Will Steger Foundation Talks Climate Change

The organization spoke about climate change in the arctic at the May meeting of the Morningside Women’s Club Earth’s climate is changing.

 

There are many factors contributing to global warming, but few scientists would dispute that human behaviors like burning fossil fuels and deforestation contribute to the problem.

You can witness some of the changes in your own back yard. Here in Minnesota, we may spend more time sneezing and rubbing our eyes as weeds thrive and pollen counts skyrocket.

Up North, moose are dying, possibly because deadly parasites are surviving milder winters. Soon, we may see birds that have always lived to our south creep across our borders. Some climatologists think the record number of tornados we saw last year had to do with global warming.

As glaciers shrink and sea levels rise, people who live in our planet’s polar regions are some of the most dramatically affected. Their way of life, which has always depended on traditional knowledge, familiarity with the land and the delicate cycles of the seasons, is threatened at its core.

Legendary explorer and Twin Cities native Will Steger has spent more than 45 years taking expeditions to the arctic regions and has witnessed climate change with his own eyes.

In 2006, he set up a foundation devoted to educating the public about climate change and he hopes to inspire people to take action. “It doesn’t take a lot of change to make a huge difference,” Abby Fenton, Director of Youth Programs at the Will Steger Foundation, told Edina’s Morningside Women’s Club on May 16.

Fenton accompanied Steger on a 2007 expedition to Baffin Island. As the team of eight people and 50 dogs traveled across the region, they spoke to Inuit elders, who have been eyewitness on the front lines of climate change. As recently as the 1970s, there were still nomadic Inuits on Baffin Island.

According to the elders, the way people hunt and live has changed dramatically in their own lifetimes, as the ice recedes and animal populations attempt to adapt. In an amazing video, Fenton showed the women’s club how their team struggled for hours to cross an area of ice and bare rock which should have been covered with snow.

She spoke about taking an inspiring field trip out on the ice with Inuit elders as they showed children traditional methods of fishing, eating, and even building igloos.

Fenton was especially impressed with the resourcefulness of the people who lived on the island and their love of the land. According to the Will Steger Foundation, educating ourselves and our young people about climate change is the best way to start making a difference.

From there, we can try to change our behavior to make more responsible decisions about our transportation, what we buy, and the policies we support.

See the online article from the Edina Patch website – May 2011

 

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