A year ago today, we shared our big announcement – we were changing our name from Will Steger Foundation to Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy. Our mission and vision did not change, and continue to hold true today, but our new name better reflected what we do, as well as our belief that this generation (everyone alive today) must be the one to solve climate change.
I’m also very excited to announce that this year is Climate Generation’s 10th Anniversary, and to celebrate, we’re hosting a special event – the HOTTEST event of the hottest decade – on December 1, 2016 at Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis.
We know that our climate literacy accomplishments and progress advancing climate solutions over the past 10 years would not be possible without the hard work of our dedicated staff and board; our educators, youth leaders, and partners; and you, our loyal supporters. I hope you will join us at our 10-Year Celebration and consider supporting our important work educating and empowering people around climate change. As recent studies have shown, and as our warming world testifies, we need it now more than ever.
At the event, we will recognize 10 climate leaders who have helped Climate Generation in our work, and celebrate the community of supporters like you who are taking action on the issue. Already, we have confirmed an esteemed group of Honorary Chairs, including Vice President Walter Mondale, Governor Mark Dayton, and former U.S. Senator David Durenberger, and the list is growing.
Over the past 10 years, Climate Generation has become a recognized leader in climate education and youth engagement. We have:
- Developed climate change curriculum and professional development services that are helping educators inform a new generation on the science of climate change and the need for action;
- Become the go-to organization for connecting youth leaders to climate and clean energy policy across the state and the Midwest region; and
- Helped achieve Minnesota’s nation-leading renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.
Will and I began this work together 10 years ago. Will’s vision was to address climate change through education and policy. My role was to understand Will’s history; his role as an educator, advocate, environmentalist, and mentor to youth; and translate his vision into a new organization and programming. We hit the ground running, raising needed funds, hiring staff, and eventually growing the organization to a 10-staff team with an $800,000 budget.
As we look ahead, we are excited to create our roadmap for the next 3-5 years in our upcoming strategic planning process, and our 10-Year Celebration is as much about celebrating our forward momentum as it is about acknowledging our past. 2020 is when the U.N. countries will begin to implement the Paris Climate Agreement, agreed upon this past December. What will our own organizational road map and climate actions look like during that period?
We know we will advance climate change education in the state science standards; revise and add new curriculum and training offerings; expand our public outreach model and our YEA! MN youth program; and explore new ways to offer our community mentorship program. We will focus on organizational sustainability, scale up our strongest offerings, and continue to diversify our revenue with innovative partnerships. And, ultimately, we will be working towards a goal of zero emissions and 100 percent clean energy in Minnesota by 2050, a goal that echoes the call from the youth who gathered in Paris to demand a strong climate agreement that safeguarded their future.
There is still much to be done and we hope you’ll join us for the next 10. Together we are creating a better, more equitable and sustainable future for all.