Roots and Shoots drives for more progress in march to Capitol

Club strives to express grievances to governor


Grace Farley

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz speaks to a room filled with students. Walz and Lutinnent Governor Flanagan addressed climate change and the policies in which they wish to enact throughout their term.

Katie Hardie and Sadie Yarosh

According to Roots and Shoots club leader, senior Katie Christiansen, marching to the Capitol acted as another chance to reinforce the need for environmental action for Minnesota.

“We met with Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan and recently appointed MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) commissioner Bishop,” Christiansen said. “We were there to show them that (legislation regarding climate) is still a priority. We’re still here and we are ready to help any ways we can.”

Christiansen said the experience was productive for the interests of Roots and Shoots and Minnesota Can’t Wait, both organizations pressing for change.

“I think it went really well,” Christiansen said. “We were very prepared, we were able to tell them where they fit in, in terms of making an executive order to create a system that will reduce emissions in Minnesota. I felt that they were impressed with us and that they are excited about it because we are.”

Roots and Shoots member, sophomore Gabe Kaplan also joined the Roots and Shoots representation at the Capitol on Wednesday. According to Kaplan, this w

as a positive experience, but it was just the beginning of progress regarding climate change.

“This isn’t the end of it. Walz was very open to what we were saying, but I don’t think he made any clear promises, so while this is a success, in my opinion, it’s not everything we need. We still need to follow up with Walz and make sure he actually acts because Minnesota can’t wait for action,” Kaplan said.

Roots and Shoots leader, sophomore Zoe Frank, who also attended the march with Christiansen and Kaplan said it was beneficial to see so many other students at the Capitol supporting climate action. She said the meetings with students were effective.

“It was empowering seeing all the people, there was over 100 students who all had a common cause,” Frank said. “It went really well, they seemed on board and we’re going to keep coming back and talking to them. I think it’ll have a positive effect.”

Christiansen said her access to meeting with important individuals at the Capitol made the experience all the more significant.

“I think the biggest thing I took away was that (since I was able to be) in a lot of meetings, I was able to understand these things take time and that we as youth are here to kind of speed that up, and make sure that we keep making progress— especially regarding climate,” Christiansen said.

According to Kaplan, there were positives and negatives to the event. He said there is still more work to be done.

“I see this is more of an introduction into Minnesota Can’t Wait— making sure Walz is aware we exist (and aware of) our goals. But when it comes to actual process, legally, I don’t think we’re going to make much after this event,” Kaplan said.

According to Frank, there is still more to do with climate response and promoting productivity for action within the club.  

“In terms of the Green New Deal and Minnesota Can’t Wait we’re going to keep in touch with the governor and continue to encourage him to take immediate action on climate change,” Frank said. “In terms of Roots and Shoots, we are going to continue to be there and support that and be a part of it.”

According to Christiansen, Roots and Shoots will see more action at the end of the month when the Green New Deal bill will be introduced.

“We’ve been working on writing up this Green New Deal bill for Minnesota and more details on the event are forthcoming but we will be officially launching it on January 31,” Christiansen said.

For more updates on the arrival of the Green New Deal, check The Echo for updates.