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ENEWS: Environmental resilience stories & resources

Date Published: 12/09/2021

Author: Erin Wilson

Headwaters community food and water bill 

To read about some action happening on the environmental resilience front, take a look at this newsletter with stories on the Headwaters Community Food & Water Bill, which creates an economic resiliency program.“Stories from the Homefront 2030” gives anecdotes about the promise shown by programs and initiatives through the bill, such as the Pollinator Landscapes Program, ‘Summer in a Jar’ program, and the Neighborhood Commons.  

“With investments of public dollars from the Headwaters Community Food and Water Bill (HF1332/SF1580), the state launched a robust stewardship economy to employ thousands of people to operate a locally adapted, source to table food web economy and restore native habitats and water systems. Urban and rural community members embraced the opportunities offered by the stewardship economy defined by the set of complementary Community Care Programs,” the newsletter reads. 

To find out much more about this bill, check out the site linked above. 

Mapping environmental justice

There are several great resources out there mapping environmental justice (or injustice) to show what communities and areas are most impacted. The Exhibit 1 map in our own Minnesota Equity Blueprint shows that climate change hits hardest where racial, economic and regional disparities are greatest (E-3). The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency created this map to show different layers of demographic information— including people who are impoverished, people of marginalized communities, and tribal areas— to demonstrate “areas of increased concern for environmental justice” in MN with the intention of showing heightened attention to preventing these groups from experiencing disproportionate environmental impact. Similarly, this story map shows how members of marginalized communities are disproportionately burdened by pollution across the entire country. All three maps can be used as tools to discuss environmental racism in Minnesota and across the U.S.  

President emeritus op-ed in Star Tribune 

Here’s a quick link to our President Emeritus and Senior Fellow Dane Smith’s recent op-ed in the Star Tribune. It discusses a previous column about COVID-19 surges in red versus blue states and the role that political leadership has played in the pandemic. 

Historic budget surplus announced -- Happy Holidays!?

Our colleagues at the MN Center for Fiscal Excellence have an excellent blog post on the state's newly-released December economic forecast, which projects a $7.7 billion surplus for the current biennium – the largest in state history. Read more here.

Equity map story summary

The featured story from the MN Equity Map this week (to stay consistent with the environmental resilience theme) is Itasca Waters. Read the summary below and head to the map to find the full story! And remember to follow our social media for more summaries. 

Itasca Waters (Grand Rapids, MN) works with community members and organizations to protect the Itasca County water. They help collect data on Itaska lakes, educate the public on water protection, and manage a shoreland advisor program. Read their full story on the map and check out their website at https://itascawaters.org/. (Story by Adam Schneider) 


“As the headwaters for three major watersheds, Minnesota is positioned to be a leader in caring for water. As our communities make plans to live sustainably, this leadership has never been more important. Yet today, Minnesota’s economy - every community within her borders - remains dependent on the industrial food chain. From source to table, this publicly-funded economy is unsustainable - depending on practices that contaminate and destroy ecosystems and contribute to greenhouse gases. We need an economic solution to this economic problem. The good news is that we know what we need to do. Building on the knowledge, skills and foods generated by indigenous communities for thousands of years, we can meet the demands of water & food and climate with a regenerative economy designed to connect urban and rural communities to a common purpose-neighbors together caring for one another and the home we share.” — Headwaters Community Food & Water Bill website 

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