Global warming gaining more attention across the region

MONTEVIDEO -- Global warming might not be the first topic broached when local office seekers knock on doors, but it is an issue that is gaining attention in the region.

MONTEVIDEO -- Global warming might not be the first topic broached when local office seekers knock on doors, but it is an issue that is gaining attention in the region.

A screening of Al Gore's 2006 movie "An Inconvenient Truth'' in Montevideo on Tuesday evening attracted a larger than expected crowd to the Community Center in Southtown Plaza.

Organizers had planned to show the movie at the Chippewa County-Montevideo Lib-rary.

They moved the screening to the larger facility when they started taking phone calls from people who were planning to travel from as far as Ortonville and Benson to see it.

The interest was encouraging to both Kay and Annette Fernholz, two siblings and Catholic sisters with the School of Notre Dame. Calling the turn out "wonderful,'' Kay Fernholz told the 85 attendees that their interest will lead others to become concerned about global warming.


"Because a ripple grows,'' she said.

The Fernholz sisters, who operate the Earth Rise farm east of Madison, helped sponsor the presentation. They were supported by two religious groups, Congregations Caring for Creation and Interfaith Power and Light, as well as the Land Stewardship Project. The Fernholzs said that they view global warming in a spiritual context. We have a responsibility as stewards of the earth, they explained.

Just one week earlier, some 425 people attended a global warming presentation at Ridgewater College in Willmar by polar explorer Will Steger. Its organizers were pleased when they had to hastily add chairs to accommodate a crowd somewhat larger than expected.

The attendance at Steger's presentation indicates that global warming is an issue that is definitely attracting more local interest, according to Anne Dybsetter, environmental education coordinator with the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, one of the sponsor's for Steger's visit.

The local interest may reflect a larger, national trend. Dybsetter pointed out that global warming also appears to be gaining more attention in the major, mainstream media.

"An Inconvenient Truth'' is a 90-minute documentary on former Vice President Al Gore's campaign to make global warming a recognized problem.

The film documents the science linking the build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with warmer temperatures, as well as the consequences. The Arctic ice cap has shrunk by 40 percent in the last 40 years. The 10 hottest years recorded in the U.S. since the Civil War occurred in the last 14 years, according to the movie.

In the movie, Gore faults the U.S. for being the only major, industrial country other than Australia to not ratify the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions.


The government may not be willing to act, but there are many things that individuals can and should do, according to the Fernholz sisters.

If every Minnesota household replaced its seven most frequently used incandescent lights with energy efficient, compact fluorescent bulbs, it would negate the need for one full-sized coal plant, according to Patrick Moore, director of Clean Up our River Environment.

In a discussion session that followed the movie, Moore urged people to practice conservation at home, and to purchase wind power and support renewable energy development.

CURE also is urging opposition to the development of the coal-fired Big Stone II power plant in Milbank, S.D, which will emit more carbon dioxide each year than all of the cars in South Dakota, according to Moore.

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