I’ll start with the good news: Both the Minnesota House and Senate passed our Clean Energy and Jobs legislation last week. The legislation includes a first-ever solar standard and a strengthened renewable energy standard for investor-owned utilities, as well as important efficiency and local power production policies.
This news couldn’t have come a moment too soon. Last week carbon dioxide levels neared a notable milestone: NOAA reported a daily average close to 400 parts per million, the first time in human history. The last time CO2 reached these levels in the atmosphere was several million years ago, before humans evolved. Ice caps were smaller and sea levels may have been 60 to 80 feet higher. While the Arctic hit 400 ppm last summer, this was the first recording of this number at middle latitudes, where measurements have been taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory since 1958. According to NOAA, the weekly average reading at Mauna Loa was 399.52, up nearly 22 points from a decade ago.
While the 400-ppm landmark may be primarily symbolic, it demonstrates that the relentless rise of C02 emissions must be matched in scale by the solutions we create now. That’s what we’re focused on everyday.
Nicole Rom, Executive Director
The Parks Climate Challenge is back this spring and already Washington Technology Magnet School, Harmony ALC, and Carondolet Catholic School have visited Fort Snelling State Park to explore the effects of climate change on the park and Mississippi River. Check out their observations and more in the Online Classroom!
“Experience Energy!” – our new energy curriculum for grades 3-8 – will be released in June at the Summer Institute on Energy Education. We can’t say enough about this latest publication for teachers and students to go in-depth with energy and climate change in their classrooms. Be there for the release and training, June 16-18: Register today!
The greatest river in the country – one of the largest in the world – will be our backdrop and playground for the Minnesota’s Changing Climate curriculum training this August. At the Ojibwe sacred site, renown for being the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, Fort Snelling State Park is one of the Twin Cities best-kept secrets. It’s a real gem. This August, make the most of this award-winning curriculum and get your students outdoors and discovering the changing world around them. Register as a group or individually today!
WSF Staff Attend Goldman Environmental Awards in D.C.
It was truly an honor to see Kim Wasserman, Founder and Executive of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), awarded the 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize for North America for her work organizing communities of color and coalitions against powerful coal interests. LVEJO has received funding through the RE-AMP Network for two consecutive years, beginning in 2011, in support of their successful youth-based campaign to close the Fisk and Crawford Coal plants and to secure transit access for Chicago’s Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods. Read more here.
YEA! MN Celebrates Success of Student Lead Action Projects
As the 2012-13 school year comes to a close, WSF is celebrating a fleet of successful action projects in six high schools across the Twin Cities metro. Launched and supported through our YEA! MN program, projects include recycling, composting, hydration station installations, no-idling campaigns, bike/walk to school campaigns, and peer education on climate change basics and solutions. Many thanks to our YEA! MN program Coordinator, Joe Kruse for his fantastic leadership and mentorship, and our YEA! MN student Co-Chairs Cole Norgaarden and Katie Mercer-Taylor who have done amazing work this year and are both graduating this spring. We thank them for their service and can’t wait to see what they do next!
We are extremely proud of our YEA! MN program and the youth led steering committee for the significant role youth played on Earth Day at the MN state Capitol this year, as part of the Clean energy and Jobs Campaign. YEA! MN student leaders brought out 100 high school students in the rain and snow for the Young People’s March for Climate Action Now, an event planned and facilitated entirely by youth. YEA! MN Co-Chair read a compelling testimony to the young crowd at the beginning of the March, followed by Co-Chair Katie Mercer-Taylor who spoke powerfully in the Capitol rotunda in front of a crowd of 700 people, half of whom were youth. Both speeches can be read online. Watch the rally video!
Join the Will Steger Foundation for a Bike Walk Week event on June 12th from 7-9 am at our Greenway Building office with the Minnesota Environmental Fund (MEF). Mayor RT Rybak calls it the “best breakfast in the cities!”
Co-sponsored by Wellington Management, Civia, Eureka Recycling, Peace Coffee, CERTS, Great Plains Institute, The Energy Conservatory, Energy Center of Wisconsin, Envision Minnesota, SOS Building Services, Inc, Headwaters Foundation for Justice, Nonprofits Assistance Fund, and Midtown Greenway Coalition.
Support climate change action and fair trade!
Thursday, June 20th, 5 – 8 pm
867 Grand Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105
20% of proceeds support the Will Steger Foundation
The Office of the Governor Blog
Dayton joined hundreds of clean energy activists at an Earth Day rally
Earth Day brings renewable energy push at State Capitol
Minnesota needs a bold framework to change its energy picture
Earth Day rally draws enthusiastic students supporting solar energy standard for Minnesota
Ralliers pack Capitol for Earth Day
UWL Hosts National Conference on Undergraduate Research
Minnesota: Please send a thank you to Governor Dayton and your legislators for passing clean energy and jobs legislation! We would like to extend a special thanks to Senator John Marty and Representative Melissa Hortman who championed the clean energy legislation through their respective bodies. Find your legislator here. For thank you messaging and information about the legislation, read more at www.cleanenergyjobs.mn.
Photo of the Month
YEA! MN student leaders brought out 100 high school students in the rain
and snow for the Young People’s March for Climate Action Now on Earth Day,
an event planned and facilitated entirely by youth.