State Rep. Jenn Hill to discuss climate policy with NMU community

Andie Balenger

The Northern Climate Network will be hosting State Rep. Jenn Hill on Feb. 24 as part of their monthly “Climate@Noon” lecture series. The recently elected legislator will be providing event attendees with legislative updates regarding climate change and the protection of natural resources in Michigan.

Friday’s event will be highlighting the importance of collective action and the transformative changes that can result from involvement in local policymaking processes. Ryan Stock, assistant professor in the department of earth, environmental and geographical sciences and coordinator for the Northern Climate Network, said that Hill is a “living testament” to the importance of micro-level organization.

“I wanted Jenn to speak because she is a good example of the power of grassroots organizing and how that can have a big impact on global issues like climate change, but locally,” Stock said. “I want students to be more involved in policymaking processes and get more experience with local politics because that is where big, transformative changes can take root.”

The “Climate@Noon” lecture series has garnered significant attention in the past, with nearly 50 people attending either in person or via Zoom. Previous presenters include former Marquette Mayor Jenna Smith, who discussed the city commission, Marquette’s Climate Action Resolution and different ordinances regarding renewable energy within the area.

“Having local politicians speak to local climate and environmental issues in the context of policymaking and politics can be really eye-opening for a lot of local people and students who want to work long-term in environmental policy,” Stock said.

When Hill sat on the Marquette City Commission, Stock and several of his students worked together to write the first draft of the Climate Action Resolution, which at the time was Marquette’s first major climate policy proposal. After presenting their plan to Hill and the other commissioners, the two groups collaborated in the hope to establish more sustainable practices in the community in addition to the city’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Climate Action Resolution ultimately passed on Dec. 20, 2021. 

“[Hill] was championing that behind the scenes the whole time. She was involved in making that happen,” Stock said.

All members of the Marquette community are invited to gather in Jamrich 1311 at noon on Friday for the hour-long event. There will be a period towards the end of the presentation reserved for questions and answers.

“I teach an environmental justice class … and [I recently lectured] on the importance of organizing and the limits of individual action,” Stock said. “Jenn Hill demonstrates the importance of social organizing and the changes that can be made through local policymaking.”