The Anderson Center hosted a regional climate change solutions conference on Saturday October 4 in collaboration with the Will Steger Foundation, Fresh Energy, MN Interfaith Power and Light, and several local partners. Polar explorer Will Steger convinced the 120 participants of the urgency of dealing with climate change which has had an accelerated impact on the melting in the polar regions. J. Drake Hamilton of Fresh Energy showed us that Minnesota is leading the transition to non-polluting clean energy, benefiting the regional and state economy right now, with much more to come as the state reduces imports of fossil fuels in favor of home grown jobs, clean energy and energy efficiency. Julia Nerbonne of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light illuminated for us the moral imperative to care for the creation we have been given. Former Star Tribune editorial writer and poet Jim Lenfestey provided stories of change and solutions in between the speakers.
Each speaker not only delivered an impactful presentation, but they all shared their own personal climate change story. J. Drake Hamilton shared how she grows award winning peaches in MN (a zone 5 fruit). Julia Nerbonne shared a story of how she and her then 5 year old daughter discovered a lethargic swallowtail butterfly on their back porch in March of 2012, during an 80 degree heat streak. Realizing that the butterflies food resources were not yet available, Julia and her daughter fed it fruit juice from a napkin and watched it fly off. When her daughter asked, “Mom, what about all the other butterflies?” Julia explained that she felt a deep sadness and a loss for words. Will shared snippets from his eyewitness account of over 50 years exploring the polar regions and his intimate familiarity with this landscape that has changed dramatically as a result of climate change. We each have our own unique climate change story.
So, what is your climate change story? How has Minnesota’s changing climate personally impacted you? Please share your story with us! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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