The Will Steger Foundation has had another successful year!
Please join us by making a gift to the Will Steger Foundation today so that we can continue to educate, inspire and empower people to engage in solutions to climate change!
2014 Climate and Energy Literacy Webinar Series
FREE Webinar Series: Register Today For Our Upcoming Climate and Energy Webinar Series!
Youth Voices of Change: Climate Change Video Contest
The Will Steger Foundation and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are sponsoring Youth Voices of Change to raise awareness about climate change and the amazing youth engaged in solutions throughout Minnesota. Climate change is the environmental issue of our time and we believe youth have the power to make real change.
2014 Summer Institute for Climate Change & Energy Education
Audubon Center of the North Woods, Sandstone, MN August 4-6, 2014
The Midwest’s climate change education event of the year; come to the 2014 Summer Institute.
WSF joins Clean Energy and Jobs advocates for Ceremonial bill signing with Governor Mark Dayton
Wednesday October 2nd marked the Ceremonial signing of our Clean Energy and Jobs bill - also known as the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development bill (HF729 / SF 1057).
2012-2013 Highlighted Accomplishments
With your support, we were able to have a significant impact this past year!
Most Recent Posts
Retirement of 2 older Sherco coal units to get study
David Shaffer, Star Tribune 12/06/13
After getting 11,400 comments from the public, state regulators directed Xcel to examine shutting down 1970s-era coal burners.
Minnesota utility regulators ordered Xcel Energy Inc. on Thursday to analyze the consequences of retiring two of its largest coal-burning power generators in 2020 or later.
Written by Kristen Poppleton, Director of Education
I head to my first American Geophysical Union (AGU) Meeting next week and plan on blogging throughout the week on the multitude of sessions and workshops I will attend. AGU is an international non-profit scientific association with more than 62,000 members established in 1919 by the National Research Council.
Youth and Veteran Environmental Leaders in Co-Mentorship
2013-2014 Launch of the WSF Midwest Intergenerational Mentorship Program
Aaaaaand, they’re off! Forty-two environmental leaders, matched in six Midwest states are embarking on the second run of an innovative mentorship program, hosted by the Will Steger Foundation, in partnership with the RE-AMP Network, an active network of over 160 nonprofits and foundations across eight Midwestern states working in concert to reduce global warming pollution economy-wide 80% by 2050.
Activists to talk at PUC meeting about Sherco
By Bill Morgan
Nov. 26, 2013
ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS will get their chance to speak about plans to shut down Sherco at a Dec. 5 PUC meeting in Minneapolis. Advocates on both sides of the issue are encouraged to attend or register to speak at the meeting.
Climate activists want 2 Sherco coal units closed by 2020
David Shaffer, Star Tribune
State regulators delayed a procedural decision on Xcel Energy’s long-range plans to give people a chance to weigh in — but briefly.
Regulators want to hear what citizens think about Xcel Energy’s giant coal-fired power plant in Becker, Minn.
As long as they keep it to three minutes.
Click here to view the video.
Our newest Citizen Climate curriculum emphasizes civic engagement and helps teachers and students understand the critical and complex climate solutions being discussed on the national and international stage. In the curriculum we recommend playing the Stabilization Wedge Game, a game produced by Princeton University's Carbon Mitigation Initiative . The goal of the game is to demonstrate that climate change is a problem which can be solved by implementing today's technologies to reduce CO2 emissions. The game creators, Stephen Pacala and Robert H. Socolow, show that the difference between maintaining our increasing levels of CO2 and leveling out our emissions of CO2 in the next 50 years is approximately 200 billion tons of CO2, and if illustrated graphically is a triangle (see below from Carbon Mitigation Initiative, Princeton University ).
The object of the game is to keep the next fifty years of CO2 emissions flat, using eight 25 billion ton wedges from a variety of different strategies which fit into the stabilization triangle. Students have the opportunity to select from a variety of different strategies categorized as efficiency and conservation, nuclear energy, fossil-fuel based strategies, and renewables and bio storage to fill their triangle with wedges. The game is a good exercise for thinking about all the factors that go into the decision making process, such as money, political will, public opinion etc. I have enjoyed using it with students, but have found it difficult sometime to engage them because the solutions are generally disconnected from daily life.
This week the Garrison Institutes's Climate, Mind and Behavior Project , in cooperation with the Natural Resources Defense Council , came out with what they are calling informally the "Behavioral Wedge." They show how the United States alone could reduce its CO2 emissions by 1 billion tons through easy and inexpensive actions. Actions include, carpooling twice a week or telecommuting once a week; washing clothes in cold water; and unplugging or shutting off electronics more often. The actions outlined in the report, are more relevant to the average student and citizen than those in the Stabilization Wedge Game, and could possibly be integrated into the game when playing with students as a follow up, or as an introduction to solutions they can implement themselves. Let us know how you used it in your classroom, and if we adapt it for our own use we will be sure to post it!
Step 1: Calculate your carbon footprint
As with any diet, all the little things add up – a re-charger here, an incandescent bulb there, no one’s going to notice, right? Well, you might be surprised at how much carbon you personally emit. Try using one of these carbon calculators to get the big picture on your carbon footprint: The Safe Climate Calculator , The Home Energy Saver , and The Home Energy Checkup .
We all know about walking, biking, and public transit, or swapping out your conventional light bulbs for compact fluorescents. But did you know that you can save energy by insulating your water heater? Or that buying locally grown food means using less fossil fuels? Here are some tips from Audubon Magazine on how to start your “low-carbon diet.”
Step 3: Offset your remaining emissions
Emissions offsetting involves using or enhancing natural processes that trap carbon dioxide and “sink” it (take it out of the atmosphere by transforming it into solid carbon). Carbon sinks include forests, fens, and oceanic plankton. Planting trees and reforestation are some of the best long-term means of offsetting carbon emissions. You can purchase emissions offsets from companies and nonprofit organizations that plant the number of trees needed to offset a specific amount of emissions – say, the amount generated by your family’s round-trip vacation flight. There are many such companies that you can find over the internet. But, buyer beware – some of these companies are scams or involve questionable practices (such as bulldozing existing forests, ironically enough, to plant enough trees to fill the promised quota). Conduct some research about the companies you are interested in purchasing emissions offsets from in order to find out more about their business history.
Here are some companies that the Will Steger Foundation has researched and found to be reputable: Carbonfund.org , Terrapass, and Native Energy.
I came across this great video today on TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. It is only 4 minutes, 14 seconds long, but it gives a great peak into the scientific research that can go into the making of a headline.
In 4 minutes, atmospheric chemist Rachel Pike provides a glimpse of the massive scientific effort behind the bold headlines on climate change, with her team -- one of thousands who contributed -- taking a risky flight over the rainforest in pursuit of data on a key molecule.
This week the Colbert Report on Comedy Central featured a "Science catfight" between Joe Bastardi , a meteorologist for Accuweather and Brenda Ekwurzel , a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report is entertaining to watch, but also has some clearly stated claims that would be easy and interesting to investigate. Watch the clip with your students and ask them to write down some of the claims they hear from both Joe and Brenda. Ask them to do some internet research to see what sort of support there may be. Share in class and let us know what you find by clicking on the leave a comment button below!
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Science Catfight - Joe Bastardi vs. Brenda Ekwurzel|
I came across the Climate Wizard a few weeks ago and have been playing around with it since then. It isn't too complicated and gives students (and teachers!) an opportunity to explore a number of different aspects of climate change science including historical temperature and precipitation averages, and future climate predictions based on a number of different model scenarios. The Wizard is a good way to introduce models, how they work, and why different models show different prediction results. It also is a good example of ways to illustrate numerical data visually. One thing I thought was interesting was the button in the upper right hand corner that allowed you to get the values that were used in creating the model. This seemed like a great teachable moment.
Tools like this that allow students to customize their experiences working with data and essentially give them a chance to "play" a bit, are great starting points for discussions aroud climate change science, how to represent data and the complicated world of modeling and predictions.
ClimateChangeLIVE Education Resources Highlights-Part 2 Webinar
Dec 11 - 07:30pm - 09:00pm
Climate and Energy Literacy Webinar: Eyewitness to Climate Change
Jan 15 - 06:30pm - 08:00pm
Professional Development Programs for Climate Change Education Webinar
Jan 29 - 07:30pm - 09:00pm
You can view our full profile at the Charities Review Council.