Go Green

Recent Articles

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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Mobile phone apps that keep users connected to their impact on the environment

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers

 

Not surprisingly, there are thousands of “green” apps out there that make it easier for people to find and share information to help us all become better stewards of the natural environment. The American Lung Association’s State of the Air app (www.lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/state-of-the-air/app.html) shows live color-coded air quality maps for any U.S. location and includes both ozone and particulate pollution counts. The app also provides air quality alerts, short-term forecasts, opportunities to learn more about air quality risks and how to contact lawmakers to push for more stringent pollution regulations. Another way to find out who’s emitting what nearby is via A Mobile Future’s (www.amobilefuture.com), a free app that compiles information from various pollution databases around the world and then shows users which big polluters are emitting what near them. Coverage includes 1,380 cities, mostly in Europe and the U.S.

Ethical shoppers will appreciate the GoodGuide (www.goodguide.com), a free app that shows how any of 120,000 food, personal care and household products stack up in terms of sustainability, fair wages and even health risks. Continue Reading →

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Earth Day is April 22: Time to walk the environmental talk

 

Earth Day celebrates the modern environmental movement and is a great chance to walk the environmental talk. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, it has contributed to several important environmental protection actions in the United States and around the world. Today, it’s when we educate and encourage people to take environmental action. There are many things you can do to honor Earth Day this spring: attend an Earth Day event, plant a garden, or clean up your neighborhood. Take for instance, Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM). Continue Reading →

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Can a high-tech thermostat save money and energy?

By Roddy Scheer 

and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers

 

 

Spending $200 or more to replace that older, still functioning thermostat with a new whiz-bang “smart” variety might seem like a waste of money, but it can be one of the best small investments a homeowner can make, given the potential for energy and cost savings down the line. The coolest of the bunch of new smart thermostats, the Nest, was created by former Apple employees who had been instrumental in designing the original iPod and iPhone years earlier. This simple looking round thermostat is reminiscent of old-school thermostats that one would manually adjust by turning the temperature dial. But the auto-awake feature that turns on the bright blue digital display when someone walks nearby gives the Nest away as an ultra-modern piece of high-tech gadgetry. The Nest’s software “learns” the habits in a given space by logging when inhabitants tend to be home and awake and noting when they tend to turn up or down the heat — and then sets a heating/cooling schedule accordingly. Continue Reading →

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