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City council approves Climate Inheritance resolution

Brian Larsen


Grand Marais City Council received a climate change report card from the Nature Nordic Group on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Following the presentation the council passed a Climate Inheritance Resolution, which calls for the city to complete a Climate Action Plan for Grand Marais that significantly reduces G.M. greenhouse gas emissions. Front row from left: Olya Wright, Mary June Wharton, Amery Oberg, Naomi Tracy Hegg, and Lexi Surbaugh. Back row L-R: Maya McHugh, G.M. Mayor Jay Arrowsmith-DeCoux and Aurora Schelmeske. 
Staff photo/Brian Larsen Grand Marais City Council received a climate change report card from the Nature Nordic Group on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Following the presentation the council passed a Climate Inheritance Resolution, which calls for the city to complete a Climate Action Plan for Grand Marais that significantly reduces G.M. greenhouse gas emissions. Front row from left: Olya Wright, Mary June Wharton, Amery Oberg, Naomi Tracy Hegg, and Lexi Surbaugh. Back row L-R: Maya McHugh, G.M. Mayor Jay Arrowsmith-DeCoux and Aurora Schelmeske. Staff photo/Brian Larsen With a gentle but strange rain falling outside, a packed house of supporters inside, the Nordic Nature Group presented the IMatter Climate Report Card to the Grand Marais City Council on Feb. 22.

The mission of the Nordic Nature Group (NNG), said Olya Wright, age 11, “is to help nature in good ways and take care of the earth. Our generation is asking all of us, the people of the earth, to demand that we take action and stop Global Climate Change.”

NNG works with IMatter, a national group of young people who address climate change issues. Questions were given to city representatives with results of those answers used to determine the report card.

Maya McHugh read the results to the council.

“The report card takes into account several factors climate scientists have determined to be the cause [of climate change] and how we can end climate change,” McHugh said.

In the first category Grand Marais received a D+ because it doesn’t have an adequate action to reduce carbon emissions, with the goal of reaching a net zero carbon emissions.

“This is a difficult goal for a rural town like Grand Marais,” said McHugh, because so many of our goods and products need to be shipped to the city. However, a plan to reach this goal at a given time would be a good first step.

“We received a B in renewable energy thanks to our 17 percent of energy being renewable resources as of 2014 and 2015.

“We received an F in waste due to our increasing waste production and not enough increase in the percentage recycled or composts. …

An F in carbon removal was given to the city, said McHugh, “Because of our lack of programs planting trees and adding green space in the city.”

All of these factors brought Grand Marais’ Climate Change Report Card to a final grade of D+, McHugh said, adding, “We hope that with your leadership you may take measures to create a Climate Action Plan that addresses what is necessary to protect our future.”

Aurora Schelmeske called on the city to make a Greenhouse Gas Inventory and form a Climate Action Plan.

The Greenhouse Gas Inventory will be done in 2017, said Schelmeske, because Grand Marais is a Greenstep #2 city, and with that designation, the Minnesota Greenstep Cities Program will fund the inventory.

The council also listened to Mary June Wharton, age 9, and Lexi Surbaugh, age 11. After some discussion, the council unanimously passed a motion to adopt a Climate Inheritance resolution, with three months to begin action on the resolution.


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