You are a Guardian of Water

You are a Guardian of Water

In a recent article, two major pollutants found in the Mississippi River were shown and these two shed light on some of the basic ways we choose to live today. I was not at all surprised by lawn fertilizer making the list, but was surprised about the second pollutant. Seems as though we are not very diligent about the collection of Spot’s deposits in the backyard, especially over our long Minnesota winters. Those piles, some small and some not so small, get washed away over time and eventually end up in the river. With all of the healthier food Rover is eating these days, his waste potentially contains high amounts of chemicals not intended for the river. What is deposited on the back forty, and not picked up, ends up in the flow that is yours, mine, and everyone else’s. Appears that waiting for a good hard spring rain to wash away Tucker’s mess is not such a good idea after all. Do all of us and the planet a favor, pick up Buddy’s backyard leavings before the rain washes it into the river. Please join us at an event focused on the “Guardianship of Water” on May 3 in St.Paul, Minnesota. Find more information and registration here....
Food Glorious Food

Food Glorious Food

Food glorious food. It is both nourishing and astonishing. Think about this… At this moment nearly 50 million American’s don’t know where their next meal is coming from. At this moment nearly half of America’s food goes to waste. Approximately 30% of waste in landfills is green waste, which becomes methane gas. Listen to this PBS NewsHour report. What are we doing to turn this astonishing story into one that nourishes our people and planet? Learn more about what the US EPA is doing to Sustainably Manage Food to change the that demands perfect produce. Feed the people not landfills! What can you do to sustainably manage your food? Take on the Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) in your slice of the...
The Experience of Climate Change

The Experience of Climate Change

10 April 2016 by Karen Olson Johnson The striking photos of the experience of climate change bring feelings of anguish and the accompanying words well, utter disbelief. A coral reef bleached white and lifeless, a mother polar bear and her lone cub on a small piece of ice surrounded by vast open seas, and morbidly obscene piles of trash through which children search for gain, are frequent photographic visitors to the screens of information consumed by millions. These images are tied to statistics detailing trends and projecting a harrowing future. Having seen so many of these photos and read so many of these words, is there any message, any image that can get through and turn the tide? The Lumad Indigenous people and 6000 farmers demonstrated in the Philippines recently. The problem? They have nothing to eat and are literally starving because of drought. The government reaction was to open fire on the demonstrators, killing and injuring many. The photo of this wounded farmer, his blood covered hands held by one, while another tries to attend to his wounds, is yet another picture and story of what we are doing to each other. His is a story of pain at the hands of a government and a world of indifference to climate change. His is a photo of the experience of utter disbelief. Read the...
How tackling climate change will pay off

How tackling climate change will pay off

Star Tribune Commentary by Tina Smith – December 23, 2015 Minnesota is already a leader in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but we can — and certainly will — do even more. Much of Minnesota has experienced springlike temperatures this December, often in the 40s. Warmer weather has become the norm; since 1998, the Earth has experienced 10 of the warmest years on record. And 2015 is expected to break last year’s record as the warmest yet. This is why we all should be celebrating that nearly 200 countries have reached consensus on a plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The Paris Climate Agreement puts the world on a path to avoid the worst effects of climate change by keeping any increase in global temperature below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Gov. Mark Dayton and I strongly support bold action to tackle climate change. Doing so will be good for our environment, good for our health and good for our economy. We know that our climate is changing because of human activity. Minnesota has experienced three 1,000-year floods since 2004. We have seen our moose herd decline by 50 percent. We have watched our northern forests of spruce, fir, aspen and birch retreat. Minnesota is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. We also know that public health and climate change are inextricably linked. Car exhaust and coal-fired power-plant emissions that damage the climate also hurt our health. Air pollution causes Minnesotans to miss work and school — costing us more than $800 million a year — largely due to cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. The President’s Clean Power Plan is projected to result in...
Paris in the rear view mirror… What Now?

Paris in the rear view mirror… What Now?

Paris and COP21 are behind us, but what lies ahead? With much to be done, how do we go into the future confident that change is really possible? Part of the answer to this question is, we go into the future with each other. The agreements of COP21 are what many hoped for and what others fought against. They include some and exclude others. These agreements take into account some governmental concerns and leave others in shreds on the floor. Read an exceptional report on agreements made in Paris, by Brad Plummer here. Northland Sustainable Solutions has invested itself in a confident future. This investment will once again be made evident on January 30, 2016 as local community members reconvene to hear from a panel of experts who were in Paris for the climate talks. Join us on January 30th as we listen and learn from this important conversation of our time. We are all a part of this conversation. We are all actors for climate change. We will go into the future confidently. Please register for January 30th here. Thank you! Karen Olson Johnson Executive Director, Northland Sustainable...
Canada shocks COP21 with big new climate goal

Canada shocks COP21 with big new climate goal

By Mychaylo Prystupa in News, COP21 | December 7th 2015 #33 of 38 articles from the Special Report: COP21 Sunday night, Canada surprised a world of nations and negotiators in closed-door climate talks in Paris by endorsing a bolder, more ambitious target for cutting greenhouse gases than the UN climate change summit is officially aiming for. Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna told a stunned crowd that she wants the Paris agreement to restrict planetary warming to just 1.5 Celsius warming —not two degrees. It was the first time she has made such a statement. In the room was former CBC meteorologist Claire Martin, a Green Party observer at the talks. “I was freaking out,” she said. “I was writing it all down like a nut.” Reading from her notes, Martin reported the minister’s remarks like so: “‘We want to send a strong political signal.’ The necessity, that she sees, is one in which we transition sustainably.” Read the entire article on National...