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WSF Contributes to Climate.Gov Educational Resources

A brand new climate change education resource is now available - just in time for the school year!  This excellent web resource helps bring the National Climate Assessment to life through guiding questions, important graphs and figures and supporting lesson plans and activities. 

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Learning through Connectivity

The second iteration of the Emerging Leaders Mentorship Program successfully came to a close, after matching 21 cross-generational pairs of organizers and supporting them in an six month shared learning experience.

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People's Climate March

WSF is proud to send a delegation of high school youth from our YEA! MN program to the People's Climate March in New York City, September 21. 

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Finalists announced for Youth Voices of Change

Fan of films? See the top finalists in the 2014 Youth Voices of Change climate change youth video contest from Minnesota and around the country. Winners will be announced at the 2014 Youth Voices Film Festival at the MN State Fair, August 22nd in the Ec-Experience Pavilion.

Discover the videos.

Ride for the Will Steger Foundation!

Join the Midwest Climate Ride in September 2014 and support the Will Steger Foundation at the same time! 

Learn More...

2014 Summer Institute for Climate Change & Energy Education

August 4-6, 2014 Audubon Center of the North Woods, Sandstone, MN 

Over 60 educators joined us for our Summer Institute. We share the experience with you - the presentations, photos, documents and more - while our memories are fresh. 

Check out the recap...

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Will Steger Foundation - Home
Friday, 15 November 2013 11:41

High School Student Perspectives of COP 19

For the 5th year in a row the School of Environmental Studies is bringing a group of high school students to the United Nations International Climate Change Conference. This year it is being held in Warsaw, Poland November 11th-22nd. The COP, or Conference of the Parties, will bring together representatives from more than 190 countries as well as members of civil society from around the world to address climate change.  

Published in Climate Lessons
Thursday, 18 July 2013 11:07

Carbon Affects My Health and Future

Until recent years, the detrimental effects of coal and its heavy carbon dioxide emissions had been ignored due to the nation’s immense coal reserves, as well as its dependence on coal for energy. However, President Obama has now publicly declared a war on coal, striving to make America the chief natural gas producer in order to manage climate change, as well as to abate carbon emissions.

Published in Climate News

We were very disappointed to learn today from Patrick Fitzgerald at NWF, that Congressman Chip Cravaack of Minnesota's 8th Congressional District, has offered an amendment to eliminate funding to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Climate Change Education Program.  This will affect great science-based climate change education projects here in Minnesota that includes the Como Zoo & Conservatory and SERC at Carleton College, an important partner in the Climate Literacy Network.  In the Great Lakes Region NSF has been funding a Great Lakes Network, focused on bringing together educators, scientists and others focused on climate change education to encourage collaboration and decrease duplication of efforts.  Funding from the National Science Foundation for climate change education is integral to the work we do: developing science based climate change education resources and programs and maintaining a nationwide network dedicated specifically to climate change education.

Published in Climate Lessons

Youth leaders in Minnesota Youth leaders in Minnesota have been active to ensure our U.S. Senators protect the Clean Air Act. From Collegeville to Crookston, we came to the Twin Cities to meet with our Senators’ staff and share why defending the Clean Air Act is so important to us, our generation, and the state of Minnesota.

The Clean Air Act has been vital in protecting the nation’s health, and attacks on the clean air standards would weaken regulations on harmful pollutants such as mercury, ozone, and greenhouse gases. These attacks are part of an alarming trend of anti-EPA legislation. This is of special concern to us, young adults, because the energy and environmental policy decisions of today will affect us for decades to come. The problems caused by pollution, climate change, and diminishing natural resources will be our generation’s burden to bear.

The latest salvo against clean air comes from Senator Rand Paul, who wants to block an air pollution standard that cuts down on the amount of dangerous air pollution that is carried over state lines – essentially delivering pollutants that create soot, smog, and acid rain to all Americans. Senator Paul’s Cross State Air Pollution Standard would roll back public health protections and let polluters continue to dump their toxic pollution into our air, leading to as many as 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 heart attacks, and 400,000 asthma attacks annually. This resolution would be a huge step back at a time when we need to see progress in improving our air quality.

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Image Credits: The Sierra Club

We brought this message to our Senators, sharing that Minnesotans want clean air and water and we want the EPA to enforce standards that will lower air pollution and its deadly public health impacts. In both meetings we were welcomed in sharing our concerns and told they would be passed along to the Senators.

In Senator Al Franken’s office, youth met with Alana Petersen, State Director for Senator Franken, and Al Juhnke, the Senators Agriculture and Energy Field Representative. Youth explained how regulation creates the opportunity for innovation and for growth in the green economy. We want to see investments in renewable energy, not oil and coal companies. Attacks on the EPA and environmental regulations eliminate job growth opportunities for young people who seek careers in this important field.

Senator Franken had not yet heard about the Congressional Review of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule that had been proposed only days beforehand. Petersen and Juhnke spoke about the Senator’s commitment to making educated decisions on these matters and shared the Senator’s strong voting record to protect clean air. We hope to see that record continue when Senator Franken votes on this resolution.

In Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office, we met with Greg Bohrer, Senator Klobuchar’s energy and environmental legislative correspondent. During the meeting, Klobuchar’s past environmental voting record was also discussed. For most of her term Senator Klobuchar has been supportive of public health and environmental protection legislation, but her stance has softened considerably in the past year. In April 2011, she voted in favor of two separate attempts to weaken the Clean Air Act, the Baucus Amendment and the Stabenow Amendment. We expressed our concern and disappointment over these votes.

We shared how the protecting the Clean Air Act will protect our futures. At a time when far too often industry profits are valued over scientific evidence and the health of Americans, we need Senator Klobuchar to vote to protect our health, to help mitigate the impacts of climate change, and to build the green economy in which we hope to work.

When asked how Senator Klobuchar plans to vote on the Congressional Review of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, Bohrer responded that the Senator has not yet decided. He stressed that she is committed to making informed decisions and is looking into the longterm impacts of the resolution.

The impacts of a repeal to the Cross State Air Pollution rule are clear. It would block Minnesota from receiving between $650 million and $1.6 billion each year in health benefits and put thousands of Americans at risk of life-threatening illnesses.

The meetings with our Senators’ staff were overall productive and hopeful. Both Senators value the opinions of their constituents and the delegation of youth leaders communicated how Minnesotans want them to act--we need our Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken take a stand in protecting clean air and vote against the Congressional Review of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule and other attempts to weaken the Clean Air Act.

Youth Leaders Present at Lobby Meetings:

Lauren Snively from UMN Crookston and student representative to the UMN System-wide Sustainability Committee, Nick Moe from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Mike Wardwell from University St. Thomas Environmental Law Society, Natalie Tungsvik - MPIRG Student Board of Directors Chair from Hamline University, Cora Ellenson-Myers and Logan Bailey from the UMN MPIRG chapter, Tim Sheehan and Cole Norgaarden - Co-Chairs of Yea!MN, Leah Norman from Yea! MN, Alyssa Tucker from the MN Youth Environmental Network, Gretel Lee and Jason Bender from UMN Campus Beyond Coal, Timothy Den-Herder Thomas - Co-foudner of Grand Aspirations, Joe Kruse - Yea!MN Coordinator, and Christy Newell - Will Steger Foundation Intern and from UMTC EcoWatch.

Take Action!

Our Senators need to hear from you!

Join us for a letter writing event on November 9th at 5pm in Folwell Hall at the University of Minnesota, Room 3 or contact Christy Newell for other opportunities to get involved.

Published in Climate News

The Clean Air Act is known as one of the most successful public health programs in American history. With $30 in benefits for every dollar invested, it’s also one of the best investments Americans have made. Now, with a new tool, Clean Air Act Where You Live, provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we can calculate how two EPA safeguards will impact us here in Minnesota.

The Cross State Air Pollution Rule and the proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, nationally, will save tens of thousands of lives, prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma and heart attacks and avert millions of missed school and work days – yielding hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits to our communities.

Published in Climate News
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