Climate Rally 2015 to celebrate Earth Day, climate work in state

There is a lot of good work going on in Minnesota to address climate change, said Dawn Tanner, and she and her husband, Jim Perry, both of St. Anthony Park, are throwing a party of sorts at the State Capitol on Earth Day to celebrate.

Climate Rally 2015, set for Wednesday, April 22 (April 23 has been reserved as a rain day), will include speakers who are working on climate change projects in the sciences and in policy-making, along with music, food and more.

The day will begin with music at 12:30 p.m., followed at 1 p.m. by speakers, who will talk about their efforts in addressing climate-change issues in Minnesota. A poster and letter presentation and group photo will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Speakers include Mark Seeley of the Minnesota Climatology Working Group; Minnesota State Rep. Melissa Hortman of the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee; Scott Strand, executive director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy; Clarence Lehman, associate dean at the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences; Erin Murphy, Minnesota House minority leader; Suzanna Savanick Hansen, sustainability manager and professor at Macalester College; Peter Reich, senior chair in Forest Ecology and Tree Physiology at the University of Minnesota; Ellen Anderson, executive director of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab; Jothsna Harris and youth leaders, Will Steger Foundation; and Julia Frost-Nerbonne of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology and MN 350.

The impetus to organize the event came from Tanner’s own struggle with understanding climate change.

A conservation biologist and teaching specialist at the University of Minnesota, who “prefers to study focal species, lava lizards in the Galapagos and clouded leopards in Southeast Asia,” Tanner said she has found climate change “a daunting topic.” Her husband, Perry—a professor of water quality and environmental management at the U’s department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology—studies climate change and works on World Heritage Sites globally, she said.

“We know many people who do really intelligent and innovative work on climate change. I thought, if I find climate change daunting how can I expect and hope for our broader society to be acting? That got me moving to plan this day.”

Tanner wants the day to emphasize the positive work in the field. “There is so much in Minnesota that is going right,” she said. “Minnesota is being innovative in transitioning to clean energy sources, ramping up efforts in wind and solar. State agencies are being very proactive about climate plans. Climate Rally from 3 Gov. Dayton and EQB [Environmental Quality Board] are making important advances. I wanted to make a day to celebrate their work and to give people a chance to hear directly from them.”

The event will include a letter and poster presentation at 2:30 p.m. Elementary school students are invited to write letters supporting Minnesota’s efforts to address climate change, and participants are encouraged to bring posters (no wooden posters allowed). Letters will be presented by students and selected posters will be on display following the rally in the North Corridor of the Capitol.

GastroTruck will be onsite to offer local, sustainable and zero-waste food for lunch, Tanner said. The first 100 attendees will be treated with coffee from Gingko Coffee on Snelling Avenue (bring your own mug). To learn about updates to the rally, follow the rally’s Facebook page, 15?fref=nf.

Leave a Reply