by Joram Kluge, Clean Energy Intern
The Sierra Club’s Clean Energy Summer Outreach is in full swing! Hosting tables at the Dragon Festival and at Rondo Day’s in St. Paul allowed us to do our summer outreach and explore some of the amazing cultural diversity in the Twin Cities. It’s been great to talk to neighbors and new people about why we care about moving beyond coal to clean energy and invite them to participate in the future while learning something new ourselves.
The annual Dragon Festival brought together people from around the metro in celebration of diverse Asian Pacific cultures and heritage. This fun event, which lasted the entire weekend, included a 5k run, martial arts shows, a great variety of acts, vendors and merchants, and most importantly, multiple dragon boat races. Our volunteers not only petitioned for clean air, but also participated in the event; challenging others (unsuccessfully) in a rope-skipping contest, testing their knowledge in a trivia game, trying delicious food while watching martial arts shows.
At the 30th annual Rondo Days, Sierra Club volunteers joined the St. Paul and Rondo community in celebration and remembrance of the historic Rondo neighborhood which was the largest African American community in St. Paul before the construction of Highway 94 displaced families and erased the now legendary Rondo community. While spreading our message of clean air and water, we also set up a fun face painting station and a ‘spin the wheel quiz’ for kids.
Both events were a great success. We collected over 220 petitions, urging Xcel Energy to replace its Sherco 1&2 coal plants with clean energy options. The Sherco coal-burning power plant is Minnesota’s biggest carbon polluter and currently ranks high on the EPA’s “watch list” as one of the top emitters of toxic mercury and sulfur dioxide in the entire nation. Despite new health protections that will making burning coal more expensive, Xcel recently announced plans to keep the Sherco plant running.
In order to finally retire this outdated, polluting giant, the Sierra Club continues to engage the public in its effort to replace Sherco with clean energy options. Click here to sign the online petition.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Sierra Club to retire Sherco this summer, please check out and RSVP for our volunteer opportunities.