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    July 5th 2022 “Divestment” 10am at GEL

    The Ely Climate Change Group is Hosting a Presentation by Valerie Myntti on Fossil Fuel Divestment and Tom Omerza on Local Banks’ Investment Policies.

    Where: Grand Ely Lodge

    When:  Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

    **No charge, open to the public


    Please join us to hear about a climate action all of us can participate in now.

    While governments are distracted by our immediate, unfolding global crises, and not taking the urgent steps necessary to meet their Paris Accord & Glasgow carbon emissions targets, we, the citizens, can take climate action now by minimizing our carbon footprint, voting for climate activists for political office, and by joining the Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign.


    You do not need to own stocks to take action to divest. We can all help. Where you do your banking matters. According to, the Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign is a key strategy that systematically challenges the political power of the fossil fuel industry, creates uncertainty about the long-term financial viability of the industry, and moves money away from dirty energy towards climate solutions.


    Join us for a presentation and discussion on Fossil Fuel Divestment. Learn how you can participate.

    Valerie Myntti will talk about the History of Divestment Movements, the Policy Objectives of Fossil Fuel Divestment, and the Nuts & Bolts of Personal Divestment.

    Local banker, Tom Omerza, will offer a perspective on community banking and investment policies.



    June 7th 2022

    May 31st 2022

    Hi Folks,

    Our next climate change meeting will be June 7th at 10am at the Ely Senior Center. The TG presentation that day will be given by Grant Hauschild, the DFL candidate for Minnesota’s senate seat currently held by Tom Bakk who is retiring. Grant was invited to our CC meeting but was unable to fit us into his schedule. Save your climate questions for him at Tuesday Group.

    For our 10am meeting here are some suggestions. I would like to take some time to reflect on how we feel about the current climate situation and how we talk to others about climate. Talking to others is important. We have a better chance of achieving useful goals when more people are informed. There is so much climate news and it’s the bad news that gets the headlines. Sometimes it is useful to concentrate on the good news for talking points and to keep our spirits up.

    Citizens’ Climate Lobby has recently discussed how to use “The Six Americas” as a conversation starter. This comes from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Most people have heard about climate change (aka “Global Warming”) and most have some opinion about how serious it is. The crew at Yale asked 1000 people how they felt on a scale that goes from

    Alarmed to Concerned, Cautious, Disengaged, Doubtful and Dismissive. The sizes of the bubbles show their results.

    Where are you on this scale? Since you are reading this email I would guess you are in the Alarmed or Concerned categories. Ask your friends and neighbors. CCLers have been using this at tabling events with good success in getting people engaged. You can read about the program here: Six Americas   With only about 10% in the “dismissive” category that means that most people are willing to consider a discussion.

    Another approach that maybe useful is inspired  by the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy gives Climate Anxiety Advice in lieu of Psychiatric Advice for 5¢. You might make enough to buy a cup of coffee. Anyone want to try this at the farmers market?  What advice or counselling would you give? Here is a link: Climate Anxiety Advice 5¢


    Katharine Hayhoe is a leader in how to talk about climate. She is a Prof of Climate Science in Texas. Here is her biography: Heyhoe bio  She is an author and popular public speaker. Her most recent book is “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World”. If you search for her on YouTube there is a lot of material. I have picked out 2 videos. The first, which will give you a quick taste of her style, is an 8 minute segment with Jimmy Kimmel KH with Kimmel   The next is a longer interview with Citizens’ Climate Lobby about her recent book “Saving Us”. If you don’t have time to watch it all go to 21 minutes and watch a few minutes from there. KH with CCL

    If you have favorite authors, speakers that help you understand our climate while staying positive please share!

    Hope to see you June 7th



    May 3rd 2022 An electric school bus for Ely from “Infrastructure Bill” funds

    An Opportunity for Ely Schools – The EPA Clean School Bus Program

    From the EPA’s Clean School Bus website:

    The bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over 5 years to spur the transformation of the nation’s school bus fleet. Half of the $5 billion total funding is dedicated for zero-emission school buses. $500 million available in 2022. Applications accepted between May and August 2022.

    Benefits of zero-emission buses: zero tail pipe pollution, reduced greenhouse gas emission compared to diesel school buses, potential for reduced maintenance and fuel costs, potential for fleets to partner with local utilities to feed power back into the grid when buses not in use and electricity demand is high.


    Electric School bus action – please contact school board members to urge them to apply for an electric school bus for Ely.

    Suggested email language- also feel free to add your own message. 


    Dear School Board Chair Marsnik,

    I am a concerned taxpayer in the Ely School District ISD 696. I’m writing today to urge Ely’s Schools to take advantage of federal funds available to purchase electric school buses. It’s time to phase out diesel buses to protect the health of students and bus drivers and to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.  Electric school buses have lower fuel costs and need less maintenance.

    The first round of EPA funding applications will be opening up in May of this year and we hope that you are prepared to apply for these electric school bus grants and rebates.  We ask that you and your transportation leadership review the EPA clean school bus program web page where you will find up to date information about the benefits of electric school buses and how to apply for rebates that could fully fund the cost of purchasing new electric school buses for our district.  Google “EPA clean school bus program” to get to the web site.

    Ensure your school district has applied for federal unique identity number at which is necessary to receive federal rebates and grants

    The MN Clean Cities Coalition is a great resource for school districts. Contact Lisa Thurstin, 651-223-9568, to find out about their webinars, how to do a fleet inventory, and other resources.  You can find additional links on the Ely Climate Change website

    Thank you for taking steps to procure federal funds for electric school buses to support student health and a healthy climate!


    Signed _______________________________   May xx, 2022


    Ely School District 696    School Board members

    Tony Colarich  School Board Director

    Hollee Coombe  School Board Director

    Chad Davis  School Board Director

    Ray Marsnik  School Board Chairperson

    Tom Omerza  School Board Treasurer

    Rochelle Sjoberg  School Board Clerk


    Excerpts from The Minnesota Reformer “Electrifying Minnesota school bus fleet will pay big dividends” by Madi Johnson Mar 2, 2022

    It’s time for Minnesota to electrify our school bus fleet. 

    The biggest winners when we do it will be our school kids. Diesel fumes inside of buses and at bus stops are respiratory hazards for developing lungs. Ground level air pollution in high-density and high-traffic neighborhoods has been shown to disproportionately impact low income and marginalized communities. There is strong correlational data showing that exposure to air pollution leads to poorer grades and increased absenteeism. Especially in denser areas, cleaning up our buses and converting other diesel trucks to electric will have measurable health benefits. And, reducing the amount of pollution drivers are exposed to also helps create safer jobs. 

    Regarding cost: Over its lifetime and given the health and climate benefits, an electric school bus at full price is still more cost effective than diesel. They benefit from cheaper fuel, lower maintenance costs and a longer lifespan.

    The health benefits of electrifying our fleet of trucks and buses also mean savings.  According to the MPCA, between 2,000 and 4,000 Minnesotans die each year due to air pollution. Reducing vehicle pollution will result in hundreds fewer premature deaths and hospital visits each year. 

    Electric vehicle fleets also promote economic stability and local self-reliance. Interruptions in the supply of petroleum should untoward events occur on the international stage — like Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine — will not affect the price or availability of wind and solar generated electricity.  Also, battery prices, which have plummeted in the past 10 years, are expected to drop even further and may become more technologically advanced. Which could mean significant improvements in range and reduction in cost. Finally, the use of home grown, often Minnesota-made electricity to power our fleet of buses and trucks — instead of spending our money in other states or other countries — has economic benefits.

    An electric and conventional bus will be the same price after about 12 years of regular use, according to the transportation managers responsible for the electric buses.

    Electric utilities such as Xcel Energy, Great River Energy and Dakota Electric are also doing their part to hasten this transition. The utilities are helping with charging infrastructure and offering energy credits to incentivize schools to fuel their buses with electrons instead of diesel. 

    The federal infrastructure bill made $2.5 billion available for electric school buses and $2.5 billion for low emission buses. In short, the buses are great, the price is right, and the money is there.  

    But not necessarily in Minnesota, which hasn’t created a comprehensive plan to transition its buses; we are positioning ourselves to miss out on that investment. Unlike 16 other states, Minnesota has not set commitments to replace conventional school buses or medium and heavy duty vehicles with electric. 

    At the local level, we are seeing some progress. Metro Transit just announced a zero emission bus plan, and the cities of Duluth, St. Cloud and Rochester have had electric buses on the ground for years. This has been despite state government inaction. 

    There are also jobs at stake. To bring them to fruition, our state needs to set goals — not just to hit the climate goals we are legally bound to meet in the Next Generation Energy Act — but to create a robust green economy that keeps manufacturing in Minnesota. Electric vehicle manufacturing provides more than 1,000 jobs in Minnesota. Minnesota’s going to miss out on these jobs and this investment if we don’t start positioning ourselves.

    This is how school buses should be supported in MN:


    Additional practical information and help for school board members writing proposals can be found from Lisa Thurstin MN Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator. This is from Lisa:


    Below are resources from the webinar as well as what we can offer:

    1. Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition (MC3) staff can assist with grant writing or application review
    2. MC3 can assist with a fleet analysis (no cost) of how an electric (or other clean fuel) would fit in the fleet. Use this template and send back to us to get started. EPA’s school bus inventory template(.xlsx)
    3. Set up a meeting with multiple Bus manufacturers to discuss best fit for your fleet.
    4. Introduction to Xcel Energy staff to start conversation of expectations of added electric.
    5. And more – provide general education to your team, provide surveys to gauge interest/knowledge in community or district.


    April 8th, we hosted a webinar on Electric School Buses. Our speakers provided a variety of perspectives on the benefits and considerations of deploying electric buses. And we hope what we shared on the upcoming EPA Clean School Bus Rebate program will be helpful.  The recording can be found on our YouTube channel:


    We have a plethora of links and opportunities for more information listed below. By signing up to receive our monthly newsletter with Clean Cities Coalition you can be kept updated on funding opportunities, news, events and more.


    Presentation slides:


    Keep informed:


    Other resources:


    Best regards,  Lisa


    Lisa Thurstin Director | Clean Air

    Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition

    American Lung Association in Minnesota

    490 Concordia Ave | Saint Paul, MN 55103

    O:  651-223-9568 |


    May 3rd 2022 About Corn Ethanol

    This is from the Publications of the National Academy by Jason Hill at the University of Minnesota

    The sobering truth about corn ethanol

    Jason Hill

    Evidence that RFS2 increases rather than reduces GHG emissions adds to long-standing criticism of its high economic and environmental costs. At current prices, $20 billion of corn is converted to ethanol annually, which is approximately a third of all corn grown in the United States. This requires an area of cropland equivalent to all the land planted to corn in Iowa and Minnesota, the first and fourth largest corn-producing states, yet it offsets just 6% of domestic gasoline use. To put this in perspective, the current US average vehicle fuel economy is 22 miles per gallon (MPG), and a modest improvement of just 2 MPG (from 22 to 24) would, all else being equal, offset as much gasoline. What is more, this 6% offset is a gross value, not net, and does not account for fossil fuel use in ethanol production. Ethanol’s small contribution to the domestic fuel supply, while providing a sizable guaranteed market for corn farmers and ethanol producers, comes at substantial cost to the American public, three times over in fact. First, they pay higher taxes to subsidize crop insurance programs. Second, they pay more for fuel at gas stations and for food at supermarkets and restaurants. Third, they pay the economic costs of climate change, reduced water and air quality, degraded soils, habitat loss, and other environmental damage caused by corn ethanol production and use (817).

    May 3rd 2022 Meeting Announcement

    April 26th 2022

    Hi Folks

    Our next climate meeting will be May 3rd at 10am in the Ely Senior Center. FYI the Tuesday Group meeting that day is “Meet New Elyites”.

    There is a lot to share this month. I’ll start with the Minnesota Climate Action Framework. In 2019 Gov. Walz established a Climate Change Subcabinet. The MN Climate Action Framework is the plan they and other state agencies have developed. You can find details here: MN Climate Action Framework  This web page gives you some background and links to download the material. The draft document includes summaries of how our climate has changed, our history of success and failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and proposals for actions. Comments on this plan are due by April 29th. My apologies for the short notice. We should have discussed this last month. This means we cannot respond as a group, but I plan to send comments personally and have attached my draft letter to this email. I encourage you to write your own letter or co-sign mine if you agree with it. Email your responses to

    Next, the EPA has released an Environmental Justice Screening tool. You can find it here: EPA EJ mapping tool. If you launch the tool you get maps of many environmental, social and climate issues. To give you an example I have attached a map of the unemployment rate across the Twin Cities. If you love maps there is a lot to look at here.

    Finally, we have been discussing inviting Rob Ecklund to a meeting. This is unlikely to happen before the end of this legislative session at the end of May, but still worth doing. I have made a summary of his background and interests and some lines of questioning we might use in a file attached. What would you want to discuss with him? His republican opponent for the November election is not yet decided but is likely either Roger Skraba or Bob Wolfe.

    There is always more to discuss, so come to the meeting next week





    What the war in Ukraine means for energy, climate and food (Nature April 2022)

    On 22 February, Germany scuttled its approval of a newly built gas pipeline from Russia, and is now planning to import liquefied natural gas from countries such as Qatar and the United States. Belgium is reconsidering its exit from nuclear power, while Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are all accelerating efforts to install wind power. Fertilizer plants across Europe have announced they will scale back production, and 31 countries around the world have agreed to release oil from their strategic reserves.

    Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has roiled the markets and geopolitics of energy, driving oil and gas prices to their highest levels in nearly a decade and forcing many countries to reconsider their energy supplies. According to the International Energy Agency, Russia is the world’s largest oil exporter to global markets, and its natural gas fuels the European economy. The United States, the European Union and others have imposed economic sanctions on Russia, and have announced plans to wean themselves off that country’s fossil fuels. But even as Russia’s bombs rain down on Ukraine, its oil and gas continues to flow to Western nations that have condemned the invasion (see ‘Where Europe gets its gas’).

    Where Europe gets its gas: chart that shows the amount of gas that is supplied to the EU by Russia and others.

    Sources: Bruegel/European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas/Eurostat/UK Government/Government of Ukraine

    This isn’t the first time that Russian military aggression has prompted world leaders to fret about energy security. Similar concerns arose when Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, and in 2014 when it invaded and then annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. The allure of cheap Russian energy proved too strong in the past, but this time might be different, says Veronika Grimm, an economist at the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen–Nuremberg in Erlangen, Germany. “We have a war at our back door,” she says. “It’s hard to avoid taking action.”

    The war has prompted political leaders to rethink their energy plans, which could have profound impacts on a range of issues, from a burgeoning food crisis to global efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. Here, Nature takes a look at some of the choices the world faces, as well as potential repercussions that could play out over the course of years or even decades.

    Energy crunch

    For now, the biggest question facing world leaders is how to sever their energy dependence on Russia. The United States and the United Kingdom were the first major countries to ban Russian oil, but neither depends heavily on these imports. Moreover, the impact of such actions is minimal because Russia can simply redirect that oil elsewhere on the global market. An embargo would only work if the EU took part, economists say, because it would be difficult for Russia to quickly find new customers for the oil and gas it sends to Europe.

    Freight wagons filled with coal line the railways tracks at the Port of Murmansk, in Murmansk, Russia.

    Coal wagons await export at the Russian port of Murmansk.Credit: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty

    The EU imported around 40% of its natural gas, more than one-quarter of its oil and about half of its coal from Russia in 2019. And despite bold promises about cutting ties with Russia, European nations have thus far opted for easy energy: the amount of Russian oil and gas entering Europe has actually increased since the war in Ukraine began. Europe sent Russia around €22 billion (US$24 billion) for oil and gas in March alone, according to Bruegel, a think tank based in Brussels. But that could change in the coming months, as countries implement plans to diversify their energy sources and reduce the flow of Russian oil and gas. Poland, for example, has announced it will ban all imports of Russian oil, gas and coal by the end of this year, and Germany and Austria are laying the groundwork for rationing natural gas.

    The European Commission has released plans to curb imports of Russian gas by around two-thirds by the end of the year. That strategy relies largely on increasing imports of natural gas from abroad, and is it not clear whether individual nations in Europe will follow this plan. On 25 March, US President Joe Biden pledged to send more liquefied natural gas to Europe, and Germany has already signed a deal to import the product from Qatar. European officials have also been in talks with Japan and South Korea about redirecting liquefied natural gas that would otherwise go to those two countries.

    The commission’s plan seeks to replace 101.5 billion cubic metres of Russian gas by the end of the year. Boosting imports to Europe from other countries could account for nearly 60% of that reduction, and another 33% would come from new renewable-energy generation and conservation measures, the plan suggests.

    “We need a portfolio of options to replace Russian gas and safeguard energy security in the short term,” says Simone Tagliapietra, an economist at Bruegel. That portfolio includes ramping up natural-gas imports to Europe, as well as increasing the use of coal-fired power plants to ensure that the lights stay on and houses remain warm next winter, he says. “And then we need to really double down on the clean energy transition.”


    The energy crisis is particularly acute in Germany, which relies on Russia for roughly half of its natural gas and coal and for more than one-third of its oil. Germany’s immediate challenge is to reduce reliance on natural gas in the power-generation sector, which is further complicated by the country’s exit from nuclear power: its last three nuclear stations are scheduled to close down this year.

    A report last month by Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences, found that Germany could survive the next winter without Russian energy (see; in German), but only with extreme efforts to replace Russian gas with imports while ramping up coal-fired power plants and promoting large-scale conservation and energy efficiency. It also depends on higher prices causing a slowdown in heavy industry in the country.

    Although the next few years could be tough, the long-term impact on energy policy and greenhouse-gas emissions in Europe could be beneficial, according to Grimm, a co-author of the Leopoldina report. The power sector is covered by the European trading system, which caps cumulative carbon emissions, so a temporary increase in coal power, for instance, should drive up the price of carbon credits and force emissions reductions elsewhere.

    In the longer term, Grimm says, the German government is proposing to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the power sector from around 40% today to 100% by 2035, 5 years earlier than planned. “That’s quite ambitious,” Grimm says. A sustained period of high energy prices could also drive significant investments in energy efficiency, an area that has enormous potential but has attracted less attention than renewables. “This will speed up a lot of work that we needed to do anyway.”

    Longer-term outlook

    The energy picture is less clear at the global level. When prices for oil and gas have surged in the past, it has spurred a series of changes in opposite directions: consumers tended to drive vehicles less and purchase more fuel-efficient versions, whereas companies and nations invested in oil and gas infrastructure around the globe to ramp up production. But the current crisis might not trigger the same response.


    On the consumer side, growing gaps between the richest and poorest people in many countries are changing patterns of car buying. Although consumption is likely to drop in the short term as drivers respond to rising prices, that doesn’t mean we should expect a massive shift towards smaller or electric vehicles, says John DeCicco, an engineer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who tracks the vehicle industry. That’s because the people who tend to buy new vehicles are wealthier than they were in decades past, meaning they won’t react to the economic pressure of higher petrol prices as much as before.

    “Compared to previous oil shocks,” DeCicco says, “this is a different world.”

    By contrast, economists have yet to see major oil and gas companies ramp up their investments in fossil-fuel production. Global leaders have been emphasizing the need for decarbonization in the past few years, and companies are now more wary of sinking their own capital into assets that could be stranded as climate policies are ratcheted up in the future, says Ricardo Hausmann, an economist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    “The market is scared,” Hausmann says, but so far, global supply and demand haven’t changed much — a dynamic that could change if prices remain high for a sustained period.


    Although the war in Ukraine will probably speed up Europe’s move away from fossil fuels, it could slow the clean energy transition — and boost greenhouse-gas emissions — in other parts of the world, fears Nikos Tsafos, who tracks global energy and geopolitics at the Center For Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington DC. Southeast Asia, in particular, could turn back towards coal if Europe effectively corners the international market for liquefied natural gas, according to Tsafos. And then there’s Russia itself, which accounted for nearly 5% of global emissions in 2020 and is unlikely to move forward with decarbonization in the absence of international political and economic engagement.

    Food prices

    Another key question, some economists say, is how rising energy prices and the potential loss of grain supplies from Ukraine and Russia could reinforce inflationary effects and drive up prices for food and other commodities. “The potential reverberations on food prices and therefore on conflict and politics around the world are vast,” says Nathaniel Keohane, president of the Center For Climate and Energy Solutions, an environmental think tank in Arlington, Virginia.

    In the short term, prices have increased owing to hoarding and bidding wars. But global food stocks are sufficient to cover the loss of wheat and other grains from Ukraine as a result of the war itself, and losses from Russia owing to economic sanctions, says Christopher Barrett, an economist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. There could be disruptions to fertilizer markets because fossil fuels are a major feed stock, but Barrett says farmers around the world should be able to negotiate these changes by using substitutes.

    Still, the cost of rising petrol and electricity prices to the larger food-supply system could be substantial, says Barrett. “One of the big casualties of the Russian invasion will be people who are already teetering on the edge in other places,” he says. “It’s not just Ukrainians. It’s Yemenis, and Syrians and Nigerians.”


    April 5th 2022 meeting

    March 30th 2022

    Hi Folks

    Our next meeting will be April 5th at 10am in the Senior Center. FYI the Tuesday Group meeting that day is “Emily Ford’s 1,200 Mile Winter Trek”.

    For this month’s meeting I suggest we look at issues arising from the Russia/Ukraine war and energy supplies to Europe. Meeting climate change objectives is difficult in the best of times, but with the disruptions of war it becomes much harder. Russia has enormous natural resources and generates a lot of its income from exports of energy and grain. Europe imports a substantial amount of the natural gas it needs from Russia.  The natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 runs next to the currently operating Nord Stream pipe between Russia and Germany through the Baltic Sea. The Germans recently cancelled its operating license. Europeans are facing the probability of gas shortages (Austria, as an extreme example, imports 80% of its gas from Russia). Can/should the USA come to the rescue? Liquid natural gas (LNG) can be transported by sea but the infrastructure to handle the volume needed takes time to build. LNG is also dirtier than piped gas. Fossil fuel infrastructure has a long life. If it is built it will contribute its share of CO2 to the atmosphere. But if Europe runs out of gas for industry and heating there may be local or worldwide recession. There needs to be a big boost to local wind/solar/nuclear energy, but that infrastructure also takes time to build.

    Daniel Yergin’s book “The New Map” has an excellent section on Russia and Ukraine. If you don’t have the book here is a link to a recent article Yergin on Putin  (This odd link is the only place I could find the article without a paywall.)

    Here is a short article about Nord Stream 2 Nord Stream 2

    Here is a 17 minute video (from Azerbaijan) about Russia’s geopolitics. (Tolerate or skip a couple of annoying ads) Russia Geopolitics

    On a separate topic I am passing this note on from Veda Kanitz about an April 23rd conference.

    The recently released Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that we need urgent action on climate change to protect the health of current and future generations. Health professionals are positioned to lead the way, yet in this time of converging crises of climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and global conflict, it’s hard to sustain effort, or even know where to begin. We need multifaceted solutions that target both mitigation and adaptation while centering the needs of those most vulnerable to climate impacts, and at the same time we need to build and strengthen supportive communities to protect wellbeing. 

    Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate and the University of Minnesota School of Nursing are sponsoring Code Blue for Patient Earth: Pathways to Resilience, a conference aimed at engaging health professionals in this critical work.  The conference will kick off on Friday, April 22 with an evening of community building and hearing the stories of Minnesota health professionals engaged in climate advocacy work. On Saturday, April 23, there will be a half-day of live virtual content on creating climate smart healthcare, navigating the mental health impacts of climate change, and advancing climate justice by addressing climate and health through an equity lens. Registration for community members is $10. For more information and to register, visit


    Finally a shout out for Emily Larson’s plans for Duluth to become carbon neutral!



    March 1st 2022 meeting

    Feb 23rd 2022

    Hi Folks

    Our next meeting will be March 1st at 10am in the Senior Center. The omicron surge is waning, it is time to resume almost normal activities again. Please wear a mask to the meeting.

    February has had more than its usual share of dramatic news. For this meeting I suggest we focus on the role of climate in public health.

    For the past year or so I have become involved with a group “Healthcare Professionals for a Healthy Climate”, HPHC for short. This is a Twin Cities based organization with outreach across the state and country. They provide experts to testify to state legislature committees on environmental and health issues in coordination with other professional orgs. Here in Ely we help by writing, telephoning and emailing legislators on a variety of climate and environmental issues. Having input from Greater Minnesota is important to show the strength of the cause. HPHC’s website is here:

    HPHC is in the midst of planning Code Blue for Patient Earth, a VIRTUAL Conference on April 23, 2022. The conference will be a half day and focus on 3 main topics: ClimateSmart Healthcare, Climate Justice, and Mental Health.  HPHC is also planning to host regional gatherings the evening of Friday April 22, to give health professionals (HPs) across the state an opportunity to learn the basics of climate and health, how they can get involved in climate action, and get a chance to connect and network with HPs in their area.  We should discuss whether and how our group in Ely might want to get involved. I will bring details to the meeting.

    Ranae sent me info relevant to this month’s email. Thanks and well done! Five students who were featured in her recent book “Watershed” wrote an article about the book and their reactions to finding themselves in it. That article was published in Creative Nursing Vol. 27 #4 – In It Together: Promoting Planetary Health. A public discussion (hosted by Teddie Potter of HPHC) is available here. Ranae’s part of the story starts just about 50 minutes in. You can watch it here. Ranae and her students

    Here are some other topics that you might want to review:

    An article in the NYTimes questions the energy independence of the USA. We have fracked oil and gas in abundance, but as we phase out fossil fuels what is the situation like? NYTimes USA energy/Ukraine

    Here is a NYTimes article about the value of peatlands to carbon conservation. It is all fancy graphics but nicely done. NYTimes Peatlands store lots of carbon

    A recent loss to global health was the death of Paul Farmer. Here is a short article about him: Atlantic magazine – Paul Farmer Global Health

    To avoid paywall problems, I have attached an article from the StarTribune about the impressive accomplishments of 2 students from Grand Marais.




    Feb 1st 2022 meeting

    Jan 27th 2022

    Hi Folks

    Our next meeting will be Feb 1st at 10am in the Senior Center. Yes, we are planning an in person meeting this month! Tuesday Group for that day will be given by Steve Hollenhorst. Steve is a prominent environmentalist and professor at Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. He is spending a year in Ely. Prior to the TG talk he has agreed to meet with the climate group for an informal discussion. Given the current covid situation, there is some risk in an in person meeting. You are welcome to come if you are fully vaccinated and willing to wear a mask. As usual the TG talk will be zoomed. Thanks to Elton for setting this up.

    During these cold days there should be plenty of time for reading. Here is an article on Steve’s recent work on Carbon Conservation Trusts and a primer for our meeting.

    Steve Hollenhorst on Carbon Trusts

    On other topics – the news comes so fast no-one can keep up. Here are a few interesting samples:

    There was a recent Atlantic article on new cobalt mining in Colorado. This is similar to the mining proposed for Tamarack MN where Musk plans to buy the metals for Tesla batteries. Talon Metals and MinnPost – Cobalt mining for Tesla batteries  Thanks to Jeff for this link. It is interesting in that it brings the conflict between the need for new batteries to clean up transportation and the power grid, and the environmental problems associated with the minerals required. Here is the link: Atlantic article on cobalt mining   I do not know if the Atlantic has a firewall so I have copied the article into a word file which is attached.

    Steve Perry’s recent email has an article from Steve Hanley on ExxonMobil. I have attached this too. It is worth your time!

    Finally, and local to MN, Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate (HPHC) has an upcoming zoom with MN politicos. It is Tuesday Feb 8th at 6pm. Here is their text:

    Join us for HPHC’s first Climate Convo of 2022! Climate policy leaders Senators Frentz and Senjem and Representatives Long and Acomb will give us a preview of climate policy for the 2022 Legislative session. Come to listen, learn, and bring your questions. Additionally, in the half hour after our panel of legislators, we will hold a discussion on the policy work of HPHC for 2022. 

    You need to sign up for this event. There is no charge. Here is the link:

    Register for HPHC Climate Convo



    Jan 4th 2022 NO MEETING

    Dec 30th 2021


    Hi Folks


    With the current covid surge of omicron, I suggest we skip the next meeting. Let’s review the situation again a month from now to decide if we can meet in February.

    For those who need some good reading here is a review from the New York Times.

    NY Times 2021 climate year in review

    I have attached the article as a word document in case you have problems with their firewall, but read it online for the glitzy effects.

    All the best for the New Year