On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans gathered together to communicate their common vision to protect the environment. This collective action resulted in landmark changes in the way Americans think about and interact with the environment. Collective action enabled the passage of landmark environmental law, such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. Collective action caused the creation of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. Collective action spurred community action and the creation of environmental groups, like MCEA, who have shaped and influenced government decision-makers to protect the environment.
Today, in the spirit of collective action, MCEA will celebrate Earth Day by sharing on social media the actions we are taking at home to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We hope that you will join us in our “collective action” in the face of social distancing to celebrate! To do so, please share a photo or video of you doing something for the Earth on your social media page, tag MCEA, and use the hashtag: #MyMNEarthDayAction
• Plant a tree or native plants • Pick up garbage in your neighborhood (please be sure to practice social distancing guidelines and safety measures) • Start a compost pile or bring your food waste to a municipal composting program • Take a nature walk • Avoid fast fashion - start a knitting project! • Ride your bike or walk somewhere that you would ordinarily drive • Skip the clothes drier and use a clothesline • Sign up for a CSA (click here for a link to LSP's CSA Farm Directory) • Repair something instead of throwing it away • Sign up for online paperless bill pay or bank statements • Have a meatless day • Donate to your local park • Replace your incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs • Contact your utility to switch to a plan promoting renewable energy options • Adopt-a-drain • Start or join a community garden
Check out THIS video from MCEA's Data Manager Steph Emerich for inspiration!
Take action on Earth Day
Nolte Farms proposes to clear 300 acres of forest and to drill new irrigation wells in an area where clearing forests has already made drinking water vulnerable to pollution. Over 100 people asked for an environmental study of this concerning proposal, so there is significant public interest. These folks deserve the right to fully participate in the public input process on this study. But when MCEA requested an additional 30 days for people whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus to submit their comments, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources denied this reasonable request.
Providing additional time to comment is the bare minimum that our government can do to ensure that the public’s voice is heard. While this is one proposal, if our government decides that it can effectively bypass public input during an emergency, there is a risk that all public input periods will be affected in the future.
The MPCA announced yesterday that they would join PolyMet in petitioning the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the Minnesota Court of Appeals decision that struck down PolyMet's air permit. The irony of the MPCA announcing the day before Earth Day its attempt to reinstate PolyMet’s air pollution permit is not lost on us. Instead of joining PolyMet in an effort to avoid reviewing the permit, MPCA should investigate PolyMet's expansion plans & tell the truth.
Earlier this week, MCEA's JT Haines penned a deep-dive explaining our argument to the Minnesota Court of Appeals that there is evidence PolyMet engaged in "sham permitting". Click here to read JT's article.
Show off to colleagues (and/or hide some clutter) with an MCEA Earth Day 'Virtual Background'
As many of us are adjusting to a more digital life, we thought it would be fun (and timely) to share a few Earth Day 'virtual backgrounds' to brighten up your next staff meeting or chat with friends and family. We hope these backgrounds are reminders of the changing season and the beauty that you, MCEA, and organizations across Minnesota are fighting to defend.
Click here to check out the backgrounds and learn how turn them into 'virtual backgrounds' on Microsoft Teams or Zoom.