Lately I’ve been really inspired by our team, who are leading on climate in myriad ways. Four of our staff recently returned from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, and they’re now working to integrate the climate science, tips on climate communications, and facts on the booming clean energy economy into our programming. We’re excited to immediately put into practice the lessons learned at our first-ever Institute for Non-Formal Climate Change Education, happening this week at the Audubon Center of the Northwoods with over 60 attendees. We are aware of the growing demand for these types of trainings and expect to offer more presentations and trainings in the near future!
Our Youth Day at the Capitol was also an astounding success: from our youth policy intern, Claire Mathews-Lingen, facilitating and leading nearly 200 youth in a private summit with Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith; to youth packing a hearing to save the Environmental Quality Board; to a roundtable discussion with MPCA Commissioner Stine; to diverse representation from 38 schools across the state; and finally, to individual legislator meetings where youth encouraged their representatives to support a 50% renewable energy standard by 2030 and clean energy job pathways for women, low-income Minnesotans and communities of color. Thanks to our youth leaders, educators who brought classes of students, and to our decision-makers who provided space and time to hear from a new generation of climate leaders.
Despite what the news might be telling you about our country’s attitude towards action on climate, new data shows that 70 percent of voters polled believe the U.S. should not withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and 66 percent believe we should cut our greenhouse gas output with or without the treaty. In addition, 82 percent of people agree we should fund research into renewable energy. Speaking of clean energy, the Clean Energy Resources Teams (CERTs) highlighted our Public Engagement Manager, Jothsna Harris, as a Minnesota Women in Energy Leader. Congratulations, Jothsna!
Save the Date for important spring happenings:
April 29: People’s Climate Solidarity March, St. Paul
May 4: Climate Generation’s Annual Donor Appreciation Breakfast, Red Stag Supperclub, 7:30-9 am with special guest, Will Steger
Nicole Rom, Executive Director
4 staff trained as Climate Reality leaders in Denver
By attending the Climate Reality Leadership Training in Denver, Colorado last week, we engaged with almost 1,000 people from around the world who were interested in learning more about climate change and doing something about it. We left the training as certified leaders, ready to bring climate literacy and solutions back to our communities in various actionable and educational forms. From the start, we were confronted with the communication challenges surrounding climate change: Al Gore opened the 3-day training by acknowledging the difficulties that even he faces in clearly communicating about the scale of the problem and its solutions. It is hard to overstate both the catastrophic danger of the consequences if we do nothing and the tremendous opportunity we have to build a better and healthier world by implementing the solutions. That said, the entire conference was very hopeful in its outlook, emphasizing the availability and the potential of the concrete solutions we have at hand. We learned in detail about renewable energy deployment, energy storage, and community resilience efforts. There was a strong emphasis on the power of local action. Al Gore concluded with this point: We know we need to inspire the collective will to change, and we believe we will change.
Education staff connect with teachers and students around the state
Our Education team has had the privilege of attending and presenting at several conferences this past month. Speaking with educators about implementing climate change in their science and social studies classrooms always brings us joy – it’s wonderful to hear all the ideas that educators have about how to teach this critical issue! At the recent Minnesota Council for the Social Studies, we spoke with several teachers who were excited to ramp up their lessons on climate change or get started with some new lessons, especially when we shared with them how easily climate change is connected with their standards. Continuing our partnership with YES! has been especially energizing. At recent YES! Events that we’ve supported, student teams from around the state have convened to discuss how their efforts in recycling and waste initiatives are connected to climate change.
Youth Lobby Day – A light in the dark
Our Youth Policy Intern, Claire Mathews-Lingen, shared her reflections on Youth Lobby Day in a recent blog. She writes: “The 9th annual Youth Climate Lobby Day at the Minnesota State Capitol began with a Summit in the Governor’s Reception Room, which I had the amazing opportunity to facilitate. This opening event included Governor Dayton, Lt. Governor Smith and a packed room full of young people. The stories were heartfelt, our requests were well received for the most part, and there was celebration about the administration’s support of a 50% Renewable Energy Standard (RES) by 2030. The successful Summit generated a lot of excitement and enthusiasm that carried through the rest of Lobby Day. Youth Lobby Day was a light in the dark for climate issues, proving the power of youth voices on this issue and that hope remains for a bipartisan advancement of climate action in Minnesota.”
YEA! MN and partners meet with Commissioners on clean energy
YEA! MN staff, students, and partners at MPIRG, Take Action MN, and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change have taken their call for a 50% Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to several meetings with Dayton administration Commissioners. Since the bipartisan push to strengthen Minnesota’s RES was announced on Feb. 27, we’ve met with MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine and Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, who oversees all of the state’s energy programs. These meetings have been an opportunity build support and rapport with key decision makers and to identify strategic avenues of engagement for young people to advance a just clean energy transition in Minnesota.
March with us in April
Today, the need to stand up for what we believe in feels greater than ever. With an administration in place that shuns accepted climate science, environmental protections, and so many social justice issues, public demonstrations such as marches are powerful ways to highlight Americans’ resistance to this destructive platform. More than a form of resistance, however, marches can be a vehicle for unity, hope and inspiration. That’s why we’re supporting and participating in several upcoming demonstrations, including the March for Science on April 22 (happening in Washington, D.C. and locally in St. Paul), and the People’s Climate March on April 29 (focused on Washington, D.C. with a solidarity event likely in St. Paul). We encourage you to join us at any of these events! Visit our Why We March page for more details, including our efforts to rally educators and youth at the People’s Climate March in D.C.
Hear Elizabeth Kolbert talk “The Sixth Extinction”
On Thursday, April 13, Friends of the University Libraries is hosting a special lecture at Northrop Auditorium featuring Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of The Sixth Extinction. Through her writings, Kolbert reports from the front lines of the violent collision between civilization and our planet’s ecosystem. Climate Generation is proud to participate as a community partner in this event. To purchase tickets, visit the U of M event page. Use our Partner code: ULEKPartner for a 20% discount.
We are proud to have our Public Engagement Manager, Jothsna Harris, recognized as a leading woman in the Minnesota energy sector by the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs). In this interview, she shares the experience, wisdom, and unique perspective that she brings to her work.
On Wednesday, March 1, youth from across the state flooded the Governor’s reception room to meet with Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith, urging them to advance Minnesota’s clean energy future through policy such as the 50% Renewable Energy Standard. Our Youth Policy Intern, Claire Mathews-Lingen, introduced the event, highlighted the 1,000+ petitions that students gathered, and facilitated a question and answer session.
In a Star Tribune Op Ed, Will Steger highlights the pending break-up of the Larsen C ice shelf, which he crossed on his International Trans-Antarctica Expedition in 1989-90, and the impacts that this would have in the warming polar regions. He writes, “Just as my international team members and I worked together to survive on our seven-month expedition, collective action and working across boundaries is the key to advancing climate-change solutions and building the clean-energy economy.”