Today we celebrate the 51st Earth Day. It is our second Earth Day in the COVID-19 pandemic, which gives this particular Earth Day a unique lens in terms of climate change and environmental resilience. As we look hopefully toward a post-pandemic world, many of the changes humans were forced to make as a result of COVID-19 made a visible impact on the environment— habits that many are encouraging people to continue past the pandemic, such as spending more time outdoors, wearing a mask when you’re sick, purchasing locally, and commuting less if possible. As the world reopens, we must push forward to responsibly and aggressively address climate change— on Earth Day, when we are all considering the future of the planet, it can be helpful to have on hand something like this New York Times article (“The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof”) with a comprehensive compilation of answers to many of the big questions concerning climate change science. It can often feel daunting and hopeless to think about climate change and the ways it will shape the future— as a reminder of the many environmental milestones made over the last 51 years and on a note of motivation to keep pushing to do better for our planet, National Geographic offers “51 years of environmental victories, in photos,” from the Clean Water Act of 1972 to the 2015 beginnings of the Paris Agreement.
Growth & Justice President Jane Leonard recently talked about the Minnesota Equity Blueprint with ENTER, a publication from the American Institute of Architects Minnesota. You can now read the feature article written by Sheri Hansen, “The Minnesota Equity Blueprint Addresses Widening Inequalities and the Climate Crisis.” In addition to discussing the creation and breadth of the Blueprint, Jane touches on the architecture community’s role in counteracting environmental inequities.
“‘Design thinking can be an important tool as we start to take action on the Blueprint, in part because architects have a special understanding of the physics of the built environment, along with its less-tangible elements,’” Jane says in the article.
Our colleague and partner Dr. Bruce Corrie wrote an excellent piece for the Nonprofit Quarterly titled “Eliminating Racial Disparities with Wealth-Building Infrastructure.” Dr. Corrie explains the need for a “comprehensive strategy offering wealth-building tools in every ALANA (African, Latinx, Asian, and Native American) community,” breaks down his Minnesota Solution to racial economic disparities, and details the emergence of the ALANA Brain Trust, a multiethnic coalition making a statewide effort to build capital and capacity in Minnesota ALANA communities.
“To effectively reduce racial disparities, the billions flowing through the state, cities, and towns across Minnesota need to be invested in wealth-building infrastructure. If not, we will miss this opportunity to build long-term wealth in ALANA communities. Investments are not enough. We also need to remove barriers to success. At the core is the imbalance of power, which runs the gamut of institutions from foundations and nonprofits to the government,” Dr. Corrie writes.
Here are this week’s new bills and updates related to content of the Minnesota Equity Blueprint. You can find the comprehensive list of legislation we’re tracking on our website, where each bill is categorized into a Blueprint section (Human Capital, Economic Development, Infrastructure, Environmental Resilience, and an additional cross-sectional category). You can also find links to each bill’s individual page on the Minnesota Legislature website.
|HF 2528/SF 2434||Minneapolis regional apprenticeship training center appropriation|
|HF 1076/SF 959||Omnibus environment, natural resources, and tourism policy and finance bill||Update: On House General Register April 19|
As you likely read in headlines from across the world, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin was convicted of all three charges against him: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The length of Chauvin’s sentence will be decided several weeks from now, as Judge Peter Cahill considers “special circumstances” that may warrant a longer sentence. The world was watching Minneapolis with bated breath as the trial unfolded, and now watches as the city erupts into celebration and relief following the verdict.
Today, Sahan Journal published a powerful series of photos looking back over the last 11 months, from the first nights of protest in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd nearly a year ago, to the celebrations after Tuesday’s verdict in Chauvin’s trial.
"Over the decades, momentum behind environmental conservation has ebbed and flowed, but each year has brought at least some signs of environmental progress, somewhere in the world... To mark this year’s anniversary, we note the clean skies the world experienced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As people holed up at home and vehicles vacated the roads, annual global energy-related emissions fell 5.8 percent, more than in any year since WWII, according to the International Energy Agency. The cleaner air was just one of the things about this strange and terrible year that made many people think harder about how humans manage the global environment—and about the possibility and urgent need of doing better." — "51 years of environmental victories, in photos," National Geographic