Letter from the Executive Director
This month marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd. It’s often easy to focus on the environmental problems we have, and not enough on the solutions. In honor of Earth Day, here are five things we can be proud of and can build on over the next 40 years:
- Being green is smart business: Big companies from Walmart to Google are embracing zero waste emissions – not just for public relations, but for their bottom line.
- Renewable energy is no longer a niche market – solar, geothermal, and wind energy are growth industries around the world.
- Environmental education produces enlightened kids who are great at convincing skeptical parents.
- Individuals are making a huge positive impact on the environment. Our unprecedented ability to connect and organize globally means no longer waiting for government to act.
- We are the luckiest generation. On the first Earth Day 40 years ago, we understood our planet insufficiently. Forty years hence, our knowledge may come too late. Though we may witness the worst, we have the opportunity to do the most.
This month Will’s Eyewitness message has hit the road with a tour of Alaska’s major metropolitan centers, Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks. Then he’s off to South Dakota for presentations in Brookings and Rapid City in an effort to build public support for climate action on campuses, in communities and to push for strong federal legislation.
Locally in Minnesota, our education staff are giving presentations and participating in Earth Day celebrations at schools and the Capitol in St. Paul. Get involved this Earth Day by checking out our action section and join us online – follow our blogs and join us at our next event.
Nicole Rom, Executive Director
[important color=red title=Events]
Mon. April 19, 7:00 PM
South Dakota State University, Rotunda Bldg. Rm. D, Brookings, SD
Tues. April 20, 7:00 PM
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT), 501 E. St. Joseph Street, Rapid City, SD 57701
Sponsored by Sierra Club
[important color=blue title=Volunteer of the month]
Aimee Jaroscak is one of those amazing volunteers that you wish you could clone. We haven’t quite figured out how she works a full-time job at Capella University, a part-time job at REI, travels all over the world (including her upcoming trip to Everest) and still has time to volunteer every week at Will Steger Foundation. Oh, and did we mention the treats she brings? Delicious!
We are very grateful for for the 64 hours she has provided since Oct!
Thank you, Aim for everything!
Minnesota Clean Energy Forum
Will Steger Foundation was proud to partner with Focus the Nation (www.focusthenation.org) to sponsor a series of regional forums across the Midwest in collaboration with local policy makers and community members, highlighting the need and opportunity to transition to a clean energy future. Members from the Expedition Copenhagen delegation, along with other Midwest youth, took the lead in organizing the events. Minnesota delegate, Reed Aronow, worked closely with WSF to host the Minnesota Clean Energy Forum in Minneapolis featuring State Senator Anderson, Gayle Prest, Minneapolis Sustainability Director, business leaders, and representatives from the offices of Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Ellison.
The events garnered local media attention and catalyzed community engagement in local solutions to the clean energy race. Watch videos from the events online at www.focusthenation.org
Summer Institute for Climate Change Education – Thursday August 12th!
Summer Institute for Climate Change Education is now accepting applications! Please join us Thursday August 12, from 8:30-4:30 at the University of Minnesota’s Continuing Education Center for a chance to look back on our last five years of climate change education outreach and curriculum development and take time to “Go Back to the Basics.” This year’s Institute will provide educators with an understanding of why misinformation surrounding the issue of climate change persists and the tools to respond to those in doubt, by getting back to the basics of climate science and climate change education methods. We are excited to welcome Dr. Naomi Oreskes, from the University of San Diego renowned historian of climate science, and author of upcoming book Merchants of Doubt, as well as local climatologist Dr. Mark Seeley. Dr. Seeley serves as extension climatologist/meteorologist, coordinating weather and climate educational programs with the National Weather Service, the Minnesota State Climatology Office, and various state agencies.
In the News
It was 20 years ago last month – March 1990 – that Will Steger and five international polar explorers completed what will forever be the most audacious crossing of Antarctica. Expedition News covers the anniversary in their latest issue.
Youth-led Clean Energy Forums are underway across the country this spring as part of Focus the Nation’s fourth national civic engagement campaign.
Will Steger Foundation youth delegates organized several forums in the Midwest.
Eyewitness to Climate Change is Will Steger’s vivid account of the changes that he’s witnessed firsthand, caused by climate change pollutants, in Arctic regions over three decades of polar exploration. Steger will be speaking in Fairbanks as part of his Eyewitness to Climate Change Tour in Alaska.
Famed polar explorer Will Steger is interested in hearing what Alaskans have to say about climate change when he visits the state’s three biggest cities this week to speak on the topic.
Be Heard on Earth Day!
Earth Day is April 22nd. Volunteer or get involved in a local event in your community by visiting earthday.org.
If you live in Washington D.C., Earth Day Network is organizing a climate rally on the Capitol Mall on April 25th to push for strong climate and clean energy legislation. The event will feature WSF’s Baffin and Ellesmere Island Expedition videos in addition to local speakers. The Climate Rally will include speeches from environmental stewards including Reverend Jesse Jackson, film director, James Cameron, and Olympic gold medalist. Check out Climate Rally for more info…
Photo of the Month
International Arctic Project 1995
Will Steger guides his team over a pressure ridge as he approaches the North Pole on April 22, 1995, the 25th anniversary of Earth Day. ©1995, Gordon Wiltsie