Protect the BWCA from Sulfide Mining Pollution

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Volunteers Needed to Gather BWCAW Water and Wildlife Info

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Wanted: Volunteers to Gather BWCAW Water and Wildlife Information

The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness needs your help in gathering information about water quality and wildlife in and around the Boundary Waters Wilderness. The BWCAW region is treasured by many – and the long-term well-being of this place requires understanding how healthy it is and recognizing changes that may occur over time. We are looking for citizen volunteers willing to gather some of this information over Summer 2017. We will provide the simple training necessary to help you be an important citizen scientist. No prior experience necessary – just an ability to follow some basic instructions and a love of the BWCAW and the region. Tasks include taking water quality samples from lakes and streams and checking trail cameras.
 
For more information and to sign up, contact Betsy Daub by email or call 612-332-9630.

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program on Flickr

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program on Flickr

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Combating Climate Change

Clara Wicklund is a recent graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College St. Peter, Minnesota. At Gustavus, she was the co-president of Divestment Campaign as well as the campus contact for the Save the Boundary Waters Campaign. While abroad in New Zealand, she worked with Generation Zero as one of the main organizers of the Wellington People’s Climate March. In the following interview, she shares some of her experiences and thoughts on the Wellington march, the 2017 People’s Climate March, and climate change in general.

1. Describe the process of planning the Wellington People’s Climate March. What was most challenging? What was most rewarding?

ClaraClimateMarchClara: Organizing the march was exhausting, but so worth every second of it when thousands of people showed up on the steps of Parliament. Organizing something like a protest is really challenging work, because it is very emotional. It is really hard to get the cold shoulder from people when you put so much energy into fighting for an issue you deeply believe is critical to address.

I think the most challenging part of organizing the march was the ever-looming question of accountability. People really want to be a part of a meaningful cause and help out, but finding a way to engage those people and hold them accountable can be really tricky. People are busy, have different skills and cannot always commit. I found it helpful to provide a list of ways they could help prepare for the march such as flyering, banner making, taking part in a demonstration, leading a march block etc., and then personally check back in with them. When you have other people counting on you and checking in, it shows they care and I found that to be a motivator for people.

2. Why do you choose to combat climate change?

Clara: An issue like climate change is enormous and encompasses so many other issues of race, class, sex, gender, and geography. Because of all the layers within the issue of climate change, it is often difficult to pinpoint why each person is affected by it and should care. But finding relatability and human connection is key. We need to be focusing on what connects us as humans and living creatures, not what polarizes us. Climate change should not be a political issue, but there are many people who are not past that yet. If we can focus on what connects us as opposed to what divides us, we are headed in the right direction.

3. What were some of your favorite moments during the climate march?

Clara: I think one of the coolest moments of the March was the moment of silence right before we began marching. When I went to the People’s Climate March in New York we had a moment of silence to acknowledge frontline communities and all of the people who’ve lost their lives to Climate disasters or have been severely affected by climate change. The feeling of being surrounded by thousands of people in absolute silence is one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced. Following the moment of silence, the marchers erupted into yelling and cheering. It was the biggest “Go Team” cheer I’ve ever heard and was a fantastic way to begin the march.

4. On a personal level, what does marching for climate change mean to you?

Clara: The most rewarding part of organizing the march were the human interactions I had and connections I made. There are so many amazing people out there! I think everyone should try organizing for a cause at some point in your life, because it is an opportunity to discover the power humans have when they get together. It was so fun to see the vast diversity of people who showed up to march and the interactions between people. There was feeling of, “I respect you and I’ve got your back.” Of course, there is so much more work that needs to happen after a march to keep the momentum and dialogue going, but these actions are essential to movement building to energize and unite people, and apply political pressure.  

5. Why do you think others should participate in the upcoming People’s Climate March?

Clara: I fight for climate justice, because I know we have the technology, resources and brainpower to be doing things differently. We have no right to trash the planet that’s given us so much and there are people and living things suffering disproportionately because of corporate self-interest and unwillingness to adopt new technology and ethical practices. We can do it! We have everything we could ever need and now it’s about pressuring entities of political and economic power to change.

The Minneapolis People’s Climate March begins Saturday, April 29 at 2:30 at the US Federal Courthouse (300 4th Street). If you are not currently in Minnesota but would still like to march, visit the following link to find a march near you: https://peoplesclimate.org/sister-marches/

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People’s Climate March: Let’s Raise Awareness for the Boundary Waters Wilderness

This Saturday, millions of people will take to the streets in cities and towns across six continents for the 2017 People’s Climate March. The goal is simple: to push back against climate change denial and protect the progress we have made in the last several years toward mitigating climate change. For many, including us here at the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, the march is an opportunity to voice a wide range of concerns connected with climate change. Sea levels are not the only thing that will change as our planet warms. Climate change also threatens water resources, agricultural production, indigenous livelihoods, and wilderness areas. As you might have guessed, the latter is of particular concern for the Friends. Minnesota is projected to experience significant warming over the next several decades, and with that will come significant statewide ecological changes. Biologists predict that the the oak savannas of central Minnesota, better suited for warmer weather than the coniferous forests to the north, will push all the way up to the Canadian border by century’s end if climate change continues unabated. This means the pine, fir, spruce, and birch that today dominate the Boundary Waters landscape will be gone, and they are likely to take with them a number of iconic animal species including moose, lynx, certain species of owl, and others (for more, click here). With clear and convincing evidence that the Boundary Waters faces grave threats as a result of climate change, we encourage all who cherish Minnesota’s northern wilderness to make their voice heard this Saturday, April 29. The Minneapolis march will begin at 2:30 PM at the US Federal Courthouse and end at Father Hennepin Bluff Park. If you do not live in the Twin Cities, visit this link to find a march near you: https://peoplesclimate.org/sister-marches/.

The People’s Climate March is a fun and easy way take an active stand on behalf of our climate and the Boundary Waters. When I was abroad in New Zealand in the fall of 2015, I had a chance to participate in the last worldwide climate march. On Thanksgiving day, some friends and I joined a crowd of around 32,000 in Wellington’s Civic Square to call for action before the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. It was an exhilarating experience for me, as I had never before attended such a massive event. The streets were packed full and the atmosphere was one of excitement, passion, and determination. Cheers erupted as one of the event leaders proudly listed the demands of the marchers, rallying the crowd as if she were a main act at Coachella. As we began our march toward the parliament building, I couldn’t help but notice that I was witnessing something deeply powerful. Here we were, a bunch of commoners on an island in the middle of the remote South Pacific, putting ourselves at the forefront of a worldwide democratic effort. In this era of globalization, it has become easy for individuals to feel small and powerless. So often it seems as though we have been forced to watch the planet suffer, constantly inundated with more bad news about climate change and other social and environmental issues. Perhaps this explains why people marched with such ardor that day. With a sense of connection with millions of others across the globe through coordinated action, we experienced something that is quite rare these days–a feeling that we may actually have the capacity to influence the collective future of humanity.

Massive crowds filing into Civic Square minutes before the beginning of the march.

Massive crowds filing into Civic Square minutes before the beginning of the march.

Even the animals showed up in support! “Save the Humans!”

Even the animals showed up in support! “Save the Humans!”

The crowd reaches its final destination: the lawn of the parliament building.

The crowd reaches its final destination: the lawn of the parliament building.

A year and a half later, with even more at stake, the upcoming march is sure to be even more energetic than the last one. If you are passionate about the wellbeing of our planet and the Boundary Waters, this is your opportunity to make a lasting difference. I can personally attest that the march will be both an uplifting and rewarding experience, and your attendance is guaranteed to make the effort more effective. If you would like to bring a banner or sign and are looking for ideas, make it Boundary Waters themed! Climate change is in the same caliber as mining as a threat to our northern lakes and forests, and we at the Friends are currently focused on making as many people aware of that as we can. We are deeply excited for this Saturday, and we sincerely hope to see you at the march!

-Hardt Bergmann, Intern
Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

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Jane Reyer joins Friends’ staff as Advocacy Director

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is excited to welcome our new Advocacy Director, Jane Reyer, to the team.

Jane Reyer has a true love for the Border Lakes region and a wealth of experience on the sulfide mining issue. Jane previously worked as a contract Environmental Policy Analyst and writer on mining issues for a number of Minnesota organizations, including the Friends. Prior to this work she was the Lake Superior Project Manager and Contract Attorney for the National Wildlife Federation and a Natural Resource Attorney for the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa. Jane also has lived in the Grand Marais area and loves meditation and wild spaces where one can find plenty of solitude.

Her first day will be April 24th. Please join us in welcoming Jane Reyer to the Friends’ staff!

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