Green Visions

A Northland Morning feature focusing on local environmental issues, heard Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m.  Green Visions is brought to you by All Energy Solar, Minnesota Power Energy Conservation Program, and Energy Plus.

Dr. Ben Santer's life changed that day he got a phone call from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), asking him to be the lead author of a chapter on the causes of climate change for the 1995 Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The world changed the day these words were published: “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

Johnny Silvercloud/Flickr

No one's particularly surprised to discover a big corporation or entity is lying to the public.

Actually, we kind of expect it.

But Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is blowing past that kind of defeatism by filing suit last summer against Big Oil, charging they knew in the '60s about climate change, deliberately lied to Minnesotans about it, and made about $775 billion dollars in the process.

The fossil fuel companies had hoped to move their case to federal court, asserting that it was a suit about climate change and most appropriately tried there.

Barb Barton/Flickr

It's not that people ignore news stories about climate change ... it's just that the information seems to really sink in when folks hear someone talk about how the climate crisis is affecting them.

So to that end, environmental activist Tone Lanzillo is coming up with ways for people to tell their stories - and there's even a newsletter and a podcast in the mix.

International Wolf Center

When Chad Richardson's son announced that wolves had been added to the newest update to the online video game Fortnite, the family paid attention.

Richardson is the communications director for the International Wolf Center, so he was curious about how wolves were presented in the game.

Turns out it's perpetuating a couple of troubling stereotypes: wolves as snarling predators that attack humans or as animals that can be tamed and turned into pets.

Andrea Pokrzywinski/Flickr

Here's what we know: Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are getting into Lake Superior and getting into fish.

Here's something else we know: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) are the most common of these chemicals and they bio-accumulate - which means they move through the food chain.

Kira auf der Heide/Unsplash

Old, energy-inefficient houses are bad enough.  But add some dangerously cold weather and people needing to stay home thanks to a pandemic and you've got a triple-whammy for homeowners and renters.

Eli Duke/Flickr

Yes, here in the upper Midwest, our wind turbines are winterized. And unlike texas, Minnesota is connected to a larger power grid.

But back during the"polar vortex" of 2019, we had trouble up here pulling the power we needed from the grid down south.

And Isabel Ricker, the Senior Clean Electricity Manager of Fresh Energy, says the key is connections: infrastructure connections like new and upgraded wiring, and connections in the form of creating relationships.

Ecolibrium 3

Everything from "personal awareness" to city-level action: that's what the Duluth Citizen's Climate Action Plan lays out for folks.

The plan aims to help our community reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a climate-resilient community without forgetting about considerations of equity and social justice.

You can read the plan here:

Wesual Click/Unsplash

Imagine if "eating local" could mean a nice fillet of salmon, a tuna steak, or a lobster tail and a nice salad made with home-grown greens.

Minnesota Sea Grant is working on a project to not only see if there's market potential for aquaculture here in the Northland, they're excited that they might be able to contribute to food production, local business growth and job creation without some of the downsides that have plagued the idea in the past.

Zeitgeist Community/Facebook

The below-zero temps and double-digit-below-zero wind chills of February can make the annual Winter Bike Week a hard sell some years.

But this year?  As we head into the second year of social distance and Covid precautions?  Plenty of folks are already taking to the trails on their fat tire bikes - now the trick is reminding them to take advantage of the nice temps (before Saturday, that is) and walk or bike to work or maybe just to run an errand or two.

World Bank Photo Collection/Creative Commons

On the first day of his administration, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement.

Jenna Yeakle is an Organizing Representative with the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club in Duluth. She says she watched the signing, heaved a sign of relief, poured another cup of coffee and got back to work.

Yeakle is pleased with what she calls the new administration's emphasis on democracy, but points out that the onus is also on the people of this country to solve many of its ills. 

Fresh Energy

Minnesota has reached the public comment phase of its draft Clean Cars Standard.

Winona LaDuke

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has no fewer than three requests to stay the Line 3 construction project, pending further consideration of what Frank Bibeau calls "the substantive issues."

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Need a new hobby? A reason to get some fresh air in the woods? Want to help Minnesota’s forests grow healthy and strong? The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has an opportunity for you. The DNR needs hundreds of bushels of black spruce cones within the next few weeks to meet state and county spruce seed orders for spring 2021 reforestation efforts. Seeds from the nursery are used to reforest about 6,000 acres of black spruce in Minnesota each year.

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