Conservation Minnesota

Climate Conscious Before It Was Cool

Our newly formed partnership with Audubon Minnesota is a perfect fit because Audubon is on the leading edge of climate change research and one of the key issues Conservation Minnesota works on is clean energy.

Earlier this month 150 world leaders and many of the world’s leading scientists and policy experts were gathered in Paris to talk about climate change. Minnesotans were also present and leading in these talks

From Paris, to the Pope, to famine and disasters, we see news reports almost every day about our changing climate. It seems like everyone, everywhere is talking about climate change and becoming climate conscious. It’s now considered cool to be climate conscious.

Despite it getting to be cool, the problem at times seems overwhelming. It’s a very large problem that requires multiple people working and leading to make a change. But, the most important thing I’ve learned in my experience with Conservation Minnesota and Audubon Minnesota is this: We have the power, as individuals, to make significant contributions to addressing climate change in simple ways, every day. Basically, being climate conscious is simply a way of life.  

Over the past few months I’ve been looking at my own life through the lens of what I’ve learned about climate change and realized that I was climate conscious before being climate conscious was cool.

How did I come to this conclusion? I realized I’ve been doing simple things in my every day life since I was very young to help the environment and reduce air pollution. For example, I don’t know how many times I heard my mother say, “turn off the light when you leave a room.” My parents taught me to reduce energy use, which in turn, reduces the demand for fossil fuels. We used a wood-burning stove as our primary heat source and used our fossil fuel sourced heat only when necessary. In order to reduce our electricity use even further, my dad created a closed loop water heating system utilizing copper tubing and our wood-burning stove. We reduced our trash production by recycling and composting. We washed and reused our Ziploc plastic bags. We used glass and metal containers instead of plastic whenever possible. We planned our travel time, including monthly shopping trips, to reduce the use of our car and car pooled whenever possible. The list goes on and on, but the point is, my parents taught me how to reduce our use of fossil fuels and protect our environment without ever labeling it as being climate conscious or environmentally friendly. It’s just how we lived our lives.

With the science available today, I now know that the small things our family did to reduce our use of fossil fuels are now considered acting in a climate conscious way. So you see, I was climate conscious before I knew it was cool to be climate conscious.

Every day I’m working to bring the climate change issue from feeling large and overwhelming to simple, everyday choices and a way of life. To learn more about my work please contact me Jackie@conservationminnesota.org.

About Jackie Halberg

Jackie Halberg
With the connections Jackie Halberg has created throughout Northeast Minnesota working in politics, it seems only natural that she be the face of Conservation Minnesota for the region. She will be serving as the community coordinator for Northeast Minnesota, which means she will be working with community leaders and people who want to protect Minnesota’s Great Outdoors throughout the region.
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