Over the years, there has been a marketing campaign to promote and sell Las Vegas. The campaign’s theme has been “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” For some reason, I was thinking about that campaign the other day when I was reading the latest news about climate change.
Then it hit me. Las Vegas’s marketing campaign is no longer true when it comes to climate change. What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. What happens in Cape Town doesn’t stay in Cape Town. What happens in Anchorage doesn’t stay in Anchorage. What happens in Paris doesn’t stay in Paris. What happens in Tokyo doesn’t stay in Tokyo. When it comes to climate change, whatever happens anywhere in the world will eventually affect and impact other parts of the world — including those of us who live in Duluth.
Whether it’s news from Greenland about melting ice, news from the East Coast about Duluth becoming a climate migration city, news from northern Europe about rising temperatures, or news about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, we need to know about these events and understand how these events impact other parts of the world, including Duluth.
When I walk around the city and the topic of climate change comes up in conversation, most people state they’re happy to be living in northern Minnesota. Because they live here, they say, there is no need to think about or worry about what’s happening in other parts of the country or around the world. Well, they are wrong. We need to know. And we need to know now.
About three weeks ago, a friend of mine in Philadelphia told me about a global news campaign on climate change. I hadn’t heard or seen anything about it in Duluth. So I went to the the internet and discovered the “Covering Climate Now” project. On Monday, there will be a seven-day news campaign, with more than 170 news outlets from around the world providing news and stories about climate change. Those groups participating include PBS, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, CBS News, Christian Science Monitor, NPR, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Guardian.
When I asked around town to find out if anyone in Duluth was talking about “Covering Climate Now,” everyone I spoke with didn’t know about the campaign. I was surprised. And then I wondered how our city could join the conversation.
After speaking to a few people in the local media and with different environmental groups, I thought it would be a good thing to bring us together to talk about this campaign and how we can use the news to engage, educate, and empower the citizens of Duluth.
We need to ask ourselves why the news and information about climate change is vitally important to the city of Duluth. How do we use the news and information to help create a more resilient, sustainable, and environmentally just city?
The 1992 book, “Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning A Sustainable Future,” states that, “Information is the key to transformation” and, “The depths of human ignorance are much more profound than most humans are willing to admit.”
Well, we need to remind ourselves that we are ignorant when it comes to really understanding the many facets of and the complexity of climate change. And we need all the news and information available that can help our city make a successful transition within the next 30 years.
I hope that many of you will check out the “Covering Climate Now” project. And if you are free Monday evening at 7:30, please join us at the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center, 212 W. Second St., for a city forum on the campaign.
Tone Lanzillo is a member of the Loaves and Fishes Community in Duluth and is a live-in volunteer at the Dorothy Day House.
What: A community conversation about the Covering Climate Now project
When: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Monday
Where: Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center at AICHO, 212 W. Second St., Duluth