Grand Marais Passes Climate Inheritance Resolution; Will Initiate Work on Climate Action Plan Within Three Months

Youth Leaders Gathered More Than 100 Signatures – 7+ Percent of City Population – Urging Community to Do Its Part to End Climate Crisis

Grand Marais, MN – February 28, 2017 – Youth and community members from Grand Marais packed the Grand Marais City Council Meeting last Wednesday night to support the Youth Climate Report Card and Climate Inheritance Resolution, presented by the Nordic Nature Group. The Report Card, a science-based tool developed by iMatter, measures how well a city is doing at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the levels needed to protect the youngest generation from the worst effects of the climate crisis.

“The reason my friends and I are standing here tonight [is so that we can] find direction to a path to end the climate crisis,” said Olya Wright, an 11-year old and leader of the Nordic Nature Group. “A path to a peaceful, beautiful perfectly balanced planet. A path to a sustainable earth. A path towards hope.”

“We understand and appreciate that Grand Marais is conscientious of its environment and has taken many good steps towards sustainability,” said Maya McHugh, a junior at Cook County High School.. Grand Marais created an energy plan in 2012, and the City has helped to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels by creating a small community solar garden and taking steps towards becoming a walkable community. But after evaluating the city’s progress using the leading climate science, the youth gave Grand Marais a D+, stating, “There are some factors our city could improve upon.”

The youth leaders asked the City Council to adopt a Climate Inheritance Resolution. The Resolution states that the City would complete a Climate Action Plan that reduces Grand Marais’ greenhouse gas emissions to levels that would help protect its community’s children and grandchildren from the risks of climate destruction.

In passing the Climate Inheritance Resolution and setting an example for small cities across Minnesota, Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux said “I speak for the council in saying thank you, … and for speaking so passionately about your concerns about what the future holds for your generation… It’s very important for us to hear from you…”

A key part of the Resolution is the inclusion of youth in the process. Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux later referenced this partnership when he said, “I like … the ongoing inclusion of young people – I see that the Nordic Nature Group, the Envirothon Group at the High School, you guys are going to be that mechanism. The city will go to you … to make the youth involvement effective in our community. That’s your role, you kind of have a position with the city now.”

The Nordic Nature Group recently partnered with iMatter to launch a campaign here in Grand Marais. iMatter is a national youth-driven climate change organization founded by a 13-year-old in 2007, and dedicated to helping youth advocate for climate change action in their local communities.

Working from the leading climate science from Dr. James Hansen, the Report Card is based on areas a city can impact, using data that is publicly available. An A-F grading system evaluates a city’s action (or inaction) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels needed to end the climate crisis, in areas such as renewable energy, waste management, and a plan to get to zero net emissions by 2040.  The Report Card has been endorsed by: Cook County Local Energy Project, Local Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby and Cook County Whole Foods Co-op.

Nordic Nature Group

Nordic Nature Group was started in February 2014. The group consists of 8 naturalists ranging in age from 9-14 years old. Its mission is to help nature in good ways and take care of the earth.


iMatter is a youth-driven climate change organization – founded by a 13-year-old in 2007 – dedicated to amplifying the voice of the youngest generation and empowering youth to hold their communities accountable for ending the climate crisis within their lifetimes. iMatter youth leaders are leading campaigns in their cities in an effort to shift the national climate conversation from “is it real?” to “why would we risk our children’s and grandchildren’s future?”

Grand Marais

The City of Grand Marais, Minnesota is located on the North Shore of Lake Superior and surrounded by the boreal forest. The town has a population of 1,351 per the 2010 Census.  Grand Marais recognizes its important role in protecting these natural areas and demonstrated this commitment when it partnered with a local non-profit Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) to develop an Energy Plan in 2012. The plan has led to building efficiency upgrades, public education on energy efficiency, and the study of public energy projects including biomass fueled district heat and community solar. The City is currently a Greenstep City.

For more information, contact Larry Kraft at 952-715-7535 or

Video of the presentation is available here (starts 5 minutes in).

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