Cheryl Olseth is a member of Climate Generation’s Window Into COP23 program, a multi-sector delegation attending the United Nation Framework on Climate Change Convention’s 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bonn, Germany. Our delegates will observe sessions and interact with climate change policy negotiations across international leaders and stakeholders.
Olseth is Director of the Olseth Family Foundation. An avid community activist and volunteer, she serves on the board of Planned Parenthood MN, ND, and SD, the board of Friends of the Hennepin County Library, and the World Wildlife Fund National Council’s Northern Great Plains Advisory committee. She is a longtime supporter of Climate Generation and serves on our Advisory Board. The Olseth Family Foundation is a financial supporter of this year’s COP23 delegation.
How does climate change affect the philanthropy sector? Why is your foundation supporting Climate Generation’s COP23 delegates?
The Olseth Family Foundation’s mission is committed to environmental health, strengthening the underserved, and promoting education and learning. As climate change extreme weather events have become more common and more extreme, often the most vulnerable populations are most affected, whether that is directly through housing displacement or indirectly through an increase in food prices. With more education, awareness, and advocacy training, we are excited to shift the climate change skeptics to science supporters.
How can the philanthropy sector contribute to climate change solutions and help us uphold our commitment to the Paris Agreement?
Philanthropy supports the nongovernmental organizations who have the voice to demonstrate to the world that American citizens are committed to the Paris Accord, even if the current administration is not. Philanthropy has the capability to pay climate scientists showcasing research data as well as build public awareness and advocacy for one of the most critical issues of our time. Our family is proud to assure Climate Generation can continue to build on their important objective to train educators.
Why are you excited to attend COP23? What are you most looking forward to?
I look forward to meeting people from all over the globe who share a common goal of addressing the planet’s health for generations to come. I want to assure delegates that there are many millions of American citizens who are on the climate change band wagon and are working to maintain the Paris Accord goals.
What change or progress do you hope comes from the conference, whether that’s personally or politically?
I want to learn what action is being taken across the globe to address climate change. With this new knowledge, I plan to share climate change best practices with youth, peers, and congressional representatives. The action implemented here in Minnesota may impact people on the other side of the plant.
Where is your favorite place to be outdoors in Minnesota?
My favorite urban spot is the walking trail along Minnehaha Creek, between 50th Street and Lake Nokomis. It is magically quiet, with stately large trees extending their canopies across the path. Friends from out of town cannot believe we have such a natural retreat in the center of large city. My favorite rural area is the North Shore of Lake Superior. One never runs out of new hikes to explore. Lake Superior differs from season-to-season, day-to-day. Sometimes, the waves are feet high and other days the lake is completely still. The beaches are home to a myriad of rocks, some large, some small, some new and rough, many smooth and often billions of years old. During the winter months, the North Shore offers scenic Nordic ski and showshoe trails and Lutsen Resort offers downhill skiing.
Do you want to bring the COP23 experience to your desktop or mobile screen? Sign up to receive updates from our Window Into COP23 delegation. You will receive a daily e-update from Nov. 6–17, providing you access to blogs, webinars, and an inside look at the climate progress and negotiations happening across international leaders.
Follow our delegates on Twitter and Instagram at @climategenorg, and participate in the global COP23 conversation with #MNCOP23, #unite4climate, and #actonclimate.