The conference is hoping to draw 1,000 educators from across the country together with a focus on all aspects of school sustainability. The Youth Summit will include exciting examples of replicaple sustainability projects, an opportunity for students to gain leadership skills critical to organizing on their local campuses, and lay the groundwork for concrete student-led action plans for the 2010-11 school year. For more information contact Ethan Buckner, Summit Coordinator.
Midwest Youth and Non-Profit Leaders Gather in Chicago
The Will Steger Foundation is proud to support regional youth coalition efforts through cooperation with the RE-AMP network of environmental non-profits and foundations. WSF co-facilitated a gathering of key members from the Midwest Youth Climate Coalition in Chicago, August 3-4, in conjunction with the RE-AMP Annual Meeting and the Energy Action Coalition PowerVote Training. The meeting provided an opportunity for Midwest youth leaders to showcase their campaigns and initiatives related to climate activism, build alliances across the generational spectrum, and plan strategically for fall actions related to electoral work, coal, and energy efficiency projects. Visit www.willstegerfoundation.org to follow youth climate initiatives on our Youth in Action blog.
Our 2010 Summer Institute for Climate Change Education marked our fifth year of offering in-person professional development workshops for educators. This year we took time to “Go Back to the Basics.” This year’s Institute featured keynote speakers, Dr. Naomi Oreskes, climate historian and author of Merchants of Doubt; University of Min nesota climatologist, Mark Seeley, and a new presentation by Will Steger on his history of online education. We were able to offer scholarships to educators from out-state Minnesota, reaching 75 educators in person and via webinar. Check out this virtual map to see where our Institute participants came from! The Institute provided educators with an understanding of why climate misinformation persists and the tools to respond to those in doubt, by getting back to the basics of climate science and climate change education methods. In addition participants received a special sneak preview of the Foundation’s new curriculum, Minnesota’s Changing Climate, using Will’s lifelong archives to highlight Minnesota’s changing climate. We would like to thank the incredible volunteers that made this event a success and our summer intern, Roy Cloutier!
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This month we became a proud non-profit member of the 1% for the Planet. If your business or company is a participating member, please encourage them to support the Will Steger Foundation through a percentage of their sales!
View Will Steger Foundation on 1% for the Planet – Click Here
In The News
|Will Steger is featured in the newly redesigned Wild Things Gear website. Wild Things has been a long time sponsor and manufacture of the Arctic clothing for Will Steger’s expeditions.WSF images are used in the front page slide show and the featured users are of the site. See their new website here.|
|Will Steger Foundation’s 2007 Baffin Island Expedition basecamp manager, John Huston is a featured guest on National Public Radio’s Science Friday with Ira Flatow. Listen to John’s segment here|
|WSF Summer Institute keynote speaker, Naomi Oreskes was the featured guest on Minnesota Public Radio’s Mid Morning program with Kerri Miller. She was also featured in a WCCO story, as well as interviewed on KTLK radio. Click here to listen to her MPR program.|
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Will Steger Foundation is at the MN State Fair Eco Experience Building!
Check out our unique display – an expedition powered by the sun! In partnership with the MN Renewable Energy Society and MN Pollution Control Agency, you can experience Will Steger’s arctic basecamp, where all electronics are powered by energy from the sun!
Attention Prius owners – convert to a plug-in hybrid and $200 will be donated to WSF!
ReGo Electric Conversions, a new Minneapolis company that converts hybrids to plug-in hybrid vehicles is available locally for any existing Prius hybrid, significantly increases fuel economy and increases the electric-only capacity of the vehicle by 10 times. Through August 31st, for every conversion sold during that time, ReGo will make a $200 donation to one of its partner nonprofits of your choice, including the Will Steger Foundation. A Prius plug-in hybrid conversion by ReGo is $4,995 plus tax and is eligible for a 10% federal tax credit. You can learn more at www.regoelectric.com
Despite record-breaking temperatures around the country and around the globe, this didn’t cause any groundswell of support for climate legislation in the Senate this summer, when our leaders simply decided any actual effort to cut carbon in the atmosphere was not worth the effort. Your senators need to hear from you this August recess (August 9-September 12). If they’re in your community for some event, they need to see people that are ready to hold them accountable. They need to get to work, because they work for you. Sign up at 350.org to Keep the Heat on your senators over the August Recess, when they’ll be back in district and waiting to hear from you.
Attend an event where your senator is speaking and ask them when we can expect Senate action on climate change.
Photo of the Month
Will Steger and Dr. Naomi Oreskes, climate historian, at the 5th annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education.