Love and resistance are a powerful combination. Of late, I have been inspired by the passion, creativity, and sheer number of public events highlighting the resistance to rollbacks of our country’s progress on so many issues, including climate policy. I am also motivated by the show of support from the private sector, especially the recent example of resistance by Patagonia and other companies who have pulled out of Utah’s Outdoor Retailer convention in protest of Utah decision-maker’s disrespect for public lands. However, it is important to not only resist, but also to continue forward progress, fueled by our love for people, communities and the environment. Here in Minnesota, we have recently had several businesses reach out about engaging with us in new ways. We’re seeing communities working on climate action and resiliency planning, and educators and students gearing up for our upcoming events: Youth Lobby Day, our Institutes for Climate Change Education and spring action projects in high schools. All of these actions come from a place of love.
Speaking of spreading the love, we were thrilled to participate in the 2nd annual Pillows + Pints brewing event hosted by Able Seedhouse & Brewery. We are deeply grateful to Able and Askov Finlayson for reaching out to us about being the beneficiary organization for this fun-filled evening. Proceeds from the night benefited our work, and we had several staff share information about the beer-climate change connection as well as how our winters are warming and what we can do about it. To continue the spirit of public involvement, we are hosting a Volunteer Open House event at Lake & Legends Brewing on February 22nd. Join us for an informal gathering to learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities.
At the Minnesota Environmental Congress hosted on February 3, we heard from Governor Dayton, Commissioners, and the public on priority actions for state government in mitigating and adapting to climate change, with the hope of setting a more ambitious course for the future. As Governor Dayton said: “Confronting Minnesota’s environmental and energy challenges may cost money in the short term, but inaction will be much costlier in the long run; no single leader, institution, or business can accomplish this alone. To move forward we need all of us – citizens, government, industry and the diverse communities across our state – to put our minds together, roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Let’s get to work. Let’s remind ourselves of why we do this work: for the love of our communities. For the love of winter and Minnesota’s four beautiful seasons. For the love of all the things we care about, we’re taking climate change seriously.
Nicole Rom, Executive Director
Finding Our Common Ground on Climate Change
We are well into an age of misinformation on climate change, and it is important to be able to decipher which sources on the issue are credible ones. But we also need practical strategies for coping, building unity, and being able to talk about climate change with others who hold opposing views. The first thing that is critical to recognize is that when facts challenge our worldviews or values system, they often trigger a defensive reaction, and it can feel deeply personal. So, how can we talk to people who hold opposing views? We can start by stripping away the barriers; peeling away the layers that are dividing us, and beginning from a place where we can find alignment, then building from there. Where their interests align with our interests is where things get done, whether it’s fishing, farming, faith or future generations. And in our warming world, almost everyone recognizes change, even if they don’t recognize it as climate change. When we lead conversations with active listening, empathy, and understanding – making statements like “I can understand how someone might hold that position” – we are building a rapport that increases the chances that the other person will hear us out. For more insights into this approach, check out this article from Scientific American.
Integrating Climate Change Across Disciplines
This year, we are deepening our work with an independent school in Washington D.C., Lowell School, with a focus on helping them integrate climate change into their humanities classes. We are excited by the opportunity to support the implementation of a truly interdisciplinary climate change curriculum at a school! As part of our work with Lowell, we have been busy reading climate change fiction, or cli-fi, that Lowell School will use with their sixth grade classes next school year. Check out the blog we wrote about Exodus, a story about future climate change impacts, resistance, and survival.
Youth Voices at the Capitol!
Middle, high school, and college-age youth are invited to to join our Youth Climate Lobby Day and Summit with Governor Dayton, March 1 at the Minnesota State Capitol. Hosted by Climate Generation and our YEA! MN high school program, we are proud to partner with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), and Take Action Minnesota to make this event happen. The day at the Capitol will be an exciting opportunity for students to learn first-hand about Minnesota’s political system and participate directly in supporting racially and economically just clean energy legislation. Limited funding available for groups in greater Minnesota. Register now! Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Power Shift Annual Meeting
Earlier this month, Climate Generation joined 70 youth climate organizations in Washington, D.C. for the Power Shift Network Annual Meeting to build strategy together in light of the current political climate, and advance shared goals related to climate justice and a fossil fuel-free economy. The Network meeting was an opportunity to connect with our regional youth partners, and plug into national efforts to engage emerging leaders in an ever-growing movement. We look forward to continued collaboration with youth climate leaders across the Midwest, and national coordination on high school student engagement in the People’s Climate March April 29th. Stay tuned!
Join us at the People’s Climate March April 29!
Like so many of you, we are prioritizing a public presence in support of causes and issues we care about these days. So of course, the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C. on April 29 is on our calendar. As their landing page states so powerfully: “We will march for our families. We will march for our air, our water, and our land. We will march for clean energy jobs and climate justice. We will march for our communities and the people we love. And we will be louder and stronger than ever before.” If you are an educator and are planning to march, get in touch with Kristen (email@example.com) about joining a climate change education delegation in D.C. If you are a high school student interested in marching, contact Abby (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details on a planned youth rallying point in D.C. And if you’re anyone else, sign up at the People’s Climate Movement site!
Volunteer Open House
Whether you’re a current volunteer or interested in becoming one, we invite you to join us for a Volunteer Open House on Wednesday, February 22 at Lakes & Legends! From 4:30-6:30pm, the Open House will include mingling, free appetizers, an organizational overview, and volunteer sign-ups for a variety of upcoming opportunities. We have been able to extend the impact of our work to address climate change because of dedicated volunteers putting in their time and talents over the years. Volunteers are integral to the success of our organization and we are grateful to have the strong community of dedicated supporters that we do. We look forward to the opportunity to connect with new and recurring volunteers during this evening. For more information contact email@example.com.