Steger, local experts to talk climate changes

By Jerry Burnes Managing Editor

Mesabi Daily NewsVIRGINIA — Local storytelling is how Minneapolis-based educator and polar explorer Will Steger likes to tackle the issue of climate change and its effects on local environments.

On Thursday night, he brings his Climate Generation talk to the theater room at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College for free public convening of local community members, experts and storytellers.

The talk is set to start at 6:15 p.m.

Scheduled to speak alongside Steger is Mark Phillips, commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, KAXE Phenologist John Latimer, resort owner Shawn Callahan and Jason Edens of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance.

“Over the last two or three years, everyone has their own eyewitness account [to climate effects] because they have personal observations,” Steger said.

Concerning the Iron Range region, he sees aesthetic, financial and economic impacts from climate changes, pointing first to south of the Range at the Mille Lacs and its fisheries.

In Ely, he’s noticed an influx of oak trees in the last 15 years, and inconsistant winters impacting winter tourism programs in the area.

“We still have cold winters, but they’re not consistent,” Steger said.

Thursday’s Iron Range convening is the seventh of 12 scheduled stops across the state for the program, which is in its first year of a three-year education project as part of the former Will Steger Foundation.

The core goal for Steger is to open conversation on solutions and adaptations to the local climate changes that aid the local economy in the process.

Statewide, for example, Steger wants to see more clean energy and conservation through wind energy programs.

The benefit would extend to the region, he said, because more steel mined on the Range would be put to use to erect turbines.

“Climate change is not a dead end,” Steger added.

Read the full story online here.

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