Talk Climate Institute Conference

Talk Climate Institute – The Workshop
On March 12 & 13, 2018, I attended the first Talk Climate Institute, hosted by Climate Generation –  A Will Steger Legacy, in St. Paul, MN for about 70 participants. It was a 2-day intensive workshop designed to help participants develop their personal story about climate change, how it impacts them, and how to use their story to engage people in finding local, community-based solutions. Using personal stories helps balance the science forward approach that has been used, and makes climate change relevant to people’s lives, inviting them to move from inaction to participation. Through interactive group and break-out activities each person started to develop their own personal climate story, understand better the science of climate change, and learn ways to tell their story through media, policy, and community engagement.

Image taken from Lisa Troutman with Drawnwell who did three drawn panels to document the workshop.

One of My Climate Stories: Awareness of Local Impact
In February this year, the city took down the 48” diameter ash tree that had lived in front of our home from the time it was built in 1947. The reason was that Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) had arrived in our neighborhood and the city determined that all ash trees in the area needed to come down to stop EAB from spreading. My family loved that tree, the way light filtered through the full, mature canopy onto our front yard, and how snow artfully highlighted its bark and branches through the winter. The amount of wildlife that called it home over the years was amazing. We were very sad to see it come down but were proud (and a little glad) to see how hard it was for the city crew to take it down. It took almost twice as long as they thought! The result was the same however, the tree is now gone. My wife and I have been watching the spread of EAB in the news for the past few years, so we knew it was likely just a matter of time before it would be infected but hoped otherwise. We knew of the reports saying winters have been trending warmer so more EAB, and other invasive species, were surviving and spreading to new habitats. Climate Change officially hit us that day right in our front yard. Around 30% of the trees on our block were removed.

Pictures of Bill’s personal climate story.

Future Stories
For the last 2-3 years, I’ve been a member of the Environmental Committee at the D10 Community Council (Como Park) in St. Paul. I’ll continue to develop new stories about the place I live and share them both inside and outside of the committee; adding my voice to fellow citizens, city and regional policy discussions and recommendations.

Our Housing Studio story at LHB has been creating high performance, community-focused, housing for many years. I’ll add my stories to the larger narrative already begun to help continue the LHB Housing Climate Story promoting resilient, healthy communities now and for the future.

Authored by Bill Niebur, April 16, 2018

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