Club News: Brownsdale Study Club

Published 6:45 am Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Brownsdale Study Club began its indefinite change of meeting venue to the City’s Community Room on Wednesday, Oct. 21.  Hosting for the meeting was Mary Kidwiler Moritz, who was responsible for sanitizing the tables and chairs.

Practicing social distancing and with everyone wearing a mask, newly elected President Rena Perrigo led the group with the Collect.  Minutes of the September meeting were read and the treasurer’s report was brought up to date.  Fern Paschke made a motion to approve the minutes. It was seconded by Therese Manggaard. The motion carried and the minutes were approved.

As roll call was made, each member reflected on a unique experience brought on by COVID-19.  With five members present, President Perrigo called for discussion of any old business. There was nothing that had been tabled from the previous meeting, and the agenda moved to new business.

Shelley Vogel had prepared and assembled the new booklets for the 2020-2021 year. Each member would receive one with additional copies available if needed throughout the year.  In the past, $200 has been donated to the Brownsdale Library for paper and printing of the booklets each year. Rena called for discussion about providing the same monetary amount this year as well. All members in attendance agreed that the same amount should be paid from our treasury for the new booklets. A motion was made by Therese Manggaard and seconded by Fern Paschke.  The motion carried.

In addition, greeting cards were distributed, for signatures,  to each member present to mail to Hazel Schlichting and Mary Gallaher — longtime members of the Study Club who are unable to attend meetings, but still want to remain in touch with the organization.  Sharon Willis and Jane Hartson will receive farewell cards from the group, as they are dropping out to pursue other endeavors.  Mary Kidwiler Moritz will see that all cards are mailed.

Members failing to notify the hostess about whether they will be in attendance for a meeting has raised concern.  The meeting is delayed in starting when it is not known if one or more is going to attend.  Policy will now be changed so that the hostess for the month will call each member the morning of the meeting to inquire as to if that member plans to attend the gathering. 

There was no additional new business and the meeting adjourned with a motion from Fern and a second from Shelley.

Therese Manggaard had the main topic for the month.  She reported on “single-action bias”—the human’s mind belief that just giving up one anti-green practice to curb climate change brings about relief by taking that one step. We can expand on what we are already doing.

For example, give up eating meat on Mondays, or drive less often, or forego using plastic straws.  The journal Global Environmental Change suggests that humans want to be consistent, which could lead to behaviors that are within the same pro-environmental vein.  Expanding the refusal to use plastic straws to include using no plastic bags when shopping. Instead bring your own reusable bags. Or, recycle garbage to be used as compost in gardens.  Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions recommends jotting down why a given action is important to an individual.  Doing one thing can be a good thing, doing more to adopt a low-carbon lifestyle—to the best of our abilities—is worth striving for.

Last, but not least, Fern Paschke presented the latest on the restoration work underway to return the headwaters of the Mississippi River to its original dimensions.  Already underway, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will return the river channel to its desired width and stabilize the streambank.

This is going to be accomplished with a combination of boulders and natural vegetation that will quickly take root and hold the shore in place to prevent erosion.  The $35,000 project will take only about two weeks, and will be paid for from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after the approval of the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment of 2008.