Climate Generation Gist

October 19, 2021
By: Nicole Rom, Former Executive Director

Reconnecting and Recharging

While on parental leave, I was keenly aware that the impacts of climate change were felt even more this year.

I ended up driving between the Twin Cities and Ely, MN more often with my newborn daughter to avoid wildfire smoke, an event that is occurring with increased frequency and intensity due to climate change, knowing it could negatively affect her health and exacerbate my asthma. I listened as my sister and brother-in-law discussed leaving their decade-long home in California in search of a new place that wouldn’t be devastated by longer, harsher fire seasons and drought each year. It’s true that people are now asking themselves what to do and where to live as climate change hits home, and we know not everyone has the luxury of choice when it comes to where they live and how they adapt to the changes.

As the federal government looks at tackling climate change through investment in infrastructure, it is critical because it provides one of the biggest opportunities we have to address climate change in the limited time we need to address it. The Build Back Better package must invest in tackling climate change and programs that deliver economic, public health, and environmental benefits to the communities that need them the most.

I returned from my leave to find Climate Generation in a strong financial position and in a state of change. I’d like to thank our entire team, and in particular, Senior Director of Programs Kristen Poppleton for stepping up and into additional responsibilities during my leave. We welcomed two new staff to our youth and communications teams and said goodbye to two others — one of whom has been with Climate Generation for seven years, Jothsna Harris. Jothsna built our Community Engagement program, toured the state of Minnesota to host community conversations, and has given hundreds of presentations to thousands on our storytelling approach to global and national audiences, in addition to co-editing our book, EYEWITNESS and launching the Talk Climate Institute, among many other accomplishments. Please join us in wishing Jothsna well as she pursues new opportunities, including graduate school!

Kristen and Lauren leave for COP26 with a truly phenomenal delegation — you can read their climate stories here and sign up for the daily digest here. Two virtual events you don’t want to miss before the international climate conference begins on November 1:

  • October 19: Pre-COP Panel, virtual discussion at 11:00am CT
  • October 28, Panel in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs

The beautiful film following our founder Will Steger, After Antarctica, is screening in person in St. Louis Park, MN on October 23rd through the Twin Cities Film Fest – find other screenings at festivals near you. We are proud to be the educational partner for the film; stay tuned for complementary resources to support the film in 2022!

Finally, mark your calendars for Give to the Max Day in Minnesota on November 18, followed by Giving Tuesday on November 30, a nationwide event supporting charities like us! We appreciate your continued support and investment in our mission.

It’s good to be back and I look forward to reconnecting with many of you in the weeks and months ahead!


Photo of Nicole Rom


Nicole Rom, Executive Director