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Free Drop-in Discoveries and Meet the Gardener programs

Tamarack Nature Center will again offer two free, family-friendly program series this summer focused on nature and gardening topics. The Drop-in Discoveries series will run Saturdays from 10 am — noon and cover a variety of nature topics. Meet the Gardener programs will be offered Mondays from 10:15 – 11 am and will highlight a different gardening topic weekly. Drop-In Discoveries programs will be led by volunteer Discovery Hosts and feature up-close visits with live animals, including Tamarack’s resident owls, snakes and salamanders. Participants will also get hands-on experience with touchable artifacts, like skulls and skins, and sample edible treats from the Discovery Hollow garden. Continue Reading →

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Author writes about energy sources of the future

Nuclear power: seems scary, but safe
 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The environment can be saved through innovation, says award-winning futurist and author Ramez Naam. The Egyptian-born Naam who regularly lectures on energy, environment and innovation as an adjunct faculty member at Singularity University, wrote The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet that looks at climate change and how to invest in scientific and technological innovation to overcome challenges. During his hour-long conversation with Minnesota Public Radio’s (MPR) Jonathan Foley, the author-professor proposed at MPR’s Top Coast Festival May 31 at Minnesota’s Coffman Union that the federal government offer “huge economic incentives” to large corporations to do more environment-friendly innovations. “We are not creating any economic incentives for any [U.S.] company to actually capture any potential carbon dioxide that escapes,” he explained. “Cutting carbon emissions in half is not enough. Continue Reading →

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Please don’t pollute: drains to Mississippi River

The Mississippi River flows quietly through our hometown and most of us would never intentionally pollute it. But all it takes is one big rain, and the stuff on the streets — pop bottles, dirt, oil — spills down the storm drains and right into the river. Renisha Gray, youth manager for Emerge, says that protecting storm drains from litter is important. A nonprofit dedicated to creating workforce and housing programs, Emerge partnered with Hennepin County for a recent beautification project — employing youth street crews to stencil messages on storm drains throughout North Minneapolis. The stencil message — “Please Don’t Pollute: Drains to Mississippi River” — is a reminder that storm water run-off doesn’t go to a waste water facility to be filtered and cleaned. Continue Reading →

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Communities of color bear the brunt of environmental hazards

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in June will announce a new “carbon rule.” The “common-sense” rule involves updating toxic air pollution standards, including new monitoring requirements for petroleum refineries of benzene, which can cause respiratory problems and other health concerns, and requiring updating of emissions from storage tanks, how gases are destroyed. EPA officials say if implemented the proposal could reduce toxic air emissions by 5,600 tons per year. Karen Monahan, a local environmental justice advocate, says the public comment period opens June 2. She helped organize the May 15 environmental forum at Kwanzaa Community Church, and told the packed room that everyone must let both the EPA and Washington lawmakers know that this rule is very important and should be fully supported. “We want to make sure it is a just carbon rule,” she explained, “because we know that communities of color bear a disapportionate burden when it comes to climate pollution. Continue Reading →

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Cookie Cart creates pathway for future entrepreneurs

Renovation will make business more environmentally friendly

By Brandi Phillips

Contributing Writer

 

 

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the world, the economy, the people and the way of living was vastly different from the way that things are now. Some people and organizations have decided to make the change with the times and improve their relationship to the land. People and organizations are continuously becoming greener and more environmentally friendly. Native North Minneapolis business Cookie Cart is going in on the “Green” movement. When I sat down to interview the Executive Director of Cookie Cart, Matt Halley, about the organization’s history, present, and future. Continue Reading →

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Cookie Cart receives grant from Hennepin County to improve recycling program

Cookie Cart, a Minneapolis bakery and nonprofit organization, received a $10,000 recycling grant in January, along with 10 other Hennepin County businesses and organizations. Now they’ll be able to make environmental sustainability a strong aspect of their business and up the ante on their recycling programs.

In addition to selling delicious cookies, Cookie Cart helps youth ages 15-18 gain first-time work experience while learning important life skills. All cookie profits are invested back into Cookie Cart’s youth employment program. Cookie Cart is currently expanding and relocating their bakery, and they will use Hennepin County’s business recycling grant to improve their recycling system and implement an organics recycling system. Organics composting is great for the environment — recycling food scraps, food-soiled paper products and other compostable items. A recycling hauler picks up the collected organics from a business and brings them to a commercial composting facility. Continue Reading →

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A Fierce Green Fire details the history of the environmental movement

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

A toxic waste landfill in Warren County, North Carolina, a predominantly Black community that “galvanized the nation to talk about environmental racism,” was among the toxic dump sites featured in a recent PBS documentary on the environmental movement, which started in the 1960s. “A Fierce Green Fire” premiered nationally on April 22 on PBS as part of the network’s American Masters series. The one-hour film was inspired by the book of the same name by environmental journalist Philip Shabecoff, who’s also featured in the documentary. “You could say this was the biggest movement the world has ever seen,” said Oscar-nominated director Mark Kitchell, who wrote, produced and directed the film, in a recent MSR phone interview. “I really wanted to be the first to put it all together” on film, he added. Continue Reading →

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What’s happening on Earth Day?

This year, a focus on Green cities
By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss
Contributing Writers

This coming April 22 will mark the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day, and the focus this year will be green cities. “As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever,” reports Earth Day Network, the Seattle-based non-profit that helps coordinate Earth Day celebrations and serves as a clearinghouse for related information and resources. The group hopes to galvanize the support of more than a billion people across 192 countries this Earth Day for increasing the sustainability and reducing the carbon footprints of urban areas everywhere. By focusing on buildings, energy and transportation issues in cities this year, Earth Day Network hopes to raise awareness about the importance of making improvements in efficiency, investments in renewable technology and regulation reform in the urban areas where half the world’s population lives today. By 2050, three quarters of us will live in cities, making it more important than ever to adapt and adopt policies that take into account how to support larger numbers of people with less environmental impact. Continue Reading →

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Minneapolis’ one-sort goal is to double city’s recycling

 
Plastic bags containing recyclables are the biggest glitch in the process
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis began recycling programs in the mid-1980s. Last year, a city-wide “one-sort recycling” program began, and over 67,000 “blue-colored recycling carts” were delivered and “rolled out” to city residents between April and June, 2013. City officials report a five-percent reduction in materials going to the incinerator, along with a five-percent increase in recycled materials. “We hope to see an even bigger increase in the amount of materials diverted from the incinerator for recycling with a full year of the one-sort recycling program and additional public education,” predicts Minneapolis Recycling Coordinator Kellie Kish in a recent MSR interview. “Minneapolis and St. Continue Reading →

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NanoDay returns to Sabathani Community Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

On Saturday, April 5, the 3rd annual NanoDay event will return to the Sabathani Community Center.  

What is NanoDay? NanoDay brings together university researchers, science educators, and the public for an afternoon of learning, hands-on experiments and fun for both children and adults, all focused on exploring the world of atoms, molecules, and nanoscale forces. A range of Nano programs demonstrate the special and unexpected properties found at the nanoscale. Participants will be able to examine tools used by nanoscientists, showcase scientific advances using nanotechnology, and participate in discussions of technology and society. Continue Reading →

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