Wisconsin Public Radio

New DNR Program Promotes Climate Change

State agency help businesses, communities, nonprofits achieve their environmental goals.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Sep 5th, 2022 09:14 am
Purple skies over Kettle Moraine State Forest - Pike Lake Unit. Photo by Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Purple skies over Kettle Moraine State Forest – Pike Lake Unit. Photo by Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is developing a program to help businesses, communities and nonprofits achieve their climate change goals.

The Green Tier Charter for Climate Action will create a platform for local and regional organizations to share advice on sustainability initiatives and work together on environmental projects.

“You would basically have a ‘call a friend’ list of other participants that are in the charter,” said Bryant Esch, director of environmental engineering for Waupaca Foundry — one of 10 businesses who have expressed interest in the climate charter.

Green Tier is the DNR’s sustainability program and was founded in 2004. Recently, Weston Wegener, business support coordinator for the project, said more organizations across the state have been hoping to get involved.

“We have interest from a diverse group of organizations who are all kind of looking for assistance,” Wegener said. “They’re looking for a place to start, looking for some goals that they can work on or maybe even some other organizations to work with.”

The DNR held a meeting in early August to introduce and develop the climate charter proposal. About 27 businesses, communities, government agencies and nonprofits attended.

Preston Cole, Wisconsin DNR secretary, spoke at the start of the meeting. He said it will be essential for state organizations to pursue “voluntary actions” and “technological innovations” to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“What’s coming at us is daunting,” Cole said. “But it’s going to require each and every one of us to step our game up.”

Wegener outlined three possible projects that organizations could help with, including mentoring other organizations on climate actions they can take, pursuing renewable energy initiatives and participating in the Trillion Trees Pledge.

The pledge aims to conserve 125,000 acres and plant 75 million trees in Wisconsin by 2030. Julie Ballweg is the forestry climate change policy advisor for the DNR, and she said the climate charter will encourage tree-planting efforts in areas where it’s needed most.

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New DNR program to help state organizations collaborate on climate change goals was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio

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