Signs of climate change impacts are happening all around us. The West is on fire. Cities and states across the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West are under a sky of smoke and ash, with the largest blaze currently burning in Oregon. Not one, not two, but three hurricanes are swirling in the Atlantic. One week after Harvey flooded Texas, Irma, Jose and Katia are all on the move. Devastating hurricanes are hitting Mexico, the U.S. and Asia, affecting thousands of people. While Houston, Texas, the Caribbean, and parts of the U.S. face catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey and Irma, across the globe, millions of people in South Asia are simultaneously facing one of the worst flooding disasters in decades following record-breaking deluges. Climate change affects all of us, just not equally. Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are with everyone affected by the fires, Hurricanes Harvey, and Irma. It’s nearly impossible to grasp the weight of these natural disasters, which will be felt for years to come.
Scientists confirm warm sea surface temperatures intensify hurricanes; warmer air can hold more moisture and warmer seas cause water to evaporate faster, which means more rainfall during storms—a key factor in Hurricane Harvey’s extensive flooding. Studies have found a 30-year trend showing an increase in the strength of Atlantic tropical cyclones alongside an increase in ocean temperatures over the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere. Our Associate Director shares her perspective on Hurricane Harvey and how and why we need to hold our elected officials accountable in this powerful blog. In the wake of President Trump disbanding a federal climate change panel last month, our Director of Education—who was a member of the panel—shared the impact of its absence.
Devastating fires and storms like Harvey and Irma remind us how critical it is to not only make the connection to climate change, but also more importantly do our part to help prevent increasing future disasters. Climate change is serious. We need to confront it with determination. To that end, this fall, we are leading a multi-sector delegation from Minnesota, a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, to COP23 in Bonn Germany; convening public and private partners to advance the transition to clean energy economy with Xcel Energy; supporting youth-led summits on climate change solutions; and mentoring a cohort of educators with the skills to address climate change, self-efficacy, and action competence among their students. By engaging educators, youth, influentials, and the public, we believe that communities can be better positioned to build a resilient and equitable future.
Nicole Rom, Executive Director
Join our #TeachClimate Network
This month will be our first #TeachClimate Network and Book Club meeting. Join us on Wed, Sept. 20th at 7:00 CST for an hour of discussion on climate change education, and help us decide which book we will read first! Bring some questions for the group or just listen to others and take notes. Don’t forget your list of cli-fi books you have been wanting to read! Sign up and learn more here.
YES! Fall Summits
This fall, we’re partnering again with a youth program in greater Minnesota, YES! (Youth Energy Summit). We’re providing the climate change connection at their Fall Summits to help inform the projects students will be working on throughout the year. These events, held at St. John’s University and Laurentian Environmental Learning Center, help us share information about teams hosting public climate change convenings in their communities, supported by Climate Generation. We will also provide climate change content at two YES! Winter Workshops in 2018, where teams choose topics related to energy and sustainable action projects at their schools. We’re really excited to work with youth outside of the metro area and engage them in climate change solutions!
Climate Youth Kick-off
On September 30th, from 12 to 5 p.m., YEA! MN is hosting the first annual Climate Youth Kickoff! High school students from across the Twin Cities are invited to come meet each other and experience hands-on practice with activities to spark their peers to action this school year. Students will learn tips and tricks for recruiting peer support and dream up project ideas for the year with workshops covering solar schools, using your voice at city council, and stopping a MN oil pipeline. And, a free lunch will be provided from Afro Deli. Find out more and register here!
March to the Pipeline Hearing
Join Climate Generation as we tell the Governor and the Public Utilities Commission they must act for climate justice. Step along with hundreds of marchers on September 28th at 4:30 p.m. toward a public hearing where you can testify on Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline. The march will begin at the capitol steps in St. Paul and finish at the hearing. The hearing examines Enbridge’s environmental impact statement, which proposes to abandon a leaky pipeline in MN soil and build a new one twice as large, over treaty lands and the Mississippi headwaters. Read about the Youth Climate Intervenors, some of whom are YEA! NN students, taking action at the state level to fight against the Line 3 pipeline.
Follow our Window Into COP23 program
We’re excited to support a multi-sector delegation of Minnesota leaders to COP23 in Bonn, Germany this November. The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a critical time for American cities, states, businesses, and citizens to act on U.S. climate leadership and represent our enduring subnational commitment to the Paris Agreement pledge. Meet our eight delegates representing education, law, philanthropy, youth, elected officials, and indigenous communities and sign up to receive COP23 updates, including blogs and webinars from Bonn, during the conference!
Keep The North Cold With Us!
In 2013, our partners Askov Finlayson created their first North hats, giving a portion of every sale to support our youth program, YEA! MN. They create a new edition each year, and now they’re launching the fifth! Join us on Thursday, September 21, for a first look at the new North hat style and enjoy beer, free Northern Fires Pizza, prizes, and live music in the Askov Finlayson courtyard. RSVP to the Facebook event for more details!
Sometimes it can seem as though all of the talk surrounding climate change is negative. We’re honored to be featured as a nonprofit spearheading initiatives to change the climate trajectory of the planet. Watch Climate Generation youth, teachers, and staff featured in this 8-minute documentary. Martin Blanco created the film through REWIRE, a project of Twin Cities Public Television.
The Trump administration disbanded a federal panel charged with figuring out ways to communicate the effects of climate change to the public. Our Director of Education, Kristen Poppleton, was a member of the panel and talked with MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar about the future impacts of its absence.
Thirteen young Minnesotans, some of whom are YEA! MN students, are intervening into the state’s regulatory process regarding Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project. If approved by the state, the project would relocate and expand Enbridge’s existing Line 3 pipeline, which runs from Canada to Wisconsin, allowing it to carry twice as much tar sands oil. Each of the Youth Climate Intervenors has a unique personal connection to the Enbridge pipeline project and to the urgent need for action on climate change.