Season 1: Episode 3

Jun. 19, 2020

How does a small kid from a small town make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of many people?  If you ask Tia Nelson, she’ll tell you that it is by using our power to get up every day and try.  In this episode, we interview Tia Nelson about her decades of work in service of her father’s vision of improving the world’s most polluted environments in service of the people that live there. 


Nick Hylla, MREA Executive Director

Jordan Pupols, MREA Events Manager


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About This Epis0de

Fifty years ago, Gaylord Nelson – a small-town senator from Wisconsin – hosted a national sit-in to force a policy discussion about the growing environmental problems facing America. The act set off a chain of events that resulted in the most sweeping national environmental policy accomplishments in US history. Today, his daughter Tia continues that effort with a focus on building bridges between young environmental justice activists, conservative Republicans, concerned mothers, and all people that have an interest in addressing climate change. With her father as a role model and decades of experience working on environmental issues at home and abroad, Tia’s words brim with wisdom and experience. Though we interviewed her before the nationwide social justice protests began, her perspective has a lot a relevance now as each of us consider our role and responsibility in bringing groups together to develop real and durable solutions to our most pressing problems.


Tia is internationally recognized as a tireless champion for environmental stewardship and climate change education. She spent 17 years with The Nature Conservancy as a policy advisor for Latin America and then, became the first director of the Global Climate Change Initiative. For this work, she received the EPA’s Climate Protection Award in 2000.

Tia later returned home to Wisconsin to serve as Executive Secretary to the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, which included a gubernatorial appointment as co‐chair of Wisconsin’s Task Force on Global Warming.



On Tia’s Work

Outrider Foundation: Among the greatest threats to the future of humankind are nuclear weapons and global climate change. Outrider makes the bold claim that both threats can be overcome — and not just by policy makers but by people with the right tools and inspiration. 

When the Earth Moves: Earth Day is everybody’s movement and this is a critical moment. Now is the time to come together to face our greatest environmental challenge. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, bipartisan climate action has never been more important. Watch this short, 7-minute film to get inspired.  

“Seeing social justice advocates and faith leaders and health officials working hand in hand to build a brighter future by thinking of the environment in this really wholistic way that involves the environment in the city, the environment in the countryside. That, to me, gives me a glimmer of hope.”  – Tia Nelson

On Building Bridges:

WI’s Climate Change Task Force: A bipartisan group developing strategies to help WI reduce the effects of climate change. Our partner, RENEW Wisconsin, has compiled a list of ways for you to provide input and support to the task force through July 15.

republicEn: Conservatives, libertarians, and pragmatists of diverse political opinion that stand together because climate change is real, and we believe it’s our duty and opportunity to reduce the risks.

Sunrise Movement: An army of young people working to create millions of good jobs and stop climate change in the process.

#StrikeOutWaste: A campaign started by MLB pitcher Brent Suter to eliminate plastic waste. For more information, check out this article.

Creation Care: Mobilizing the church to care for God’s creation. For more information, read Caring for Creation: The Evangelicals Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment

On a Political Shift:

Midwest Programs and Policies That Work: Rise Up Midwest has compiled resources and supportive language highlighting successful Midwest energy programs and policies. We encourage you to use this content to assist with submitting comments to your government.

Yale Climate Communications Project: Conducts scientific research on public climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy preferences, and behavior, and the underlying psychological, cultural, and political factors that influence them.

Young Republicans on Climate Change: Explore research finding that Millennial Republicans are more likely to say global warming is happening, is human-caused, and most scientists agree it is happening.

Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum: Markets have begun a cost-driven transition to renewable energy technologies, and conservatives are needed to lead an effort to secure affordable, reliable, clean, and efficient energy for WI ratepayers.

The Panasonic Total Home Energy System doesn’t just deliver clean power, it delivers peace of mind thanks to lasting performance, battery storage you can depend on, and a full system warranty. Let’s take your solar business to profitable new levels together. 

This Episode Brought to You By:

For more information on how your organization can sponsor a future Rise Up podcast episode, view the details on the Rise Up Midwest supporter page, or contact Gina.


Address: 7558 Deer Rd. Custer, WI 54423
Phone: (715)-592-6595

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.