The following article summarizes the original event which is listed below the summary.

Finding solutions to climate change

Tue, October 25 2022, 11am

UMRA's October 2022 luncheon forum featured Jessica Hellman, Ph.D., executive director and Ecolab Chair in Environmental Leadership at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment. Hellman asserted that getting people to acknowledge the existence of climate change is a battle that is essentially won. Polls indicate a majority of Americans believe that climate change is real. The problems now are finding ways to ameliorate climate change and garnering support for these initiatives.

Climate change it is not just an issue for the coasts; it affects the Midwest as well, Hellmann said. The Midwest accounts for 26 percent of the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the United States, second only to the 27 percent from the Southeast; much more than the West, California included, at 17 percent; and the Northeast, New York included, at 15 percent.

In global terms, the American Midwest is the fifth largest emitter of global warming gases in the world, just behind Russia and just ahead of Japan. We are seeing major climate change effects here, including urban heat, flooding, warmer and shorter winters, fluctuating lake levels, and ecological changes such as shifts in biomes and increased numbers of pests and invasive species.

Research needs to be better, faster, smarter

The good news is there is a great deal of fruitful study going on to find solutions to these problems, and solutions are being found. But our research needs to be better, faster, smarter, more equitable, and inclusive, Hellmann said. It also needs to be more systems oriented and multidisciplinary.

One example of a systems approach is the identification of methane leaks. Oil fields and individual leaky wells can be huge emitters of methane. Satellite technology can identify and map these leaks so that political and financial leverage can be used to persuade companies to clean them up. For a given volume, methane has 86 times the global warming potential of CO2, Hellmann said.

The U of M is working to foster such creative approaches. Both the Twin Cities campus and the Duluth campus are government-designated Climate Adaptation Science Centers, developing science to help fish, wildlife, and ourselves to better adapt to our changing climate.

The Institute on the Environment brings together researchers from many disciplines, from biology to political science, to focus on specific climate and ecology goals, Hellmann said. The Institute works to develop novel insights, build committed leaders, and tell stories—all with the goals of helping our region to achieve carbon neutrality, define sustainable land use, and ensure safe drinking water

Climate change is a reality that must be met with creativity. We can’t stop it, but we can lessen it and find ways to adapt to it. There is reason for hope.

—Ron Matross, UMRA president




Tackling climate change and building a sustainable energy future

Tue, October 25 2022, 11am
Jessica Hellmann, Ph.D.
Executive Director
U of M Institute on the Environment

Campus Club West Wing Dining Room, Coffman Memorial Union

Jessica Hellmann, Ph.D., the guest speaker for UMRA’s October 25 luncheon forum at the Campus Club, is executive director and Ecolab Chair in Environmental Leadership at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment and a professor in the College of Biological Sciences Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior.

Hellman will share with us the critical role that universities have to play in addressing the climate crisis—by understanding climate impacts, proposing strategies for managing climate risks, and engaging the world in the transition to a sustainable energy future. This work involves every discipline of academia and requires a special capacity to collaborate with policy makers, corporations, and the broader society.

Grand challenges ahead

“We’ve made much progress, but there are grand challenges still ahead,” Hellman says, and she should know. She has been practicing environmental, ecological, and climate science for more than 25 years. She has studied climate impacts for natural and human ecosystems and has proposed new—and sometimes controversial—strategies for adapting to that change. And she leads an institute that pursues climate and other sustainability solutions, by embracing both technology and policy and building the capacity of people to pursue those solutions.

Hellmann holds a B.S. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. She served as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Biodiversity Research and, before coming to the U of M in 2015, she was a faculty member at the University of Notre Dame. She works with governments, corporations, and non-profits to build investments in renewable energy and adaptation.

Plan to arrive by 11 a.m. on Tuesday, October 25, for a buffet lunch starting at 11:15 in the Campus Club West Wing Dining Room. Reservations and prepayment are due by October 15.

—Ron Matross, UMRA president

Upcoming Events

Event Date: October 2, 2023, at 9:30am

We will meet at the Mel-O-Glaze bakery on 28th and Minnehaha Parkway and walk to Minnehaha Falls and then back again.

Event Date: October 3, 2023, at 1pm

Some of the most valuable and rare maps in the world are held in UMN's own James Ford Bell Library, housed in Andersen Library  See https://www.lib.umn.edu/collections/special/bell .

Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

The first meeting of UMRA’s Family History Interest Group for 2023–24 will feature a presentation by Marilyn DeLong about sharing family stories and learning surprising family connections. 

Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

UMRA has a special opportunity to engage with the four newest members of the U of M Board of Regents on Wednesday, October 4, via Zoom. The purpose of the event is to share our perspectives as former University employees. 

Event Date: October 10, 2023, at 12:30pm

All UMRA members with an interest in photography are welcome to attend the meeting of the UMRA Photo Club on Tuesday, October 10. We welcome photographers of all abilities. Most of us are struggling amateurs. We laugh a lot and learn from sharing and talking about our pictures.

Event Date: October 16, 2023, at 9:30am

The walk along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is always changing, with many attractions being added along both sides of the river and, now, the beautiful fall colors.

Event Date: October 19, 2023, at 11am

UMRA’s workshop on Open Enrollment for U of M retiree health plans for 2024 will include a briefing on the choice between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans, by Jeff Snegosky of BCBS of Minnesota, followed by an overview of the U of M’s retiree health insurance plans, by Katie Kolodge from the Office of Human Resources.

Event Date: October 20, 2023, at 2pm

Mary Jane Towle will lead the discussion of The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

Event Date: October 24, 2023, at 11am

To help us understand the growing movement in the U.S. to ban books, especially children’s literature, and the critical role of libraries to protect intellectual freedom, UMRA will welcome U of M Librarian Lisa Von Drasek (pictured) and Rochester Public Librarian Kimberly Edson as the guest speakers for our October luncheon forum at Midland Hills. 

Event Date: October 27, 2023, at 2pm

The Fourth Friday Book Club will meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. CDT on October 27 to discuss the life and narrative of Frederick Douglass.

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:30am

Join us for a 5 mile moderately paced hike around Pleasant Lake located in the heart of North Oaks.  It takes us past some of James J. Hill’s original farm buildings as well as beautiful homes built along the lakeshore. The trail is wide, generally flat and consists of packed dirt and crushed rock. 

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:40am

The documents noted for this event specify your managers and can minimize income taxes now, and estate taxes. 

Event Date: November 7, 2023, at 1pm

The material world we live in is shaped by design. While popular discussions of design typically focus on fashion and furniture, design is fundamental in art, architecture, and indeed nearly all aspects of the everyday world around us.  Goldstein Museum of Design curator Jean McElvain will demonstrate and discuss some of the fascinating and often unexpected holdings before we walk through the current gallery exhibit.

Event Date: November 27, 2023, at 9am - December 3, 2023, at 5pm

Get an insider's perspective on Santa Fe and Taos alongside local artists, exploring the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, enjoying traditional music and learning about native cultures. The deadline for reserving a space is June 2, 2023.

Event Date: December 4, 2023, at 9:30am

Please join us for an invigorating hike from The Monument located at the intersection of Mississippi RIver Blvd and Summit Avenue in St. Paul to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and back.  This hike is on paved trails, approximately 5.5 miles in length, and will be at a pace suitable to the weather.

Event Date: December 13, 2023, at 11:30am

Topics include tax changes; tax reducing moves required now and tax management in 2024 & 2025.