Skip to main content

8th Annual Earth Conference - Climate Change: Finding HOPE for a Healthy Planet

Climate Change: no matter how fervently the naysayers deny it and cling to an unsustainable economic reality, a drastic human-made change in climate is upon us. Rising temperatures, shrinking ice caps, depleting coastlines ... there seems to be no end to the crisis.

The time for action is now! We need to move past disbelief, apathy, and the fears holding back ecological balance and recognize climate change for the moral issue that it is. We as individuals are connected with all creation on Earth. Where do our morals and ethics come into play in climate change?

In this conference we delved into the science and got to the heart of the moral issues surrounding climate change. We focused on how we can move ourselves further than simply changing a light bulb or shopping with reusable bags.

Climate change is happening.

We came together in a spirit of positive energy to answer the questions,
“What kind of life will I live?
What kind of life will we live together?”

Opening Reflection

SSND sisters Kay and Annette Fernholz opened the 2013 conference with a reflection activity they had previously used at an event at their home, Earthrise Farm.  A giant paper mache Earth was carried into the conference center, and a large ribbon, with a poem written upon it, was pulled slowly from the Earth.  As the poem was read, and the ribbon unfurled, it was wound around the conference participants.

Keynote Speaker - Duane Ninneman

Duane Ninneman is a thought leader in the climate movement in the Midwest. He is an educator, organizer, public speaker and policy advisor who believes that the climate movement needs to grow deeper roots with people to be effective. Duane believes that everyday activists must be engaged at all levels on a regular basis in a strategy that encourages new leaders, new relationships, and a new climate story that is values-based, deeply moral, and just.

After earning a BA from St. Olaf College, Ninneman worked as a seasonal bee breeder, published a small town newspaper, and owned and operated a small construction company. His energies were soon taken up with social change efforts. He currently serves as the Senior Director and Climate and Energy Director at Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) in Montevideo, Minnesota. He and his wife Maureen live at Borrowed Farm, a sixteen acre reclaimed farmstead which is nurtured chemical free for food, friends, fauna, and flora.

Climate Change Panel

J. Drake Hamilton, Science Policy Director for Fresh Energy – Fresh Energy works for a future where energy production and transportation stimulate local economies and create clean energy analysis, policy development, and advocacy of clean energy solutions to climate change. J was awarded an international leaders fellowship from the European Union. She used that award to study climate policy solutions. She serves on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Climate Action Network.

Monika Antonelli, Founding Member Transition Mankato – An Associate Professor and Librarian at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Monika co-edited the book Greening Libraries which was selected business book winner in the 2013 Green Book Festival. She 2005. Monika currently serves on the Environmental Committee at MSU, Mankato.

Rob Bergh, DNR Energy Coordinator – Over the last thirty years, Rob has promoted the mission of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which works with citizens to conserve and manage the state’s natural resources, to provide recreation opportunities and to provide for commercial uses of natural resources in a way that creates a sustainable quality of life.
Rob designs, manages and supervises the strategies and organization to make the DNR missions come alive. His accomplishments were recently recognized for a Minnesota Environmental Initiative Award in the Energy and Climate category.

Table Conversations, Sharing, and Harvest

At the end of the day, conference participants joined together at their tables and discussed the following three questions:
1. What inspired you about the speakers?
2. What climate change action can I do?
3. What climate change action can we do?

Group discussion answers were written down and then each table shared their main ideas with the rest of the conference.  The answers were collected and put into a document that was emailed out to participants.  You can find the list of ideas generated by clicking here.

Conference Themed Bookmark

Each participant received an inspirational bookmark in their conference folder.

Conference Table Decorations.