Green Visions

A Northland Morning feature focusing on local environmental issues, heard Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m.  Green Visions is brought to you by All Energy Solar, Minnesota Power Energy Conservation Program, and Energy Plus.

Duluth Community Garden Program

Bookworms know that something new awaits them between the covers of every new book - and many old books - they open.

Bookworms who fling open the doors of a Little Free Seed Library may be taken aback, initially, but, tucked away out of the elements are the literal seeds of food security for families in Duluth.

Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

You've heard it said that "we're all in the same boat."

You've also heard "politics makes strange bedfellows."

Somewhere in between these figures of speech lives the Fix The Pipes Coalition, a non-partisan statewide alliance asking for water infrastructure funding.

Lisa Johnson

Our recent conversations about "local food" have been fascinating, and they're more relevant than ever.

The last time the country was turned upside down, during WWII, our food supply system moved from small diversified farms to the huge corporate operations most farms are today.

Will COVID-19 be the impetus for yet another rethinking of our food systems?

MN Interfaith Light & Power

For a variety of reasons, this is not the Earth Day many of us thought we'd be celebrating on the first Earth Day back in 1970.

But from socially-distant cleanups to virtual events of all shapes and sizes (see list below), we're all coming together to celebrate our concern for and connection to our little blue planet.

Earth Day! It's Earth Day!  Here's a partial guide to what's going on:

1) For a list of all digital Earth Day events happening in MN

Thought Catalog/Unsplash

If there's one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it's that we really can change things dramatically and quickly.

And when "this" (whatever "this" is) is over, Grace Guenthner of MN350 says we will have a hard decision to make: return to "business as usual" or take advantage of an opportunity to rebuild for resiliency and justice.

And here is a list of just some of the actions MN350 says you can take:

Kaveri Ganapathy Ahuja/Twitter

We might be forgiven for looking a little harder than usual to find something to be happy about these days.

Max McGruder/Bent Paddle Brewing. Used with permission.

When Cindy Hale and Jeff Hall saw the income from their small farm drop "from several thousand dollars a month to zero, overnight," they realized the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't going to be over anytime soon.

NRRI

Road salt is useless if it's colder than 15°. It corrodes pavement and metal and it doesn't biodegrade. Not to mention what it does to water quality when it washes into streams, rivers and lakes.

Beet juice and cheese brine aren't bad de-icing options, but deer love them, and attracting deer to roadways isn't exactly improving safety.

And then there's potassium acetate.  It has a lower freezing point, it biodegrades ... it's just so gosh-darn expensive.

Malibu Boats/Facebook

If you've never heard of "wake boats," you're not alone.

If you think college students keep members of "the establishment" on their toes, you should see what effect high school students have.

MPIRG (Minnesota Public Interest Research Group) has had a chapter at UMD since 1971, and even all these years later, incoming freshmen arrive with a passion to make a difference.

NRRI

A dab of taconite tailings.  A soupçon of dredge sediment. A pinch of wood-processing byproducts.

It's all a part of the process as NRRI researcher Marsha Patelka pursues her goal of turning waste resources into good topsoil.

Copyright Ivy Vainio. Used with permission.

Refineries, paper mills, wastewater plants, lumber companies, paint factories, steel furnaces, and meat-packing plants all lined the St. Louis River Estuary at one point, and, before it was illegal to do so, dumped their waste directly into the river.

Nadine Shaabana/Unsplash

The journey of  a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Likewise the journey of a thousand steps to sustainability and quality-of-life goals for Minnesota cities and towns has been curated down to a mere 175. 

GreenStep Cities is a free, voluntary program that helps cities work at their own pace to make and achieve sustainability goals.  You can see how Duluth is doing here.

NRRI

Tiffany Sprague is an excited person.

She's excited about science and communicating science.

She's excited about citizen science and the work people and businesses can do every day to manage stormwater.

She's excited that the University of Minnesota sees the need for effective communicators about science.

And she's excited about her new job/s that let her blend her knowledge with her enthusiasm.

©Richard Hamilton Smith/Nature Conservancy

The student environmental activists joining us in the studio this morning aren't as upset as climate activist Greta Thunberg was yesterday, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, but they're still determined.

Working as part of the Our Mississippi, Our Future initiative, Sydney Arens and Isaac Conrad (wearing a shirt that read "Awareness Inspires Conservation") stopped by to talk about the community forum they're organizing February 3 and now acting now can prevent crises down the road.

Pages