For the last week of April, we are maintaining our focus on climate change and the environment. We’ll take a closer look at climate change in Minnesota— one of the fastest-warming places in the U.S.— where we have seen the climate warm by 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit between 1895 and 2017, with the more drastic shifts happening in most recent years. Additionally, this article from MPR tracks the state’s path toward a warmer and wetter climate based on averages of the last 30 years, noting that “the past decade is the warmest in the global surface temperature dating back to 1880.” According to the article, overall winters in the Twin Cities have warmed by around 5 degrees since 1970. In an assessment from 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency said the current climate trends in Minnesota (more frequent flooding, shifts in ice cover, etc.) are likely to continue, and may “interfere with winter recreation, extend the growing season, change the composition of trees in the North Woods, and increase water pollution problems in lakes and rivers” as well as result in “more extremely hot days, which may harm public health in urban areas and corn harvests in rural areas.” Read more about the effects of climate change on Minnesota from the state’s Pollution Control Agency and Department of Resources.
When reading about climate change and its frequently grim realities, it can be easy to run into another major barrier to combating it: hopelessness. Take a few minutes today to read this piece in the Washington Post Magazine titled “The Search for Environmental Hope.” Writer David Montgomery explores the hunt for “fact-based hope” amid the climate crisis through conversations with climate scientists, professors, activists and writers, as well as his own experiences.
“In some circumstances, is hope just another opiate, as paralyzing as despair?” He writes. “When does hope degrade into magical thinking — and when is it precisely the renewable energy that will save us?”
Montgomery says “broader solutions to climate change may be beyond our reach until we first reorient our relationship with Earth,” but that many scientists believe hope is a necessary tool to move forward in climate action— “When hope is redefined as action, it can be uncoupled from the need for a guarantee of success,” he writes.
Montgomery references the book “The New Climate War” by scientist Michael Mann, who points to climate models to assert that we can still avoid the worst effects if we make expeditious, systemic efforts to step away from fossil fuels, and that we shouldn’t “think of 2030 and 2050 as catastrophic cliffs beyond which all is lost.” Montgomery explains that the “New Climate War” referenced in Mann’s book title is actually against “hopelessness— the voices that claim that it’s too late to make the big changes needed to stave off calamity, so why make any sacrifices at all?”
This week’s legislative updates and new bills are listed below. For a full list of the Minnesota Equity Blueprint-related legislation we’re tracking and links to individual bill information, check our bill-tracking page.
|HF 1342/SF 1098||Omnibus workforce and business development finance and policy bill||In conference committee April 28 & 29|
Next Tuesday, May 4 (2:30 to 4), is another TRUE Tuesday: Better Together: Stories of a Whole-Community Response to Countering Hate: Project F.I.N.E. Fatima Said and Katie van Eijl from Project F.I.N.E. will discuss their work with connecting refugees and immigrants to resources, strengthening community relationships during COVID-19, and creating a welcoming space to advance equity. Project F.I.N.E. is also one of the case studies for equity work highlighted in the Rural Communities Equity Action Guide— make sure to go read more about their work. You can register for the May 4th session here.
“When hope is redefined as action, I realized, it can be uncoupled from the need for a guarantee of success. The doing is its own justification and reward — and it just might lead to success. In the meantime, we will be less deterred by temporary setbacks and bleak headlines.” — David Montgomery, “The Search for Environmental Hope