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Bowman man to host awareness event on climate change

For Rev. Mark Nygard of Bowman Lutheran Church, climate change is a topic he has thought about for much of his life. "I've been worried about the flow of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere since I was a teenager on the John Deere tractor," he said....

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Mark Nygard stands outside The Press office Nov. 12. Nygard is hosting a climate change awareness discussion Nov. 29 at Bowman City Hall, one of hundreds happening that day around the world. (Press Photo by Andrew Wernette)

For Rev. Mark Nygard of Bowman Lutheran Church, climate change is a topic he has thought about for much of his life.

“I’ve been worried about the flow of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere since I was a teenager on the John Deere tractor,” he said.

That concern has led Nygard to host a climate change awareness talk on Nov. 29 at Bowman City Hall. It is one of hundreds taking place around the world that are loosely promoted by global activist website Avaaz.org, on the eve of the world climate talks in Paris beginning Nov. 30.

The event includes presentations from Dickinson State University biology professors Lynn Burgess and Cynthia Burgess, as well as a Carbon Care Parade, where pedestrians, bicyclists, fuel-efficient vehicle drivers and others are invited to travel through Bowman in a show of support for carbon-cutting efforts. A conversation portion is scheduled for afterward.

Nygard described his concerns for the Earth’s health becoming more pronounced within the past decade, when he said he became more aware of how greenhouse gas emissions could have damaging effects to its populations.

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Climate change, he said, “became real to me.”

Nygard said multiple times he has used Avaaz, which is a forum for people to support many other causes around the globe. When he noticed that the website was promoting a “Global Climate March,” where anyone could sign up to host awareness events in their area, he said he figured that “this was something that required attention.”

“When I noticed that a show of support for change on the eve of the Paris summit was going to be attempted in hundreds of places, it was just not something I could ignore,” he said.

Nygard acknowledged that he doesn’t see North Dakota as a “hotbed of climate worries,” and that he expects the event to draw “dozens rather than hundreds” of people. Still, he sees this awareness meeting as a “pioneering effort” specifically because of those circumstances.

“If we had a few dozen, that would be a victory,” he said.

Lynn Burgess said he doesn’t plan to try to convince nonbelievers in the reality of climate change during presentation. He said with all the scientific evidence there is out there now, those who still do not consider it a real phenomenon cannot be persuaded otherwise.

“Mostly, I wanted to discuss how it’s going to affect us, and how we’re going to prepare for it,” he said.

Burgess said Nygard contacted the university’s Department of Natural Science seeking someone who would be able to speak on the issue. Lynn, along with his wife and colleague in the department, Cynthia, agreed.

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“Climate change is an important aspect to human health and the protection of it,” Lynn said.

Lynn Burgess will talk about the effects climate change will have on animal populations, while Cynthia Burgess will go into detail on how flora will be affected.

Nygard said he was not holding this event as a pastor of his church, but simply as a concerned human being holding a community event. Personally, however, he said he sees keeping the earth in a good state as a moral responsibility.

“Theologically, I see a connection, because care of the world is a deep theological concern,” he said.

Related Topics: DICKINSON STATE UNIVERSITY
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