U of M author offers tips for climate action

By Marilyn Benson

Over a small latté at Mim’s Cafe a few weeks ago, I perused a new book, Heidi Roop’s Climate Action Handbook.

Having followed the climate change issue for many years as a member of Transition Town — All St. Anthony Park, I have moved from sorrow, to hope, to frustration, to despair and around again to hope.

Roop’s book is a hopeful book. It begins with a overview, reminding us that the impact of global warming is everywhere, and that we humans are part of the cause — and can be part of the solution. But she does not berate — instead, she invites us to act and to act now.

Roop is director of the University of Minnesota’s Climate Adaptation Partnership and an assistant professor of Climate Science and Extension specialist.

Her book’s subtitle, “A Visual Guide to 100 Climate Solutions for Everyone,” lets us know what format to expect. Each topic is presented by a single page of text, across from a graphic that illustrates the issue and presents further information, often statistics.

I noted many solutions that I have adopted.

Action 30: Composting. My husband Tim and I have composted our food scraps and yard waste for years in two big wire cages that tuck neatly into our back yard.

Actions 10 to 14 focus on transportation, specifically cars. Having had access to a car since adolescence, it took me a while to let go of our second car, my beloved Volvo station wagon.

We now drive an electric car and are fortunate to have extended family who recently lent us a Prius to drive to the North Shore this past December. However, not yet are there enough reliable charging stations in greater Minnesota.

Action 15: Fly less, fly economy is a difficult one. Knowing that just 1% of the global population is responsible for 50% of CO2 emissions from commercial aviation, I struggle in deciding whether to fly to see a college friend in Los Angeles and my grandson in Boston.

Other categories, “Actions around the home,” “Shopping and consumer choices” and “Food and farming” invite us to make choices for the climate that are often personal.

“Civic and community engagement” reminds us of ways we can take action in our community by engaging with elected officials and policymakers.

The 100 solutions provide more than we can absorb in one sitting. The book is a reference resource and perhaps also can be a daily reminder, especially if I leave it accessible on my kitchen counter. Or good to read with others and discuss. 

Marilyn Benson, a resident of St. Anthony Park and a member of TransitionASAP.org, has worked as a pastoral psychotherapist and continues a small practice of spiritual direction.

Photo Credit: Author Heidi Roop. Photo by Mark D. Stone.


Coming soon: Meet the author, discuss the book

Sunday, March 3: Author Heidi Roop will present at the 10:15 a.m. adult forum at St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ, corner Chelmsford and Commonwealth. Open to all.

Saturday, April 27: Join Transition Town’s Reading Buddies group to discuss The Climate Action Handbook, 3-4:30 p.m. at the St. Anthony Park Branch Library, 2245 Como Ave. Read all or part of the book and bring your thoughts and questions. All welcome! TransitionASAP.org/Reading-Buddies.

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