As someone who supports reducing our global warming pollution and educating and empowering a new generation of climate leaders, we know you’ll want to mark your calendar for this special day where your donations are eligible for a $1,000 match! Help us create a clean energy future by making a gift on Nov 16 or any day.
Letter from the Executive Director
Will Steger's Trans-Antarctica Expedition 20th Anniversary
We have some very important milestones in Will’s history and ours to celebrate! Will was the featured speaker at Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education 20th anniversary on November 4th, which he helped to establish in 1990.
In early December, Will Steger's Trans-Antarctica Expedition, the historic seven month, 3,741-mile International Trans-Antarctica Expedition in 1989–90 is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in Minnesota!
We’ll be sharing updates about these events and ways you can be involved in the coming weeks!
Just as we are excited about these celebrations, it is important that we also take a step back and understand the recent political shift and what it means for our work.
We’ve spent the past two weeks interpreting the midterm elections and what the results mean for our state, regional and national efforts to advance climate and clean energy policies. The scoop:
Nationally: Despite the national shift towards more conservatives in Congress, this did not stop California from defeating Proposition 23 and saving its landmark climate legislation, one of the first policies to price carbon and promote clean energy in the U.S. The legislation supports more than 12,000 clean tech companies, over 500,000 clean tech employees, and encourages $10 billion in private clean tech investment. It has been a huge success and an example of how climate policy can encourage economic growth. The top three election issues seemed to be the economy, healthcare, and the size of the government. While the party in power usually loses seats in the midterms, these losses were pretty significant (60-70 in the House, 6-8 in the Senate). Among Democrats in close races,who voted for Waxman-Markey (the climate bill that passed in the House), 61% lost the election (Source: E&E). Interestingly though, among Democrats in close races, 79 % of those who voted against Waxman-Markey lost – faring even worse. Also interesting is that 7 of the 8 Republicans who voted for Waxman-Markey were re-elected. So it looks like being a Democrat, rather than supporting climate policy, was the real fatal flaw in this election.
Midwest: Most of the newly elected Midwest Governors should be reasonably pragmatic and open-minded when it comes to clean energy, environmental protection, conservation and high-speed rail. However, the results do not bode well for support of federal climate change actions or for early movement on the Midwest Governors' Association's climate initiative.
Minnesota: While Democrats lost control of the state legislature and the governor’s race is still in recount mode, we do have an opportunity to shape Minnesota’s role in growing a clean energy economy and continuing to follow California’s lead.
If all the news has got you down, we really loved this piece by The Onion.
Nicole Rom, Executive Director
Events: November and December
- Nov. 16th: Give to the Max Day: Donate Online to support us! One donor will be randomly chosen every hour to have $1,000 added to their donation. More Info...
- Nov. 20th: Green Gifts Fair: Do It Green Guide - check out the green gifts fair at the Midtown Global Market and pick up your copy of the Do It Green Guide, which features an article about Expedition Copenhagen! More Info...
- Dec. 4th: Live update from Cancun, Mexico COP16 United Nations Climate Talks with the 350 Solutions Revolution team: Paul Thompson, Alec Neal, Katherine Ball, Malkolm Boothroyd. Hear first-hand from this multi-generational team what is happening on-site at the climate talks in Cancun. Saturday, December 4th, 2010, 2:00 - 4:00 pm, Rondo Community Outreach Library
- Dec 5-11th: Trans-Antarctica Expedition 20th Reunion convenes in Minnesota! Get updates and join reunion activities on Facebook!
- Dec 11th: Trans-Antarctica Expedition Reunion - PUBLIC EVENT - Hamline University, 3-5 pm
October was busy with conference and poster presentations at the Ecology and Education Summit in Washington D.C., Education Minnesota’s Professional Conference and the Green Schools National Conference in Minneapolis. It was encouraging to meet such a variety of people from scientists to classroom teachers, dedicated to educating and inspiring an environmentally literate citizenry. It was also exciting to be able to share our educational resources and be able debut our developing Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund Project focused on Minnesota’s Changing Climate. We have already begun to receive applications from classrooms interested in participating in this project. Find out more and apply today!
Schools - Apply now for Minnesota’s Changing Climate and the British Council Climate Generation School Leadership Programs!
Ann Benson, our new project assistant, continues to work with Jerry Stenger in Will Steger’s archives on our cataloging project made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund administered by the Minnesota Historical Society. Follow her weekly blogs on her expedition into the archive on the Climate Lessons blog.
Kristen Poppleton, our education program manager, began teaching her yearly graduate course at Hamline University, Communicating Climate Change in the Classroom this month. This course aims to provide educators from a variety of backgrounds with an overview of environmental education and climate literacy. Students are introduced to the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively communicate the topic of climate change in their classrooms. Read some reflections that came out of planning for this year’s course on the Climate Lesson’s blog.
WSF would like to recognize Elise Chahla who has donated over 57 hours to WSF since the end of October. We are grateful to have Elise's incredibly capable services before she is off trekking with gorillas "Dian Fossey style" in Africa next month. Thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers who donated over 550 hours this last fiscal year (9/1/09 - 8/31/10). We couldn't do this work without you!
Will Steger Foundation hosted the first annual Green Schools National Youth Summit in downtown Minneapolis on Oct. 25th. The event was a huge success drawing 100 high school youth from over 30 high schools across the Twin Cities, the Midwest and nationally. Former YEA! MN student chair, Ethan Buckner (now a Sophomore at Vassar College) rejoined the WSF team, working closely with YEA! MN Coordinator Richmond Appleton to plan and facilitate the event, and effectively engage a diverse team of national youth leaders in peer mentorship. Highlights of the Summit included the interactive Generation Waking Up training, keynote speakers Will Steger and Phillipe Cousteau, skills trainings on fundraising, campaigning and team building, and a strategic action planning session aimed a supporting student-led action projects on the high school campus related to climate change solutions. WSF will be tracking these projects through the course of the 2010-11 school year as part of the Climate Generation School Leadership Program, in partnership with the British Council. We will continue to foster collaboration between schools in the Metro area through upcoming YEA! MN events and opportunities.
WSF Youth Programs Director, Abby Fenton, is in the process of reviewing youth proposals for the RE-AMP network in response to an RFP for youth and faith constituencies across the Midwest. As RE-AMP Youth Climate Coordinator, Abby, has been actively engaged in supporting Midwest youth climate leadership and project leadership in collaboration with environmental non-profit organizations and foundations across the Midwest. Proposals are largely focused on energy efficiency, coal, and transportation, will be selected in early December. RE-AMP funding is a critical component to expanding youth capacity on climate change solutions across the region.
Building on the momentum of the Green Schools National Youth Summit, YEA! MN students hosted a youth session at the Transition Fair at South High School in Minneapolis on Nov 13th, hosted by the Alliance for Sustainability, featuring renowned journalist, Richard Heinberg. YEA! MN engaged youth in a climate change discussion on solutions, featuring Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. Youth were then encouraged to join neighborhood conversations aimed at identifying opportunities for collaboration around inter-generational action projects related to community sustainability, as part of the national Transition Movement - a vibrant, grassroots initiative that seeks to build community resilience in the face of such challenges as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. As a result of this session, YEA! MN youth are uploading videos to YouTube expressing their disappointment as prospective students in the University's energy policy and advocating for clean energy alternatives. Learn more about the University of Minnesota Beyond Coal Campaign at: www.sierraclub.org/coal/mn
Hear directly from youth delegates at the COP16 international climate negotiation in Cancun, Mexico on December 4th. WSF is sponsoring two youth climate leaders from the Solutions Revolution cross-country bike tour, including former Expedition Copenhagen delegate Reed Arronow. Youth delegates will Skype in to a public YEA! MN event on December 4th from 2-4 pm at Rondo Community Outreach Library in St. Paul, to share their stories and experiences from the international stage.
The Engaging Every Student blog recaps the success of the Green Schools Conference in October. Abby Fenton and national youth leaders gathered at the Minneapolis Hyatt for the two-day conference. Read More on Engaging Every Student
NEA Hosts First Summit on Environmental Education
The summit, “Environmental Literacy for a Sustainable World,” focused on the following question: How should educators prepare students to make choices about the environment? Read More on Environmental Literacy
Expedition News: International Trans-Antarctica Expedition Reunion, Dec. 11, St. Paul
Twenty years after the historic 222 day, 3741 mile expedition across Antarctica, the six-member team will reunite for the first time. Read More on International Trans-Antarctica Expedition Reunion
Do you already have a good idea how energy efficient your car, refrigerator, or furnace is, but not your home? A new federal program announced will help homeowners determine, on a scale of 1 to 10, how efficient their houses are.
The incentive? Qualifying households will be eligible for federally backed loans to help bring their house up to speed!
Photo of the Month
Photo of the month: National youth leaders present at the inaugural Green Schools National Conference held in Minneapolis, MN in late October. Featured in the photo are our outstanding Emerging Leaders and co-coordinators of the Green Schools Youth Summit, Ethan Buckner and Richmond Appleton.