One of the most important things WE can do to fight climate change is also one of the simplest: Talk about it.
A climate story is a personal account of climate change from your experience and observations, ranging from despair to hope, from loss to resolve. It is descriptive and makes an emotional connection to climate change.
Everyone has a climate story even if you don’t know it yet. Mine’s about snow.
When I was growing up in the 90s, I remember cold winters with PILES and PILES of snow to sled on. My sisters and I would make forts and mountain mansions out of snow. It was my absolute favorite thing in the winter. Also, because I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere Iowa, I remember going outside in the middle of winter and pretending that we were trekking across GREAT glaciers in a blizzard. It wasn’t until I went to college in 2010, that I realized that winters just .. weren’t the SAME anymore. When my partner and I moved to Minnesota in 2014, people kept warning us of the BAD winters of Minnesota. Honestly, I haven’t experienced one BAD winter up here and it’s been 8 years. Sure, there are a few cold nights, and once and a while there’s heavy snow. But, really? Nothing THAT bad where there are HUGE snow drifts where you can’t leave your house because there’s too much snow. And even though we live in a location known for winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. We’ve decided to forgo buying any equipment because it doesn’t seem like a wise investment. Instead, we just rent it on the few days out of the winter when there’s enough snow. This is my climate story. It’s about my LOVE for snow and my LOSS of snow.
Remember a climate story is a personal account of climate change from your experience and observations. It doesn’t have to be about the weather, it could be about how your surrounding environment has changed or how society's behaviors have changed. Take a moment to think about it and then TALK about it.
Below are a few climate stories folks shared at the Gala and Awards.
"When I was a child, Erath Day and the environment are things we COULD talk about, due to the radical work the generations before had done. Now, my kid treats the environment as something that MUST be a concern if we are to survive as humans. With space to talk, other solutions come to the fore, like technology, business practices, and government involvement. I am hopeful for our generations to work together to solve this crisis."
"Remember when there were monarchs everywhere?! Now I only see a few per year."
"Lack of pollinators! No fruit on our pumpkins and squash."
"Not having snow on Christmas when I was going through middle and high school. It felt weird when the winters got warmer."
"Growing up in Stillwater Township, I lived out in the country. When I was a kid, I would see thousands of fireflies flitting around in the woods and prairie grasses. Their population has dwindled more every year, and now only a few light up the summer nights."
"In 1988, we got married! That summer we had the worst drought ever… until 2022!! At that time, began catching the water from our showers and using “grey” to flush our toilets. I don’t know how much water it has saved, but we still do it! So, if you visit our house, you will find water in the tub!! Since that time, “grey water (systems?)” has become a topic of discussion!!!"
"At the Blueberry farm where I live, the tree roots became more exposed all around the property this year because the soil shrunk down so much during our summer drought. Our berry season was about 1.5 weeks shorter this year as well due to excessive heat. I find myself avoiding feelings of grief for our planet, and I’m honestly scared for our future here."
"Preserve Natural Resources for future generations!"
"I remember growing up horseback riding in winter with my feet dragging through the snow. Haven’t had that experience in 40 years!"
"My wife’s step-sister is a PhD Environmental Engineer. People ask her if she believes in climate change. Her response, “No, I believe in God. Climate change is science, like gravity. Belief is something you can’t prove but have faith in. Science is proven, as is climate change!”
"I am an active bird watcher, with my own guiding business. When I first became a serious birder, older more experienced birders often told me, “You should have seen it 20, 30 years ago” referring to the number of birds. I now find myself telling my clients on tours, and new birders in general, the same thing. To think that significant, noticeable, observable decline in the number of wild animals as normally widespread as birds can be observed generation after generation is alarming and scary."
"Storms and hurricanes are intensifying and coming more often. Our condo in Fort Myers Beach survived but we still have no water or electricity. My island is hurting!"
"I was able to lead a hike at Afton State Park with Will Steger several years ago. I bragged to my son I had met a polar explorer. He asked what he does now and I was forced to tell him about climate change. It broke my heart because my son was only 4, and I had to tell him about our climate crisis."
If you feel inspired to share your Climate Story, please email Kelsey@SustainablesStillwaterMN.org