Climate Voices

October 17, 2019
By: Climate Generation

Meeting the Need with Community Engagement

At Climate Generation we envision a world of resilient communities that are thriving, connected, with equitable solutions to change.

This is the future that we imagine and it is not only possible, but we can have confidence that what we do today matters and has a strong influence in shaping reality. Communities collectively hold the power to innovate and influence climate change solutions. To better position communities to make long-term, lasting change, community members must be empowered to act as local climate champions. This intention is reflected across our organization and tied to our mission and vision.

To better align with this intention, our “Public Engagement” program will be re-named as “Community Engagement.” The inclusion of the word “community” is central to the approach that we are already taking; to tailor our engagement programs uniquely to the needs of the specific community we are working with and taking on a local place-based lens, whether at the neighborhood, school, city, state, or business level.

Public opinion polls match the need we are seeing in our communities, as well as the disconnect between the growing level of concern among Americans about climate change and the lack of confidence to communicate about it.

This year, through our Community Engagement program, Climate Generation has been amplifying programming that brings in storytelling and the arts to elicit emotion, imagination, and creativity to spark conversations on climate change in ways that resonate and engage people in solutions.

We know that through the development of personal narrative and artistic expression, communities are able to build leadership, collective action, and public will for climate solutions. With this in mind, we are excited about our EYEWITNESS project — a collection of short stories, poems, and sketches that speak to the diverse range of backgrounds, perspectives, and histories of Minnesotans and their experiences of climate change. The collection will be published into a succinct book, and circulated in the MN Legislature, accompanied by testimony, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April 2020.

Over the last year, our Community Engagement Program has received an unprecedented number of requests from institutions, organizations, and local communities to talk about climate change in ways that resonate. We have been meeting this interest by hosting writing workshops, presentations, and public convenings. This spring, are partnering with the College of St. Benedict and Saint John’s University to host our 4th Talk Climate Institute.

To meet the interest in this growing program of our organization, we have expanded our staff with Kira Liu beginning in the role of Community Engagement Coordinator earlier this summer. Kira has been working with Climate Generation for the last two years to support our youth programming and is excited to support Community Engagement in this newly created role to support the exciting opportunities we are embracing and engaging in.

Jothsna Harris
Community Engagement Manager

Kira Liu
Community Engagement Coordinator