When Minnesota and much of the Upper Midwest hit the 70 degree temperature mark earlier this month, I couldn’t just embrace the warmer weather without a bit of sadness for what this change really means. As meteorologist Paul Douglas said: “This isn’t your grandparents’ weather anymore,” going on to coin the term winter weirdness. Yes, we’ve heard the term global weirdness, referencing the unpredictable weather we are now experiencing. The science confirms that the average temperatures for the month of February set a new record, just after a record-setting January and the hottest year on record. Across the Northern Hemisphere for a day, we breached the 2 degrees Celsius above “normal” mark for the first time in recorded history. This mark has long been referenced as the danger zone, and it seems to have arrived far too soon. Climate change deserves serious attention, even in the midst of our happiness with the early spring; Bob Collins’ recent MPR blog captures this well.
We take climate change seriously and we believe that addressing it requires a solutions- and people- oriented approach. We believe that climate change will be slowed by people and organizations taking collective action. Southwest Journal recently featured our work and our approach to tackling climate change in a new “Where We Live” series in the newspaper. This month, hundreds of Minnesota youth called on Governor Dayton and our legislators to advance a state Clean Power Plan that is racially, economically and environmentally just. Despite the Supreme Court hold on the Clean Power Plan, Minnesota leaders have forged ahead with listening sessions and plans for implementation, and youth are a critical voice to engage in this process.
We are also excited to host several screenings throughout the spring of our TPT-produced film, Minnesota Stories in a Changing Climate, which tells personal stories of impact and solutions. To see the film, join us at the Birchwood Cafe on March 28. While you’re at Birchwood, don’t forget to arrive early to purchase food, and round up at the register to support our work through their Birchwood BOOST program. We’re also preparing for our annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, which will be at Macalester College June 21-24, and will focus on our newest curriculum resource, Next Generation Climate, as well as the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Finally, please save the date for our annual donor appreciation breakfast at the Red Stag Supperclub on May 3rd, 7:30-9 am. We will have some exciting news to share (this time we promise a name change announcement is not in the plans), and hope to see many of you there!
Nicole Rom, Executive Director
Register Today for Our Upcoming Climate Minnesota Webinars!
What do you value most about your community, and how will climate change impact that? Join us on March 15th and April 14th for our Climate MN Webinars to explore this question and more!
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from partners across Minnesota who participated in Climate Minnesota Convenings held throughout the state during 2015-2016. Learn how climate change is affecting what we value most, renew your hope by hearing how local communities are responding, and connect with others through climate stories shared from people who have experienced climate change in their own lives. Register now!
Improving Climate Change Education in the United States
Did you catch the news of the recent study on the state of climate change education in our country? Read our Director of Education’s thoughts on what we need to do to improve climate change education: Making a Space for Climate Change in the Classroom.
Educators Take a Stand on Divestment
Heeding a call to action from our COP21 Education Ambassadors, we partnered with MN350 to host a workshop for teachers that shared information on a statewide divestment campaign. Read more about the workshop and how you can get involved in Divest-Invest Minnesota.
Minnesota Needs a Strong & Just Clean Power Plan
March is action-packed for YEA! MN – our youth have co-hosted a Lobby Training at Birchwood, a Youth-Only Clean Power Plan Listening Session with the MPCA, the 2016 Youth Summit with Governor Dayton and Youth Lobby Day, all focused on ensuring a racially and economically just Clean Power Plan for Minnesota. Read YEA! MN co-chair Addie Welch’s blog to learn more about young people’s vision for an equitable implementation of the Clean Power Plan in Minnesota. Working in partnership with MPIRG and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), we are engaging high school and college-age youth across the state to bring about a just and sustainable future for all Minnesotans.
YEA! MN Partnerships Advance Social Justice
Spring is providing exciting opportunities to work at the intersection of climate change and social justice. YEA! MN partnered with OutFront Minnesota to provide a youth workshop at the annual OutFront Youth Summit focused on personal narrative as a powerful tool for social change. YEA! MN has also joined MPIRG, Energy Action Coalition, US Climate Plan and and Game Changer Labs to host Minnesota Youth Forward, one of multiple #SpringForward state summits being held across the country. The event will bring together youth activists across the state working on a range of progressive issues to build youth power at the intersection of climate change of social justice.
Attend or Host a Minnesota Stories in a Changing Climate Screening!
This spring, we’re taking our TPT-produced film, Minnesota Stories in a Changing Climate, on tour! Partners across the state are hosting screenings and facilitated discussions with our staff, including Birchwood Cafe on March 28th, Frontenac State Park on March 31st, and Westminster Presbyterian Church on April 3. Join us at one of these events, or host your own screening at your workplace, church group, book club or neighborhood association!
Thank Governor Dayton for Addressing Climate Change in His State of the State
In last week’s State of the State address, Governor Dayton took a strong stand in support of clean energy and climate action. He called addressing climate change “an important priority for my administration,” and quoted from a story of climate change impacts on winter tourism that we provided on behalf of Paul and Susan Schurke, owners of Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge in Ely. Thank the Governor for his efforts to protect the health of our climate and future generations by submitting a comment here.
In a new “Where We Live” series, the Southwest Journal spotlights Climate Generation, our organizational history and our current work. The feature story includes highlights from our last Climate Minnesota convening in Albany, and the impact of our Emerging Leaders program, such as the policy change driven by our annual Youth Lobby Day and Governor’s Summit.
At our final Climate MN convening, co-hosted with Youth Energy Summit (YES!) Albany students and community members gathered at the high school to share their climate stories and talk about local climate actions.
Local high school teams involved in Youth Energy Summit (YES!) participated in a day-long Winter Workshop event at Gustavus on March 2nd, where Climate Generation Curriculum Coordinator Jenna Totz facilitated a session on waste reduction, the life cycle of goods, and climate change.
Will Steger embarks on annual solo expedition
On March 7, 30 years after his departure for the North Pole, our founder Will Steger departed for a 350-mile solo trek through Ontario’s Wabakimi Provincial Park south to Ely, an annual expedition he has established in order to test his mental and physical baseline and monitor ongoing changes to the climate.
Will Steger and YEA! MN co-chair Kendra Roedl lay out a vision for Minnesota’s clean energy future in this MinnPost Community Voices piece. Steger and Roedl call for a goal of zero emissions and 100% clean energy by 2050, and highlight the resources that can get us there.
At Able Seedhouse + Brewery’s inaugural Pillows + Pints Ski Movie Night, a selection of ski movies promoted wilderness conservation, and raffle donations as well as 10% of the evening’s proceeds went to benefit our work. We were happy to partner with the new, farm-to-glass brewery as well as continue our Keep The North Cold partnership with Askov Finlayson, one of the outdoor retailers tabling at the event.