Was Copenhagen a failure?

Letter from the Executive Director

Was Cop a Failure?

Nicole Rom in Copenhagen, December 2009

Was Copenhagen a failure? This was the question asked at a recent event sponsored by the University of Minnesota Center for German and European Studies. MN delegate Reed Aronow joined Will Steger at the event to discuss what they experienced at the December UN Climate Summit. Will’s message was hopeful; he shared insights based on his past experience working on international treaties, such as the 1991 Antarctica Treaty review. He talked about the presence of U.S. leadership, civil society, the power of youth, and the fact that unlike Kyoto, heads of state came together rather than environmental ministers to hammer out the Copenhagen Accord. Will commented “if there was any failure, it was the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass comprehensive climate change legislation….and that climate change has been seeped in politics.”

This message also framed our recent Eyewitness to Climate Change Tour across Montana last week. While in Montana, Will delivered his Eyewitness presentation to over 800 Montanan’s in Billings, Bozeman and Missoula; met with business leaders, field directors for U.S. Senators Baucus and Tester, media, and University of Montana students and faculty to engage different stakeholders in the urgency of global warming and the need for political action. Check out the video.

The Montana tour followed a recent fly-in of over 220 business leaders from across the U.S. who traveled to Washington D.C. where they met with their Congressional delegation and urged them to pass comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation this year. We hosted a press conference with five business leaders and Environment Minnesota at a locally owned solar business, fre-Ener-g, to discuss the potential such legislation has for American business and job creation. While in Bozeman, Will and tour partners met with over 30 area business leaders, three of whom also participated in the fly-in and were excited to share their experience and reasoning for supporting climate and clean energy legislation.

As we move into spring, we will continue to remain focused on educating and mobilizing the public in support of climate and clean energy legislation.


Nicole Rom, Executive Director

[important color=blue title= Events]

Yea MNYEA! MN Gathering on Water Quality
Monday, February 22nd 4:30 – 7:30 pm
Southwest High School (Cafeteria)
3414 W 47th St, Minneapolis



Kristen PoppletonWe are excited to announce we now have a K-12 Education Program Manager! Kristen Iverson Poppleton began her work with the Will Steger Foundation as a participant in our first educator Summer Institute in 2006 and most recently authored our Grades 3-6 Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans. Kristen’s past work experience includes teaching Pre-K through graduate students and training formal and informal educators in environmental education and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math at the Science Museum of Minnesota and taught environmental and climate education focused courses at Hamline University and the University of Minnesota.

Kristen will be responsible for our annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, curriculum development and evaluation, presenting at educational conferences and events, and growing our K-12 education partnerships with organizations like the National Education Association, and locally with St. Paul Public Schools, among others. Pending approval from the Minnesota state legislature this session, Kristen will be responsible for managing our anticipated new project: Minnesota’s Changing Climate – Engaging Students with Adventure Learning using Will Steger’s archives – with funding from the Minnesota Trust Fund and the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

And to those of you wondering, Abby Fenton, returns from maternity leave part-time on April 1st and will be our Youth Programs Director.

In the News

KTVQ-TV of Billings, Montana interviews Will at the start of the Montana Tour. The story, titled Arctic explorer shares climate concerns, was broadcast in the Billings region to launch the “Eyewitness to Climate Change” tour. Watch the story here.


The Billings Gazette announces Will’s arrival in Montana in their story, Minnesotan Visiting Montana Cities to Share Firsthand Observations. Will spoke to a large crowd at the Billings Depot, before moving on to Bozeman and Missoula. Read the Gazette story.

Billings Gazette

Michael Gibney of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, covers Will’s visit in his story, Arctic explorer warns of climate-change evidence. Read the full article.

Bozeman Daily

The Missoulian newspaper features Will and Nicole on the front page of their paper as Will discusses climate change, jobs and national security during a lunch gathering at the University of Montana. Will wraps up his three-day tour in Missoula. Read the full article.


The PEW Environment Group recently launched a new website called Oceans North, where they are featuring several of our images from the 2007 Baffin Island Expedition. Check out our images on their site.


Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, an online magazine for K-5 teachers features photographs from the 2007 Baffin Island Expedition in their February 2010 issue, focusing on Polar Explorers. View the latest issue here.

For additional news items, visit our Press Room.


Delegates regularly posted to the Huffington Post during Copenhagen.

Read the recent article “Youth Leaders Talk Truth to Power in Copenhagen” here.

Huffington Post


Read the final recap report for Expedition Copenhagen (Download – PDF 2.9MB)

Expedition Copenhagen delegates continue to reflect on their experiences in their blogs, available at www.willstegerfoundation.org/blog.

Jamie HorterThe next climate conference is just around the corner, and its purpose will be to use the Copenhagen Accord as a framework for a legally-binding treaty. With only a few months to go, the US has a lot of domestic work to do before being able to make any international contributions to this collective effort. The US will have to pass climate legislation in the Senate, and the outcome of the vote depends largely on the Midwest votes. It’s an exciting time for states in the Midwest, because they are not only the breadbasket of the nation and parts of the world, but they are now prime candidates for the global economic market that is transitioning to renewable energy technology.” – Jamie Horter, South Dakota Delegate

Maia DedrickAs I continue to reflect on my intense team experience of the negotiations, I ask myself how I can help a changing world transition into a healthier place where we will continue to face climate change. The most important lesson I learned in Copenhagen was how critical it is for me to work within my own community to create solutions to climate change. The Midwest will be a critically important region as we work for national climate legislation, and I have political power as a voter and organizer in a swing state. This legislation could help our Midwest states thrive as we shift to a new clean energy economy.” – Maia Dedrick, Logistics Coordinator

Several of our delegates are working on a joint partnership with Focus the Nation, Global Exchange, and WSF to execute Focus the Nation’s Clean Energy Forums on Saturday April 3rd across the Upper Midwest to engage local communities and various stakeholders in discussions about climate legislation and clean energy.

[important color=blue title=iPhone App: Green Tips] iPhone_AppHave you seen our iPhone/iPod app? We’ve just launched Green Tips with one of our partners to help educate adults & kids on becoming more green. This app gives hundreds of tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint, suggests green activities for kids and families, and gives you a chance to ask questions to leading Green experts. We really hope you check it out!


Clean Energy Video


Our friends at NRDC collaborated with several celebrities to produce this short video that includes an easy way to contact your Senators in support of climate and clean energy legislation.

This is our moment, watch the video.

Photo of the Month

POTM February 2010

Will Steger discusses market-based solutions to our climate crisis with Bozeman area business leaders, Bozeman, MT, February 10, 2010


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