Colin Maiwurm – Staff Writer
On Wednesday March 30, the annual Take Action Climate Teach-In event was held in Nobel Hall. This event has been going on for many years, and this year was Gustavus’s first time hosting the event on campus. This is a global event happening for high schools, colleges, and for communities. The reason for this conference is to educate a large variety of students and professionals and show how important the environment is and how each person can help in their own way. When asking Lily Engebretson, a sustainability Intern for the Johnson Center of Innovation about the event, she stated that “It’s easily accessible, we are not using jargon. What we are doing makes sense so it’s kind of like accessible to students who might not be like experts in the field.”
While the event stated advanced research, they revised their findings so others who are not experts in that field can understand. The format of this event started out with a question and answer segment with five professional speakers who were experts in different fields. They represented their opinions on each question and commented on each other’s thinking. In doing this, these experts showed that anyone can aid in this endeavor, regardless of background or field.
This collaboration between the five experts went on for half an hour, then they ended the question and answer segment. The rest of the event was focused on letting those who came to watch go around to each station and discuss with all of these experts that showed up. Tessa Yaeger, another sustainability Intern for the Johnson Center of Innovation, what all of the stations are be about. “It’s not like just environmental studies faculty, we have political science, geography, art, music is involved as well, lalax professors, peace studies professors,” Sustainability intern Tessa Yaeger said.
While investigating each station, this was quickly realized. One station revolved around getting those who came to the event to create their own art revolving around an environmental issue and sending it to elected officials or to post for their community. This was a way for people to use art to bring attention to issues that are not being addressed enough. There was another station focusing on transportation.
This station was meant to show how switching to electric vehicles and using bikes over vehicles for shorter distances in order to reduce carbon emissions and traffic. They showed possible plans to add bike lanes throughout St. Peter. They had electric bikes there for people to look at and described how the addition to electric bikes would help those who are unable to make it up the hill or may fall behind others.
While the five speakers who were at the question and answer segment were at some of these stations, there were also other experts that showed up to talk about different fields and how others can help in different ways. For example, there was an expert who zoomed in with a slideshow to describe the additional issues that are arising due to the war happening in Ukraine. The increase in carbon emission is skyrocketing due to the use of war vehicles and weapons. In addition to that, they also bring up food security. The soil which was seen as perfect for growing crops is now being destroyed.
Similarly to the art station, there was a station which showed pictures of different glaciers that were taken from an expert who traveled through harsh environments and used drones in order to show the change in these glaciers overtime. The hope of this station was to show people that climate change truly does exist and is changing the world that we live in now. While all of these stations were undoubtedly focusing on different issues and solutions, there were a few stations that all focused on environmental justice.
When going to each station, not a single one was the same. They were all talking about different ways that you as an individual can make a difference. For instance, one of them had a simple step by step plan; in this plan, the individual is to pick an organization that they support and reach out to them. After reaching out, the goal is to say yes to this organization three times in one month. The hope of this is to slowly start helping the organization by agreeing to their offers and finding a place in said organization.
While this event had many experts for people to discuss with, unfortunately there was no online option for people to attend. While this is not an option, if anyone would like to learn more about this event and any of the experts, they can contact any of the sustainability interns for the Johnson Center of Innovation and they will gladly help.