Authentic Community Engagement: What is the difference between public input and a co-created climate vision?
Tune in to Part 3 of Fresh Energy's "Intersection of Energy and Community" webinar series!
The transition to an equitable, carbon-neutral economy will bring big changes to our communities. State and federal policies, utility programs, and the overall evolution from a world powered by oil and gas to a clean electricity-powered future, play out in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. But it’s not just communities adapting to change. Cities, counties, and local institutions are often leading through model projects and Climate Action Plans to shape a new reality.
In summer 2021, Fresh Energy hosted a webinar series to raise the question: How can we dramatically reduce carbon emissions in a way that improves our communities and benefits everyone?
Russ Stark, Chief Resilience Officer at the City of Saint Paul
Russ Stark is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Saint Paul working in Mayor Melvin Carter’s Office. Previously, Russ Served for 10 years on the Saint Paul City Council including three years as Council President. Prior to his public service, he worked at nonprofits focused on community development, environmental advocacy, and improved transportation options, including early planning for what is now the Green Line LRT. Russ has a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Swarthmore College and a Master’s of Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware.
Adri Arquin, Youth Member, Saint Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board
Adri Arquin is a junior at Central High School and lives in St. Paul, MN. As a High School student, he worked with other young activists and organizers to create Minnesota Youth for Climate Justice, helping to bring thousands of young people to the Minnesota State Capitol on multiple occasions to fight against the climate crisis. He additionally works with COPAL MN and the Minnesota Youth Council in order to advocate for environmental justice both inside his community and in the Minnesota Legislature. With these roles, Adri also helps as a youth member on the St. Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board. When not working or organizing you can often find him on the soccer field with friends or trying to scout out a new thrift shop.
Janiece Watts, Senior Associate, Energy Access and Equity
As a senior associate on the Energy Access and Equity team, Janiece plays a key role that is working to advance equitable outcomes across Minnesota’s energy system. Her current projects include collaborative work with environmental justice groups to improve air quality and reduce demand for oil through electrification of transportation and working internally on Fresh Energy’s commitments to anti-racism.
Janiece joined the Fresh Energy team in August 2018. Before joining Fresh Energy, Janiece worked as a community engagement manager for Eureka Recycling where she developed strategies on zero waste and environmental justice. She is an established racial and environmental justice organizer working in the Twin Cities for over ten years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of Minnesota. Janiece is a board member of Headwaters Foundation for Justice, MN350, and the new St. Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board. She loves food—from growing it in her garden to cooking and food cooking shows.