Summit participants chose from the following breakout sessions.  All sessions ran from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. and repeated again at 2:15 – 3:15 p.m.


  • Each session addressed the local as well as global implications of climate change.
  • Each session offered practical steps and informational resources to inform ongoing personal inquiry/discernment as well as practical action steps.
  • Each session included plenty of time for questions and open discussion, and
  • Each session fostered a spirit of comity and openness to the views of community participants.


I. The Science of Climate Change   (VIKING THEATER, Ground Floor)

  • Robert Jacobel, Professor of Physics and Environmental Studies, St. Olaf College and Climate Scientist, U.S. Antarctic Research Program
  • Emcee: Alan Anderson

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just released its Fifth Assessment Report summarizing 25 years of research on global climate change.  If there have been ice ages and other climate changes in the past, why are scientists so concerned about recent trends?  Why are the polar regions such sensitive indicators of change and why are they looked to as complete “archives” of the Earth’s climate history? What’s predicted for Minnesota’s future climate? And what are the likely specific outcomes of that climate?   Come with questions and ideas for discussion and find out what scientists have to say about recent discoveries concerning climate change.  For more information, visit the website for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at

II. Clean Energy and Climate Action: Progress in Minnesota   (THE PAUSE/MANE STAGE, Ground Floor)

  • J. Drake Hamilton, Science Policy Director, Fresh Energy
  • John Farrell, Institute for Local Self Reliance
  • Emcee: Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Carleton College

How is Minnesota doing in growing clean, efficient energy and meeting the state’s science-based climate goals? How can the City of Northfield help in climate action that will produce more local, clean energy jobs? This group focused on State and local energy related solutions to climate change.

III. Business Perspectives on Climate Change and Energy    (SUN BALLROOM, 3rd Floor)

  • Mark Kulda, Vice President, Insurance Federation of Minnesota
  • Katy Gillispie,  Corporate Environmental Manager, MOM Brands, Inc.
  • Jeremy Kalin, President and CEO, Eutectics, LLC ; House author of Minnesota’s PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) Legislation
  • Emcee: John Stull, Interim Director, Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce

How are changes in climate impacting businesses and industry in Minnesota? This session discussed the observed and anticipated costs of climate change on state and local businesses, and considered options available to businesses for responding to the change.

IV. Interfaith/Religious, Spiritual Perspectives and Responses to Climate Change  (PAUSE/JUNGLE, Ground Floor)

  • Julia Nerbonne, Director, Interfaith Power and Light
  • Brittany Baurle, Past President, Creation Restoration, Bethel University
  • Rabbi Shosh Dworsky, Associate Chaplain for Jewish and Interfaith Life, Carleton College

Participants joined Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light to lean into the question: What does faith have to do with the climate crisis? Julia Nerbonne facilitated a conversation about what we know about climate change, what we know about hunger, and how we can respond using the tools our faith communities offer.  This session strived to consider the variety of responses to climate change on the part of religious and faith groups in Minnesota.

V. Climate Change, Food and Local Agriculture    (VALHALLA, 3rd Floor)

  • Erin Meier, University of Minnesota, South East Minnesota Sustainability Partnerships
  • Bruce Blair, Owner, Welch Permaculture Gardens
  • Emcee: Kathy Zeman, Simple Harvest Farm Organics

Farming and food choices are impacted by climate and, in turn, can be positive forces in mitigating climate change. Members of the Northfield Area Sustainable Farming Association joined us for this informative discussion about what’s happening in the region and statewide to develop and employ growing practices and ecologically-designed landscapes that can mediate extreme weather events.

VI. Responding to Climate Change: Socially Responsible Investing   (GOLD BALLROOM, 3rd Floor)

  • Patty O’Keefe,
  • Greg Carlson and Adam Hoffmann, Carlson Capital Management Group, Northfield
  • Emcee: Matt Rohn, Professor of Art History & Environmental Studies, St. Olaf

This session explored financial divestment for institutions ( and socially responsible investment practices (Carlson Capital Management Group).

VII.  Responding to Climate Change: Effective Energy Conservation Steps for Homeowners and Businesses   (TROLLHOUGEN, 3rd Floor)                                             

  • Emma Schriver, Program Coordinator, MN Energy Challenge
  • Michele Gransee, Department of Commerce: Division of Energy Resources
  • Emcee: Martha Larson, Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability, Carleton College

This Session provided practical information on cost-effective energy efficiency & renewable energy measures for local homes, businesses, schools and institutions, including the newly launched $150M “Made in Minnesota” Solar Incentive Program.

VIII. Climate Change and Local Flooding:  Effective “Slow the Flow” Strategies for Cities and Property Owners  (BLACK BALLROOM, 3rd Floor)

  • Robert Collett, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Beth Kallestad, Cannon River Watershed Partnership
  • Tim Madigan, City Administrator, City of Northfield
  • Emcee: Ross Currier, Executive Director, Northfield Downtown Development Corporation

 IX. Climate Change and Transportation: Best Practices for Creating Energy Efficient Communities   (ROOM 142, 1st floor)

  •  Barbara Thoman, Executive Director Transit for Livable Communities
  • Philipp Muessig, GreenSteps Cities Program Administrator
  • Emcee: Bruce Anderson, Member, Northfield Non-Motorized Transportation Task Force and Greater Northfield Greenway Corridor Task Force

What impact do our transportation choices have on our natural environment?  What can Cities and local residents do to contribute to lessen the negative impact of transportation on our environment? This session considered the financial and economic and environmental costs of different kinds of transportation options, and suggested specific ways that communities can pursue energy efficient communities through transportation planning.

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