Our belief that Minnesotans and Americans are shifting toward prioritizing a more equitable economy was given a little boost when Merriam-Webster announced this week that “justice” was the word of the year for 2018. Growth & Justice needs your donation before the end of the year to make racial, economic and environmental justice the most important themes in 2019, a crucial year for setting policy direction in Minnesota. In our latest 2018 Progress Report, Growth & Justice President Jane Leonard earnestly urges Minnesotans to unite around “a first ever statewide socioeconomic contract, fully integrating equity as the superior growth model.’’ The report provides rich detail about our comprehensive and high-minded effort to create a “One Minnesota Equity Blueprint” for the next generation of policy-makers and community leaders, as well as specific initial priorities for the new governor and Legislature in 2019 and 2020. Bridging our rural-metro differences, relentlessly attacking racial and socio-economic disparities, and accelerating climate action will be at the center of this manifesto. We’ve spent a lot of our reserve funds in 2018 on community engagement and issue research to gather Equity Blueprint wisdom statewide. Our coffers are running low; we urgently need more financial support to generate the advocacy and communications necessary to continue this vital work and broadcast its clarion call to action. The winds and tides are in our favor and we must take advantage now. We have reached a historic turning point. Minnesotans are more receptive than ever to the idea that our future depends on investing in ALL our human potential, upgrading our public infrastructure, and taking better care of the precious natural environment in our beloved North Star State. It’s easy to contribute on our website. If you haven’t donated in the past, now is the time. If you’ve invested in us before, it’s time to double down. Together we will make the case that all forms of social justice – racial, regional, and environmental – are the best path to sustainable and shared economic growth. We thank you deeply for all the others ways you are making a positive difference, and we wish you Happy Holidays too!
“Clean Energy Sweeps Across Rural America,” is the title of a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report quantifies rapid job growth in renewable energy and a steep decline in the importance of fossil fuels to our rural economy. Minnesota, of course, is one of a handful of states with little or no fossil fuel extraction. Charts from the report show 10 times more clean energy jobs now in rural Minnesota than in fossil fuels, which is one of the most lopsided ratios in the nation, and our growth rate for clean energy jobs also is impressive. Minnesota business leaders, economic development planners, an impressive new association of green business leaders and even a conservative advocacy group have been cheerleaders for accelerating renewable energy development. By encouraging lower-cost renewable and local energy for low-income households, along with employment training in clean energy for underemployed populations, Minnesota can address climate change and demographic disparities simultaneously. Watch Growth & Justice in 2019 as we emphasize the importance of merging climate action with equity policy.
Rural areas hold 99 percent of all U.S. wind capacity— enough to power more than 25 million homes…(and in 2017) in the rural parts of every Midwestern state except North Dakota and Kansas, more people worked in clean energy than in the entire fossil fuel industry.“—from Natural Resources Defense Council report, “Clean Energy Sweeps Across Rural America,’’ cited above.