Climate Lesson Update – February 2014

Letter to Climate Change Educators

President Obama Delivers the State of the Union AddressBut we have to act with more urgency — because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods … the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”  – President Barack Obama during the 2014 State of the Union

When these words were spoken during the State of the Union, it was only among the first several times that a standing President has ever mentioned climate change. We are finally hearing executive figures recognize the authority of climate change data. It’s refreshing.

The grassroots are taking fresh approaches to their education efforts as well. For example, climate change education communities around the country as abuzz with efforts to cultivate conversations about climate change. This new trend is inspired in part by a recent study from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication which demonstrated that only 1 in 3 Americans say they spoke about climate change at least occasionally, while respondents ranked meaningful conversations with people that we trust (family, friends) as the most convincing ways to be moved to taking action. See what our friends at MN Interfaith Power and Light are doing to insight climate change conversations and read about our own work on this front in the WSF blog.

And don’t ever hesitate to contact us and start new conversations!

John Smith & Kristen Poppleton
Education Program
Will Steger Foundation

In This Issue
Letter to Climate Change Educators
Stories from the Field
Moment of Inspiration
What we’re reading 
Olympic Skier Andy Newell Takes the Lead on Climate Change” – Tom Owens and the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. Check out Andy Newell’s project Team Climate that engages Olympians in climate change action.

Stories from the Field
Image 6Katie Mercer-Taylor, an Alum of our YEA!MN Emerging Leaders program, writes about her experiences with phenology research and what it tells us about climate change. Also, learn what our staff are learning about climate change conversations. Read More …

WSF Happenings

energy literacyRegister now for our upcoming free webinar: “Hands-On Energy Literacy”.  This event will feature Michael Arquin, Director of KidWind and John Sneideman, current Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow with the US Department of Energy. Together we will explore what energy literacy is all about and showcase some simple classroom-friendly energy activities from Minnesota’s own KidWind.

When: March 12th, 6:30 -7:30 PM, Central Time

Where: the comfort of your home computer or mobile device!
Learn more and register online for all the free events in our 2014 Climate and Energy Literacy Webinar Series!



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How much CO2 do homes in your zip code produce? Compare it to neighboring zip codes and across country using this carbon emissions map from Cool Climate:

Register now for two upcoming free webinars about Extreme Weather and Climate Change:

March 5, 2014 – Attribution of Extreme Weather
5.30- 7:00 PM Central Time. This interactive panel discussion will include experts from NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory discussing what characterizes an extreme weather event. We’ll also explore how scientists attribute single events or trends in extreme weather to climate change.  Register now.

March 12th: Bryn Shank featured in ClimateChangeLIVE “Join the Conversation” Webcast 12:00 AM – 1:00PM Central Time. Featuring Minnesota’s own Bryn Shank (a co-chair of our YEA!MN program). Learn more and tune in.

New Searchable Teaching Resources on Climate and Energy in the CLEAN Collection for Grades 6-16. Check out the resources available through CLEAN’s curriculum search engine, featuring hundreds of lessons and activities related to energy and climate change. We heartily support this collection of resources.

Environmental Justice Map of the Twin Cities. Visually explore the state of the environment in and around Minnesota’s metro neighborhoods. You can compare racial, economic and environmental quality data all by turning on and off various layers. Check out the map here.

Moment of Inspiration

In 2012 Dr John Abraham was a crowd favorite at the Summer Institute. Take a moment to watch this video of his keynote address and prepare to be moved:


What do you think of our new look? Share your anonymous feedback with us here.


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