Community Partners has organized a nine-part series of presentations, “I Know Climate Change is Happening, But What Does It Mean for Me in Two Harbors?,” in an effort to bring all ages of people together over shared issues surrounding the changing climate. The nonprofit is working with local agencies and experts to provide information and encourage dialogue around the many issues connected to the Northland and the climate.
Topics throughout the year will cover soil and food, erosion, housing, changing flora and fauna, utilities and renewable energy, seasonal shifts and heavy weather events, invasive species, lake and stream temperatures and fisheries, and Lake Superior ice cover. These events will occur monthly on Tuesday evenings at the Two Harbors Community Center.
The first of these talks will be from Two Harbors residents Lucy Grina and Michael Overend, members of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the Climate Reality Project. It will focus on an overview of global changes as well as an up-close view of what is changing in the Northland and what residents can do about it.
Grina and Overend have been passionate about the environment and climate change for years, but Grina said it’s been the past decade that’s really pushed her to get involved.
“There is good reason for hope. But it revolves around people recognizing that something needs to be done.”
“I think probably I became really aware of how serious an issue climate change is years ago when I first saw Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’” Grina said. “But at that time, I figured that the government was going to solve this problem, that scientists were going to be able to help and engineers would create the technology to help with this problem.”
As the years went by, Grina became more concerned that she didn’t see the government taking further steps.
“I thought this wasn’t a problem I needed to be intensely worried about, that it would get solved, just like a lot of big problems in our society do, by national policy,” Grina said. “But that certainly has not been the case. So I became more and more concerned that I was going to leave the Earth to my children and their generation and any potential grandchildren in an uninhabitable place.”
Grina also noticed changes surrounding her Lake County home. Having grown up in southern Minnesota, she noticed species that she remembered from her youth creeping north.
“Just by looking in my backyard, I could see some changes,” Grina said. “The moose were disappearing, while skunks and raccoons became more prevalent. We could see these little changes starting to add up.”
In 2013, the couple joined the local Citizens Climate Lobby and have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint, like installing solar panels at their home and business. In August, Grina and Overend attended a Climate Reality Project conference in Minneapolis and returned ready to share information they learned with a greater audience in their community.
“One of the things about climate change is that it seems overwhelming. It gives you despair,” Overend said. “But we want to share that there is hope. There is good reason for hope. But it revolves around people recognizing that something needs to be done and that they need to take action to get it done as soon as possible.
"You can’t bury your head in the sand on this one. This is something where we all need to do our part.”
The first climate change presentation is slated for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the Two Harbors Community Center.